New College of Florida Gains New Visibility

Guest Correspondence

Image courtesy New College of Florida Facebook

When I first came to New College of Florida a year ago, one of my priorities was to increase the College's reputation nationally. Rather than being seen as a "hidden gem," I wanted New College to be known as a "heralded gem."

This fall, I’ve seen that hope of mine come to fruition. I’m proud to say we just welcomed our largest incoming class in five years, with 30% more students than last fall.

Classes began on Aug. 29, and a diverse cohort of high-achieving students (many with a grade point average of 4.0) arrived from all over the state, country and world. These students were drawn to our customized honors curriculum and our career-integrated learning experience. We have also seen an increase in the number of new students who graduated in the top 10% of their high school classes.

“Our numbers this fall show that New College is poised to educate more leaders of tomorrow than ever before,” says New College Provost Suzanne Sherman, Ph.D. 

At a time when college enrollment numbers are on the decline nationwide, our pronounced upswing is worth celebrating. 

“The widespread appeal of a New College education is reflected in the diverse fall class,” says David Boisvert, New College’s interim vice president for enrollment management. “New College is such a special community and the world is taking notice.”

The widespread appeal of New College is evidenced by the numerous accolades the College has received in just the past couple of months. Fiske Guide to Colleges named New College one of the nation’s 20 “Best Buy” Colleges and Universities, and The Princeton Review ranked New College among “The Best 388 Colleges” in the country for 2023.

In fact, every year since The Princeton Review began publishing its “best colleges” rankings in 1992, New College has made the list. The Princeton Review also ranked New College No. 3 for the Top 20 Best Schools for Making an Impact (Public Schools), and No. 7 for both the Top 20 Best Alumni Networks and the Top 20 Best Schools for Financial Aid (Public Schools).

In “The Best 388 Colleges” guide, New College is described as a “uniquely small and unconventional public institution” that “provides challenging courses for highly self-motivated students who want a large amount of control over their academic choices.”

I couldn’t agree more. Self-motivated students choose New College for a reason, and their experience here often serves as the launching pad for their big ambitions.

Our high rankings and increased enrollment this fall are further proof of the value of a New College education. But our success as an institution can best be told through the stories of our students—students who are generating their own national visibility for being innovators and trailblazers.

For example, over Labor Day weekend, one of our New College seniors—Antonia “Toni” Ginsberg-Klemmt—was featured in ABC Audio's special, "Impact: Climate & Sustainability” with Aaron Katersky. The radio broadcast was streamed on stations all over the world.

Toni is an OZY Genius and a multi-award-winning entrepreneurial student. Her sustainable GismoPower invention (a mobile solar-powered carport) is taking the green industry by storm, and she exemplifies the kind of inventive spirit that is so strong at New College. She created GismoPower on our campus, is currently competing for the American Made Solar Prize, and is helping revolutionize global solar energy usage (and she hasn’t even graduated yet).

When I am surrounded daily by students like Toni, I can’t help but be inspired. So it brings me such joy this fall to see New College earning the recognition it deserves as the state’s designated honors college—a place where bright, driven students can pursue their passions and thrive as individuals.

I’m honored to serve as president for my second academic year at New College, as our visibility continues to grow.

Patricia Okker, Ph.D. is the president of New College of Florida.

Image courtesy New College of Florida Facebook

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