Sarasota-Bradenton Community Leaders Join New College Foundation Board

(August 3, 2009) – The New College Foundation has announced that prominent community leaders Robert Blalock, Kathy Coffey, Renée Hamad, A. Alexandra Jupin, Michael Pender and Christina Pfahler have been elected to the Board of Trustees.  New College Foundation supports New College of Florida, the state’s designated honors college, ranked among the country’s finest and most affordable liberal arts institutions.

A Bradenton native, attorney Robert G. Blalock has been re-elected to the Foundation board and has a long history of leadership on behalf of New College.  He was one of the original New College of Florida trustees appointed by Gov. Bush in 2001 and served on the board through April 2003. Blalock practices law in both Bradenton and Sarasota as Principal in the law firm of Blalock, Walters, Held & Johnson, PA.  He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of Florida, and is former president of the Manatee County Bar Association, chair of the 12th  Judicial Circuit Judicial Nomination Commission and president of the Manatee County Estate Planning Council. He is a former chair or president of the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Sarasota Orchestra and the Manatee Community Foundation.
Since moving to Sarasota 28 years ago, Kathy Coffey has been involved in community philanthropic organizations ranging from public education to conservation.  Former chair of the Pine View School for the Gifted Association, she currently serves as the board chair of the Evelyn Sadler Jones YMCA, as a director for Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, and as a fundraiser for Moffitt Cancer Center and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.  Prior to her volunteer efforts, she was a corporate human resources director. Coffey holds a master’s of public administration degree from Southern Methodist University.
Raised in Cairo, Renée Hamad lived in 24 countries with her husband, Sam, a prominent land developer who passed away in December 2008.  Fluent in three languages and an accomplished pianist, she has been involved in The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County, Second Chance-Last Opportunity, the Steinway Society and the Sarasota Musical Archives.  She is a past board member of the New College Library Association and the Sarasota Ballet.  Renée Hamad’s goal is to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development through the Eckerd College Experienced Learner Program, and to be of assistance to battered women.
A. Alexandra Jupin, of Sarasota and New York City, has had a distinguished career in education and performing arts management. She is currently semi-retired and serves as president of The Arts Group, a consulting organization specializing in all areas of the performing arts. She also produces theater in London.  Jupin is past president of the International Society for the Performing Arts and a founding member of both the Florida Presenters Consortium and the Japan-American Cultural Collaboration project.  She currently serves on the national board of directors of the Invisible Theater (Tuscon, AZ), the board of directors of The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Manasota Key, FL) and as a trustee of The Sage Colleges (Albany and Troy, NY).
A resident of Bradenton, Michael Pender is a CPA and Partner with the firm of Cavanaugh & Co. LLP in Sarasota.  A graduate of the University of Tampa, he has experience in all areas of public accounting and banking, having founded Sarasota Bank and served on the community board of its successor, Colonial Bank; and as founder and director of Insignia Bank, a Sarasota community bank opened in October 2006. Pender serves on the audit committee for Wilson Miller Engineers and Planners, a regional engineering firm based in Naples, and WEDU Public Broadcasting in Tampa. He is treasurer of the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Prevent Blindness America, the Tree Foundation, and the Boys and Girl’s Clubs of Sarasota County.
Venice resident Christina Pfahler is chair of the New College Library Association, where she has served on the board since 2006.  She has previously chaired or co-chaired the Mistletoe Ball and served on the committee for Pique Nique Sur La Baie. Pfahler is a consummate volunteer whose fundraising and leadership skills have benefited a wide range of community organizations, from the arts to education. She is currently chairman of the board of Sarasota Ballet and project manager for the BRAIVE Fund at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice.  Pfahler has served as board chair or in other leadership capacities for the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, the Foundation for Manatee Community College, the Salvation Army, Girls Inc., the Van Wezel Foundation, Historic Spanish Point and Sarasota County Arts Council. In 2008 and 2007, she was nominated Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer for National Philanthropy Day, and Sarasota Magazine included her in the “100 Most Powerful People” in June 2007.
The mission of New College Foundation is to provide enhancement funding to enable New College of Florida to deliver an individualized liberal arts and sciences education and prepare its graduates to assume leadership roles in scholarly, civic, artistic and commercial endeavors. In addition to contributing general funds, the Foundation funds faculty chairs and professorships, faculty development, student scholarships and student academic research.  More information is available at
For more information, please contact Linda Joffe, associate director of public affairs, at 487- 4154 or

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