Photo: Casey Brooke Lawson/New College
New College student Alice Leavengood takes a class at Ringling College of Art & Design throught the new cross-registration program.
Southwest Florida Roundup
Teaming up to promote higher ed in Southwest Florida
Shortly after Donal O’Shea became president of New College of Florida in 2012, he met Teri Hansen, then head of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Sarasota County.
While discussing the need to increase the area’s visibility as a higher education destination, Hansen encouraged O’Shea to work with other local college presidents.
O’Shea, who had come from Mount Holyoke College, was already inclined toward cooperation — Mount Holyoke belongs to a longstanding alliance of four liberal arts colleges and a state university that comprise the Five College Consortium in western Massachusetts.
O’Shea figured a similar consortium could be assembled locally with Ringling College of Art & Design, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida (formerly Manatee Community College), Florida State University’s Ringling campus for the arts and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.
Last year, after a series of meetings among the college presidents, the Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast — C4 for short — was born.
So far, cooperation mainly takes the form of a cross-registering system that enables students to sign up for courses at a partner college for credit at their home campus. Students do not pay extra, and no money changes hands. The goal, says O’Shea, is to increase the number of course options available to students and make the area a more attractive place to attend college.
“Students love it. The presidents like it and are committed to it,” O’Shea says. It helps that the member institutions have distinctly different missions and do not compete, he adds.
“We’ve talked about sharing residence halls,” O’Shea says. “I think this has enormous potential.”
The collaboration, managed by former USF Sarasota-Manatee Chancellor Laurey Stryker, receives funding from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and three other local non-profits, including the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, where Hansen is now president.
Burr & Forman is expanding its Fort Lauderdale office to meet the legal needs of clients in South Florida and the firm’s anticipated attorney growth. The firm has a total of 11 offices, with four in Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville, which opened earlier last year. The expansion boosts the office’s square footage to 13,801, up by more than 4,000 square feet from the firm’s current space. In addition to more attorney offices, the space features conference facilities for firm and community meetings and events. Burr & Forman is also working with a local consultant to feature art — created by local artists — throughout the office. The Fort Lauderdale office is at 350 East Las Olas Boulevard, Suite 1440.
BONITA SPRINGS — The Lee County School Board is building a high school with room for about 1,600 students. Bonita Springs High School is to open next year.
BRADENTON — A New York-based investor bought DeSoto Square Mall for $25.5 million and plans $7 million in renovations.
BRANDON — HSBC Finance will lay off 357 workers as it winds down and sells off its mortgage portfolio.
LUTZ — Public relations firm Vistra Communications moved its headquarters to Lutz from Tampa and plans to add 50 jobs in five years, up from about 60 jobs currently.
SARASOTA — The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will add an undergraduate degree program in risk management and insurance this August.
» Florida Telecommunications Relay, which provides equipment for people with hearing loss, opened a new distribution center. » Sarasota County reached a deal with Airbnb to collect tourist development taxes for overnight stays booked through the website.
TAMPA — Biotechnology company Amgen will invest $25 million in a back-office facility in Tampa. The 136,000-sq.-ft. facility is to open in October and create 450 jobs by the end of 2018. New York-based private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners plans to buy Tampa’s Checkers Drive-In Restaurants for about $525 million from Sentinel Capital Partners. » The Department of Defense chose Tampa as the site for its innovation summit in October. The event had been in Austin. » The University of Tampa plans to open a 90,000-sq.-ft. academic building for its health sciences and graduate programs next year. » Securities lawyer Martin Traber and investment banker Roger Overby created Skyway Capital Markets, an investment firm focused on companies with between $10 million and $50 million in annual revenue. » Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced that he will not run for governor in 2018.
TAMPA BAY — Publix teamed up with Bay- Care Health System to offer video consultations with health care providers via telemedicine stations in Bay area stores. Publix also will operate pharmacies at five area BayCare hospitals.
Chipping Away at Student Loans
Ryan Deitrich (left) and Ryan Lockwood, graduate students at the University of Tampa, have developed an app to help people pay off their student loans early in tiny increments. The app, Spared, connects with a user’s bank account to round up purchases to the nearest dollar. The app then puts that spare change toward the user’s debt, paying off loans with the highest interest rates first. Spared charges $1 a month. Deitrich, who’s pursuing a master’s degree in entrepreneurship, says the app can shave years off a loan. In January, Deitrich was one of 17 students nationwide selected to participate in a yearlong fellowship program sponsored by Chicago-based non-profit Future Founders.
» Non-profit health care provider Centerstone named Melissa Larkin-Skinner CEO of its Florida operations.
» Barbara Feldman, previously dean of Maxwell College of Arts and Sciences at New Jersey City University, will join New College of Florida as provost in July.
» Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky will succeed Steven Raymund as board chairman.
» Jim Daly became president of BB&T’s west Florida region.