A Rollins Year in Photos: 2021-22
August 16, 2022
By Stephanie Rizzo ’09
As Rollins celebrated its 137th anniversary, the 2021-22 academic year furthered the College’s ongoing mission to provide students with the skills, knowledge, and hands-on learning opportunities they need to change the world.
A lot happens at Rollins at any given moment, and this past year was one of the most exciting yet. From lifting their voices in advocacy to starting their own businesses, Tars everywhere embraced learning and growing at every turn, putting their interdisciplinary problem-solving skills to the test with creativity and style. Before we start what is sure to be another banner year at Rollins, let’s look back at some of our favorite moments from 2021-22.
Biology major Tiara Ashurst ’23 and psychology and theatre arts double major Ghina Fawaz ’22 partnered with theatre professor Hilary Cooperman through Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program to produce an original play addressing racial trauma and healing. Ashurst and Fawaz analyzed data from more than 30 interviews with students of color before writing Moonwake, an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure performance that follows the effects of racism as they spread through a contagious pathogen.
Tars new and old had even more delicious dining options thanks to the new Fox Lodge market and grill that opened in Lakeside Neighborhood. Savvy shoppers can grab groceries and other sundries from the souped-up convenience store or order fresh burgers, wraps, and salads at the automated kiosk near the full-service grill. There’s even a coffee bar to satisfy the most savage caffeine fix.
The return to campus always marks the beginning of a new season at the historic Annie Russell Theatre. The 89th run kicked off with a performance of Neil Simon’s Pulitzer-winning drama Lost in Yonkers.
Burgeoning authors in English professor Victoria Brown’s fiction workshop took advantage of the gorgeous Florida fall weather to meet in one of Rollins’ outdoor classrooms. After Brown went over some guidelines, students shared constructive feedback on each other’s stories in the shade of an ancient jacaranda tree.
At an event bringing together students, faculty, staff, and donors, Rollins launched its historic Brighter Together campaign to support the people, programs, and places that prepare our students to lead meaningful lives and prosper in productive careers.
Rollins paid tribute to its most beloved alumnus, Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H, by unveiling A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor, a long-awaited sculpture by celebrated artist Paul Day. Standing at over 7 feet and weighing more than 3,000 pounds, the bronze statue is fittingly located between the Knowles Memorial Chapel and the Annie Russell Theatre, creating yet another neighborhood on campus where the Rollins community can gather, reflect, and look toward the future with the same sense of purpose, kindness, and optimism as Mister Rogers.
Anthropology majors Zoe Millburn ’22 and Ellie Minette ’22 teamed up with anthropology professor Zack Gillmore to painstakingly catalog 50 years’ worth of artifacts from Shell Island, a small inholding in Wekiva Springs State Park about 20 minutes east of campus. As part of the Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, the trio spent several weeks on-site digging for additional artifacts—some of which dated back more than 6,000 years. They even scanned and uploaded 3D print models so archaeologists across the world can study exact replicas of their findings.
Rollins broke ground on a state-of-the-art, 16,165-square-foot theater and dance complex in November. The Tiedtke Theatre & Dance Centre, located adjacent to the historic Annie Russell Theatre, will include a black box theater and decked-out classroom spaces devoted to performance, dance, and production design and technology.
Participants in the Bonner Leaders Program—a four-year, cohort-based community service scholarship program—traveled 40 minutes from campus to Apopka on an Immersion experience with the Hope CommUnity Center, where they tended crops that will eventually feed local families.
Orlando’s own Take Action Institute (TAI) held its first conference, providing high school and college students from across the state with resources to implement activism in their own communities. The initiative was led by three Tars who served on TAI’s student board—sociology major Emily Curran ’22, religious studies major Leah Hornik ’22, and international business major Kayley Klatt ’24—who each played a vital role in the conference’s planning and execution.
The Rollins community came together to celebrate Black History Month with programming aimed at spotlighting Black innovation, creativity, and history. From a curated art exhibition highlighting the importance of allyship to coursework celebrating Black contributions in STEM, events focused on education and reflection. One notable highlight was the Black Student Union’s annual Soul Food Sunday event, where participants enjoyed traditional soul food offerings like mac and cheese and collard greens.
Rollins unveiled a new art installation in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall by acclaimed artist Yinka Shonibare, who worked with students, faculty, and staff to memorialize untold stories from the Great Migration. The visual and historical masterpiece features a collection of 600 hardcover books, each bound in dazzling African wax paper and bearing the name of a poet, philosopher, or historian with personal or ancestral ties to this pivotal 20th-century movement.
In celebration of the second annual Thaddeus & Polly Seymour Acts of Kindness Day, Tars near and far engaged in acts of service—from adorning campus with colorful messages of kindness to volunteering at Thad’s favorite charity, Habitat for Humanity.
Communication studies and music double major Elizabeth Smith ’22 partnered with first-year students in communication professor Sarah Parsloe’s Disability and Social Change course to plan and launch Rollins’ first-ever Disability Empowerment Week.
