Presidential search committee announced

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The search to replace New College President Donal O’Shea has been kicked into high gear with the formation of a presidential search committee, led by Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ruiz. O’Shea has led the College since 2012 and plans to step down from his position at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

O’Shea speaks at the anti-merger rally last February.

The search committee is composed of representatives from faculty, alumni, staff, trustees, the New College Foundation directors, community members and New College Student Alliance (NCSA) President Sofia Lombardi. A liaison from the Board of Governors (BOG) for the State University System (SUS) of Florida has also been appointed to the committee.

“As the search committee, we are charged with engaging worthy applicants and bringing three final candidates to campus for visits and interviews,” Ruiz said in an interview with New College News. “This process includes 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.”

Lombardi, who is also a copy editor for the Catalyst, will be the search committee’s sole student representative. Lombardi expressed her dedication to representing the student body throughout the search process. 

“I want to do everything I can to ensure student opinion is heard and appropriately conveyed,” Lombardi emphasized. “I’m currently developing outreach plans with my cabinet so that a wide variety of opinions can be accounted for and shared. While I do speak for the student body, I have no intention of speaking on their behalf before exhausting the use of office hours, email updates, and frequent surveys to fully understand what students are looking for in a candidate.”

The search committee, chaired by Ruiz, includes:

  • Ron Christaldi, attorney and vice chair of the BOT
  • John Cranor, past chair of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
  • William C. Dudley, former president/CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • David Harvey, chair of the Faculty Senate and professor of history 
  • Emily Heffernan, associate professor of biology and environmental studies 
  • Sarah Hernandez, associate professor of sociology and Latin America and Caribbean studies at New College
  • Alan Levine, member of the BOG
  • Sofia Lombardi, president of NCSA
  • Michael McPherson, former president of the Spencer Foundation and Macalester College
  • Dwayne Peterson, director of the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) 
  • Sharon Landesman Ramey, member of New College Foundation Board of Directors
  • Mona Rankin, past chief of staff at SUNY College at Old Westbury
  • Felice Schulaner, former chair of the New College Foundation and the BOT
  • James B. Stewart, professor emeritus and former vice provost for educational equity at Penn State University

Every search committee meeting will be announced publicly. The Board of Trustees has also set up a Presidential Search webpage with updates, schedules, meeting materials and documents, and welcomes questions and suggestions at

Students can also reach out to Lombardi at to share their thoughts about the presidential selection process. 

“It is vital that we hire someone who is student oriented and wants to work with our students for years to come,” Lombardi concluded. “As I said when I was elected—my number one priority is to serve as an advocate for student wants and needs. That has not changed, and I will do everything I can to continue serving as an advocate in this capacity.”

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