Sunday, July 29, 2012

The importance of New College in my life

New College and I have a long history together. In 1979 my mother, Lyn Tebrugge, was an academic advisor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She became aware of what was then thought of as the Honors College of U.S.F., a very small school situated on Sarasota Bay. She convinced me to pay a visit and I fell in love with the campus, and more importantly, with the idea of New College.

My three years at New College were perhaps the most important of my life. Professors like Justus Doenecke and Peggy Bates wasted little time exposing my flaws and whipping me into shape. My fellow students provided a sense of community and possibility that I had not previously known. And I became part of the Manatee—Sarasota area to the point that I knew I wanted to build my career here.

Over the past 30 years I have stayed active with New College. The student body chose me to be the commencement speaker in 1988. Professors continue to ask me to speak to their classes. I am a frequent presence on campus to meet with students, give lectures or help with orientation. New College continues to occupy a singular place in my consciousness.

Now I am running for the Florida House of Representatives, District 71. This District stretches from the Skyway Bridge to Siesta Key, running along the coast and includes New College.  When I am in the Legislature, I will be able to forcefully tell the New College story. I will be able to advocate for the interests of our students and faculty. As a member of the Florida House, I will protect the unique qualities that have enabled New College to be nationally recognized as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in our country. 

First, I need to get elected. My campaign has gotten off to a tremendous start but I am up against a well-financed opponent who has little connection to our campus. I voluntarily decided to limit contributions to $100 in order to combat the influence of money on our political process. Won’t you help out my campaign by making a contribution in any amount up to $100? Together we can ensure that New College maintains its position as the shining star of the Florida educational system.