Presidential Search

New College of Florida, the state's Honors College of Florida and the nation's second-ranked public liberal arts college, is conducting a national search for its next president.

presidential Search Committee Meeting

Tuesday, November 3, 2020
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 971 9713 9921

Download Information Packet

Messages from Search Committee Chair

We have taken the first step in the important process of finding the next president of New College following Dr. O’Shea’s retirement next year. As the chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees, I have appointed a search committee with representation from students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, Foundation directors and the community.  The search committee also includes a liaison from the Board of Governors State University System.  In addition to myself as chair, the committee includes:

  • Ron Christaldi, Attorney and Vice Chair of the New College Board of Trustees
  • John Cranor, Past Chair of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen
  • William C. Dudley, Former President/CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY
  • David Harvey, Chair of the Faculty Senate and Professor of History at New College
  • Emily Heffernan, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at New College
  • Sarah Hernandez, Associate Professor of Sociology & Latin America and Caribbean Studies at New College
  • Alan Levine, Member of the Board of Governors State University System of Florida
  • Sofia Lombardi, President of New College Student Association
  • Michael McPherson, Former President of the Spencer Foundation and Macalester College
  • Dwayne Peterson, Director of the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity at New College
  • Sharon Landesman Ramey, Member of New College Foundation Board of Directors
  • Mona Rankin, Past Chief of Staff at SUNY-Old Westbury
  • Felice Schulaner, Former Chair of the New College Foundation and Board of Trustees
  • James B. Stewart, Professor Emeritus and Former Vice Provost for Educational Equity at Penn State University

As the search committee, we are charged with engaging worthy applicants and bringing three final candidates to campus for visits and interviews. This process includes the development of a leadership statement with input from the New College community.  To assist our efforts, we will procure a search firm to recruit outstanding applicants from across the country.

Every search committee meeting will be publicly noticed. The Board of Trustees has set up a Presidential Search webpage where you can find updates, schedules, meeting materials, and documents. You can also email questions and suggestions to Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of our upcoming search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida.

The announcement by Dr. Don O’Shea of his intention to retire as our President by the end of this academic year is a fitting time to express gratitude for his vision of an expansive future for New College. In choosing his successor, our task is to bring the future to realization. We each have a role in this process—students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and community. The search for our next President is a collaborative one with many opportunities for direct involvement.

Searching for Applicants: This is an opportunity for everyone to participate in the search. It is not too early to alert those you feel suited to the position of the coming search. In the weeks ahead, we will secure a search firm to launch a national campaign for recruiting and guiding interested applicants in the process.

Screening of Applicants: Representatives from students, faculty, alumni, Foundation Directors, Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, and community will serve on a search committee assisted by a search firm. The Board of Governors will appoint a liaison to serve on the Search Committee. The role of the search committee is to engage worthy applicants leading to campus visits, interviews and discussions by top candidates. As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I will chair the Search Committee and will soon announce the appointees who accept this responsibility. Direct reports of the President may not serve on the Search Committee.

Campus Visits: Finalists will be invited to campus to interact with students, faculty, staff, alumni, foundation directors, trustees and community. These visits have two purposes. One is to convey to candidates why New College is an attractive opportunity for a visionary leader. The other is to receive input from campus and community on the suitability of candidates.

Appointment of President: The Board of Trustees will review input from the campus and the Search Committee to negotiate with a top candidate for acceptance of the position. Once negotiations are completed, the Board of Trustees and the successful candidate will present to the Board of Governors for confirmation of appointment.

We have some demanding preparation to do before we begin. We must secure a search firm through a formal procurement process. The search firm will then assist us in identifying the qualities we seek in a leader. This will be another opportunity for all members of our campus to engage in the process. From this input, the search firm will propose a national campaign strategy.

To keep everyone informed, the Board of Trustees has set up this webpage to post updates, schedules, meeting materials, and documents. Meetings will be publicly noticed. You can also email to submit questions and suggestions. Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of our upcoming search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Presidential Search Committee Members

To contact the Presidential Search Committee, email:



Mary Ruiz is Chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees.  She is CEO of Ruiz Strategic Advisors and an experienced healthcare Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer with a specialization in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, business development, government relations and joint ventures.  Ms. Ruiz is a founding President of the New College Alumni Association.

MBA University of South Florida
B.A. New College of Florida



Ron Christaldi is Vice Chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees.  He is a business lawyer representing clients in complex transactions and litigation, and the President and CEO of the public affairs firm Shumaker Advisors Florida. Mr. Christaldi is a past-chair of the Tampa Bay Chamber.

J.D. & M.A. Florida State University
B.A. New College of Florida



John Cranor is a US Army veteran who has held senior executive positions with General Mills, Wilson Sporting Goods, Pepsi Cola North America, Taco Bell, KFC Worldwide and Long John Silvers.  Most recently he was Chairman of the Board of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.  Mr. Cranor currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Plymouth Harbor and the Financial Advisory Board of the Sarasota School Board.

