Santa Fe College’s president retires on Friday, but his name isn’t leaving campus anytime soon.
The Santa Fe Board of Trustees renamed the fine arts hall to the Jackson N. Sasser Fine Arts Hall on Jan. 21 to honor the retiring president. The college will also apply with the county to rename Center Road to Sasser Layne after his wife and last name, and an artist will erect a life-size sculpture of Sasser in front of the fine arts hall next year, said Blake Fletcher, the Board of Trustees Chairman.
Fletcher said the board couldn’t think of a more symbolic place on campus to name after Sasser, who majored in music at Jacksonville State University in 1972.
“Dr. Sasser has touched hundreds of thousands of lives and made them better across our community,” he said. “A place like the fine arts hall would bear his name because it’s a place where people from all walks of life come together and meet for a wide range of events.”
The Santa Fe Fine Arts Department Chair Alora Haynes said she knew she was going to like Sasser from the day she met him due to his musical background. Sasser was quick to tell her how much he appreciated the arts, she said.
“He believed in our efforts and he believed that we could produce a very high level of integrity and programming,” Haynes said.
The original fine arts building was not up to par with the talent that Haynes believed the students could excel to. When she said she told Sasser about the lack of space the building provided, he helped raise $17.5 million for a new theater for the college in the mid-2010s.
“He put a lot of effort into exposing that there were people here that were working above and beyond what’s normal for a two-year college, and we’re all very grateful for that,” she said.
All four past presidents of Santa Fe now have buildings named after them — including the Lawrence Tyree Library, Alan Robertson Administration Building, and the Joseph Fordyce Financial Aid and Student Services Building.
Santa Fe’s new president, Paul Broadie II, will assume his role starting Saturday.
Contact Anna Wilder at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @anna_wilderr.