Saints of Santa Fe College – Ed Bonahue

Santa Fe College Provost Dr. Ed Bonahue poses for a photo to be featured in the Saints of Santa Fe College series on June 9, 2021. Bonahue is leaving the college after 23 years to become president of Suffolk County Community College.

“When I first moved to Gainesville, I can’t say I really knew anything about community colleges. I’d taught at UNC and UF. When I came to SF, I found the students were often just as bright, just as motivated, but often they had faced more obstacles. I had to unlearn what I thought I knew about higher education.

I had the privilege of serving in many roles across the college: faculty member, department chair, AVP and then provost.

I wrote the substantive change for the SACS accreditation to introduce bachelor’s degrees in 2008; we launched them in 2009. The first two were Clinical Laboratory Science and Health Services Administration. It was a heavy lift and also uncharted territory for our college, but everyone on the team knew it had the potential for tremendous impact for our students and their ability to advance their academic and professional careers.

Another great memory was the Aspen Institute awarding us the Community College Excellence prize. I was with Trustee Woody, Dr. Sasser and Lisa Armour in Washington D.C. when they made the announcement. Knowing our students, our faculty, our culture and our leadership were being recognized – that we were the preeminent college among 1,200 community colleges – that was incredible.

In all my years of teaching, I’ve never had the classic “first day of class” nightmare, but last night I had a dream about not knowing what is going to come next. I’ve never taken a leap like this. Leaving is bittersweet; I’ll miss the people so much. Any good thing I do in the future will be because of SF. I’m excited for the opportunity to bring everything I’ve learned to another college.

The best days of Santa Fe are still ahead, and I will be watching from New York, knowing we are on parallel paths. I will miss you all and working at SF has been a tremendous honor and privilege.”

– Ed Bonahue, Ph.D., former provost of Santa Fe College