Top 22 Stories of 2022

December 07, 2022

By Audrey St. Clair ’03

As 2022 comes to a close, we give you the Rollins stories you loved most this year—one more time.

From globe-trotting internships and innovative research projects to prestigious college honors and milestones, explore the most-viewed Rollins stories of 2022.

Elizabeth Bonker ’22
Photo by Scott Cook.

1. Raising Her Voice

Elizabeth Bonker ’22 long struggled to communicate with a world that didn’t always understand or accept her. Now her valedictory speech at commencement has gone viral, and the nonprofit she founded is bringing communication assistance to those affected by non-speaking autism.

Black Student Union

2. Club Spotlight: Black Student Union

The history of Rollins’ Black Student Union echoes the history of America. Now, a new generation of leaders are making an impact on campus and beyond through service, education, and a chorus of voices calling for change.

Take Action Insitute
From left: Kayley Klatt ’24, Emily Curran ’22, and Leah Hornik ’22.Photo by Scott Cook.

3. Tars Taking Action

Working alongside the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center, a trio of Tars put the “act” in “activist” through educational outreach and the creation of the first-ever Take Action Institute.

Fox Day grid

4. Fox Day in Photos

Relive your favorite moments from everyone’s favorite day of the year—from pool time at Lakeside Neighborhood and paddleboarding on Lake Virginia to Disney World excursions and picnicking on Mills Lawn.

Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony
Photo by Scott Cook.

5. Rollins Inducts First Members of Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa—the world’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society—officially installed a new chapter at the College, a historic milestone that affirms the value of a Rollins education and the importance of our mission.

Summer, Shared grid

6. Summer, Shared

As students departed campus last spring, we asked them to keep us in the loop on all their summertime experiences. From trekking to the farthest corners of the Himalayas to solving problems on Capitol Hill, explore some of our favorite student stories from summer 2022.

Dave’s Boathouse
Photo by Scott Cook.

7. First Look: A Reimagined Dave’s Boathouse

This year, Rollins’ beloved nautical-themed restaurant shifted to a new globally inspired menu that features a full Kosher and Halal menu and rotating selections of international-inspired favorites (think crispy falafel and Bahn mi sandwiches).

Commencement ceremony
Photo by Scott Cook.

8. Rollins Ranked No. 1 Regional University in the South

Rollins was once again ranked the No. 1 regional university in the South in the 2022 rankings of “Best Colleges” released by U.S. News & World Report. For more than 25 years, the College has been ranked among the top two regional universities in the South and has been the top-ranked Florida school in the category.

Isabella Ward ’15
Photo by Courtesy Isabella Ward ’15.

9. What It’s Like ... to Perform on the Silver Screen

Isabella Ward ’15 shared what it was like to make her big-screen debut in Steven Spielberg’s revival of West Side Story and reflects on how her Rollins professors boosted her confidence and helped her become fearless.

Ellane Park and Julian Grundler ’18 perform a chemistry experiment.
Chemistry professor Ellane Park and Julian Grundler ’18 joined forces through Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program.Photo by Scott Cook.

10. The Chemistry of Connection

Chemistry professor Ellane Park believes building relationships with her students is the foundation of a successful science education—whether it’s showing them applications for nanotechnology or advising them on a fellowship application.

yatt Deihl ’21, Giovanni Figueiredo ’21, Raul Tavarez Ramirez ’21, Molly von Eschenbach ’21, and Madison Spence ’21.
From top left: Wyatt Deihl ’21, Giovanni Figueiredo ’21, Raul Tavarez Ramirez ’21, Molly von Eschenbach ’21, and Madison Spence ’21.

11. Off and Running

A year after crossing the commencement stage at Rollins, these five Class of 2021 graduates are already establishing themselves as up-and-coming leaders in their respective fields.

Rollins’ 2022 inductees for the Sports Hall of Fame
Photo by Rollins College Archives and Mike Watters.

