Paul Broadie II was one of 62 applicants competing to be Santa Fe College’s next president. Then he was one of two.
Now he isn’t competing against anyone at all.
Broadie was told he would be Santa Fe’s next president last Thursday. Current President Jackson Sasser announced his upcoming retirement in January, and will be showing Broadie how the college operates before he transitions to president in Spring 2020.
“I knew right away that Santa Fe College was where I wanted to spend my career,” Broadie said. “I'm just excited to have the opportunity.”
Edward Bonahue, Santa Fe’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, was the other finalist.
As president, two major projects fall into Broadie’s hands: organizing the new Blount campus and continuing the Opening Doors Campaign.
Santa Fe’s current Blount Center in downtown Gainesville will be expanded into a full campus offering classes, tutoring, counseling and a financial aid office, Broadie said. The project, which begins in January 2020, costs $36.4 million and will be finished in Spring 2021, according to the Gainesville Sun.
“It's a really great way to make sure that we're reaching out deep into the community and closing equity gaps,” he said.
Broadie said he wants to raise $10 million for the Opening Doors Campaign, which Sasser started during his presidential term and looks to benefit students in Alachua and Bradford counties by providing scholarships and support services.
Santa Fe Student Body President Kate Santacruz said students have been receptive to Broadie. About 40 showed up for a student forum on Sep. 24 that Santacruz moderated.
“They really did like him because he was relatable,” she said. “He had already done this, and I think that’s kind of what gave students confidence. They felt like we were in good hands.”
Santacruz sits in on Board of Trustees and Student Government meetings, but she’s noticed a lack of conversation. It feels more like monologues than dialogues, she said.
“On the student side, it’s more like, ‘He said, she said,’” Santacruz said. “It’s not so much about knowing what the college president thinks. It's important for student leaders to have a conversation with the president to know what is actually going on.”
Broadie said he wants to make sure students, faculty and staff are well-informed – a principle that he plans to extend into the larger community.
“Santa Fe will be well represented through the president throughout the community,” he said. “It's something I've done throughout my career, and it's a very important aspect of what a college should be. It should be a part of the fabric of the community.”