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A Question of Values



ne of my favorite quotes from Jon Stewart of The Daily Show goes something like this: “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” Friends post lots of quotes about values on my personal Facebook page, although sometimes these seem more empty platitudes than words to live by. But sometimes a quote about values, like Stewart’s, sounds perfect and maybe just a bit ironic. Values are no hobby to the Stetson community either. In fact, as we discovered in the article, “Values Quest,” many of those in the Stetson family keep the university’s core values alive through indepth discussions, action and reflection. Many questions also arise such as if a university has a set of core values, should everyone in its community personally adopt them? And we put the values discussion in a national context. For example, some believe, such as the author Stanley Fish, that values and principles have no place in the classroom or in university mission statements. In many ways, we find that Stetson’s values-filled journey defines its unique character. In another story, Spanish Professor and Values Commitment Steering Team Leader Robert Sitler, Ph.D., takes us on a tour of campus and spots the many ways Stetson lives its values. Then six professors write about how they explore values with their students. Finally, three articles tell us about “Hatters Who Live Their Values.” These stories include one about four alumni who traveled to Mexico to help children with cleft palates. Another focuses on how Associate Math Professor Hari Pulapaka, Ph.D., works with local farmers to make sustainable food choices for his renowned restaurant. The article about recent graduate Sasha Pesci explores how she embraces sustainable agriculture and her work with Hatter Harvest. Stetson declares on its website that its mission “is to provide an education in a creative community where learning and values meet.” As Assistant Accounting Professor Maria Rickling, Ph.D., points out: “The theme that runs through the university is this commitment to values that permeates Stetson.” —Bill Noblitt Editor, stetson magazine



































D e pa rt m e n t s

3 First Person Why I’m a Feminist











18 Values Quest Stetson’s own values-filled journey defines its character. 28 The Values We Explore Six Stetson professors describe how they explore values with their students.

48 Inquiry Research and scholarship at Stetson 50 Games Work Hard, Play Hard

52 Giving

40 Hatters Who Live Their Values Three articles examine how a group of alumni, a faculty member and a recent graduate live their values.

S ta f f

56 Alumni 58 The Classes

President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. Vice President for University Marketing

Greg Carroll

68 Endings President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., tells us why values are important to Stetson.

Editor and Art Director

Bill Noblitt

69 Parting Shot Corinthian columns along the cupola

Editorial Assistants Photographers

Kalee Ball & Donna Nassick Will Phillips & Brendan Rogers

Production Coordinator magazine is published three times a year by Stetson University, DeLand, FL 32723 and is distributed to its alumni, families, friends, faculty and staff. The magazine is printed on FSC-certified paper. The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Music are located at the historic campus in DeLand. The College of Law is in Gulfport/St. Petersburg. The university also has two satellite centers: The Tampa Law Center and the Stetson University Center at Celebration near Orlando.


Sasha Pesci, a May graduate, is a Hatter who lives her values.


14 Walking the Talk A walk across Stetson shows how the university lives its values.

4 Strategy Stetson Goes the Distance 6 Beginnings News about Stetson



F e at u r e s

Inside First Words Cover Reflections on this issue 2 Letters Reaction to the last issue


Contributing Staff Writers

Heather Beach-Meinhardt

Janie Graziani, Mary Anne Rogers, Davina Gould & Brandi Palmer

Ronald Williamson, Trish Wieland, Courtney Allbee, Renee Garrison, George Salis, Amy Gipson & Mary M. McCambridge

Class Notes Editor

Cathy Foster


EVERYthing I was very excited to read this issue: The Beginnings department of the magazine details a number of innovations — “MBA Students Help Kids’ Home,” “New Legal Institute Created,” a seminar on “Living Our Values,” “No-Smoking Policy Adopted” (remember when they were hot on the subject of alcohol consumption — in ANY amount — while students and faculty could puff their lives away), a talk show on the Internet, and “Bar Passage Rate Best in Florida” and other good stuff. I’ve never been one to spend much time reading my alum mags (my wife’s Smith College and General Theological Seminary get an average of 10-15 minutes), but I’m reading EVERYthing in this issue — I commend it. —Charles Day, ’65 This mag is really great these days: terrific photos, sophisticated layout, great writing. I always enjoy them and hang on to them. —Malcolm Glass, ’58 Poet and 1990 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Cynical The cover of the Winter 2014 issue of stetson magazine has the words Acta Non Verba emblazoned on the arm of a student and also asks the question, “Who Are Today’s Students?”Acta Non Verba is both an activist slogan and a rather cynical view of a classical liberal education. Loosely translated, this modern Latin construction means: “action not words.” It is a feckless slogan of encouragement to take up ambiguous change. If classical liberal learning is on the ropes or even dead, then the true university is over, and it has become a mere trade school. Acta Non Verba is a sign of intellectual decadence. Friedrich Nietzsche defined decadence as a “question of style.” As a culture “collapses,” it is actually morphing into another culture. Comparatively, it may be decadent 2




















Who Are Today’s Students? or superior depending on how it is viewed and who is viewing it. “Who Are Today’s Students?” They are no different from the students who challenged Socrates, Augustine of Hippo, Abelard or so many gifted teachers of the classical liberal arts. In fact, it is a conceit to assume that the challenge of a classical liberal education is too obscure or perhaps meaningless in the social networking age. The basic questions of who we are, how we arrived at this point, why we create, what is the meaning of our lives and so forth are no less challenging or important than they were to the thousands of generations that preceded us. However, if the classical liberal arts give way to pander to the immature and agitated momentary interest of inexperienced learners, then Acta Non Verba is as good a form of decadence as any other. Unfortunately, far too many universities have confused liberal socialism with the classical liberal arts and have proceeded on a course of political and social activ-

ism as a substitute for helping the student gain a well-cultured perspective of what the wisdom of the ages has to teach us. Playing in the field of relativity of ethics and morality is freshman dorm poppycock. —David Stacy, ’64

Our Stetson Facebook Question:

What Do You Value? I belong to a very traditional Muslim family, so I value my religion, family and culture a lot. I value my education, my ambitions and goals, and I am one of the few privileged people in my country to study abroad. I value and grab every opportunity I see because I get to learn many new things every time. I value my friends, my social life and my well-wishers, so basically I value everything I have in my life. I feel I am beyond blessed, and I am a very happy person. —Saman Sharif, Stetson Sophomore

I value freedom of speech most of all. Freedom of speech is the seed that allows all other freedoms to grow. As a society, we’ve been on a grinding zeitgeist toward increased human flourishing (equal rights for women, minorities, gays, etc.) fueled by the ability to speak out, no matter what. As long as we speak out, we shouldn’t worry about, for example, white-pride parades, because these are dead and dying ideas that belong to the infancy of our society. The idea of a “pure race” is scientifically groundless. It will not survive. As a simple rule, when it comes to discourse, facts always win over unfounded opinions. It was demonstrated during the Roaring 20s that Prohibition doesn’t work, and the same goes for ideas. Rather than outlawing them, the only way to get rid of pernicious ideas is to allow them to surface and have others speak out against them — a war of words. Similarly, there should be no such thing as a “sacred” idea or “sacred” knowledge, unless by sacred one means the ability to sustain criticism and scrutiny and still hold up as legitimate and germane. This way we will continue to evolve as a society and for the better. And so, whenever you see an infringement on someone’s freedom of speech, speak out. If you hear an opinion or idea you disagree with, speak out. This is how our minds grow. As the late journalist Christopher Hitchens noted: “Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.” —George S. Salis, Stetson Junior stetson magazine welcomes letters to the editor. However, we ask that you focus your letter on a topic or article in the magazine. Send letters by email to, by fax at 386-822-8925, or snail mail to Bill Noblitt, Office of University Marketing, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., 8319, DeLand, FL 32723. Because of space limitations, we may edit some letters.


So you say you’re not a feminist. Look, I get it.

