Alumni Letter addressing the New College Foundation
A photo of the Keating Center, where the New College Foundation office is location. Photo courtesy of

Alumni Letter addressing the New College Foundation

  • Post author:

The following is a letter written to the New College Foundation on Feb. 21, 2023. It has been signed by 156 New College alumni, with cohorts ranging from the 1960s to New College’s most recent graduating class.

Dear Members of the New College Foundation:  

The undersigned concerned alumni of New College of Florida strongly disagree with the  direction in which the Board of Trustees and the Governor are taking New College, and write to  you in your capacity as stewards of New College’s mission, community and financial assets. 

As you know, over the past month the New College community has been rocked by the surprise announcement by Governor DeSantis of new members of the Board of Trustees with an intent of  undoing fundamental precepts of the New College mission of educational freedom. We strongly  disagree with this direction and believe the efforts are an affront to the educational freedom that we enjoyed and on which New College is founded. Already, their actions are causing significant, real harm to the current students, faculty and families who are relying on New College now, and reputational damage that diminishes our own connection to the school we have loved and supported, including with donations we have made to the Foundation. 

On Monday, Feb. 13, in furtherance of this egregious objective, the new Board of Trustees voted to approve a contract for a new interim President without the benefit of a national search or any demonstrated vetting process for more than twice the compensation of Dr. Okker and more per capita—more than double per capita, in fact—than any other college in the Florida system.  At a time when New College has over $60 million in unmet capital needs, spending this much on  an administrator shows terribly misplaced priorities. 

To pay for this million-dollar contract, the Board of Trustees obligated Foundation discretionary funds. We believe any Foundation resources being used to fund this new presidential contract, or any other forthcoming priorities of this Board of Trustees, are a breach of trust with the alumni  and donor community that have funded the Foundation for many decades and are wholly inappropriate uses of Foundation funds, and we urge you to disapprove their use. 

We understand the Foundation is in a difficult position given its legal relationship with the Board of Trustees. Given the recent turn, we believe the Foundation should explore legal separation  from the Board of Trustees in order to return to your fundamental mission. Until such time as  we are assured Foundation funds will not be used to support the newly appointed Board of  Trustee agenda, we will be withholding any future alumni funding via this conduit.

New College has been invaluable to us, every day of our careers and lives. We cannot be part of  destroying this national educational gem.

With sadness and hope,

Carolyn Grossman Meagher (00-‘04, Urban Planner, NYC)

Bruce Benidt (‘72) 

Eben Kirksey, Ph.D. (New College Foundation Board Member, 2000-2003, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Oxford)

Jessica Falcone (94-’98, Professor of Anthropology, Kansas State University)

Rev. Grant Balfour (86-’90) 

Susan Stone (87-’91, Journalist, Berlin, Germany)

William Rosenberg (73-’80, New College Alumnae/i Board Chair 2005-2008) 

Brian Cody (02-’06, Board of Trustee member, New College of Florida, 2003-2004)

Sara Conceicao (00-’03)

Myranda Pierce (2006-2010, Design Researcher)

Robin Jacobs (2000-2003, J.D., University of Maryland School of Law)

Major Benjamin Stork, USA (03-05, 06-09, Art of War Scholar, US Army Command General Staff College)

Ayleen Perez (98-’01)

Vicki-Marie Petrick (90-93, MA, Histoire de l’Art Medieval, Sorbonne, Paris-IV, Ph.D Histoire et Civilisations, EHESS , Paris)

Jonathan Lundell (1966–70)

Naimul Chowdhury (15-’18, M.A. Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies)

Joan Mitchell (00-’04) 

Lawrence Bowdish (00-04) 

Eric Chase-Sosnoff (00-05) 

Cynthia Ekle (1996-2001, MA, Philosophy, Miami University)

Michael Armstrong (‘74-‘77, MFA creative writing, University of Alaska Anchorage; editor/journalist retired)

Spector Nancy Rose (06-’10 + ’17)

