A Rollins Perspective

Part III: Setting the Course

By Lorrie Kyle Ramey ’70

McKean gateway

The third and final chapter of Rollins Magazine’s history of Rollins looks at the College’s past four decades. When Hugh McKean retired from the presidency in 1969, he was succeeded by Dr. Jack B. Critchfield, whose youth and enthusiasm led him to be compared to one of Rollins’ first presidents, George Morgan Ward. On Critchfield’s departure from the school, Dr. Thaddeus Seymour became responsible for seeing Rollins to its Centennial. Guided by President Seymour, Rollins reached back to its roots, its foundation in the liberal arts tradition. The course that brought Rollins to its Centennial was not drawn to reach its final destination on November 4, 1985, but to build a momentum sure enough to carry the College proudly and confidently into its second hundred years.

The task of steering Rollins into the new millennium fell to President Seymour’s successor, Dr. Rita Bornstein. Her presidency witnessed the College’s rise in national reputation, a quintupled endowment, and the largest “building boom” since Hugh McKean sat in the president’s office. The college she passed on to Rollins’ 14th president, Dr. Lewis Duncan, matched his aspiration: “an institution that is already at the top”; his goal: “to take it to even greater heights.” Now ranked #1 in the South in its category by U.S. News & World Report, with multiple national rankings for the Crummer School, it is no wonder the College selected a rocket scientist to plot Rollins’ continuing trajectory.

Would Lucy Cross recognize the Rollins of today as the institution she foresaw over 125 years ago? The buildings, the computer courses, the flip-flops? No. The commitment to purpose, the sense of family which extends from generation to generation, the dedication to the future? Most certainly, yes.

From an inspiration to inspired reality, Lucy Cross’s vision of a college in Central Florida thrives.

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“Setting the Course” (1969-1985) was originally published as Part IV of “A Centennial Perspective” in the Summer 1986 issue of the Rollins Alumni Record. Portions of “Rollins Through The Years” appeared in Rollins Alumni Record tributes to Presidents Thaddeus Seymour (Spring 1990) and Rita Bornstein (Summer 2004). In addition to our original acknowledgments (the staff of the Rollins Archives; Edward H. Cohen, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English; Donna Janeczko, freelance cinematographer and film producer; Jack C. Lane, Weddell Professor of History; and Tom Wells, Director of the Physical Plant), we wish to thank Professor Wenxian Zhang, Gertrude Laframboise, and Darla Moore of Rollins’ Olin Library Archives and Special Collections; Steven S. Neilson, Special Assistant to the President; and Nate Weyant, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications.

And, very special appreciation to the editors of all those Sandspurs and Tomokans!

Rollins 1885-2010 | 125 Years