Why I’m a Feminist Melissa Blackerby Recent Graduate, Communication and Media Studies Major

Believe me, I’ve heard it all. “I’m not a feminist because I don’t hate men.” “Feminism is so outdated.” “Feminists say they want gender equality but still get preferential treatment for being women.” “I can’t be a feminist: I’m a guy.” So you say you’re not a feminist. Look, I get it. With all the negative stereotypes attached to the image of feminism in today’s culture, I get why you might not think that identifying as a feminist is exactly desirable. But it’s not an exclusive club for bra-burning, man-hating, angry women. Anyone can be a feminist. In fact, I would argue that most people reading this could identify as a feminist. To me, feminism means that gender or sex should not limit anyone from achieving happiness and success, both personally and professionally. We each have unique strengths; sexism ignores and invalidates these important gifts just because of one’s gender. Whether or not we realize it, sexism holds a very real influence on our culture. Even if you think you personally haven’t

been affected by sexism, you cannot deny that there are still significant gaps in gender equality in our country. According to the most recent U.S. Census, women are still paid 77 percent of what men are paid. This is essentially the same pay gap we’ve had since 2002. I feel that this fact is especially relevant for current college students. As we prepare to enter the workplace soon, no one in our generation should have to worry about their gender getting in the way of professional success. The toxic effects of sexism reach far beyond the workplace. Our country is facing an epidemic of gender-based violence. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Justice, every two minutes someone in America is sexually assaulted. In most of these cases, the victim is a woman. However, women are encouraged to keep quiet about sexual assault — or worse — are blamed for being victims. Because of the stigma against speaking out, the Department of Justice estimates that 60 percent of assaults are not reported.

American gender issues seem minuscule compared to what other countries experience. Countless women around the world fall prey to violence and discrimination because of their gender. The story of Malala Yousafzai who was attacked by the Taliban shows us just how far some people will go to make sure that girls do not have access to education. Many girls don’t even have an equal chance at life. For example, in several regions around the world, baby girls are at a higher risk of disease and death simply because they are less likely to be taken to a doctor. As college students, we have the precious opportunity to shape the future of society. I know that I would rather live in a world where no one feels held back by their gender identity. I want to know that everybody feels free and comfortable with who they are naturally. The only way that we can make that happen is to start appreciating everyone now. It’s time that we get real and embrace feminism for what it really is. õ STETSON



Stetson Goes the Distance

2011-14 Strategic Map Accomplishments Our successes are grouped by strategic priority below: Clarify and assert Stetson’s identity, values and distinctiveness

As we look back over the past few years and the accomplishments achieved under our 2011-14 Strategic Map, we celebrate a dynamic journey of discovery — of building on our strengths, taking risks, moving quickly and shouting our story from the rooftops. Today, we emerge a stronger university that focuses on innovation to drive Stetson from Success to Significance. The momentum we have gained continues to push us ever forward. Just as the Stetson community wrapped up one strategic plan, we drew a breath and began formulating the next, looking outward and inward, deliberating on the exciting opportunities before us. In a future issue, we’ll invite you to take a look at our vision for the coming years and our 2014-19 Strategic Map, created and vetted by the Stetson community (thank you for your participation via Web and/or focus group) and approved by our Board of Trustees this spring. In the meantime, we celebrate a heightened level of success that is boosting our national reputation, enhancing the value of our graduates’ degrees and making us all proud to be Hatters! Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. President 4


• Created a robust brand identity around “From Success to Significance” and “Dare to be Significant” in all communications and promotional materials. • Established a university-wide Values Commitment Steering Committee to champion and infuse our values into our work. • Integrated the culture and processes of our DeLand and Gulfport campuses and our Celebration and Tampa centers under the “One Stetson” umbrella. • Developed a university mascot, John B. • Shifted undergraduate marketing to highlight Stetson’s tradition of academic rigor and challenge. Increase targeted enrollment and retention of the best students for Stetson • Achieved three years of record enrollments, increasing undergraduate enrollment by nearly 30 percent and incoming firsttime-in-college students by 64 percent since 2009. • Increased the number of enrolled students who scored over 1,300 on the SAT by 120 percent. • Implemented an aggressive financial aid strategy that recognizes and rewards academically talented high-achievers. • Increased enrollment of out-ofstate students by 61 percent and students of color by 33 percent. • Increased student retention to 78 percent through nationally recognized student success initiatives. • Introduced 16 club sports, with more than 325 students now participating. • Expanded NCAA Division I program, adding three sports (women’s lacrosse, sand volleyball, and after a 56-year hiatus, football) and 170 varsity

student-athletes. • Increased our international population (by 20 percent in one year!) and study-abroad opportunities and intercultural learning. • Implemented planned College of Law enrollment decrease to maintain/improve academic quality. Increase the excellence of the academic program • Renewed Stetson’s iconic tradition of a learning environment that integrates high academic rigor with close student-faculty interaction, and a deep commitment to personal and social responsibility. • Defined markers of academic success and assessed progress (e.g., our 2012 CPA exam passage rate is 84.6 percent, the highest in Florida; our education pass rate is 100 percent for all state licensure exams 2011-14; our Bar exam passage rate is 85 percent as of February 2014, the highest in Florida for the second time in a year; and U.S. News ranks us among the Top 5 Universities in

the South and first for trial advocacy, while Washington Monthly ranks us sixth among master’s universities). • Completed a detailed study of all academic programs, resulting in refinements that ensure the robustness of our curriculum. • Welcomed more than 50 new top-choice faculty as well as five new deans to provide innovative academic leadership. • Established the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence to enhance faculty professional development and undergraduate learning. • Created Stetson’s first endowed deanship: the Betty Drees Johnson Dean of the duPont-Ball Library and Learning Technologies. • Instituted experiential learning (i.e. fieldwork, community engagement, undergraduate research) as a core pedagogy across academic programs with more than 25 percent of faculty using it to help address critical needs in DeLand and Volusia County. • Identified and cultivated university-wide areas of inter-

cer and lacrosse, as part of our Athletic Expansion Initiative, and partnered with the City of DeLand to renovate Spec Martin Memorial Stadium for Division I football. Renew and build critical systems and infrastructure

A reason to celebrate: Stetson goes the distance. disciplinary expertise including: environmental sustainability; data analytics; public health; entrepreneurship; global development; and social justice, democracy and human rights. • Emphasized writing as a priority outcome university-wide, with our Legal Writing program ranked sixth by U.S. News and 90 percent of our undergraduates meeting or exceeding writing-skill goals on a preliminary internal assessment. Optimize the total lifelong Stetson experience • Increased evening and weekend campus programming (300+ events this year alone) to create a more vibrant collegiate experience. • Expanded Greek life, with a record-breaking 249 women and 159 men participating in Rush. • Enhanced Student Success initiatives and resources, realizing greater student engagement and significant gains in first-year student academic success (i.e. this year 1,033 students visited tutor-

ing, a 52-percent increase over last year). • Created Stetson Lifelong, a learning community for mature adults (with 400+ participants in 2013-14) in DeLand, Celebration and the Solivita Retirement Community. • Honored with the 2012 Florida Engaged Campus of the Year Award for providing 115,000 community service hours university-wide in 2012-13. • Launched Bridge to Practice fellowships, providing recent graduates on-the-job experience as lawyers in public interest environments. • Built more connections with students (e.g., introducing Senior Week) to foster a lifelong relationship with Stetson. • Instituted Homecoming as a fall event with record attendance and the return of Hatter football. • Touched approximately 4,000 Hatters through almost 130 alumni programs held nationwide since 2012. • Built an Athletic Training Facility in 2012 for football, soc-

• Revised the DeLand and Gulfport master facilities plans while reasserting the classic beauty of our campuses. • Reduced our carbon emissions by 24 percent and aquifer water consumption by 4 percent, while increasing use of reclaimed water for irrigation to 90 percent (all since 2010). • Reduced our deferred maintenance backlog, with more than $12 million spent to renovate and preserve our facilities. • Completed high-speed, fiber-optic connection among campuses. • Added 200 “on-campus” beds to support growth in student housing demand through the acquisition and renovation of University Inn and Stetson Cove. • Re-energized emergency response plans and activities within the framework of enterprise risk management. • Created a SCALE-UP classroom in Sage Hall, featuring interactive technology that engages students more deeply in their learning. Be a great place to work • Enhanced wellness programs and medical services through a partnership with Florida Hospital DeLand. Faculty and staff can now receive on-campus medical treatment. • Continued faculty and staff salary equity adjustments and raises for all campuses, despite the economic downturn. • Continued our high-tech, hightouch approach to student learning by hiring an additional five percent employees since 2009. • Initiated training and development for staff at all campuses.