Don Goldberg (1968-1972, Ph.D., retired mathematician, former NCAA board member, opposed to all theft)

Steven Waldman (82-87)

Erica Haas (2002-2005, Senior Lecturer of English for Cultural Studies and Teacher Education Programmes, University of  Passau, Germany)

Elizabeth (Betsy) Rubin (‘74-‘77)

Andrew Geer (99-’03)

Alicia Marini (1996-2001, Antioch University MFA; Copywriter; Portland, OR)

Mason Tedeschi (‘18-‘22)

Mark Hengge (00-04)

Cecilia Hampton (2018-2022, PhD Student at Florida Atlantic University)

Amy Dickman , Ph.D. (‘74-78)

Dylan (12-’16)

Daria Paulis (‘18-‘22, Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School)

Tom Dayton (‘74-‘81, PhD, business, product, and software coach)

Jessica Schilling (‘97-‘01)

June Gwalthney (99-’03)

Michael Salgado (08-’12)

Evalina Dygdon (‘18-‘22) 

Meghan Rimelspach (01-05, First Americorps VISTA placed at New College)

Cheryl Soehl (‘65-‘68, Second Charter Class)

Robert Hans (1976-80, NCAA Board Member 2000s/2010s)

Laine Forman (04-08)

Sara Latshaw (‘99-‘03)

Heather Normandale (2000-2005)

Jack Dynis (73) 

Cassidy Myers (17-’21) 

Robert Sidney Cox III, Ph.D. (96-’01) 

Isaac Denner (2017-2021) 

Gilliss Dyer (‘96-‘00, Lead Scientist, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) 

Jeff Lundy, PhD (‘00-‘04, Senior Director, PepsiCo)

Ann Hove Paisner (2001-2005)

Michael Morgan (1971-1974, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Shanon Ingles (1998-2002)

Marjorie Netwal (‘17-‘21)

Sara Seidel Beall (97-01)

Sunny Chandler Matheson (1966-1969)

Martha Alter (Hines) (95-99, MSW)

Jen Willows (93-’96)

Laine Forman (‘04-´08)

Joseph McCue, DO (2001-5, Direct Care Osteopath and Family Physician) 

Gwendolyn Bright (03-07)

Beth Mayberry (77-81)

Daniel Duprez (17-21)

Amelia March (06-10)

Donald Thieme (1976- 1981)

Dr. Amy Dickman (‘74-‘78, Ph.D. English and Creative Writing) 

Erin (01-04, Doctor of Physical Therapy)

Abigail Wagner (17-’21)

Kelcey (Burns) Edwards (94-’99, Director of College Counseling, Seoul International School)

Carly Helliesen (03-’06)

Laurel Shulman (‘05-‘09)

Susan Wolf Swartz (1970-1972)

Robert Swartz (1968-1972)

Jessica Anne Wheeler, Ph.D (2005-2009, High School Teacher, New Orleans)

Jess Gibly (‘07’-‘09, Director of Permanent Supportive Housing, MA in Crisis and Trauma Studies)

Jennifer (Harter) Knight (2000-2004)

Carolyn Hayes (72-75) 

Amy Taylor (Fischer) (‘90-‘94)

Sara Valanju (‘95-‘00)

Suzanne Aldous (1997-1998, Strathclyde University Lecturer and Teacher Educator)

Danielle Chynoweth (1990-1995, Cunningham Township Supervisor; Field Instructor, University of Illinois School of Social Work)

Christa Craven, PhD (1993-1997, Dean for Faculty Development, College of Wooster, OH)

Susan Hirshberg (83-88)

Laura Johnston (81-’86, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast)

Kari Debbink (‘96-‘00, PhD, Microbiology and Immunology)

Lisa Robertson (79 – 82)

Amber Patti (‘07-‘11)

Gail Fish (09-’13)

Cynthia Whitney Hallett, Ph.D. (‘84-‘87)