LipSync was back and better than ever this year. The annual event, sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA), invites student organizations from around campus to show off their choreography skills in a night of dancing and lip-syncing. This year, the Black Student Union beat out dance teams from dozens of other student organizations to take the top honors.
The College inducted its first members into Phi Beta Kappa, the world’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. The ceremony took place at Knowles Memorial Chapel, where the new Theta of Florida chapter inducted 19 students selected for their academic excellence in the arts and sciences and eight foundation members who embody the ideals of liberal arts education.
Students in math professor Zeynep Teymuroglu’s Industrial Mathematics course experienced firsthand one of the many practical career applications of a math degree: working together to analyze data and find innovative solutions for real problems.
The beloved fox made his annual appearance in the wee hours of Wednesday, April 6, on Tars Plaza, kicking off everyone’s favorite day of the year. Tars celebrated Fox Day with fun in the sun before heading back to campus for a picnic on Mills Lawn.
Members of Rollins’ Women in Finance program, which provides one-on-one mentorship through the Office of Business Advising and Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business, visited New York City’s Financial District, where they toured the Stock Exchange and met with notable alumni working in the field.
Alumni from around the globe traveled back to campus to celebrate Alumni Weekend, one of the most anticipated gatherings of the year. The festivities included a fashion show and the beloved Grove Party and saw four former Tars honored at the annual Alumni Awards.
Financial literacy app Ostrich took home the top prize at the Crummer Graduate School of Business’ Venture Plan Competition. The app is the brainchild of graduates William Glass ’14 and Andrew Holliday ’13, who are using the $50,000 prize to expand their offerings, refine their product, forge new partnerships, and gain more investors.
Students in business professor Serina Haddad’s Data Visualization and Business Analytics course worked with a local consultancy to create a prosperity scorecard for the City of Winter Park, which aims to define and measure what matters to residents. Students analyzed qualitative and quantatiative data, integrating the community input with the ESG (environmental, social, and corportate governance) framework, and created the presentation for the first version of the scorecard.
Rollins’ beloved nautical-themed restaurant Dave’s Boathouse debuted new globally inspired offerings that feature a full Kosher and Halal menu, rotating selections of international favorites, and select items that cater to folks with different dietary needs. The result? Fresh and delicious offerings like crispy falafel platters and Banh mi sandwiches.
The Tars capped a magical baseball season by placing third at the NCAA Division II World Series, finishing 43-17, the second-most wins in program history. Pitcher Jaylyn Whitehead ’22MBA earned first-team All-American honors as well as South Region and Sunshine State Conference pitcher of the year while shortstop Chase Achuff ’22MBA was named to the All-South First Team.
Emeritus history professor Jack Lane ’06H served his country, chronicled the history of Rollins, and touched countless lives as a professor. Now, his planned gift to the College will help the next generation of students who excel in the field of history leave their mark.
From courses and programs to pitch competitions and mentorship, Rollins provides students and alumni an entrepreneurial ecosystem of resources to transform ideas into successful ventures. Just ask environmental studies major Aida Rico-Arango ’22, who started BYOC Refillery while at Rollins to make it easier for people to reduce the amount of plastic they’re using.
Through the Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, international business major Francisco Wang Yu ’22 joined forces with business professor and mentor Raghabendra KC ’13 to ask hard questions about things like consumer behavior, diversity in advertising, social influences, and marketing across cultures. This experience helped Wang Yu land a spot in the prestigious master’s of philosophy program in strategy, marketing, and operations at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, of which KC is an alum.
International business major Mariia Shvydkina ’23 shared her experience as a Ukrainian international student attending college a world away at a time when her homeland was thrown into uncertainty. Luckily, Shvydkina spotted early clues of impending conflict in one of her international finance classes, which gave her and her family an advantage when it came time to seek asylum.
As graduation neared, one Rollins family had a lot to celebrate. Pathways to Teaching student Marybelle Doe ’22 and her daughter, Topanga Sena ’22, never imagined they’d graduate college together, much less that Doe would go on to deliver the Hamilton Holt School commencement address. Along with Doe’s younger child, Bobby Sena ’24, this Rollins family embraced their shared connection with heart and humor.
This year’s commencement address was delivered by social innovation major and English minor Elizabeth Bonker ’22. In a moving speech, Bonker, who has non-speaking autism and communicates through an adaptive device, encouraged her fellow Tars to rise up to meet unexpected challenges by utilizing their voices—no matter what form they take. Bonker was one of five valedictorians representing Rollins this year and was unanimously chosen by her peers to address the student body.
With the year finally at a close, commencement capped off another incredible season of highs. New graduates from the College of Liberal Arts, the Hamilton Holt School, and the Crummer Graduate School of Business walked across the commencement stage and into the awaiting future in a trio of emotional ceremonies celebrating their accomplishments.
There’s no better way to get a feel for life at Rollins than by scheduling a campus tour.
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