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Donal O’Shea Starts Work As New College’s Fifth President

New College of Florida President Dr. Donal O'Shea officially began his new duties July 1.

There's a new guy running the show at

Dr. Donal O’Shea officially began his post as New College of Florida’s fifth president on July 1, following the retirement of Dr. 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/i and supporters,” O’Shea said in a statement.

An internationally acclaimed mathematician, O’Shea earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard and 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. He helped successfully complete a $257 million capital campaign in 2003 and recently helped launch a new $300 million campaign.

O’Shea also internationalized the Mount Holyoke curriculum, formed a group of presidents and deans of women’s universities around the world, oversaw four building projects (including a $32 million science construction and renovation project), and shepherded creation of a fiber optic network linking the Five Colleges Consortium in western Massachusetts. 

“Great colleges and universities are places where the ideas and discoveries of our time meet those of the past,” O’Shea said. “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.

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