Places of Purpose

February 17, 2023

By Rob Humphreys ’16MBA

Kathleen W. Rollins Hall at Rollins College

From the co-location of our signature programs to the reimagining of the residential experience, Rollins is building on more than 100 years of liberal arts traditions to create a 21st-century campus centered on the student experience.

It’s tempting to think of capital investments solely in terms of brick and mortar—state-of-the-art buildings transforming the campus landscape—but outward appearances only scratch the surface.

Peek inside Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, Bush Science Center, Lakeside Neighborhood, and the soon-to-be newly expanded Alfond Inn, and their true return lies squarely in the human element. These buildings, made possible by Rollins’ Brighter Together campaign, are creating opportunities for students like Francisco Wang ’22 to open doors to innovative, life-changing programming and experiences that will carry them well into the future.

An international business major, Wang received a full scholarship generated by proceeds from The Alfond Inn, conducted groundbreaking research alongside his faculty mentor in Bush Science Center, served as head designer of The Sandspur in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, and thrived while living in Lakeside Neighborhood, the College’s newest residential facility designed around health, wellness, and community.

Wang is now working toward a master’s of philosophy in strategy, marketing, and operations at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. And for every story like his, there are many others, all made possible by your shared dedication to the future of Rollins through this historic campaign.

“We have invested in this beautiful campus for one reason, and that is to advance our educational mission,” says President Grant Cornwell. “New facilities are beautiful and exciting, but their real impact is on the learning they foster.”

The first floor of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall is crowded with students studying and working in small groups.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Kathleen W. Rollins Hall

Open the doors to Rollins’ headquarters of applied learning, and you’ll find Tars putting their liberal arts education into action at every turn.

As the headquarters of applied learning, Kathleen W. Rollins Hall has brought together 10 signature programs and co-located them at the center of campus. Opened in January 2020 with a $10 million gift from Trustee Kathleen W. Rollins ’75, the space empowers students to put their education to work outside the classroom—a core tenet of the Rollins experience.

During the 2021-22 academic year, Rollins Hall hosted 812 programs, events and academic courses, including 49 classes offered across multiple disciplines. The facility has also allowed for the development of closer relationships between faculty and staff, which, in turn, create more opportunities for students. Say a student comes in for an advising appointment and the conversation turns to study abroad. The professor can then walk them two dozen or so steps over to the Office of International Programs to find a program that aligns with their academic interests and career goals.

“Assembling all this under one roof has made a tremendous impact on how we reach students and work across areas of the institution,” says Micki Meyer, Lord Family Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs for Engagement. “It helps our students better engage with our mission and make meaning of their liberal arts education.”

Career Capital The Center for Career & Life Planning (CCLP) is a one-stop shop for everything from internship placement through campaign-funded programs like Gateway Fellows to the Career Studio, a dynamic space for one-on-one career advice that includes connecting majors to future goals and prepping for job interviews. This past year, CCLP reached 4,730 students through appointments, drop-ins, and outreach, a 40 percent increase over the previous year.

Upwardly Global With global citizenship built into our mission, it’s no surprise Rollins has one of the nation’s highest percentages of students who study abroad. The Office of International Programs facilitates over 90 study abroad programs— from studying business in France to installing water filters in the Dominican Republic—and student appointments for fall 2022 increased by 45 percent since the office moved into Kathleen W. Rollins Hall.

Life is for Service From Winter Park to Washington State, the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement (CLCE) provides hands-on service learning experiences that connect the classroom with the outside world. From programs like Bonner Leaders and Immersion to civic-minded initiatives like the Democracy Project, CLCE helps Tars engage issues facing communities in our backyard and around the globe.

Meaningful Mentorship From the Office of Business Advising to the Office of External Fellowships & Scholarships, access to faculty, staff, and alumni mentors is just a step away. Students receive robust guidance on competitive awards such as the Fulbright Scholarship and have the opportunity to participate in advising programs like Women in Finance, which is helping close the gender gap in the financial field by connecting female students with industry mentors, internships, and long-term career prospects.