MBA Harvard University
B.A. New College of Florida (charter class)



Dr. William C. Dudley is a Senior Research Scholar at the Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University and a member of the Group of Thirty and the Council on Foreign Relations.  From 2009 to 2018, Dr. Dudley was the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Earlier, he had a long career in the financial services industry, including ten years as the chief US economist at Goldman Sachs where he was a partner and managing director.

Ph.D. University of California Berkeley
B.A. New College of Florida. 



Dr. David Harvery is Professor of History and Chair of the Faculty at New College of Florida, where he has taught since 2000.  He is a statutory member of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees. Dr. Harvey is the former chair of the Division of Social Sciences and teaches a range of courses in modern European history and has sponsored dozens of theses, tutorials, and independent study projects in related fields.  A specialist in French cultural history, he is the author of three books, about a dozen articles, and over a hundred book reviews. 

Ph.D. and M.A. Princeton University
B.A. Rice University 



Dr. Emily Heffernan is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at New College of Florida as well as the Co-Director of the Environmental Studies Program. She completed two postdoctoral research fellowships before joining the University of Michigan-Dearborn as an Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. Heffernan is the recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teaching Award from the Society of College Science Teachers for her exemplary teaching in biology. 

Ph D. University of Florida
B.A. New College of Florida.



Dr. Sarah Hernandez is an Associate Professor of Sociology & Latin America and Caribbean Studies at New College.  Since her faculty appointment in 1996, she has served on the Provost Advisory Committee, Faculty Appointments and Status Committee, Provost Search Committee and Student Academic Status Committee. She currently serves as Co-Director of the Initiative for Diversity and Equity in Academics and as representative of the New College faculty to the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates. 

Ph.D. and M.A. University of Michigan
B.A. Earlham College



Alan Levine is Chairman, President & CEO of Ballad Health. He is a Member of the Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida. Prior to his role at Ballad Health, Mr. Levine was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mountain States Health Alliance. His public service career includes serving as Senior Health Policy Advisor and Secretary for Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal and as the Senior Health Policy Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Jeb Bush prior to being appointed by Governor Bush to be Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration.

M.A. and B.A. University of Florida



Sofia Lombardi is the New College Student Association President and a statutory member of the Board of Trustees. Last February, she organized a group of students to travel to Tallahassee to oppose a House bill that proposed to merge New College with the University of Florida. Sofia is a second-year student pursuing a double Area of Concentration in History and Spanish.  After New College, she plans to attend law school with the goal of becoming a public interest lawyer.



Dr. Michael McPherson has served as president of the Spencer Foundation and Macalester College. A nationally known economist whose expertise focuses on education and economics, McPherson spent the 22 years before his Macalester presidency as professor of economics, chairman of the economics department, and dean of faculty at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  He was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the president of the board of overseers of TIAA-CREF.

Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. University of Chicago



Dwayne Peterson is the Director of the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) at New College of Florida. He and his team lead the College’s efforts to integrate career planning and preparation into the academic experience for all students. Mr. Peterson has held professional roles at Georgia College and State University, the University of Florida, the University of North Florida, and the University of South Florida. He is a certified career development facilitator and represents New College as a member of the Florida Career Centers consortium.

M.S. Miami University
MBA University of North Florida
B.A. University of South Florida



Dr. Sharon Landesman Ramey is a member of the Board of Directors of the New College Foundation. A Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scholar at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech, she is recognized for her contributions in the field of human development and the role of early experience and interventions on later developmental outcomes.

Ph.D. The University of Washington Seattle
B.A. New College of Florida



Mona Rankin recently retired as Chief of Staff at State University of New York, College at Old Westbury. She served in other higher education leadership positions at City University of New York and Florida International University. She is among the founders of the Harlem Renaissance Education Pipeline, a Cradle to Career Collective Impact Initiative in Harlem, NY. She is a past participant and presenter in Florida International University’s Executive Leadership Enhancement Program. She serves on the board of the West Coast Black Theater Troupe.

M.A. and B.A. University of Illinois Chicago



Felice Schulaner is the former Chair of the New College Foundation and the New College Board of Trustees.  Previously she was senior vice president of human resources for Coach Inc., a multibillion-dollar global accessories company.  She is currently a Board member for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and has also served on the boards of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida and the Visible Men Academy.

B.A.  New College of Florida



Dr. James B. Stewart is Professor Emeritus at Penn State University who also served as inaugural Vice Provost for Educational Equity and Director of the Black Studies Program. He has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited eleven monographs and has published over seventy-five articles in Economics and Black Studies professional journals. He has served as President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the National Economic Association.

Ph.D. Notre Dame
M.A. Cleveland State University
B.A. Rose Hulman Institute of Technology