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|Subject: George F. Baughman, 89, First President of New College of Florida|
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Date Posted: January 11, 2005 11:08:07 EDT
George Fechtig Baughman, founding president of the experimental New College of Florida, died on Dec. 24 in Gainesville, Fla. He was 89.
His death was announced by Gordon E. Michalson Jr., the college's current president.
Mr. Baughman, a former treasurer of New York University, returned to his native Florida in 1961 to help establish New College in Sarasota as a privately financed school of liberal arts and sciences. It was intended to attract gifted students by setting high standards, and its waterfront campus was intended to bridge the cultures of North America and Latin America.
Mr. Baughman and the trustees built the school on the former Charles Ringling estate, raising money for land, buildings and scholarship endowments. Mr. Baughman oversaw the transformation of the 115-acre estate into a campus after I. M. Pei won an architectural competition over rivals like Louis I. Kahn and Eero Saarinen Associates.
Mr. Baughman recruited much of the faculty so the first class could enter in 1964. He put into effect the original curriculum, characterized by a high degree of student responsibility for passing muster in faculty evaluations and based somewhat on the Oxford model.
Mr. Baughman served as president until 1965, after which he headed the New College Foundation for several years before moving to Gainesville. The college merged with the state university system in 1975 and became affiliated with the University of South Florida, retaining its autonomy and academic standards.
George Baughman was born in Tampa and received a bachelor's degree in science in 1937 and a law degree in 1939 from the University of Florida. He studied at the American Institute of Banking in Washington, received an M.A. degree at George Washington University and returned to the University of Florida as an associate professor in 1941.
In World War II he was commissioned into the Navy and traveled widely overseas for the Lend-Lease program. He remained in the Naval Reserve and eventually retired with the rank of rear admiral.
After the war, he was appointed vice president for business affairs at the University of Florida, a post he held until 1955, when he was named business manager by N.Y.U. There he rose to treasurer and vice president for business affairs.
Mr. Baughman is survived by his wife of 64 years, Hazel Zoerner Baughman; two daughters, Sharon B. Campion of Gainesville and Mary Gaye Wood of Jacksonville, Fla.; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
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