• Participated in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Best Places to Work survey. • Launched the Stetson Today online portal news source, enhancing communication efforts and transparency by delivering more information of better quality in an easily shareable format. Increase financial health and sustainability • Increased net tuition revenue for reinvestment in our university (35 percent since 2009). • Grown Stetson’s endowment to surpass the $200 million mark. • Enhanced fundraising outreach, raising more than $47 million in gifts and pledges over the past two years. • Established multiyear budget modeling and projection efforts, stress testing our financials to ensure stability as we move forward. • Shifted to data-based decision making, developing key performance indicators to track university success. Deepen the way we live Stetson’s core values • Redefined and assessed our university values and put them on center stage during significant college events. • Continued our Values Day tradition, canceling classes to continue dialogue and foster a stronger appreciation and understanding of our values. • Introduced a Social Justice Lecture Series to underscore our historic commitment to effect change through community engagement and civic responsibility. • Increased pro bono hours donated by law students by 28.8 percent since 2011 to almost 34,000 hours in 2013. • Created numerous health and wellness initiatives arising out of our value of Personal Growth. • Instituted a smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy effective Aug. 1, 2014. STETSON



Pomp and Circumstance at Stetson’s Commencement 2014. Psychology Professor Carl D. Cochran, Ph.D., carries the ceremonial mace with Provost Beth Paul, Ph.D., left, President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., right, and Trustee Steven Alexander, ’85, leading the way.



Stetson Graduates 922 Students Stetson conferred bachelor’s and master’s degrees to 662 graduates during three commencement ceremonies in May. Furthermore, Stetson’s College of Law conferred law degrees to 260 graduates. As is the Stetson tradition, Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., university president, gave the charge and placed a duty and responsibility upon the graduates. On Friday evening, May 9, 171 graduate students received master’s degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business Administration. Sam Slaughter, a Master of Arts in English graduate, was the student speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony. After graduation, he will work as tap room manager and assistant brewer with DeLand’s new craft brewery, Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company. In addition, he plans to begin work on his second novel. Lauren Hall, Executive MBA graduate, was the student speaker for the School of Business Administration. As part of the EMBA program, Hall had the opportunity to study abroad with Stetson in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Singapore. She plans to pursue a lifelong career within the travel and tourism industry. At two undergraduate commencement ceremonies, students in the School of Business Administration, the School of Music and the College of Arts and Sciences received bachelor’s degrees. Jeremy Goldberg, studying finance and statistics, was the School of Business Administration student speaker for this ceremony. During his senior year, he spent most of his time in the Roland George Investments Program lab as captain of Stetson’s Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) team. He plans to pursue a master’s in finance at Washington University in St. Louis. Representing the School of

Music as student speaker, Ariel Arthur graduated with a Bachelor of Music in orchestral performance, specializing in cello. She has performed as co-principal cellist with both the Stetson University Symphonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra. In addition, she has placed in several competitions, including honorable mention in the MTNA Young Artist Competition – Regional Division, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra/Substitute Cellist award, several talent scholarships, and the National League of American Pen Women Award. The commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences featured two student speakers. Sonja James-Gaitor, social science major, was one of two student speakers for the College of Arts and Sciences. A married mother of four, she has been actively involved as the founder and president of the NonTraditional Student Organization as well as a FOCUS orientation leader. In addition, she volunteers at the Daytona Beach Department of Juvenile Justice Detention Center working with at-risk juveniles and plans to continue her work there after graduation. Michelle Vergara, the second student speaker, graduated with a self-defined major in behavioral economics. After graduation, she plans to work as a sales and marketing associate at the Advisory Board Co. in Washington, D.C. Adam Liptak, lawyer, author and New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, addressed 260 graduates of Stetson’s College of Law on May 17. Liptak was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his series “American Exception” and writes the popular “Sidebar” column on legal developments for The New York Times. Liptak has investigated topics including the rise in life sentences in the U.S. and the impact of campaign contributions on Ohio Supreme Court justices’ voting records. Among the 260 students walk-

ing at Stetson Law’s commencement were 192 full-time students, 43 part-time J.D. students, six LL.M. in elder law students, eight LL.M. in international law students, two J.D./Grad students, one J.D./Master of International Economic and Comparative Law student and eight J.D./MBA students. Stetson also presented several awards during its commencement to outstanding students and exemplary faculty. The William Hugh McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching, considered Stetson’s most prestigious award for faculty, was presented to Eric Kurlander, Ph.D., professor and chair of history. Kurlander was presented the Hand Award for Scholarly Achievement in 2006. He has held several fellowships abroad: The ThyssenHeideking (German Historical Institute) Writing Fellowship at the University of Cologne (200708); the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship for work in Bonn and Berlin (2007-08); and the Fulbright Scholar Grant, which he held while teaching at the Freiburg Padagogische Hochschule in Germany in 2012. This year’s Hand Award for Research, Creative and Professional Activity was presented to three outstanding teacher-scholars: • Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., associate professor of teacher education. Her nominators noted that “she consistently demonstrates her commitment to personal growth, intellectual development and global citizenship, both in the Stetson community and the community beyond.” • Alicia Schultheis, Ph.D., associate professor of biology. Her nominators wrote that she “disseminates the results of her research through publications in top-ranked scientific journals, as well as through presentations at national and regional meetings, and has successfully garnered both internal and external funding to support students in lab experiences … for graduate programs at major research institutions.”

• Timothy Peter, D.M.A., music professor and director of choral activities. His nominators wrote that “he excels at supporting his students and colleagues here while maintaining a competitive profile for the rest of the nation to examine. He has elevated the national and international exposure of our program, while also engaging generously locally and regionally.” The John Hague Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences celebrates Stetson’s tradition of excellence in teaching and its devotion to scholarship, morality and friendship. This year’s recipient was Michael Denner, Ph.D., associate professor of Russian studies and director of the University Honors Program. Two graduating seniors — Jay DeDon, a music education major, and Alice Le, a double major in music and pre-med — received the top student honor, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Outstanding members of this year’s law graduating class include: • Shivani Alamo, an advocate for children and education reform who won the prestigious New Generation Award, a special Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth. • Kevin Crews, a gifted writer who won both the 2013 and 2014 Florida Law Student Essay Contest. Crews also helped his team win the 2013 National Veterans Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. • Bradley Muhs, articles and symposia editor of the Stetson Law Review and an associate justice of Stetson’s award-winning Moot Court Board. • R. Rockwell Seay, a member of Stetson’s Trial Team, who helped his fellow students sweep the Florida Bar Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition. • Elizabeth “Niki” Strickland, a U.S. Army Captain and dedicated Stetson student ambassador and student mentor. —Mary Anne Rogers & Brandi Palmer STETSON



Business Named Best for Veterans

Law Professor Kirsten K. Davis directs Stetson’s renowned legal research and writing program.

Stetson Law Named Number 1 For the 16th time, U.S. News and World Report ranked Stetson University College of Law first in trial advocacy. Stetson also is ranked sixth in the nation for legal writing and is listed among the top 100 law schools in the country. “It goes without saying that the advocacy program at our College of Law is outstanding and the best known of the many excellent programs at the college,” says Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. “We take great pride in graduating students who are courtroom-ready, who, through their outstanding advocacy and communications skills, need very little additional training in working and representing clients,” Libby adds. “We know that when you see a Stetson lawyer, you are seeing competency and professionalism in action.” “Effective advocacy is one of a successful lawyer’s most important skills, and Stetson’s commitment to teaching advocacy is unmatched,” says Dean Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz. 8


“We are proud that this has always been one of our core strengths.” Stetson has been recognized as the top law school for trial advocacy 16 times since the category ranking began in 1995. Stetson recently expanded these programs with the start of a new online journal and LL.M. degree program in advocacy. “Stetson’s leadership in advocacy education is reflected in the accomplishments of our competitive teams, our ‘practice-ready’ approach to teaching the law, as well as our academic programs and conferences focused on advocacy,” says Charles H. Rose III, professor of excellence in trial advocacy at Stetson. “Our faculty are committed to equipping students with the indemand ability to be effective legal communicators,” says Kirsten K. Davis, Stetson’s director of legal research and writing. “And our new Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication builds upon that commitment by providing a home for both legal writing research and education. We are honored to be recognized for our dedication to legal communication excellence.” —Brandi Palmer Above photo by Brian Vandervliet

When it comes to veterans seeking a business degree, Stetson is a perfect fit, according to Military Times, which named Stetson’s School of Business Administration a “Best for Vets: Business Schools” in its annual 2014 rankings. Military Times named Stetson University School of Business Administration as the 46th best school in the nation for veterans to attend. Overall, schools were evaluated in five categories: university culture, student support, academic outcomes and quality, academic policies, and cost and financial aid. The value of each section was comparable, but university culture and student support counted the most, and financial aid counted the least. Stetson prides itself on creating an environment suitable to veterans while offering many different resources to aid in their success. The university has committed $800,000 to offset the cost of education to a limited number of military veterans in all fulltime and part-time undergraduate and graduate programs as part of its participation in the G.I. Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Program. “The post-9/11 G.I. Bill covers my tuition for the first semester, then Stetson covers the second semester so that I can go to school for the full year without any student loans,” says Stetson student Christopher Griffin, who served as a medic in the Army. Stetson also has been recognized as a “Military Friendly School” the past two years. This designation is given to colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students. Stetson’s Veterans Law Institute also provides legal services to the growing population of military members, veterans and their families in the Tampa Bay area. —Janie Graziani

Choir Performs at Lincoln Center While most students were looking forward to spring break as a chance to kick back, relax and work on a tan, the 52-voice Stetson University Concert Choir went to the Big Apple to perform at Lincoln Center. Regarded as one of the finest undergraduate university choirs in the country, the highly selective 52-voice Stetson University Concert Choir, under the direction of Timothy Peter, D.M.A., director of Choral Activities, began Stetson’s Concert Choir 2014 Spring Tour on Mar. 1. With performances scheduled in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New York, the choir performed in churches, concert halls, and high schools in five states along the East Coast, and ultimately in Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

Professor Timothy Peter directs the Concert Choir back home in Stetson’s Lee Chapel after their New York City performance.

