Just in time to ring in the nigh-imminent completion of the new Academic Center’s construction, New College has received a $1 million donation for the construction of a bell tower in its plaza, as well as to fund other important projects.
The gift, announced by New College Foundation President Andy Walker on March 21, came from local philanthropist Beverly Koski. Koski has been actively involved with the New College community for much of its lifespan. Specifically, she served for many years as a leading figure in the New College Library Association (NCLA), contributing a considerable amount of funding and support towards the expansion of the Jane Bancroft Cook Library’s collection.
According to Walker, $300,000 of the donated funds will be allocated for the construction of a bell tower, which is to be placed in the recently-christened Robert and Beverly Koski Plaza between the Academic Center and the library. At present, Walker said the timetable for this project is not certain.
Koski was unavailable to comment for the Catalyst as of press time, but according to a press release by the New College Foundation the bell tower project represents the realization of a long-held dream. “Twenty years ago the NCLA had the funds for a gift to the College,” Koski said. “We researched the idea of a bell tower in the Cook Library courtyard. The decision was postponed. At that time funds for books and periodicals were priority. Today this dream of a bell tower will come true.”
The remaining funds will be used to kick off what Walker referred to as the “New College Campaign,” a seven-year plan to raise $60 million in funding for the school. The money will be available for use for high-priority needs, such as increasing the school’s endowment, funding the construction of new academic buildings and improving the funding for faculty and staff. Walker told the Catalyst that current potential plans for the remaining $700,000 include a new international studies building, funding for new faculty chairs in international studies and environmental studies and increasing the endowment.
This goal is of particular concern to the Foundation, as one of their key long-term goals is to raise the endowment from its current level of $29 million to $100 million by the time the campaign has finished. Walker said that should they achieve success in this endeavor, New College will be better equipped to provide its students with scholarships and maintain the ideal 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
According to the press release, keeping the spirit of New College alive is a chief interest of Koski, given her commitment to the school’s well-being over the years. She has been involved in the school’s improvement ever since moving to Sarasota in 1967 and hopes to see her donation carry on the tradition.
“New College is a special institution of higher learning,” she said. “The administration, faculty and students have continued to live up to the dream of its founders. I am pleased to have been a part of this journey.”
“She really has cared deeply about the library,” Walker told the Catalyst. “New College has been one of her principal interests.”
A dedication ceremony in the new Koski Plaza is to be held on a date to be announced later this year, following the Academic Center’s completion.