Top 21 Stories of 2021

December 08, 2021

By Audrey St. Clair ’03

The Rollins stories you loved most this year—one more time.

From original research projects and prestigious honors to the unveiling of new campus spaces of community and collaboration, explore the most-viewed Rollins stories of 2021.

Lakeside Neighborhood
Photo by Scott Cook.

1. Hello, Neighbor

This past summer, Rollins officially opened the doors of our newest residential complex, Lakeside Neighborhood. Focused on health, wellness, and community, this state-of-the-art facility is setting a new standard in liberal arts living and learning.

A grid of images depicting how Rollins adapted in the face of challenges presented by the pandemic.
Photo by Scott Cook.

2. Rollins Reimagined

To deliver our signature brand of liberal arts education both safely and successfully during the throes of the pandemic, Rollins repurposed spaces across campus and redefined collaboration.

Rollins commencement
Photo by Scott Cook.

3. Rollins Ranked No. 1 Regional University in the South

Rollins was once again ranked the No. 1 regional university in the South in the 2021 rankings of “Best Colleges” released by U.S. News & World Report. For more than 25 years, the College has been ranked among the top two regional universities in the South and has been the top-ranked Florida school in the category.

Students researching the Great Migration in the Rollins College Archives.
Photo by Scott Cook.

4. A History for the Future

This past March, Rollins faculty, staff, and students across disciplines teamed up on a real-world research project focused on untold stories from the Great Migration. The work formed the foundation for an original art installation by the famed artist Yinka Shonibare that will soon take up permanent residence in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall.

Grid of images from the 2020-21 academic year.
Photo by Scott Cook.

5. A Rollins Year in Photos

Experience a year at Rollins through photographer Scott Cook’s most memorable images from the 2020-21 academic year. From move-in day to Fox Day, and Immersions to internships, get a glimpse of all the signature experiences at Rollins.

Students cleaning up the shoreline of Lake Virginia as part of a restoration project.
Photo by Scott Cook.

6. Club Spotlight: Sustainability Program

In celebration of Earth Day, we took a deep dive into the work of the Sustainability Program, which for the past 15 years has been implementing campus-wide efforts to conserve resources and preserve our environment.

Two plates of food from Rollins Dining Services
Photo by Scott Cook.

7. A Taste of Rollins

From innovative vegan and vegetarian creations to new twists on classic comfort food, Rollins dishes up distinctive dining options for every appetite. It’s no wonder then that College keeps racking up accolades everywhere from The Daily Meal to Peta2 lauding our campus dining as some of the best in the nation.

A grid of images depicting students' summer 2021 experiences—from internships to research projects.

8. Summer, Shared

As students departed campus last spring, we asked them to keep us in the loop on all their summertime experiences. From exploring a deserted island to attending hearings on Capitol Hill, explore some of our favorite student stories from summer 2021.

2021 Rollins valedictorians

9. Peak Performance

Honored for their commitment to academic excellence, leadership, and service, Rollins’ seven 2021 valedictorians—among them social innovators, interfaith storytellers, investment analysts, clinical psychologists, and aspiring U.S. presidents—look back on their time at Rollins and forward to what’s next.

Mister Rogers sculpture, A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor
Photo by Scott Cook.

10. Photos: Unveiling A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor

Not even a torrential rainstorm could stop the much-anticipated unveiling of A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor, the bronze sculpture created by renowned artist Paul Day honoring Rollins’ most beloved alumnus, Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H.

Aerial view of Rollins College campus
Photo by Scott Cook.

11. Rollins Awarded Phi Beta Kappa Chapter

After a rigorous three-year application process, Rollins was selected to house a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

Student presenting her research exhibition on LGBTQ+ communities at the The Center Orlando.
Photo by Scott Cook.

12. Prideful Preservation

In history professor Claire Strom’s History of American Sexuality course, students worked to uncover little-known local history about places of import in LGBTQ+ communities through a partnership with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida.

Students and professor discussing plant specimens in Rollins’ rooftop greenhouse.
Photo by Scott Cook.

13. Greenhouse Gains

Rollins unveiled its new rooftop greenhouse, a technological marvel perched atop Bush Science Center with more than 800 plant species and climate-controlled rooms designed for student and faculty research.

Student and professor conducting biology research at Rollins.
Photo by Scott Cook.

14. Colleagues in Curiosity

Each summer, Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program pairs enterprising students with expert faculty to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges. Explore a few of this year’s standout projects.

Student and professors use the puppets they created as communication tools to help grieving children.
Photo by Scott Cook.

15. Cool Class: Difficult Dialogues in Health Communication

In this community engagement class aimed at navigating some of life’s most difficult experiences, students partnered with local child-centered nonprofits on everything from building websites to creating puppets as tools of communication.

Students help locals install pipe for an ecolodge in Tanzania as part of a field study focused on community development.
Photo by Scott Cook.

16. 10 Reasons Rollins Delivers the Best in Study Abroad

For the fourth consecutive year, Rollins ranked among the top 10 master’s-granting institutions nationwide for the percentage of students who study abroad. To celebrate, we rounded up 10 of our favorite ways the College emphasizes global citizenship and cultural fluency.

From top left: Colin Kelly, Renee Sang, Neny Lairet, Wyatt Deihl, and Cristina Toppin.
Photo by Scott Cook.

17. Rollins Ready

From launching a startup before graduation to producing a full-length documentary film, these six 2021 Rollins grads are prepared to step into the big, wide world because they’ve already tested their ability to make it better.

Evan Mascagni, Shannon Post, and Nick Capezzera
Photo by Courtesy Player Piano Productions.

18. Making Films That Make a Difference

Before dominating the film festival circuit and enjoying a recent star-studded collaboration with executive producer Martin Scorsese, the team behind Player Piano Productions got their start at Rollins.

Anthropology students cataloging items from a pre-Columbian excavation near campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

19. What It’s Like ... to Uncover Secrets in Your Own Backyard

Get an inside look at the history of Shell Island through the eyes of anthropology majors Zoe Milburn ’22 and Ellie Minette ’22, who spent the past three years cataloging thousands of pre-Columbian items as part of an ambitious research project.

Social entrepreneurship professor and student brainstorm ideas in the Social Impact Hub.
Photo by Scott Cook.

20. Being the Change

Social entrepreneurship professor Josie Balzac-Arroyo wants to change the world, and she’s doing it through her students. From partnering with local nonprofits to guiding efforts of the Social Impact Hub, learn more about how she’s inspiring young changemakers to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

Students walking on campus as the tabebuia trees are blooming.
Photo by Scott Cook.

21. Living Our Legacy

With the recent launch of our Brighter Together campaign, we look toward the future of Rollins with the same spark of philanthropy and vision that started it all.

Professor and students in a class discussion at a Rollins outdoor classroom

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