The concerts featured works written by Tallis, Stanford, Ives and Vaughan Williams, as well as a diverse group of sacred and secular choral works and folk songs. There were also two new pieces by Dr. Kevin Isaacs from Western Connecticut University and Stetson University’s own Professor of Music and Music Theory Janis Kindred. Performing with the choir in New York City was university organist and Price Professor of Organ Boyd Jones and Tammy Miller, adjunct professor of music, keyboard and collaborative piano. The choir was also joined in New York by Stetson alumnus and Metropolitan Opera Competition winner Donovan Singletary, ’06. Singletary received his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Stetson and pursued additional music studies at the Mannes College of Music in New York City. Singletary won the Met’s thenGeneral Director Joseph Volpe

Award. He also finished the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera. “The 2014 choir tour marked an exciting era for Stetson University performing on the national stage as we promoted musical excellence and experiential learning through multiple concert performances and transformational opportunities for our students,” says Peter. “We connected with loyal Stetson alumni, built relationships with prospective students and their influencers, and celebrated the joy of singing with many new people,” he adds. “Our students worked very hard in rehearsals, and they are outstanding leaders in their academic work and musical talents,” asserts Peter. “This was an incredible experience,” says Drew Neitzey, Stetson student who sings bass with the choir. —Mary Anne Rogers

Tuition, Fees Rise at Lowest Rate Stetson University’s Board of Trustees recently approved a 4.5-percent ($1,710) increase in undergraduate tuition to $39,690, while keeping student fees at $350, which will bring the annual bill to $40,040. Although the increase may not be welcome, it is in line with national trends. According to a survey by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, tuition and fees at the nation’s private schools rose by 3.9 percent last year. And that’s the good news. The survey shows that tuition and fees are rising at the lowest rate in at least 40 years. Before 2008, increases in tuition at the nation’s private schools averaged 6 percent per year for a 10-year period. Stetson’s success over the past

few years has played a part in the need to increase tuition, according to university administration. In 2013, Stetson had its largest incoming class in the history of the university with more than 900 new students. A burgeoning athletics program played a part in that success, as did a concentrated effort by admission and marketing to attract new students. The flip side is that more students drive up not only costs but other needs as well. “These increases in enrollment are welcome and help create a more robust academic program with new faculty, enhanced academic support, technology advancement and other expenses that tuition doesn’t completely cover,” says Robert Huth, chief financial officer. In fact, Stetson spends more on educating each student than what is collected for tuition. According to Huth, Stetson spends $51,067 per student on tuition-related costs. The difference between what is spent and the new tuition rate is 21.6 percent — a difference that is covered largely by endowment, donor gifts and grants to the university. These funds help to increase the value of a Stetson education as well as help care for its facilities. Several large renovation projects — including HVAC, roofs, faculty offices and classrooms — are planned for Elizabeth, Emily, Chaudoin, McMahan, Nemec and University halls. To get the most out of the college experience, Provost Beth Paul, Ph.D., suggests that students capitalize on one of Stetson’s most important investments — its professors. “Take full advantage of the time, knowledge and research activity that professors invest in their students both in and out of the classroom. Capitalize on the expertise that surrounds you,” says Paul. “This experience makes a Stetson education valuable for a lifetime,” Paul adds. —Janie Graziani STETSON



Law Begins 3+3 With Stetson While most university curricula require seven years for students to receive their bachelor’s and law degrees to become an attorney, Stetson’s 3+3 program provides highly motivated and focused students a quicker and more financially advantageous way of obtaining both degrees. Students in the recently revised accelerated program spend three years at Stetson pursuing a liberal arts or business degree and then enter Stetson’s College of Law in their fourth year of study. “This program is an attractive impetus to choose Stetson as an undergraduate program,” says T. Wayne Bailey, Ph.D., professor of political science and chair of Stetson’s Pre-Law Committee. “Although demanding, studying only six instead of seven years, along with gaining two degrees, affords the student the saving of their fourth year of undergraduate tuition, helping them to start their legal careers much sooner and with less debt,” says Eric Kurlander, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of History and a member of the committee. “This agreement among Stetson’s undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration and College of Law represents the strong will of the faculty to support students who want to go into the legal profession and make their Stetson experience both rigorous and effectual,” says Dean of Stetson’s College of Arts and Sciences Karen Ryan, Ph.D. “This program is yet another strong reason for top students to choose Stetson,” says Dean and Professor of Law Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz. “A Stetson education seamlessly blends broad educational perspective with professional experience,” he continues. “Our students apply Stetson values to solve real-world problems by assisting clients and our communities.” STETSON

Stetson’s College of Law also announced an accelerated 3+3 program in April of 2013 with the University of South Florida and a similar 3+3 partnership with University of West Florida starting in August 2015. —Mary M. McCambridge

Stetson Marketing Wins 11 Awards Stetson University Marketing won 11 communications awards from CASE III (Council for Advancement and Support of Education, District III), including three Grand Awards, the district’s highest honor. “These prestigious awards put us among the best university, college and independent school marketing programs in the region,” says Greg Carroll, vice president for Stetson University Marketing. “We’re building a model marketing program for Stetson, and these awards from our peers show one aspect of that effort.” “I’m quite proud of the work coming out of our University Marketing Office,” says Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. “The marketing and enrollment services staffs have helped us grow our enrollment through strategic communications that get results,” Libby adds. The three Grand Awards were for three student recruitment pieces: VISUAL, the magazine sent to prospective students and their families, for green or sustainable publication; the design of the “World Dare” brochure to recruit international students; and the design of an individual print ad titled “Dare to Be Significant.” University Marketing also won three Awards of Excellence for feature writing in stetson magazine for “The Future of Teaching”; the School of Music brochure for recruitment publication; and the design of the “We Dare You” single-page recruitment piece. Additionally, Stetson won five Special Merit Awards for periodi-

cal design of VISUAL magazine; the “Dare to Be Significant” miniviewbook for recruitment publication; design for the “Dracula” theater poster; electronic digital media campaign titled #stetsonupic Crowdsourced Instagram/ Facebook Weekly Contest; and online innovation/experimentation for the College of Law’s Preferred Candidate Cross-Media Campaign. CASE’s criteria for the awards include writing, editing, professional execution of publications, design, technical quality and creativity. CASE is a nonprofit organization whose members believe that “education improves lives.” —Bill Noblitt

Stetson Law Tops for Hispanics Stetson’s College of Law again ranks among the top 20 law schools in the nation for Hispanic students, according to the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine. Stetson Law ranks 20th among the top 25 law schools across the country conferring the most degrees to Hispanics. Hispanic Outlook compiled the ranking using the U.S. News and World Report diversity index. Stetson Law’s Hispanic students have established a strong tradition of community and public service. Students in Stetson Law’s Hispanic Bar Association participate in a variety of volunteer activities and legal workshops for the Hispanic community. Spanish-speaking HBA members help break down language barriers, serving as translators to pro bono clients at local legal-aid organizations. The American Bar Association also has honored Stetson’s Hispanic Bar Association for its work with the Hispanic National Bar Association’s minority youth outreach and mentoring programs. Stetson Law’s 2013 J.D. entering class included 20 percent minority students. —Brandi Palmer

Assistant Accounting Professor Maria Rickling notes that helping others with their taxes is a “great way of applying learned tax concepts in the real world.”