Rebecca Nelson (‘99 – ‘03)

Kate McDowell (1991-1995)

Jessica Warr (06-’10)

Dorothy Heyl (71-75, JD, University of Virginia, former Enforcement Attorney for SEC)

Patricia Lawson (1967-1971, Science Writer, Ret., France) 

Djana Martin (79-81)

Jerald Lentini (‘03-‘07) 

Toni Foselli, RN (1984-1986)

Chris Mitchell (98-00)

Jeremy Spangler (05-’09)

Mary Metcalf (83-87, PhD, MPH. Small business owner) 

Cayce Hughes (99-02, MPH, Temple University; PhD, University of Chicago)

Lois (Brandwene) Giovacchini (76-’78, Non-profit Leader)

Mary “Molly” Swift (08-’12, LCSW)

Gabriela Portilla (08′-’12)

Robert Lloyd (‘74-‘76)

Eliot Chayt, PhD (01-’05, Full-time Lecturer of Communication Studies, Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City  University of New York)

Emma Kervel (‘14-‘21)

Emile Mausner (2008-2012)

Cayenne (‘90 – ‘93) 

Janet Cohen [‘70-‘74, BA, ( New College), MEd (Univ. Of MA), Retired Teacher, Chair, Exceptional Student Ed, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (31 years)]

Tom Corwin (70-’74)

Alex Chandler, MD (1995-2000)

Thomas Ronca (‘81–‘87)

Jamie G ed gerson (81-88)

Kristi Coulter (‘88-‘92, Author)

Hansen Dorothy (74 – ’77, College English; Chair)

Holly Boren (70 – ’73, DPhil University College London)

Chris Hubbard (1988-1991)

Robyn Davis (20-’22)

Jessica Mazza, PhD (00-’04)

Thomas Patteson (00-04)

Anthony Lenzo (‘91-‘97) 

Jennifer Berkowitz (‘95-‘98)

Erin (91-’94, Professor of Environmental Health Science/Public Health)

Ellen Goldin (1974-78)

Dorothea Trotter (’09-’13, PhD)

Jennifer Belt (85-’89)

Janet (68-72, Documentary producer) 

Kim Logan (72-’75)

Ann Schober Krutsinger (72-74)

Lorna Hadlock (07-’13, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago)

David Goldman, MD (1971-75, Retired Neurosurgeon, Clinical Associate, Western Washington Univ, Behavioral Neuroscience Program,  Bellingham, WA) 

Helen Hope Henderson (1991, Profesor, Departamento of Antropología, Universidad Nacional de Colombia) 

Jeanine Ashforth (01-’05, Concerned Anti-Grifter) 

Rita Campbell (2006-10, PhD, Applied Psychology)

Richard Butgereit (90-’94, Director of Catastrophe Response) 

Dr. Elissa Mendenhall (1997-2000, Neuropsychiatry and Functional Medicine, Amen Clinics)

Laura Goldenberg [70′-72′, Marriage, Family, Therapist (MFT)] 

Ralph Colb (69-’72)

Anita Allen (1970-1974) 

Matthew Goldberg (18-’22,  PhD Student at University of Chicago) 

Haley Johnston (93-98, FL resident, non-profit executive director) 

Eric Schickler (1987-91, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley) 

April Danyluk (Née Wagner) (98-02)

Dana Ziegler (‘08-‘12,  J.D., University of Michigan Law School) 

Stein (1969-1973, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Alabama; Professor of Law, Drexel University; former NCAA  board member) 

Bre Gregg (08-’12) 

Eliza Sydney (02-03) 

Eve Burns (2013-2017)

Angelica Alexander (12-15, Sustainability Manager at Miami University)

Shawn Richardson (88-92, Senior Manager Cyber Operations, NVIDIA)

Sarah Lane (‘17-‘21)

Emily Garcia (‘17-‘21)

Kenzie Timms (‘17-‘21)

Amanda Gilliland (’04-’08)

Leave a Reply