Photos: Thaddeus & Polly Seymour Acts of Kindness Day 2024

February 19, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

A grid of images from Thaddeus & Polly Seymour Acts of Kindness Day 2024
Photo by Zach Stovall.

On February 15, the Rollins community celebrated the fourth annual Thaddeus & Polly Seymour Acts of Kindness Day. Explore a few of the highlights from what is quickly becoming one of the Rollins community’s favorite traditions.

During his 1983 convocation speech, Rollins’ 12th president, Thaddeus Seymour ’82HAL ’90H, presented the student body with a challenge: Engage in acts of kindness and service toward one another, the campus, and the community. He didn’t know it then, but that simple provocation was the beginning of a lasting legacy that would evolve into a yearly tradition.

Well respected for their commitment to community service, Thad and his wife, Polly, spent decades campaigning for causes like the Winter Park Library and Habitat for Humanity in addition to serving as the first couple of Rollins from 1978 to 1990. They continued to serve the College until Thad’s death in 2019. Since 2020, Rollins has honored the beloved pair by observing Thaddeus & Polly Seymour Acts of Kindness Day every February with a series of events organized by the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement.

Tars came together throughout the day to show their commitment to both service and Rollins, which would have undoubtedly made Thad very proud. Here are a few of our favorite moments from the day.

Morning donuts on Kindness Day
Photo by Zach Stovall.

The day began with dozens of students gathering in Tars Plaza to fuel up on coffee and doughnuts before kicking off their day of service. There were also plenty of photo opportunities to help participants spread the message to other volunteers.

Kindness Day chalk art
Photo by Zach Stovall.

Students from the Rollins chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, a nationally recognized leadership honors society, led efforts to adorn campus with colorful chalk messages of kindness.

Rollins students participating in a labyrinth walk
Photo by Zach Stovall.

At 11 a.m., Rev. Shawn Garvey, interim dean of religious and spiritual life, led a moving meditation walk through the labyrinth and meditation garden on the northeast side of campus. As folks traversed the winding paver path, they were asked to focus inward on ways to spread kindness near and far.

Rollins students participating in 5-minute difference projects
Photo by Zach Stovall.

Students had the opportunity to grab a Kindness Passport and collect stamps as they completed 10 different 5-Minute Difference projects ranging from creating birthday bags for pediatric patients to assembling hygiene packs for victims of domestic violence. Those who collected six or more stamps received a T-shirt and were entered into a drawing for a goodie bag. Projects were hosted by student and campus organizations Breaking Bread and Sodexo, Omicron Delta Kappa, the Student Government Association, JUMP Service Coordinators, Bonner Leaders, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Gateway Ambassadors, and Psi Chi.

Messages of kindness on sticky notes
Photo by Zach Stovall.

Back on Tars Plaza, students swapped anonymous messages of kindness meant to brighten each other’s day.

Grand opening of the Tars Pantry
Photo by Left and bottom right: Zach Stovall.

The Rollins community came together to celebrate the grand opening of the new Tars Pantry, now located in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, Room 139. Rollins’ Student Support Foundation in partnership with the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement recently received a Dream Big Grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation to expand the food pantry into a comprehensive wellness space that will provide members of the Rollins community with everything from perishable and non-perishable food to hygiene products, business attire, and school essentials.

Rollins students participating in a Habitat for Humanity build
Photo by Zach Stovall.

Habitat for Humanity was an organization near and dear to Thad’s heart. He co-founded the nonprofit’s Winter Park-Maitland branch in the late ’80s with local homebuilder and alum Hal George ’76 and served as its chairman until his death at age 91. Tars old and new picked up tools and showed off their construction skills at a site that will become a new home for a family in need.

A Legacy of Kindness and Service

Learn more about the Seymours and their impact in our community.

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