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“Professionals in Residence” invest in students

President Donal O'Shea
President Donal O’Shea

From SRQ Daily on 12-12-20:

Hurricane season has not ended for young people entering the job market, or for those supporting them. It’s not just the strong headwinds created by a stalled labor market; it is the uncertainty and capricious gusts created by the pandemic and the threat of a global recession.

Universities have been striving to guide students toward fruitful futures amidst the turmoil. At New College, we are piloting innovative ways to give our students a competitive edge.

Case in point: Our new Professionals in Residence Program.

Developed by our Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity, this initiative pairs industry leaders with undergraduates for one-on-one and group mentoring. Students can schedule appointments with pros regarding career coaching, networking, and job and internship searching.

Our five professionals in residence are currently Henry F. Anthony; Angela Haines; Patricia Courtois; Lisa Merritt, M.D.; and Dan Stults, Ph.D. Each brings a unique skillset.

“This program is a continuation of our strategy to bring more professionals in contact with our students at New College,” says CEO Director Dwayne Peterson. “It is a continuation of the New College Mentorship Network—an online platform like LinkedIn—where we already have over 400 people (alums and community members) participating.”

All of the professionals in the program believe in the New College mission of preparing intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement.

“The professionals all have interesting backgrounds that complement student support,” Peterson says. “Henry provides an employer’s perspective, Angela offers entrepreneurship expertise, Lisa has a medical background, Dan is a psychologist, and Patricia will help us build a Leadership in Business Certificate.”

This certificate will allow students to take workshops and earn a non-credit-bearing certificate in leadership as early as next semester.

“Professional in residence programs, where students learn directly from practitioners in the field, are very common in professional schools—law schools, business schools—but they’re not common for liberal arts schools,” Peterson says. “So it’s exciting that we have a diverse team of industry experts who are helping our students tell their story, strengthen their communication skills, and also provide expertise in specific industries of interest. We want a whole team of people available to support students and fill the gaps in career expertise.”

The five professionals in the program have each signed on for one year as volunteers, and these positions will rotate annually.

Anthony is the retired vice president of Human Resources (HR) for Rollins, Inc.—a Fortune 500 global commercial and consumer services company. He has had nearly 40 years of corporate HR experience, including more than 25 years as the senior HR executive. He has also assisted hundreds of collegians in career searches.

Haines is a widely published business journalist and author, as well as a business communications and career consultant. She is currently a managing director of Golden Seeds, a national angel investing group that supports women-backed businesses. More recently, she conducted seminars on entrepreneurship for the Honors College at CUNY and Ithaca College.

Courtois, a Northwestern University alumna, has spent 40 years leading communications and corporate philanthropy efforts for companies and brands such as Beatrice Foods Company, Sara Lee Corporation, Tropicana, Sweet’n Low, Butter Buds, Sugar in the Raw and ClosetMaid. Courtois oversaw advertising, public relations and promotions for Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice, and orchestrated its launch in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Merritt is a physiatrist (that is, a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation) in Sarasota, an adjunct New College professor and pre-med adviser, and the founder of the Multicultural Health Institute. She obtained her medical degree from Howard University after completing her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University.

Dr. Stults ’81 is a New College alum, an experimental social psychologist, a consultant, a statistician and a researcher. He holds a Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Michigan State University. His most recent position was as head of global business intelligence (insights and analytics) for AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company.

“These professionals all believe in liberal arts and want to see our students succeed,” Peterson says. “Many of them are not alums but they know about New College, and they contacted me directly to start working with our students. That’s a real testament to New College’s influence in the community.”

It is also a testament to our community’s commitment to New College, for which we are so grateful.

Right now, college students need all the professional support they can get. And, with help from invested leaders and incredible mentors, we are doing everything we can to give it to them.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is the state's only legislatively designated 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 liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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