(May 18, 2010)  New College of Florida is set to party like it’s…1960?  That’s right.  The innovative liberal arts college known for its distinctive academic program, where students help plan their own curriculum, will turn fifty years old in October, and school officials are busy planning for the big event. In preparation for the momentous occasion, New College has unveiled a special 50th Anniversary website (50th.ncf.edu) and preliminary schedule of golden anniversary events to be held throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.

Among the highlights for next year’s festivities are a Founders’ Day celebration and community picnic in October, special golden anniversary editions of the popular New Topics New College and New Music New College series and a free symphony concert featuring the Sarasota Orchestra along with a fireworks display over Sarasota Bay in February. The College also plans to host a series of mini-classes, historical exhibitions, campus tours, open houses and other special events through the year.

Affectionately known as "The Blue Goose," this bus transported students from the Landmark Hotel on Lido Key to New College in 1964 while residence halls were being constructed.

“The 50th Anniversary is a unique moment in the life of any college or university,” said New College President Mike Michalson. “It represents a time to reflect upon the past but also to celebrate the future. Our anniversary committee has done a wonderful job of developing a slate of activities that showcases the rich history, strong academic focus and wonderful diversity of interests that have shaped New College over the years and which will continue to influence it in the future.”

The symphony concert is the centerpiece of the College’s “Signature Anniversary Weekend,” slated for February 11-13, 2011.  On Friday and Saturday, there will be open houses, student and faculty academic fairs, mini-classes, panel discussions, student and alum art exhibits, student performances, history displays, poetry and scientific posters and campus tours – all open to the public and all free. On Friday evening, the New College Foundation will host a Golden Anniversary Dinner at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Sarasota to raise funds for the College and honor significant figures, past and present.

Click on the 50th Anniversary logo to visit the new site.

The Signature Weekend will coincide with the College’s annual Alumnae/i Reunion, which typically takes place in May but which has been moved to February so that alums can participate in the 50th anniversary celebration.  There have been over 6,000 New College alums since the first class graduated in 1967, and a record number of them are expected to travel to Sarasota for the celebration. Hotel rooms are at the ready and a raft of events especially for alums has been planned.

The College’s story will be captured on film by New College alumnus Josh Tickell, a filmmaker, author and environmentalist who produced FUEL, the 2008 Sundance Audience awarding-winning documentary film that investigated the possible replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. Tickell is founder of the Biodiesel America Organization (now The Veggie Van Organization), which was selected by President Bill Clinton as an inaugural part of his Global Initiative on Climate Change.  The recipient of an MFA in Film from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts, Tickell’s film company, Green Planet Productions, is based in California.

“The half-hour film will seek to capture that which has made New College the genesis of several generations of thinkers, artists, scientists, mathematicians, social scientists and cultural creatives,” says Tickell, who graduated from New College in 1997 with a concentration in sustainable living. “Using intimate on-camera interviews shot in High Definition as well as stock footage from the past fifty years, the film will portray the rich history and amazing present of New College.”

The New College story will be published in print in the form of a 50th Anniversary keepsake book, artfully created in timeline format with historical sidebars.  The College is also producing a self-guided campus tour book entitled, Visualizing New College.

The New College Foundation has established a “1960 Society” inviting friends of the College to make a gift of $1,960, or multiples thereof, to support both the celebration and the College’s academic program.  Corporate sponsors and underwriters are being sought to help support the anniversary year as well.  For more information, contact Andrew Walker, president of the New College Foundation, at (941) 487-4801.

For current updates about the 50th anniversary celebration, visit 50th.ncf.edu.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at (941) 487-4153 or email publicaffairs@ncf.edu.

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