Generation Next

By Leigh Perkins Brown
Photos by Judy Watson Tracy

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Gregory and Garrett Derderian. Photo by Judy Watson Tracy.

Gregory Derderian ’80 & son Garrett ’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:  Johns Creek, Georgia
Majors:  Business administration (Greg); economics (Garrett)

Origin of the legacy:  Greg’s father taught in the Hamilton Holt School and he grew up in Maitland, so he knew about the school early on.

Legacy pressure?  “I never wanted to go to a big school,” Garrett said. “I went to Wofford College in South Carolina my freshman year. I decided it was a little too regional for me, so I transferred to Rollins. My family didn’t pressure me to come here, but I know they are happy with my decision.”

Biggest change in 30 years:  Renovations and upgrades of the grounds, athletic facilities, and dorms (Greg)

Common bond:  Salmon fishing in Alaska

Generation gap:  Greg admits to not grasping Garrett’s resistance to picking up a phone to call. 

Sweet spot:  The Alfond Pool (Greg and Garrett)

Flashback:  Greg always points to various buildings on campus to relate glory-days stories to Garrett—especially of the late great Pub.

The workaday:
Partner with Ernst & Young in the financial services advisory business (Greg); after completing an internship, perhaps a career in real estate (Garrett)

Unforgettable: Freshman year Hell Night, when “we had a scavenger hunt that had to include getting thrown into jail; the cops obliged us by putting us in the drunk tank.” (Greg); “The professors are always there when you need them. They make themselves so available to us that I actually have their home phone numbers.” (Garrett)

Katie and Margaret Banks Czekaj. Photo by Judy Watson Tracy.

Margaret Banks Czekaj ’77 & daughter Katie ’10

The post office made no profit from the Czekaj family the year Katie applied to colleges: she mailed out one, and only one, application—to Rollins. With her mom and two brothers, Andrew ’05 ’07MBA and William ’09, all alums, she knew Rollins was the only place for her.

Hometown:  Naples, Florida, by way of Virginia  

Majors: Studio art and education (Margaret); environmental studies (Katie)

Origin of the legacy:  Margaret was a student at Menlo College when her father visited Rollins as a graduation speaker (he worked for Time Inc.). The rest is family and Rollins history.

Legacy pressure?  “No, I knew from the beginning that Rollins was the place for me,” Katie said. “If I hadn’t gotten in, I would have been very upset.”   

Biggest change in 30 years:  Study-abroad opportunities (Katie went to the Galápagos and the Andes—“Those trips changed me as a person,” she said.)

Common bond:  Horses (Katie, who learned to ride from her mom, became one of the top show riders in Virginia.)

Generation gap:  Technology (“Katie would probably consider me to be technologically disabled,” Margaret said.)

Sweet spot:  Studio in the art department (Margaret); Kappa Delta house (Katie)

Flashback:  Both took a course taught by communication professor Carolyn Planck, 30 years apart.

Token from home:  Gold bracelet with charms to commemorate important events in Katie’s life, given to her by her mom

The workaday:  Selling her paintings for charity (Margaret); maybe an MBA after graduation (Katie)

Unforgettable:  “The professors—they were all so excellent.” (Margaret); “The friends I’ve made. I’ll be friends with them for life.” (Katie)

Ingrid Atiles and Odile Perez. Photo by Judy Watson Tracy.

Odile Perez ’06 (r) & cousin Ingrid Atiles ’10

Odile Perez had just graduated but was still working for the Office of Multicultural Affairs when her cousin started her first year at Rollins, allowing them to see each other often on the campus they’d both grown to love.

Hometown:  Odile is from Rhode Island (she was born in the Dominican Republic) and Ingrid is from Florida (she was born in Puerto Rico).

Majors:  International business & Spanish (Odile); psychology (Ingrid)

Origin of the legacy:  Odile’s uncle worked in catering at Rollins and insisted she visit the campus, sure that she would fall in love with it. She did.  

Legacy pressure?  “I would say she guided me,” Ingrid said. “My cousin was always inviting me to visit when I was in high school and she made it seem pretty attractive.” Odile admits to a little gentle sales pressure because she was convinced Ingrid would flourish at Rollins.

Biggest change in four years?  More diversity. (Both Ingrid and Odile said Rollins’ commitment to a diverse student body is more reflective of our society and an issue close to their hearts.)

Common bond:  Their grandmother (Odile calls her the most inspirational person in their lives). They also share a commitment to improving the Hispanic community.

Sweet spot:  The Olin Library (Ingrid, because she liked to study in the soundproof rooms; Odile, because she found the quiet of the fourth floor relaxing)

Flashback:  Odile was visiting with a former professor, who showed her an exceptional project by one of her current students—none other than Odile’s cousin, Ingrid. Since they don’t share the same last name, the prof had no idea they were related.  

The workaday:  Earning her graduate degree at the London School of Economics while working on global development issues for a British NGO (Odile); after Rollins, pursuing a PhD in psychology (Ingrid)

Unforgettable:  Camp Alliance rope course day, the first day on campus—“From the onset, it made me feel empowered and like I was part of a community.” (Odile); Fox Day!—“My one worry about studying abroad [in Australia] was that I would miss Fox Day.” (Ingrid)

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