President Donal O'Shea
President Donal O’Shea

By Su Byron

The New College Foundation raised $500,000 during a virtual event on May 6 called the “O’Shea Formula,” which celebrated New College President Donal O’Shea’s accomplishments. The funds will be directed to the Donal B. O’Shea Scholarship Endowment.

“We are gratified by the outpouring of support to honor President O’Shea,” said MaryAnne Young, the executive director of the Foundation.

O’Shea will retire in June after serving as New College’s leader for nine years. In honor of O’Shea, the Foundation established the Donal B. O’Shea Scholarship Endowment—a fund that will afford five to 10 students annually the opportunity to access their dream of a New College education.

Young said the “O’Shea Formula” event was meant to “be fun and lighthearted while showcasing our deep appreciation for Dr. O’Shea’s outstanding leadership, his encouragement and support of collaborative initiatives, and his unwavering spirit of optimism. He leaves New College in a strong position and legacy of authenticity and goodwill—one we will carry on through the years to come.”

The event featured Professor Emeritus Stephen Miles as master of ceremonies; music and dance performances by New College students; a festive parade of well-wishing New College students, faculty and staff; a salute by past trustee chairs; and closing remarks by Mary Ruiz, chair of the New College Board of Trustees.

“We’re honored to share our appreciation for the lasting impact President O’Shea has made on New College and our community,” Ruiz said at the event. “There are many examples of when and where President O’Shea’s vision and education have transformed New College and positioned it for the future. President O’Shea cares. He is authentic. His love of learning, and the arts and sciences, is enduring and infectious. He instinctively puts the benefit of the college as a whole, and each person as an individual, as his highest priority. His smile is engaging, his life irresistible. This is a formula for a wonderful human being. This is the O’Shea Formula.”

During O’Shea’s tenure as president, New College received more than $10 million from the state legislature to increase its enrollment to 1,200 students and boost four-year graduation rates to 80 percent by 2028. He also secured state funding for an addition to the Heiser Natural Sciences Complex; funds to launch the master’s program in applied data science; two $750,000 grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support arts and humanities and community engagement; and significant private gifts to fund student scholarships.

He also oversaw the launch of a dual-degree program with the University of Florida (UF), in which students can earn a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts from New College and a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the UF Wertheim College of Engineering in five years.

Presenting sponsors for the event included the Keith D. Monda Family Foundation; the Tillie, Jennie and Harold Schwartz Foundation; and Mitchell and Dawn Epstein. All proceeds benefit student scholarships.

Honorary chairs for the “O’Shea Formula” included Beverly and Bob Bartner, Ron Christaldi (‘89), Doug (‘96) and Erin Christy, Renee Hamad, Chuck (‘64) and Carol Hamilton, Sue Jacobson, Christine Jennings, Bill and Betsy Johnston, Charlene Lenger (‘78), Keith Monda and Veronica Brady, Mike and Marie Pender, Charles (‘64) and Vicki (’65) Raeburn, Drs. Sharon (’65) and Craig Ramey, Mary Ruiz (‘73) and Dennis Wilkison, Felice Schulaner (‘78) and Dennis Rees, George and Tina Skestos, Dan (‘77) and Sara Stults, and Lawrence (‘87) and Elizabeth (‘87) Vernaglia.

For more information on the New College Foundation, call 941-487-4800 or email

Su Byron is the communications specialist for the New College Foundation.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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