2019 Commencement Speakers

Each year, we are honored to present Commencement speakers who embody the mission and values of Rollins and impart inspiring and pragmatic advice for graduates.

College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Robiaun Rogers Charles ’94

Dr. Robiaun Rogers Charles ’94

Vice President of College Advancement, Agnes Scott College

Dr. Charles is an innovative higher education leader with 25 years of professional and volunteer service experience in philanthropy, external relations, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and community-based learning. 

She has served as vice president at Agnes Scott College, in Atlanta, Georgia, since 2015.  Among liberal arts colleges in the nation, Agnes Scott is ranked No. 1 for innovation, No. 1 for social mobility, and No. 2 for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Previously, Dr. Charles served as associate vice president and executive director of development at The University of Texas at Austin. In that capacity, she was responsible for providing strategic leadership for programs, projects, and initiatives that focused on campus culture, K-12 initiatives, undergraduate student support, and community engagement. She was also a professor of practice for courses in the College of Education and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Dr. Charles devotes her volunteer service to local organizations that focus on education and empowerment for girls and women, care of elderly with dementia, and economic development of disenfranchised communities. She has been the recipient of many awards, major among them induction into the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2019 and the Leadership Women Class of 2016, the NAACP President’s Award, and the Rollins College Young Alumnus of the Year Award.

Dr. Charles holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Rollins, a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University, and a doctoral degree in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University.

Hamilton Holt School

Dr. Ben Brotemarkle ’93 ’97MLS

Dr. Ben Brotemarkle ’93 ’97MLS

Executive Director, Florida Historical Society

The Florida Historical Society (FHS), established in 1856, is the oldest existing cultural organization in the state. Under Dr. Brotemarkle’s direction, FHS maintains an extensive archive at the Library of Florida History in Cocoa; operates the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, home of the Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute; manages the Historic Rossetter House Museum in Eau Gallie; publishes books through the FHS Press; and presents the Florida Frontiers Festival and FHS Annual Meeting and Symposium each year.

An award-winning broadcast journalist, Dr. Brotemarkle is producer and host of Florida Frontiers: The Weekly Radio Magazine of the Florida Historical Society, heard on NPR stations throughout the state, and the public television series The Florida Historical Society Presents: Florida Frontiers, seen on PBS stations from Key West to the Panhandle. His work has been viewed across the country on PBS and heard around the world on Voice of America Radio and NPR.

Dr. Brotemarkle is a part-time professor of humanities and former department chair at Eastern Florida State College, where he was named Distinguished Educator and appointed to the Barnes and Noble College Booksellers Endowed Faculty Chair of Academic Excellence. He is the author of four books, including Crossing Division Street: An Oral History of the African American Community in Orlando, winner of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Award, and Beyond the Theme Parks: Exploring Central Florida, winner of the inaugural James J. Horgan Book Award.

In addition to a B.A. in humanities and M.L.S. from Rollins' Hamilton Holt School, he earned a Ph.D. in humanities with a specialization in Florida history from the Union Institute and University.

Crummer Graduate School of Business

Roseann Harrington ’90MBA

Roseann Harrington ’90MBA

Chief of Staff to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings

Roseann Harrington is Chief of Staff to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings who took office December 4, 2018.  With a $4.5 billion annual budget, Orange County has 1.4 million residents living in 13 cities, covering 1,000 square miles.

Harrington is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Mayor’s Office as well as overseeing Legislative Affairs, the Office of Economic Trade and Tourism, the Office of Innovation and Emerging Technology, and Communications.  A key component of Harrington’s job is developing policy and executing initiatives to address community issues such as affordable housing, transportation, homelessness, growth management, water, public safety, and health and human services.

Prior to joining Mayor Demings office, Harrington was Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Community Relations at the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC-The Reliable One) where she worked for over 30 years.    

While at OUC, Harrington led the development of the utility’s brand – “The Reliable One. She was known as an “intrapreneur,” creating new “start-up” departments within OUC including community relations, e-commerce and economic development. She also launched innovative sustainability, energy and water products and services.

I4 Business Magazine named Harrington one of the 2015 Entrepreneurs of the Year for her work powering economic growth and innovation in Central Florida. In 2014, the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council honored her strength of character with its Annual Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award – one of Central Florida’s most prestigious honors for women, which celebrates excellence, ingenuity and the ability to overcome barriers.  

She is the author of The Businesswoman’s Handbook – Practical Tips for Moving Up the Corporate Ladder, and a frequent guest lecturer on branding, crisis communication and how women can be successful in the workplace.  

Harrington earned a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University New Orleans and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.  She currently serves on the board of directors of Visit Orlando, the Orlando Shakes and the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business Board of Overseers.

She has two daughters Kristen, who is an engineer and Allie who just graduated from college and is looking forward to teaching English in Seoul, Korea.