Help With Taxes For several years Stetson has served as a site for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). This year marks the first year that the program is being run predominantly by Stetson accounting students with periodic assistance provided by the United Way. Student volunteers received their IRS certification at a two-day training session, and returning stuPhoto by Jason Jones

dent volunteer Randal Minnear, ’14, served as the Stetson site coordinator. In partnership with the IRS and the United Way, VITA is a program that provides tax preparation services to local, qualifying families. IRS-certified volunteers provide basic income tax returns with electronic filing, free of charge. “By April 15, our site prepared over 200 returns, servicing an average of 12 families each night,” asserts Maria Rickling, Ph.D.,

assistant professor of accounting at Stetson, who specializes in auditing, business ethics, corporate governance and more. “Although Stetson has served as a VITA site for several years, this is the first year that it has operated through the Department of Accounting within Stetson’s School of Business Administration. Since preparing taxes is an accounting function, it made sense to have accounting students work and operate the VITA program at Stetson.

“It’s a great way of applying learned tax concepts in the real world,” she adds. “In other words, it allows for experiential learning. Thus, as the faculty adviser to Beta Alpha Psi (an honors organization for students majoring in accounting, finance, and business systems analysis), I decided to make the VITA program the community service event for BAP and have the members, along with Accounting Professor Jud Stryker’s (Ph.D.) spring tax class, run the program.

“This program is important,” adds Rickling. “Local, qualifying families are receiving free tax preparation, while our students are gaining hands-on learning of accounting (tax) concepts and also learning professionalism, courtesy, and customer service and communication skills. “I look forward to having this program continue to serve our students and our community far into the future.” —George Salis STETSON



Ulmer Named VP Stetson has named Jeffrey A. Ulmer vice president for development and alumni engagement. Ulmer joins Stetson from the University of Central Florida, where he served as assistant vice president for fundraising at multiple academic colleges. Before that, Ulmer was responsible for setting the strategic direction for UCF’s athletic development program. “I am excited to join the distinguished community of faculty, staff and students at Stetson,”says Ulmer. “I look forward to working with President Wendy Libby (Ph.D.) and Stetson’s vibrant alumni community to advance the national and international prominence of this great university.” Ulmer was selected following a national search. As vice president for development and alumni engagement, he will provide strategic vision, focus and direction for Stetson’s development and alumni relations efforts. He also will provide innovative leadership in annual and comprehensive campaigns, corporation and foundation relations, planned giving, major gifts, donor relations and stewardship, and prospect research and management. “Jeff is coming to Stetson at an important time because of the rapid, positive trajectory the university is on,” says Libby. “We were attracted by Jeff’s strong track record in relationship building with alumni, donors and friends, as well as his team-building capabilities. “We are thrilled to have Jeff join our staff, and we are confident that he is the right person to lead the Office of Development during 12


this exciting time,” adds Libby. “It is a real plus that he knows Central Florida and the greater Orlando business community. His varied experience in academics and athletics will serve us well.” Before working with UCF, Ulmer was president of the University of Mississippi Athletics Association Foundation, executive director of development for athletics and the National Commodore Club at Vanderbilt University, and assistant dean for development and alumni relations at Vanderbilt University Law School. He also worked in development for the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A 1985 graduate of the University of Florida, Ulmer is a former assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. —Janie Graziani

DeLand Is Best in Central Florida DeLand, home of Stetson, has been voted the Best “Other” Downtown in Central Florida by Orlando Sentinel readers. Touted as a small town treasure, DeLand is the county seat of Volusia County, and a “college town” with Stetson’s campus classified as a National Historic District. “DeLand ran away with the title,” reported Beth Kassab in the Orlando Sentinel. This was the Sentinel’s first “Other” Best Downtown bracket competition. “As a Hatter, I was excited to see how much pride our university alumni, faculty, staff and students take in our community,” says City Manager Michael Pleus, ’94, MBA ’99. “Stetson played a key role in securing the votes necessary to emerge the winner of the contest as Central Florida’s Best ‘Other’ Downtown – Go Hatters!” —Mary Anne Rogers

Celebrating 10 Years at Stetson Chaplain Michael Fronk, ’74, has had a long and prosperous history with Stetson. Not only is he a leader in the DeLand community, but he has been chaplain at Stetson for 10 years. He graduated from Stetson with a degree in religious studies, and he’s the father of two Stetson alumni. “Stetson has shaped me as a person in a number of ways, certainly academically and intellectually,” explains Fronk. “It was very helpful to my faith pilgrimage. Stetson was a place of values that I thought was refreshing. They challenged my idea of what education could be. You weren’t just a number. “I have too many good memories,” Fronk adds with a smile. “Some of them are memories of friendships in which discussions and new ideas stretched me to ask questions I wouldn’t have asked before. Also many great speakers visited Stetson when I was attending, such as Ralph Nader. Even the band ‘Yes’ came and played in the Pit in the middle of fraternity row when they were just starting out. There are so many great memories. Overall, it’s an education I’ve taken with me forever.” In 1979, Fronk went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He worked full time as a pastor in various churches in both Indiana and Florida until 1986, when he began serving as chaplain for the Independent Funeral Directors of Florida for 12 years before becoming chaplain of Stetson in 2004. “I love being back; it’s an emotional thing,” Fronk says. “There is something unique about Stetson University that I’ve always been infatuated with. It’s been 10 years since I started in the chaplain position, but it feels like yesterday. Being here has been wonderful. It really feels like home.” “Michael’s contributions to the

Chaplain Michael Fronk celebrates 10 years at Stetson.

Stetson community have been tremendous,” says Vice President for Student Affairs Christopher Kandus-Fisher. “He has been a sensitive and caring leader who deeply wants to assist faculty, staff and students in their spiritual journey,” he adds. “As we continue to support the university’s value of personal growth, the work that Michael has done will certainly contribute to advancing the conversation about religion and spirituality.” As anyone who enters his campus office and sees the multitude of religious symbols displayed on his desk — including a little golden Ganesha of the Hindu faith and a dreidel of the Jewish faith — Photo by Jason Jones

would immediately recognize that Fronk is truly an interfaith advocate. He is also part of the Values Committee Steering Team as a member of the Religious/Spiritual Life Council. Fronk conducts a service called The Gathering every Sunday at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel. “The Gathering is, ideally, where the community gets together for a time of remembrance, meditation and reflection,” says Fronk. “It’s not a church service, but it’s a short, informal, warm service of no particular denomination where one can really feel the spirit of God or the spirit of the universe. “In January, we reflected on

the end of Martin Luther King Jr. Week. We had the amazing talent of the School of Music play ‘Elijah Rock,’ which is a song that was sung during the civil rights movement. “It’s a way of reflecting on civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, and more than just AfricanAmerican issues — but any issues where there’s injustice,” he says. Fronk also hosts a monthly Fridays@Noon in Lee Chapel. “We typically have an interfaith experience,” Fronk says. “We’ve had a Jewish experience during Rosh Hashanah. We also cooperate with Stetson’s Food Services, and they’ll make foods that complement each tradition. We’ve had

Hari Pulapaka, Ph.D., associate professor of math, successful chef and culinary genius, talk about Hindu celebrations, and he did the cooking and talked about the cuisine. We’ve also had a Bahá’í faith experience, which very few people are familiar with. “We had a Wicca experience recently. There are misconceptions about what Wicca is, and people don’t know much about it, so we had one of our alumni lead an understanding of it.” Fronk always has something interesting planned for his monthly events. “Those in our Secular Student Association share the beliefs of people who say they don’t need

a god,” says Fronk. “It was titled ‘Good Without God.’ And so it’s another perspective of making values and values decisions because not everyone is theistic. On a college campus, we should begin to examine other ways of making moral and value decisions. “Many students are really interested in different faiths and different ways of approaching faith, so the events have been packed,” Fronk points out. “Michael is committed to Stetson University,” says KandusFisher. “He is an essential part of our rich history and will continue to be part of the university’s prosperous future.” — George Salis STETSON


s te ts o n’s co m m it m ent to va lu es

Walking theTalk A Walk Across Stetson Shows How the University Lives Its Values


B y

R o b e r t

S i t l e r ,

P h . D .

Stetson’s Values Commitment Steering Team Leader

’m a devoted walker. I’ve hiked with my family to ancient temples set in the rice fields of rural India, wandered the sands of the Arabian Empty Quarter, strolled in the shady Alsace woods of France, ascended into the cloud forest of northwest Argentina, and savored the company of kindly Maya elders while visiting remote native communities in the Guatemalan highlands. While

walking, I’ve learned from diverse peoples around the globe about what they hold most sacred.



Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Robert Sitler takes a walk around campus and reports on Stetson’s values accomplishments. STETSON


And I’ve enjoyed private moments on the trail while contemplating my own values. Similarly, my short daily walk from our 124-year-old home to teach at Stetson offers built-in time for reflection as well as the chance to learn from those in the university community I meet along the way. On today’s walk, I look back on my nearly two decades of irrepressible attention to Stetson’s values commitments. I admit to feeling dissatisfied with our efforts toward greater inclusivity of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities among our faculty and staff. It’s a challenge that the university has long struggled to address. I also have lingering concerns about landscaping chemicals on our campuses. And I feel unhappy that many of us in the university community have yet to embrace genuinely healthy lifestyles. These feelings of disappointment, however, soon give way to the reality of a Stetson that has recently made substantive progress in several problem areas. In fact, Stetson deserves national recognition for the way it empowers individuals to develop and integrate their own unique set of personal values. It’s what makes Stetson distinctive. Today, my first steps on campus take me past Stetson President Wendy B. Libby’s home. Her home’s landscaping encompasses plants primarily native to Florida, a state where invasive species are an especially critical threat to our natural heritage. The university’s early commitment to using native landscaping materials was a national first in higher education. Those actions demonstrate the extraordinary depth of our commitment to environmental responsibility and providing a fitting expression of the “green” in our school colors. Since Libby’s arrival on campus several years ago, the university has planted more than 1,000 native trees and more than 7,000 native shrubs. Stetson is literally becoming greener every year. After crossing Woodland Boulevard, I pass McMahan Hall and am reminded of Stetson’s nationally renowned School of Music, the first college music program in Florida. Its 47 faculty members pass on their formidable skills to a select group of some 200 outstanding student instrumentalists, vocalists and those from many other musical arenas. The astonishing mindbody coordination and the enhanced emotional development of these gifted musicians serve as models of balanced intellectual development and personal growth for the entire Stetson community. Those who live near the school have their soundscape enriched by enchanting classical guitar melodies, soaring young voices, and other musical delights. Across Michigan Avenue sits the Lynn 16


University Values Team Leader and Spanish Professor Robert Sitler teaches his students on the steps of Sampson Hall.

Business Center, the first LEED-certified building in Florida. It’s a place where the structure itself teaches valuable lessons about sustainability to the next generation of business leaders. LEED-certified represents the distinguished recognition of a building that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. In the LBC classrooms, our business professors increasingly infuse values learning approaches into a wide variety of courses. For example, associate business professors Gary and Becky Oliphant (both Ph.D.) were inspired by a Semester at Sea with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who spoke at Stetson in 1991 and whose efforts helped end South African apartheid. That experience led the Oliphants to create a Stetson chapter of Enactus, a group “committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.” Ethical considerations now form an integral part of every Stetson business student’s education. They learn that the green in Stetson’s school colors can symbolize both environmental awareness and financial success. Farther east is Stetson’s second LEED building, the Rinker Environmental Learning Center, and the Gillespie Museum of Minerals. These facilities inform both Stetson students and thousands of visiting schoolchildren with rigorously science-based perspectives concerning local and global environmental issues. Behind the Rinker Center is the innovative Above photo by Joel Jones

Volusia Sandhill Ecosystem, a project that will re-establish an area of the Stetson campus with vegetation like that which existed there before the arrival of Europeans. The area includes longleaf pines, wiregrass, persimmon and black cherry. This teaching landscape will serve as a unique educational tool for our students and Central Floridians. Behind the Gillespie Museum sits a freshly renovated dual-purpose structure. On the ground floor is the Innovation House, a space where intellectual exploration can literally take shape using a 3-D printer. Here, students create prototypes of their creative ideas. On the second floor is the Casa Cultural Latina, which will serve as an expansion of the university’s long-standing commitment to local Latino communities. Casa will especially aid Mexican-American farmworkers working to develop their English and computer skills. It will also serve as a special space for our rapidly growing Latino student population, now nearly 400 strong, along with their non-Latino friends wanting to enhance their cross-cultural awareness. Newly hired Assistant Spanish Professor Pamela Cappas-Toro, Ph.D., Stetson’s first faculty member of Puerto Rican ancestry, will run Casa. Interestingly, she is an Army veteran with rich experience in volunteer work. Similarly, Stetson’s College of Law this year was placed among the top 20 law schools in the nation for Hispanic students. The College of Law can also boast of its own ABA-honored Stetson Hispanic Bar Association, widely recog-

nized for its pro bono community work. As I turn north through the heart of campus, I see the rapidly growing diversity among the faces of our student body. Nearly one-third of Stetson students are now from minority populations or part of an expanding group of international students. They are literal embodiments of our commitment to global citizenship. Likewise, Stetson’s recently developed strategic map will transform us into a model of inclusive excellence by recruiting even more minority faculty and staff members to serve as role models and mentors for our increasingly diverse student population. As I walk past historic DeLand Hall, I note the huge strides the university has made in gender equity. Not only is our president a woman but also the provost and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. If my department chair is included, I currently have four female bosses, a fact I am always proud to share. Stetson has had similar success in welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, staff, administrators and faculty. The university community has worked hard to cultivate a campus where people from vastly different backgrounds can feel both safe and supported. Passing the Carlton Union Building (the CUB), I am reminded of the radically enhanced food options now available in the Commons. Health and sustainability have become essential dimensions of the university’s food offerings. Through a new partnership with

Chartwells, the Commons now serves cage-free eggs, sustainably harvested seafood, and hormone-free milk, and composts all of its food preparation waste. Vegans, those with gluten sensitivity, and vegetarians like myself can now find a variety of tasty and nutritious options. Baked tofu burritos with a side of guacamole and fresh pico de gallo have become my “go to” option between classes. After the CUB, I walk past the Hollis Center, noting the array of solar panels on the roof that heat the facility’s popular swimming pool. Inside, students enhance their physical well-being with the latest gym equipment, and a wide variety of fitness classes, from Zumba to yoga, that help maintain a healthy balance with Stetson’s rigorous intellectual life. The Hollis Center also educates students about the dangers of substance abuse, efforts that have successfully led to the university becoming a tobacco- and smoke-free campus in fall 2014. Farther north, I come to a series of valuesoriented buildings. First are those for Student Health Services and the Counseling Center, with the latter serving nearly 10 percent of Stetson students in the past year. Next is the Center for Community Engagement, which helps students find the “sweet spot” by connecting their passion with a need in the community. Students learn through direct experience by working with local, regional and international communities through volunteer opportunities and community-based research. One door down is the vibrant Cross Cultural Center (Tri-C). The Tri-C provides multicultural education throughout the campus community and serves as a home away from home for underrepresented students and commuters. Under the dynamic leadership of Director of Diversity and Inclusion Yolany Gonell, the Tri-C now includes five strategic areas designed to support Stetson’s commitment to global citizenship and multiculturalism: Safe Zone LGBT program, Interfaith Initiatives, First Generation program, Multicultural Student Council and Intercultural programming. All have a cuttingedge focus on the intersection of identities. The Tri-C now offers practical and engaging initiatives focusing on spirituality, religion and interfaith understanding and even opportunities for those without a particular faith tradition. Our newly hired Assistant Director of Interfaith Initiatives Lindsey Graves heads these efforts. Her work, combined with the creative efforts of our beloved Chaplain Michael Fronk, is expanding both the breadth and depth of the university’s commitment to personal growth. Just a few more steps farther north, I come

Our university is already well along the road to integrating our ideals. Stetson is now starting to open its stride and ‘walk the talk’ about its values.

to the WORLD: International Learning Center. WORLD not only facilitates campus life for our rapidly growing number of international students but also sends an ever-increasing number of Stetson students to study abroad sites around the planet. Our students do truly become global citizens through this direct personal experience. The award-winning professionals at WORLD tell me that we now have semester exchange programs in 20 sites around the globe, as well as hundreds of other international opportunities. To my delighted surprise, I learned that about one-third of Stetson students study abroad before graduation. My campus walk has inevitably left out numerous aspects of the university’s values work. Our most recent full-time faculty searches, for example, have had some success in attracting minority candidates. A deeper understanding of how to be truly healthy seems to be taking hold, and our environmental sciences programs are preparing to expand dramatically. Our new Social Justice Lecture Series was inaugurated just this past semester. This fall, our first Values Fellows will arrive, students with scholarships tied directly to their interest in values exploration and its practical application. And on Sept. 16, we will welcome Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D., associate professor of New Testament and chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco, as our Values Day keynote speaker. He will teach us about contemplative prayer and about inclusivity in a religious context. Our university is already well along the road to integrating our ideals. Stetson is now starting to open its stride and truly “walk the talk” about its values. As a devoted walker, I see the obstacles on the trail ahead as welcome opportunities for learning and enrichment of our collective spirit. õ STETSON


Stetson’s own values-filled journey defines its character. By Bill Noblitt One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.” —Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Values Quest 18



you come to a fork in the road,


And that’s what happens when we don’t reflect about our deepest held values. As Law Professor Michael Allen, J.D., asserts: “When you come to an intersection, you’re making a choice. You can turn left or you can turn right or even go straight. It’s important to recognize that we make choices all the time. People need to ask themselves if the choices they make are the right ones. If they don’t ask the question, they may never know.” The quest to understand our values, then, is a labyrinthine journey filled with sharp turns and unexpected forks in the road. Our choices are rarely black and white but shades of gray. In fact, values are complex things that often reflect emotion, especially in the realms of spirituality and politics. In our search for objective truth, the values road can have emotional potholes. Can we hold values without putting them up to the light of truth?

