August 22, 2012 — New Topics New College, a collaboration of the New College Foundation and New College of Florida, has announced six programs for 2012-2013. This dynamic community series features national speakers on relevant topics of our time in a lecture or panel discussion format, followed by audience Q&A.
All programs will be held at 5:30 pm in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota. A reception follows each program and provides an opportunity to meet the speakers, as well as students and faculty in attendance.
The topics for this year include:
A preview of the 2012 elections (Oct 23), what makes a great beach (Nov 8), prescription pain medication (Dec 4), positive aging pioneers (Jan 15), healthcare information exchange (Feb 26) and the challenges of sub-Saharan Africa (Mar 21). The speakers include: political correspondents Alexis Simendinger (New College alumna), Charles Mahtesian and Jeremy Wallace with New College political science professor Frank Alcock; Dr. Stephen Leatherman (a.k.a.“Dr. Beach”); Manatee Glens CEO and New College alumna Mary Ruiz; Sarasota’s Institute for the Ages president, Tom Esselman; Sarasota Memorial Chief of Staff and New College alumnus John Collins, MD; and Foreign Services career professional Ambassador James D. McGee (Ret.).
Individual tickets are $15 and the series is $75. The events are free for the New College community. For reservations and information, please contact the New College Events Hotline at 941-487-4888 or visit More information is available at
The media sponsors for this year are Herald-Tribune Media Group, WEDU and SNN6. Corporate partners include A New Approach to Financial Planning, Mattison’s, Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn Marriott.
October 23, 2012 – “An Analysis of the 2012 Elections,” Panel Discussion
Join national political correspondents Alexis Simendinger (New College class of ’75) of Real Clear Politics and Charles Mahtesian of Politico, along with Sarasota Herald-Tribune politics writer Jeremy Wallace and New College political science professor and ABC-7 political analyst Frank Alcock, for expert analysis on this year’s national, state and local elections. Who will win the presidency and why? What critical races will determine control of the U.S. Senate and House? What are the issues that will shape our local and statewide elections? And what effect will this year’s elections have on the future of the Republican and Democratic parties, both nationally and statewide? This exhilarating panel discussion will explore the answers to these questions and others. Simendinger, Mahtesian and Alcock wowed a packed house at Sainer Pavilion four years ago, and we expect this year’s discussion to be just as lively and insightful.
November 8, 2012 – “What Makes a Great Beach?” with Dr. Stephen Leatherman (a.k.a. Dr. Beach)
Shakespeare said “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.” Certainly, beauty is an important ingredient in Dr. Beach’s rating of beaches, but the most important criteria are clean sand, clean water and beach safety. Attendees will learn about the 50 criteria he uses to rate beaches, using applied coastal science for public outreach. Dr. Beach’s work rewards good beach management and encourages other beach communities to maintain or improve their overall quality, especially environmental quality. Dr. Leatherman’s book, Field Guide to the Water’s Edge, from National Geographic, will be for sale.
December 4, 2012 – “Courting Prescription Pain Medication: For Better or Worse?” with Mary Ruiz, MBA, President/CEO of Manatee Glens Hospital and Addiction Center and New College alumna (’73)
Modern medicine offers compassionate relief for chronic pain and terminal illness. But something has gone terribly wrong. More than seven lives a day in Florida alone are lost as a result of a prescription pain pill epidemic. Hear from mental health and addiction expert and New College alumna, Mary Ruiz, about the medical, social, economic and political forces that are forcing patients of all ages to decide whether courting prescription pain medication is for better or worse. Ruiz has been in the field of addictions for 25 years. She currently serves on the New College Board of Trustees.
January 15, 2013 – “Positive Aging Pioneers” with Tom Esselman, Institute for the Ages President & CEO
The Institute for the Ages has an ambitious vision –to be the world’s largest and most significant change agent for positive aging. Tom Esselman will provide the community with an update on how individuals and community groups within Sarasota as well as innovators around the world are focused on the global aging phenomenon. Esselman will discuss ground-breaking research initiatives and the development and applications of products, services and policies that are improving our lives as we live to be older and older.
February 26, 2013 – “Helping Patients with Healthcare Information Exchange” with Dr. John Collins, Sarasota Memorial Hospital Chief of Staff (New College alumnus ’88)
Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) is the electronic exchange of medical information across disparate systems such as hospital information systems, physician’s offices, EMR systems, labs, imaging centers and even disease and vaccine registries. Dr. John Collins, Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s chief of staff and a New College alumnus, will explain how the mobilization of healthcare information electronically across organizations within a community will improve quality and better patient outcomes. Not only do patients expect communication between treating physicians, but healthcare providers require useful information to accurately diagnose and render good care. Effective data exchange allows improvement in cost, quality, safety and efficiency.
March 21, 2013 – “The Problems, Promise and Potential of Sub-Saharan Africa” with Ambassador James McGee (Ret.)
Ambassador James D. McGee spent the majority of his 30-year Foreign Service career overseas working in support of U.S. Government Policy. He will draw upon his personal experiences from six different African nations, including four where he served as U.S. Ambassador, most recently in Zimbabwe. Using South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria as anchor nations, he will outline issues facing sub-Saharan Africa and how their leadership is addressing these challenges and moving forward the democratic process throughout the continent. He will also present his observations on United States interests in sub-Saharan Africa and how our government is moving forward on the bilateral and multilateral fronts.
For more information, contact the New College of Florida Events Hotline at 941-487-4888 or