(January 23, 2008) — Some 75 members of the New College community gathered recently in College Hall to say thank you to former State Senator Bob Johnson, who recently completed his second term as chairman of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees. bob_johnson_72dpi.jpg
On hand for the tribute were New College president Mike Michalson, vice presidents Sam Savin and John Martin, members of the New College of Florida and New College Foundation boards of trustees, and faculty, students and staff from the College. In thanks for his many years of service to New College, administrators gave Johnson a limited-edition, custom-framed aerial photograph of the campus.
A major figure in New College’s history, Johnson began his affiliation with the school in the early 1970s and played an important role in helping the College join the State University System in 1975, when flagging finances threatened to close down the formerly private college. He also played an integral part in helping New College achieve independence as the eleventh freestanding member of the State University System in 2001. In between and since, he helped procure state and private funding that resulted in the construction of the Jane Bancroft Cook Library on campus, the Heiser Natural Sciences building, Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center, five new dorms, and most recently the Sarasota Classic Car Museum at the corner of University Parkway and U.S. 41. In honor of his many contributions to the school, one wing of the College’s historic I.M. Pei Residence Hall complex bears Johnson’s name.
Johnson has served as chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees since 2001, when the College gained independence. However, state regulations prohibit trustees from serving more than two consecutive terms as board chair, and New College announced last fall that former Vice Chair Mickey Presha would succeed Johnson as chair. New College trustee Elaine Keating was announced as the new Vice Chair of the New College board.