As Plato quotes Socrates: “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Stetson’s own values-filled journey defines its character. The pitfalls are many. When the university holds values, such as gender equity and a sustainable Earthly environment, does it mean that it must inculcate these ideas into those within its community? This is a question explored and debated since the early days of Stetson’s Values Council. To be clear, most every organization and many universities and colleges have a set of values they tout and attempt to hold onto. For example, Apple Computer’s values: “We build products that extend human capability, freeing people from drudgery and helping them achieve more than they could alone. But beyond that, we expect to make this world a better place to live. As a corporate citizen, we wish to be an economic, intellectual, and social asset in communities where we operate.”



Google’s values statement is even simpler: “You can make money without doing evil.” What are values, and how do you differentiate them from ethics? Quite simply, values are ideas and things you care about. They help guide you through the labyrinth of right and wrong. Ethics are the rules groups develop for their members to keep them on the right path or, if not, to suffer banishment. Doctors and lawyers, for example, have codes of ethics.


Values Discussion or Indoctrination? And that’s the question. When a university or college adopts values, is it seeking to say to its community, “This is what you must believe?” Of all places, this values issue came up in a strategic planning discussion with a large group from the Stetson community. One of those participants suggested that the university’s core theme should clearly state: “Establish Stetson as the university of choice for values-based solutions to complex challenges.” But then someone else at the meeting challenged that statement as being too religious. “It makes Stetson sound less inclusive,” he declared. “I’m Jewish, and it makes it sound like I don’t belong here.” I puzzled over that remark. After all, Stetson’s core values are clearly stated on its website. Values seem to spread throughout the place. I chimed in: “Couldn’t this also mean our Judeo-Christian values?” Yet, maybe I wasn’t looking at the word from that person’s perspective. For example, it’s customary to find a faith-based university’s mission embodying an “education for values.” However, can a nonsectarian university, such as Stetson, say the same thing? And does the word smack of indoctrination or inculcation of certain values? For instance, we talk about family values, but what exactly does that mean? Do we mean that a family should be made up only of a man and woman and their children, or could it mean something else quite different, maybe a loving couple of the same sex? In other words, whose values are we talking about here? Why should one word that seems to be something to rally a community behind become something that instead splits that community apart? I put the question to Allen: “Words have meaning and connotations,” he says. “In the political world in which we live, ‘valuesbased’ can be equated with certain far-right expressions.” Can we discuss values at a university then? “I think we can,” Allen says. “If we look at the



value of biblical tenets, for example, that would be much more about indoctrination. But if we look at the value of a commitment to human dignity and the commitment to serving society, these are different things.” Allen says these are more pluralistic rather than “narrow.” “The value of being a champion for the poor or the value of capitalism,” he adds, “are all worthy explorations for a university.” This kind of approach, according to Allen, “allows students to be free thinkers and problem solvers.” In his constitutional law class, for instance, Allen notes that the students reviewed the case of Westboro Baptist Church members. These church members would protest at soldiers’ funerals because they believed the U.S. stance on same-sex marriage caused God to take these servicemen’s and women’s lives. “It went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court upheld their right to protest at soldiers’ funerals,” Allen says. “In the court’s ruling, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recognized that these were hurtful actions. However, he said that the Westboro parishioners had the right of freedom of expression that’s protected by the First Amendment. “That’s the question I want students to recognize when we review cases like this one,” he explains. “They need to think about laws as embodying values, but at the same time, they need to understand that the law may sometimes go against their personal ones.” Furthermore, no one interviewed for this article believes Stetson students are indoctrinated into its values. “On the contrary,” says Spanish Professor and the Values Steering Team Leader Robert Sitler, Ph.D., “we’re encouraging individuals to explore these values with us and to think about what they really do value. Our values help us orient our thinking so we can encourage people to explore what they believe is important themselves.” Sitler gives religion as an example: “There is nobody pushing any particular religious ideology on our campus. I don’t think there is anybody pushing anything on anybody as far as I can see.” Yet, the question about indoctrination is a legitimate one.


The Origin Story The university’s website asserts: “Stetson University’s mission is to provide an education in a creative community where learning and values meet.” Stetson’s values have been hashed and rehashed since the early 1990s but have remained mostly intact. How these values commitments came to

‘Stetson University’s mission is to provide an education in a creative community where learning and values meet.’

be took place in the mid-1990s when Stetson broke from the Florida Baptist Convention. Any discussion about the origin of Stetson’s values quest has to begin with former Stetson President H. Douglas Lee, Ph.D. Lee was the son of a Baptist minister in Danville, Va. In fact, his father was one of the few Southern white ministers who bravely aligned himself with leaders of the civil rights movement. “Doug grew up in that context and in a home where equality and social justice were part of your faith and how you should live your life,” explains Linda Davis, ’73, special adviser to the president for philanthropy and a member of Lee’s cabinet at the time. In addition, it’s difficult to separate the university’s values quest from its history. For example, Stetson plays a major role in William H. Brackney’s book Congregation and Campus: Baptists in Higher Education. Brackney traces Stetson University’s lineage back to former Baptist universities Brown and the University of Chicago. In fact, for a short period in 1899, Stetson was affiliated with the University of Chicago. This arrangement allowed Stetson students “with high marks (to) receive a Chicago degree upon doing minimal additional work,” Brackney writes. He further explains that in early American history “Baptists in higher education were as progressive as any mainstream denomination in North America and in some cases more so.” Similarly, Religious Studies Professor Dixon Sutherland, Ph.D., makes it quite clear that the modern Southern Baptists are quite different from those in early America. “It was the Baptists who came to the defense of the Jews in early America,” says Sutherland. “And they also fought against prayer in the schools because they asked: ‘What kind of prayer are you going to pray?’ ” Stetson’s original bylaws reflected this attitude: “The purpose of Stetson University is to promote excellence in education.” End of story. “In the 1990s,” according to Brackney, “as it became apparent a permanent shift toward conservative theology in the extreme was underway in the Southern Baptist Convention, Stetson administrators made plans to move in a new direction.” The problems? “Well, they wanted to start telling Doug Lee how to run the school and what should be taught, especially in the Religious Studies Department,” recalls Sutherland. “And it was all driven from the broader takeover of the institutions by Baptist fundamentalists.” When the decision was made to separate and become a nonsectarian university, Stetson lost almost $2 million a year and the ability to STETSON


recruit students from Baptist congregations, according to Sutherland and Brackney. And there was another problem. Sutherland quotes Lee as saying: “Now that we aren’t affiliated with any denomination what do we stand for now?” “It was critical for us to communicate that values are still important to us here,” Davis remembers. “And Doug was proactive in saying we needed to welcome people of all faiths and no faith. We needed to welcome people of various sexual orientations. We needed to welcome people of various races. We needed to treat genders equally. That was really important to him and was an outgrowth of his personal faith.” Out of this belief came the Values Council in 1997. At the time, Stetson’s “Values Model” made inclusive community its central goal. Furthermore, the Values Council separately dealt with the commitments of community service, diversity, environmental responsibility, health and wellness, ethical decision-making, gender equity, and religious and spiritual life. A 1997 document states: Specific beliefs provided the foundation for our values: • The dignity, worth, and equality of all persons; • The importance of community in human life; • The inherent strength and value of diversity in any community of active learners; • The authenticity of diverse opinions and ideas, even when different from one’s own; and • The mandate for ethical decision-making and social responsibility as a central component for community. Additionally, the document asserts: “As a university, Stetson affirms that a dialogue about the quest for meaning and truth requires the exploration of all paths to fully experience authentic truth for ourselves.” Sutherland remembers that most of the council themes bubbled up from faculty, staff and students. “It wasn’t just Doug announcing we have a Values Council,” he explains, “but the Values Council was formed after two to three years of discussion that he chaired.” A values consultant even came to help the Stetson community develop its core values. That consultant advised the university to choose the values that mattered most to its community. “It was a bold Values Council,” Sutherland recalls. “There was very little on this campus that you could point to that didn’t have its synergy coming from the Values Council.” For example, the seven commitments under the Values Council, according to Sutherland, eventually influenced the curriculum. Today, most Stetson undergraduates, for instance, have

