Generation Next

By Leigh Perkins Brown
Photos by Judy Watson Tracy

(page 5)

Frank, Jana Slavens, and Austin Ricci. Photo by Judy Watson Tracy.

Frank ’79 and Jana Slavens Ricci ’80 & son Austin ’12

When asked how he feels returning to campus not only as an alum, but also as a parent, Greg Derderian has a quick reply: “Jealous.” Now that his son is a student, Greg sees how much more the school has to offer. “It was a great school back in the day,” he said, “but now it’s a better place, a better education. These kids, they’re living the life.”

Hometown:  Winter Park

Majors:  Business & economics (Frank); education & business administration (Jana); physics (Austin)

Origin of the legacy:  Frank’s mom drove through the campus on a visit to Florida and he applied, sight unseen; Jana grew up in Winter Park and chose Rollins over faraway Montana State.

Legacy pressure?  “I wanted to be close to my family. Family is huge for me,” Austin said. “They left the decision to me.”

Biggest change in 30 years:  School spirit: “The sidelines at the baseball games were lined with people and the gym was packed for basketball games. It’s just not as rah-rah as it used to be,” Jana said.   

Common bond:  Sports (Frank was a Tars pitcher and went on to play six years of minor-league ball for the Yankees; Austin is on the lacrosse team.) and music (Jana loves music and Austin plays the guitar.)

Generation gap:  Texting: Jana wonders if Austin’s generation will even remember how to communicate face to face.

Sweet spot:  The Pub, “but you had to be there by 8 o’clock or you wouldn’t get a seat” (Jana & Frank); Hooker Hall or the gazebo behind the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (Austin)  

Flashback:  Jana’s parents hosted the entire basketball team for Thanksgiving and New Year’s for 16 years; now Jana and Frank arrange for barbecue to be smoking on the sidelines at Austin’s lacrosse games.

Token from home:  Austin took his dad’s baseball cap with him.

The workaday:  Commercial real estate and coaching girls’ lacrosse at Winter Park High (Frank); director of marketing for a Winter Park retirement community (Jana); finish undergrad first (Austin)

Unforgettable:  “We’re losing 4 to 3 in the bottom of the ninth against Florida Southern and the smallest guy on our team is at bat, full count, fouls four of them, then hits a grand slam. Best day ever.” (Frank); “Back in the day we could drive our cars up to the baseball field and park along the right field side…and get a tan.” (Jana); “Joining Chi Psi. I really love all the guys in the fraternity, their whole principle of being gentlemen.” (Austin)

John and Allie Steele. Photo by Judy Watson Tracy.

John Steele, Jr. ’75 & daughter Allie ’11

Tennis is the Steele family’s passion. So it’s no surprise that Allie, who was undefeated in high school, followed in her father’s footsteps to hold court for the Tars.

Hometown:  Cincinnati, Ohio

Majors:  Economics (John); international relations (Allie)

Origin of the legacy:  A guidance counselor pointed John to Rollins, thinking it would be a good tennis school for him (he played on the team all four years).

Legacy pressure?  “My Dad is one of the most important people in my life and he’s on the alumni board, so I knew I’d get to see him if I went to Rollins,” Allie said. “That made the decision pretty easy.”

Biggest change in 30 years:  “The academics keep improving. It’s much more challenging than when I was there,” John said.

Common bond:  Tennis (Like her dad, Allie is also a member of the Tars tennis team.)

Generation gap:  Facebook—“Although I’d be willing to give it a try,” John said.

Sweet spot:  Tennis courts (John and Allie)

Flashback:  Allie’s tennis coach is Bev Buckley ’75, who played for the Tars at the same time as John.

Token from home:  “A shared sense of adventure,” John said.

The workaday:  Running his concrete and aggregate business, Hilltop Basic Resources (John); gaining some work experience before grad school (Allie)

Unforgettable:  “Every day at Rollins was wonderful.” (John); “The professors really amaze me, how much interest they take in our success. My adviser comes to all of our tennis matches to support us.” (Allie)

Grace and Bill MacLean. Photo by Judy Watson Tracy.

William B. MacLean ’76 & daughter Grace ’12

When you grow up in snow-weary Minnesota, Rollins is hardly a tough sell. Even so, Bill MacLean was careful not to push Rollins on his daughter, Grace, who fell for the sunshine—and the small classes, the volleyball team, and Kappa Delta—with no undue influence from dad.

Hometown:  Edina, Minnesota

Majors:  Psychology (Bill); religion (Grace)

Origin of the legacy:  Bill transferred from Florida Presbyterian College when his sister, Katherine MacLean Swan ’77, enrolled at Rollins.

Legacy pressure?
  “I looked at other schools, but I kept comparing them to Rollins. It was ingrained in my memory and no other school compared,” Grace said.

Biggest change in 30 years:  “The vision and strategic planning of the school’s leadership,” Bill said.

Common bond:  Running and theology (it was a religion class with Dean Arnold Wettstein ’06H that planted the seed for Bill’s interest in faith; Grace calls Creston Davis’s Christianity: Thought & Practice a life-changing course)

Generation gap:  Texting —“Why don’t they just give a call?” (Bill)

Sweet spot:  The Pub or Harper’s (Bill); the Alfond Pool (Grace)

Flashback:  Grace, who played on the volleyball team freshman year, runs a favorite route through a lakeside neighborhood near Rollins; Bill, who rowed on the crew team, used to run Genius Drive.

Token from home:  Grace took all of Bill’s old holey crew shirts to Rollins—she wears them as pajamas.

The workaday:  Ordained ministry, after retiring in May from a lifelong career as a CPA and institutional investor (Bill); Crummer for the MBA, part of the 3/2 program (Grace)

Unforgettable:  “Rowing Lake Maitland and all the great friends, the closeness of the experience” (Bill); “One perfect sunny day” that included the Farmers’ Market and a pick-up game of volleyball on the sand court (Grace)

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