12. Rollins Announces Sports Hall of Fame 2022 Inductees

Rollins inducted 14 student-athletes into the Class of 2022 Rollins Sports Hall of Fame, the highest recognition for those who have contributed to the history of Tars athletics.

Grid of images of Rollins campus life
Photo by Scott Cook.

13. 11 Ways to Get Involved at Rollins

Here on America’s most beautiful campus, getting involved and building community are as easy as knowing where to go. From joining a club to running for office, there’s no shortage of ways to dive headfirst into campus culture.

From top left: Sofia Frasz ’22, Emily Curran ’22, Jessika Linnemeyer ’22, and Elizabeth Bonker ’22.
From top left: Sofia Frasz ’22, Emily Curran ’22, Jessika Linnemeyer ’22, and Elizabeth Bonker ’22. Photo by Scott Cook.

14. The Height of Success

Honored for their commitment to academic excellence, leadership, and service, Rollins’ 2022 valedictorians—among them social innovators, aspiring physical therapists, law-school hopefuls, and PhD candidates—look back on their time at Rollins and forward to what’s next.

Year in Photos grid
Photo by Scott Cook.

15. A Rollins Year in Photos

Experience a year at Rollins through photographer Scott Cook’s most memorable images from the 2021-22 academic year. From move-in day to Fox Day, and Immersions to internships, get a glimpse of all the signature experiences at Rollins.

Elizabeth Smith ’22 ’24MPH
Photo by Scott Cook.

16. The Making of an Advocate

Elizabeth Smith ’22 ’24MPH came to Rollins wanting to embrace a new beginning. That all changed when the world was thrown into chaos. Now, she’s emerged from the pandemic as a fierce advocate for disability rights.

Alfond Inn rendering

17. First Look: Alfond Inn Expansion

A new phase of growth at Rollins’ award-winning boutique hotel will support the next generation of scholars and leaders. Take a closer look at what’s in store for The Alfond Inn 2.0.

Grid of images from Verano Espanol

18. What It’s Like ... to Study Spanish at the Source

Get a firsthand look at Verano Español, Rollins’ longest-running study abroad program, where students spend six weeks in Madrid studying Spanish and experiencing local culture.

From top left: Lindsay Muscato ’07, Kevin Brancheau ’17MBA, Rebekah Arthur ’10, Bailey Clark ’11, Lisa Curran Kolbjornsen ’14MBA, Carmen Rasnick ’13 ’16MBA, and Beau Blackerby ’10MBA.
From top left: Lindsay Muscato ’07, Kevin Brancheau ’17MBA, Rebekah Arthur ’10, Bailey Clark ’11, Lisa Curran Kolbjornsen ’14MBA, Carmen Rasnick ’13 ’16MBA, and Beau Blackerby ’10MBA.

19. 7 Tars Among Orlando’s 40 Under 40 Honorees

For their community leadership and professional contributions, seven Rollins alumni were recognized by the Orlando Business Journal in its annual 40 Under 40 Awards.

Christopher Russo ’82
Photo by Scott Cook.

20. What I’ve Learned: Christopher Russo ’82

How the feisty sports personality known as the Mad Dog went from calling Rollins games on WPRK to being inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Women in Finance cohort in New York City’s Financial District
Photo by Maegan Gindi.

21. Added Value

Rollins’ Women in Finance program is helping close the gender gap in the financial field by connecting women with industry mentors, internships, and long-term career prospects.

From top left: Sophie Bostick ’26, Mary Scott ’26, Max Cohen ’26, Sophia Watson ’26, Eltavious Johnson ’26, and Olivia Prelog ’26.
From top left: Sophie Bostick ’26, Mary Scott ’26, Max Cohen ’26, Sophia Watson ’26, Eltavious Johnson ’26, and Olivia Prelog ’26.

22. A Rollins Record

With 630 first-year students, the Class of 2026 is the largest in Rollins’ 137-year history. To celebrate, we caught up with a few of our newest Tars as they embarked on their #RollinsLife.

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