(Oct. 18, 2007) – The handsome new home for 24 students at New College of Florida has carried the rather anonymous moniker of ‘X’ Dorm. On Thursday, Nov. 1, the residence hall that opened for students this fall will be formally named for Sarasota philanthropist Ulla R. Searing (at right).searing_crop.jpg
The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ulla R. Searing Residence Hall, one of five new dorms at New College, will take place at 5:30 p.m. in front of the hall on New College’s East Campus. Students will lead guests and media on a tour of the dorm following the dedication ceremony.
Searing will be the guest of honor and cut the ribbon officially naming the residence hall after her in appreciation for her longtime support of the College and its students. Last December, Searing donated to New College a gift of $2 million. The gift is part of a charitable remainder trust that created the Ulla Searing Fund for Academic Excellence. Money from the fund will be used to create a Searing Scholars Program for New College students and to support faculty development, student research and faculty-compensation enhancements.
Searing, who divides her time between Southampton, New York and Sarasota, has been heralded as the grande dame of Sarasota society for her generous support of culture, the arts and education across the country. In addition to New College, she has made substantial contributions locally to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Florida State University Asolo Theatre and Conservatory, Lehigh University and countless other educational and cultural institutions. She is the widow of the financier Arthur Searing, who died in 1983.
The Searing building is one of five, new residence halls that opened on New College’s East Campus this fall, adding 210 additional living spaces for New College students. Four of the new residence halls, including Searing, are situated in a row along General Twining Boulevard and feature lodge-style accommodations. The fifth, which the College recently announced will be named after another local philanthropist, Rhoda Pritzker, lies along U.S. 41 and offers more traditional, apartment-style accommodations. In total, the College can now house a total of 633 of its 750 students on campus.
The Searing residence hall, in addition to student apartments, kitchen/dining space and common areas, also has a common laundry room, a large kitchen and two public lounges along a Palm Promenade. Designed according to green building specifications laid out in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines, the building features flat and gabled roofs, timbered ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows to take advantage of Florida’s natural environment.
The architect/engineer of New College’s $27 million dorm-building project was Harper Aiken Donahue & Partners Architecture Inc. of St. Petersburg. W.G. Mills Inc. of Sarasota was the general contractor and construction company for the project. Three of the new buildings opened for student occupancy on Aug. 29; the remaining two opened Oct. 11.
For more information, contact the New College Foundation at (941) 487-4800 or the Office of Public Affairs at (941) 487-4150.