Gainesville, Fla., March 19, 2013 – Today, the Aspen Institute announced the recipient and finalists with distinction of the prestigious prize for community college excellence. Santa Fe College, one of only two institutions in the state to receive Aspen’s coveted top ten designation, and one among approximately 1,200 peer institutions nationwide, remained in the top ten, but did not advance.
In his comments to attendees leading up to the announcement of the top prize, former Governor of South Carolina and co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program Prize Jury Richard Riley said, “We’re here to celebrate all ten of the colleges that are here for the prize. All of the ten deserve all of our praise.”
In a personal message sent today to Santa Fe College faculty and staff, College President Dr. Jackson N. Sasser said, “We are highly honored to be in the company of such august colleagues.” He further went on to thank faculty and staff for their part in helping SF College achieve this rank, stating “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and thank you for all that you accomplish each day. We are very grateful to have been recognized by the Aspen Institute.“
The announcement comes on the heels of an economic impact study that shows SF College is not only a leader in the field of higher education, but also proves that the college is what President Sasser describes as an “economic engine” for the local economy.
The study, commissioned by the Florida College System, shows that Florida’s 28 public colleges pump an additional $26.6 billion per year into the state’s economy. In the Santa Fe College service district consisting of Alachua and Bradford counties, the college annually contributes $372.1 M net, or 4 percent, to the regional GDP. The data further indicates that SF College students see a 15.8 percent return on their investment.