Being the Change In 2013, Rollins’ social entrepreneurship major became the world’s first to be accredited by AACSB International, the highest standard for global business education. Fast-forward 10 years, and this department has produced changemaking graduates in everything from environmental policy to social justice. The adjacent Social Impact Hub provides resources and support for Tars as they create innovative, sustainable solutions to society’s biggest challenges.

A small group of students sits in a circle in the living room at Lakeside Neighborhood.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Lakeside Neighborhood

Whether it’s grabbing a snack from the C-store between classes, settling in for a group study session, or making dinner with friends, the halls of Lakeside are alive with a new way of living and learning.

Gleaming from the shores of Lake Virginia, Rollins’ newest residential complex is a living-learning community designed around health and wellness that houses 502 students and provides dozens of communal areas for anyone on campus.

“It’s probably the best lakefront property in Winter Park,” says Papaa Kodzi ’21 ’23MBA, who served as an RA and is now the graduate hall director. “My favorite amenity is the gym and movement studio, and the Fox Lodge Grill is also so convenient for a late-night snack or lunch by the pool. Lakeside has plenty of spaces to buckle down and study as well as relax and unwind. It’s truly the best of both worlds.”

Thanks in large part to Lakeside, nearly 71 percent of College of Liberal Arts students now live on campus, compared to 55 percent in fall 2019—a testament to how we’re continuing to revolutionize the way students live, learn, and engage with the world around them.

Healthy Habits A state-of-the-art fitness center and movement studio keep Tars fit, while an expanded C-Store and cafe keep them fueled up with everything from healthy snacks and groceries to Fair Trade coffee and fresh-pressed juice. At the center of it all, a large courtyard pool offers ample space for group study sessions or relaxing after exams.

Living and Learning The Office of Residential Life & Explorations has found a new home in Lakeside, meaning more opportunities for organic interaction with residents and other students who visit. Learning everyday skills associated with independent living—think virtual culinary classes or help with finding an apartment after college—are baked into the mix.

Building Community The Center for Inclusion & Belonging helps students of all backgrounds find their fit at Rollins, while the Lucy Cross Center for Women, Gender, & Sexuality provides a comfortable, inclusive space for engaging in open dialogue and promoting social justice. Both are now conveniently located in Lakeside Neighborhood, making it easier than ever for students to collaborate and forge meaningful connections.

The Perfect Balance Lakeside’s four-bed/four-bath, apartment-style suites deliver the best in both independent and communal living. Students benefit from private bedrooms and bathrooms while having seamless access to common areas like the living room, dining room, and full kitchen, where the multifunctional island is ideal for hitting the books or preparing a healthy meal.

The atrium off the Bush Science Center at Rollins College.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Bush Science Center

One glance into the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of this learning laboratory reveals students and faculty hard at work conducting original research, making discoveries, and collaborating across the STEM fields.

A decade after its expansion and renovation, the LEED-certified Bush Science Center is delivering on investments that support academic scholarships, student-faculty research, and general academic excellence in everything from math and computer science to physics and chemistry. At the core of this space is an unyielding commitment to finding innovative solutions to real-world problems and advancing human knowledge.

“The Bush Science Center has transformed the way we teach,” says physics professor Thom Moore, who has taught at Rollins for nearly 25 years. “The interdisciplinary nature of the building combined with state-of-the-art equipment gives our students incomparable opportunities, whether that’s industry jobs after graduation or the best graduate schools.”

How the World Works Moore has worked alongside more than 25 students in Bush’s anechoic chamber to study the physics of musical instruments, with an emphasis on applying laser technology to investigate acoustical phenomena. It’s the reason Eric Rokni ’18 will graduate this summer from Penn State with a PhD in acoustics. “The skills and inquisitiveness I gained while working with Dr. Moore have helped me immensely,” he says. “I was able to combine my passions for music and physics, publish two papers, and present at a national conference all as an undergrad.”

