New College’s new president begins work

Donal O'Shea begins his tenure as president of New College. Contributed photo

Donal O’Shea officially began his post as the fifth president of New College of Florida on July 1, following the retirement of Gordon E. “Mike” Michalson Jr. Before coming to New College, O’Shea was the dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.

“I’ve known New College for a long time, and I’m excited about the quality it possesses as an institution, from its strong students to its incredibly qualified faculty and its deeply passionate and engaged alumnae and supporters,” O’Shea said in a news release.

An internationally acclaimed mathematician, O’Shea earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard then attended Queen’s University in his native Canada, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees, also in mathematics. At Mount Holyoke, where he joined the faculty in 1980, O’Shea helped procure millions of dollars in donations from governmental and private foundations, the news release notes. “He helped successfully complete a $257 million capital campaign in 2003 and recently helped launch a new $300 million campaign,” the release adds.

O’Shea also oversaw four building projects (including a $32 million science construction and renovation project) and shepherded the creation of a fiber optic network linking the Five Colleges Consortium in western Massachusetts, the news release says.

“Great colleges and universities are places where the ideas and discoveries of our time meet those of the past,” O’Shea said in the release. “They stretch students intellectually, socially and personally. But the very greatest institutions ought to do more. They should be places where students find not just knowledge, but meaning; where they prepare not just for careers, but to serve. New College can, and should, be such a place, and I look forward to working with all members of the New College community to make that happen.”

The New College of Florida Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors approved O’Shea as New College’s president in March.