Ron DeSantis Scores Fundraising Hall For A College He Endorsed

On Monday, the Florida Legislature approved millions in additional funding support for the New College of Florida, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

The New College of Florida, which became the centerpiece for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ push for higher education reform this year, will receive $15 million for “operational support” in the current budget with an additional $35 million allocated next year.

This new funding comes after Governor DeSantis appointed six conservatives to the New College’s Board of Trustees. The new board members immediately began a strategy to redefine the mission of the school.

The New College of Florida is one of the smallest schools in the state, boasting approximately 700 students.

The funding allocated by the Florida legislature is aimed at recruiting new students, hiring faculty, renovating existing facilities, and developing a sports program.

During its first meeting of the semester, the New College Board of Trustees voted to terminate the college’s president Patricia Okker and replace her with Interim President Richard Corcoran, the former education commissioner in Governor DeSantis’ administration.

During the semester, the Board of Trustees voted to eliminate the office dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as the use of diversity statements as part of the hiring process.

The actions taken by the conservative members of the Board of Trustees were met with some pushback at the college. In March, Provost Suzanne Sherman resigned and last month, trustee Matthew Lepinski announced that he was leaving.

In a statement responding to the record funding for New College, Interim President Corcoran said with the new state funding, the school is poised to become the number one “classical liberal arts college in the country.” the Tampa Bay Newswire reported.

Corcoran thanked Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for “recognizing the opportunity we have” and providing the funding.