The Makeup of Matter Ant Man has nothing on chemistry professor Ellane Park, whose courses include quantumly small subjects such as chemistry of the nanoworld and nanotechnology. Through Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, she works with students like Julian Grundler ’18 to research gold nanoparticles as vehicles for drug delivery—and sometimes helps them find their passion along the way. Grundler went on to conduct research at MIT alongside Park and is now a materials chemistry PhD candidate at Yale.

Beyond the Numbers Mathematics professor Zeynep Teymuroglu and co-collaborator Joanna Wares from the University of Richmond recently earned a competitive grant from the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics to work with students on opioid research. The project is aimed at examining mathematical models of opioid use and disease spread, with the goal of informing policy decisions around the country. It’s this kind of need for data-informed decision-making that led to Rollins launching a new minor in data analytics.

Trailblazing Techies Liberal arts and computer science might seem a strange academic synthesis, but not at Rollins. Studying computer science through the lens of the liberal arts—with the opportunity to apply technical skills to real-world challenges—has set up recent grads to land roles at some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Electronic Arts, Google, and Lockheed Martin.

The Science of Life Since childhood, Marissa Cobuzio ’19 has been fascinated by animals. With mentoring from biology professor Jay Pieczynski, she’s now a third-year vet student at Cornell who has raised five volunteer service dogs and is set to become a vet in the U.S. Army. Looking ahead, students like Cobuzio will get even more opportunities to make an impact as undergraduate science students thanks to a recent $850,000 gift from Gene Albrecht ’69 that supports collaborative research in organismal biology.

A rendering of the expansion to The Alfond Inn.

The Alfond Inn Expansion

In a stately setting flanked by thought-provoking contemporary art, visitors to Winter Park are making a Rollins education possible for the next generation of top scholars.

Since opening in 2013, the critically acclaimed Alfond Inn has contributed $16.7 million in profits toward the Alfond Scholars endowment, helping approximately seven standout students per year attain full-ride academic scholarships to Rollins. Now, with a 71-room expansion set to debut this summer, Florida’s premier hotel (as ranked by readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure) is projected to generate $40 million toward scholarships between 2024 and 2033. About half of this money will be used to double the number of Alfond Scholars, while the other half will be directed toward student-athlete scholarships.

Supporting Students The Alfond Inn’s financial support of Rollins’ superior scholars offers a pathway to prestigious opportunities. Just ask Katrina Zdanowicz ’16, a double major in international business and environmental studies who earned a master’s in public health at George Washington University before landing at Gartner and now Deloitte as a senior consultant. Or philosophy major Isabella Braga ’20, who won a Fulbright Scholarship and is teaching English in South Korea. Or economics and international relations double major Charles Mahoney ’21, a Wallace Fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A New Canvas Longtime donors and alumni Barbara ’68 and Ted Alfond ’68 have left their mark across every corner of campus, but nowhere is their philanthropy—and keen artistic eye—more evident than in the public areas of their namesake boutique hotel. At this time, 112 pieces of The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art feature prominently throughout the hotel, and the second phase will provide even more space to showcase works currently in storage.

Next-Level Luxury Among the inn’s new features are a light-filled lobby cafe that doubles as a beer-and-wine bar in the evenings, a swimming pool with private cabanas, an additional 2,400 square feet of meeting space, and a new spa that includes seven treatment rooms, a sauna, and fitness area. Collectively, this suite of upgrades is sure to draw more travelers to Winter Park, generating more financial aid for Rollins’ most accomplished students.

Educational Extension The Alfond Inn’s art collection is an extension of the area’s only teaching museum, the Rollins Museum of Art, which will soon be relocated across the street as part of the Innovation Triangle—a hub of art, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Expanding the hotel will increase opportunities for it to serve as a classroom for students and the community, integrating art learning into daily life.

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