Dr. Jackson N. Sasser
Dr. Jackson N. Sasser has been an innovator at Santa Fe College since becoming president in January 2002. Under his leadership, Santa Fe was named the number one community college in the nation by winning the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The college has been in the top 10 of U.S. community colleges since 2012.
Dr. Sasser is one of the first in the United States to define community colleges as essential to national economic security because they educate knowledge workers necessary for American business and industry to succeed globally.
He has been a leader of Innovation Gainesville, which leverages regional assets including SF instructional programs to educate knowledge employees for high-end industry needed for jobs and economic development.
Dr. Sasser’s International Initiative wove internationalism into all academic and support programs at the college. He insists that community colleges are no longer strictly local institutions because their communities require graduates to thrive in a global economy. In ten years Santa Fe received three U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grants to internationalize the curriculum and two U.S. State Department grants to provide training to community college administrators from four countries in the developing world. The college also has hosted four Fulbright Scholars, launched an International Studies Certificate, offered study abroad programs on nearly every continent, and both developed and maintained strong international partnerships with universities in China, Brazil and Indonesia.
He installed and plans more bachelor's degree programs to fill unmet needs locally and statewide while remaining faithful to proven missions of access and opportunity for all students and improving the quality of life of the community.
He continues to enhance service to local communities by increasing and improving outreach education and supporting the disadvantaged. His East Gainesville Initiative has a continuing five-year plan to provide educational and cultural programs for all age groups in the community.
Dr. Sasser is committed to the arts in a comprehensive college education. He led development of SF's Fine Arts Hall and the naming of the college as an All-Steinway School. The arts are woven throughout interdisciplinary education at Santa Fe.
Before arriving at Santa Fe, Dr. Sasser was president of Lee College in Baytown, Texas and interim president at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama. He was 2008-2009 chair of the Board of Directors of the League for Innovation in the Community College, was 2007-2008 chair of the Florida Community College Council of Presidents, 2006-2007 president of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities, 2003-2004 chair and still a member of the American Association of Community Colleges Presidents Academy, and 2014-15 member of the board of the American Association of Community Colleges. He is a past member of the board of the Institute for Community College Development at Cornell University. He has participated in a University of Oxford Round Table on higher education, and a Renaissance Weekend. He was tapped as an honorary member of Florida Blue Key, the University of Florida's prestigious leadership honorary in 2015.
Dr. Sasser chaired the 2004 United Way of North Central Florida campaign, was board chair of the American Heart Association of Gainesville's 2005 Heart Walk, and with wife Layne Sasser was honorary chair of the 2007 March of Dimes' Gainesville WalkAmerica and the 2014 American Cancer Society Relay for Life. He is a member of the boards of the University of Florida Performing Arts, Santa Fe Health Care, Gainesville Rotary and Alliance for Economic Development.