Palm Court Podcast

Palm Court Podcast

Join voices of New College of Florida through the years as we share our stories and reflections on the cultural movement that has emerged from the small, quirky, public liberal arts college in Sarasota, Florida. Dig deeper into the history and meaning of the college that's been pulled into the Culture Wars being fought on U.S. campuses in these polarized times.

Episodes

June 14, 2024 48 mins
In this episode of the Palm Court Podcast, we sit down with Jono Miller, a New College stalwart with a 54-year relationship to the campus. We explore Jono's origin story, from discovering New College in a catalog to wading into Sarasota Bay with John Morrill. He shares his experiences in student activism, environmental advocacy, and shaping the college's landscape. We delve into Jono's ongoing efforts to protect New College's natur...
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Captain Jonathan White ('87) joins Mike, Grant, and Megan to share his origin story, in which he leaps straight from Lynchburg, Virginia's cradle of the religious right into a volatile time and place in New College history. We return to the story of the "Lorax Rebellion" student protest with a different perspective on how it came to be and the ways the destruction of the native grove represented a brutal defeat and loss of faith i...
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In part two with Merlin Mann, the free-wheeling conversation picks up speed with the appearance of a special guest (code name: Lando, real name: Christian Pérez), discussing the cultural and creative passing of the baton and DIY inspiration between different New College generations. Merle pays homage to writing coach Jan Wheeler (who he was somewhat paradoxically referred to thanks to the intervention and urging of prof Pete Kazaks...
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Merlin Mann (NCF '86) joins Mike, Megan, and Grant for an entertaining spiel on his days at New College in the late 80s, including another facet of the story of the Lorax Rebellion tree-hugging protest that led to 43 arrests, including his own. It was a tumultuous time in many ways and Merle shares his trials and tribulations navigating it as an RA, student government rep, and member of the foundation board, including a clash with ...
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This week, Susan Hirshberg joins the Palm Court Podcast to guide listeners through the twists and turns of her fascinating life story, which she sums up in the most quintessential New College way: "My life journey always made sense to me, even if it's never made sense to everybody else." She opens up about the positive and negative aspects of her New College experience, including her innovative self-designed animal behavior concen...
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In this episode of the Palm Court Podcast, we are joined by Steven Walker, Education Reporter at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, who has been on the ground covering the “hostile takeover” of New College of Florida. Just as the battle for the Sarasota School Board was heating up, Walker arrived, excited to step into his first job after graduating from the University of Florida Journalism School and working as the Editor-in-Chief at the...
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Our hosts, Mike Palmer, Megan Cytron, and Grant Balfour are joined by Harrison Bender, Tom Ronca, and Suzanne Clayton in a conversation about movies, the Oscars, and their connections to film at New College of Florida. The group reminisces about their time at New College, sharing stories about the film series, the campus theater (TA), and local movie theaters like the Teatro. Harrison, Tom, and Suzanne recount their involvement wit...
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In this week's episode of the Palm Court Podcast, we welcome an alum and a dedicated “civilian” to discuss recent events at New College of Florida and their work on broader threats to academic freedom in Florida and beyond.  Our first guest is Sophia Brown, a 2023 New College graduate who served as Editor-in-Chief of New College’s student newspaper The Catalyst during a tumultuous period on campus. Sophia recounts her experience na...
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This fascinating episode of the Palm Court Podcast takes listeners on a journey through David Goldfarb's experiences at New College of Florida and his life and career since then. As an alum who did not finish his degree at New College, Dave provides a unique perspective into the experimental nature of the school in the late 80s and early 90s. The conversation begins with Goldfarb reminiscing about his time at New College, the punk ...
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Megan Cytron, Grant Balfour, and Mike Palmer open the show reflecting on their recent conversation about the changes happening at New College. We then dive into a discussion Mike and Grant had with fellow New College alums Troy Winfrey and Joanne Dramko back in early March of 2023 We reminisce about the unique academic philosophy at New College that emphasized critical thinking and students directing their own education. While reco...
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Mike Palmer, Grant Balfour, and Megan Citron open up by discussing an interview Mike originally recorded in early March 2023 with three fellow New College of Florida alumni - Dr. Mark Sanders, Dr. Nicholas Tampio, and Dr. Daniel Harrison. The original interview took place shortly after major changes were announced at New College, including new conservative appointees to the Board of Trustees and the firing of President Patricia Okk...
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Lynne Buchanan is a New College alum and the daughter of beloved New College professor Doug Berggren and his wife Barbara who also worked with students at the school. Lynne joins us to share stories about growing up with Professor Berggren, one of the school's founding faculty members. We celebrate him as a brilliant, engaging teacher who promoted critical thinking and interdisciplinary perspective. His teaching style was performat...
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The Palm Court Podcast welcomes recent New College of Florida graduates Sarah Cooper and Leo Muñoz. As members of the last "normal" class before the DeSantis takeover, they reflect on New College's academic freedom and close-knit community.  Sarah and Leo fondly recall engaging in late-night debates about coursework, attending Walls in Palm Court, and designing adventurous tutorials tailored to their interests. They also acknowledg...
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Steve Jacobson, a New College alum from the 1970s, joins Mike, Grant, and Megan to share his experiences and unique perspectives on the small liberal arts college in Sarasota, Fl. Steve reflects on arriving at New College in the early 70s and bonding with his longtime friend and roommate David Goldman. He shares fun stories about campus life back then, like playing football in flooded fields, building makeshift basketball courts, a...
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September 15, 2023 44 mins
Brian Cody joins the show to talk about his experiences in student government, academics, and campus life in the early 2000s at New College. Joined by his contemporary, Gwen Bright, Brian regales us with tales of navigating campus politics including his "barefoot-in-a-suit" moments. We learn how he helped bring WiFi to campus, helped effect New College's independence from USF, and participated in high-level Board of Trustees meetin...
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Gwendolyn Bright and Dr. Christa Matrone join the pod in a conversation about their experiences at our small liberal arts alma mater that's been thrust into the Culture Wars. We discuss New College's emphasis on student autonomy, self-governance, and its close-knit campus community. Gwen and Christa reflect on how the freedom to explore diverse interests and chart their own academic paths had a profound impact, shaping their lives ...
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Shannon Ingles and Jinx Ashforth join hosts Mike Palmer, Grant Balfour, and Megan Cytron to share their experiences at New College of Florida in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We begin with flashbulb memories of being on campus for 9/11 which was the topic of Shanon's thesis. Then we reflect on the progressive, improvisational culture we knew before the recent "hostile takeover" by the state government. We continue to try to captu...
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In which Dr. Anderson Brown discusses with Mike and Grant how discovering an alternative educational system can transform a life, and how lessons learned at New College set a foundation for inquiries into AI, philosophy, and the I Ching (broken beer bottles strictly optional).  Anderson Brown’s Humanities, a YouTube channel of lectures.  Joel Biroco’s Introduction to the Yijing.  
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In which Steve Waldman, coder, economics writer, and “Danish libertarian,” discusses with Mike how things could have gone differently 30 years ago, how they could have gone differently in 2023, and how they’ll probably go differently from the best-laid plans now and into the future. Right? Left? “The lessons of New College are that the communities aren’t that flat.”  We get cosmological as we go deep into the architecture and the s...
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In which three New College alums from the 1990s -- Mike Palmer, Megan Cytron, and Grant Balfour – share their experiences at a small liberal-arts school on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and consider the fate of the experiment in the face of a top-down “hostile takeover” by the state government. We reflect on New College as a cultural movement and set goals for what the podcast can accomplish. Pres. Gordon E. Michalson, Jr., Summer 2...
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