to take courses from two out of the five following values areas: Environmental Responsibility; Ethical or Spiritual Inquiry; Health and Wellness; Human Diversity; and Social Justice. “It was a real teeth-baring type of council,” Sutherland declares. “For example, there was a total review of gender equality and gender issues on campus, and there was intense interest in environmental concerns. The question was: How do we live and teach these values on campus?” Sutherland believes the Values Council changed the campus and “the way Stetson was thinking about things.”




A New Take on Values When Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., arrived on campus as Stetson’s new president, she wanted to streamline and deepen the university’s commitment to its values. In fact, the university’s first strategic plan under her leadership made values the central foundation of everything Stetson aspired to become. She charged History and American Studies Associate Professor Emily Mieras, Ph.D., and Vice President for Student Affairs Christopher Kandus-Fisher to accomplish this task. “Dr. Libby wanted a stronger connection to the work we were doing and the strategy we were putting in place,” says Kandus-Fisher. Kandus-Fisher and Mieras remember that their investigation into Stetson’s values took more than a year. “We made road trips to all the campuses as part of our research,” says Kandus-Fisher. “We listened to students, faculty and staff as well as surveyed alumni and others from the Stetson community. We received more than 1,200 responses to that survey.” In many ways, some felt disconnected from the values or didn’t even know what they were, according to Kandus-Fisher. “There was a desire for better connection,” he says. “When Chris and I were working on this project, we did a lot of research to see how other universities were integrating values, and we talked about core beliefs in values commitments,” explains Mieras. “There are a lot of schools that have mission statements that talk about values, and some of them even have a list of things like we do. “So, it’s not like this is something that no other university does, but the way that we work very consciously integrating values into the different areas of the university is distinctive,” she adds. “Having personal and social responsibility at the core of what we do is actually even embodied in our curriculum. But there’s an intellectual component to it as well.” In other words, Mieras says: “I don’t see the

‘As a university, Stetson affirms that a dialogue about the quest for meaning and truth requires the exploration of all paths to fully experience authentic truth for ourselves.’

intellectual thinking going on over there and then you have values over here. At Stetson, they’re interconnected.” Likewise, Kandus-Fisher points out that the values are not only evident in Stetson’s academics but also in the way the area of Campus Life and Student Success is now structured. “The values are real for us,” he says. “What I tell my staff, though, is that they do not need to adapt the university’s values as their personal ones, but they do need to figure out how they can personally and professionally connect Stetson’s values to the work they do here.” For example, diversity and inclusion and holistic wellness — key elements taken from the values commitments — are now departments within Campus Life and Student Success. After synthesizing the ideas from the Stetson community, then, Mieras and Kandus-Fisher suggested a revised values statement. The university’s current values statement coalesces around three broad categories: personal growth, intellectual development and global citizenship. All three have personal and social responsibility at their core. Personal growth includes intercultural competence, religious and spiritual self-awareness, and wellness. Intellectual development involves “fostering a spirit of exploration that drives an engaged and active mind, cultivating rigorous methods of academic inquiry, modeling and supporting academic inquiry and valuing creativity and professionalism.” Global citizenship includes university and individual commitments to community engagement, diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, and social justice. Guiding these core values is the Values Commitment Steering Team led by Sitler (see his article on page 14).


A Cold, Clinical Place Stanley Fish, a Milton scholar, former dean of the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Arts and Sciences, former head of the Duke English Department and a New York Times columnist, wants a cold, clinical classroom. Quite simply, he offers an opposing view and sees danger behind institutional support of certain values. The author of The Trouble With Principle and Save the World on Your Own Time, Fish sees universities as places over-saturated with political quests that get away from the search for truth, what he believes is the original mission of the university. He wants a classroom devoid of political and values-based pollution. In other words, he believes that university and college STETSON


professors should stick with what they know best — their disciplines — and teach those disciplines well. The other stuff keeps them from doing that, he postulates. “These days, everyone, whether speaking from the left or the right, says the same thing — colleges and universities are in a sorry state, and ideology is the problem,” Fish writes. Fish lampoons universities’ and colleges’ values statements. Read these, he writes, “and you will find claims and ambitions that will lead you to think that it is the job of an institution of higher learning to cure every ill the world has ever known.” Fish includes “not only illiteracy and cultural ignorance, which are at least in the ball-park, but poverty, war, racism, gender bias, bad character, discrimination, intolerance, environmental pollution, rampant capitalism, American imperialism, and the hegemony of Wal-Mart; and of course the list could be much longer. “I’m all for moral, civic and creative capacities, but I’m not sure that there is much I or anyone else could do as a teacher to develop them,” Fish declares. “Moral capacities (or their absence) have no relationship whatsoever to the reading of novels, the running of statistical programs, or the execution of laboratory procedures, all of which can produce certain skills, but not moral states.” Therefore, what should colleges and universities do? “College and university teachers can (legitimately) do two things,” he writes. They can “1) introduce students to bodies of knowledge and traditions of inquiry that had not previously been part of their experience; and 2) equip those same students with the analytical skills — of argument, statistical modeling, laboratory procedure — that will enable them to move confidently within those traditions and to engage in independent research after a course is over.” To put it bluntly, he writes, “Teachers cannot, except for serendipity that by definition cannot be counted on, fashion moral character, or inculcate respect for others, or produce citizens of a certain temper.” He calls these nonacademic purposes. He urges professors to “do your job, don’t try to do someone else’s job, and don’t let anyone else do your job.” Fish is concerned about one thing in particular. “The neoconservative attack on the academy and especially the charge that left-leaning teachers are corrupting our youth by teaching relativism, atheism, and a disdain for truth. Neoconservatives want an academy where their politics are given a proportional representation (they call it balance or intellectual diversity) in the selection of texts and faculty members. I want an academy inflected by no one’s politics, 24


but by the nitty-gritty obligations of teaching and research.” Maybe he’s right. In a Washington Post article titled “Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really,” the author Valerie Strauss writes about the 2012 platform, which states: “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” It’s as if Socrates is on trial all over again for corrupting the youth of Athens. But how can professors teach almost any class and avoid a values discussion? In his article on the Association of American Colleges and Universities website, Mark Roche, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Professor of German Language and Literature at Notre Dame, summarizes the argument: “Stanley Fish argues that faculty members should not educate students in values but should focus on instructing them in the methodologies of the disciplines.” Roche cites a faculty survey where only a fraction “viewed … ‘develop personal values’ as ‘very important’ or ‘essential.’ ” Furthermore, Roche gives some background for this belief. “Early in the 20th Century, Max Weber (1946) argued for the separation of knowledge and morality, insisting that values are not scientific and cannot be defended via reason,” he writes. “In The Making of the Modern University (1996), Julie Reuben tells the story of how American higher education has increasingly moved toward this separation of knowledge and morality.” Roche believes faculty members also have trouble addressing values because of “versions of character development, which tend toward ready-made answers and moral indoctrination.” And he notes another problem that faculty might have. “The fear of hypocrisy diminishes the voices of those who are modest enough to recognize their own weaknesses,” he writes. His conundrum: “On the one hand, college does not and should not teach values. On the other hand, college helps students develop values and become better persons.” However, faculty can’t help but examine values in the classroom, according to Roche. For example, “To listen carefully to the views of others and to weigh them honestly, giving them a full hearing with your utmost attention, even if they should contradict your initial inclinations, is to practice a form of justice,” he writes. And Roche believes that despite their reluctance to bring an examination of values into

The author Stanley Fish urges professors ‘to do your job, don’t try to do someone else’s job, and don’t let anyone else do your job.’

the classroom, faculty still “lament that today’s students are too oriented toward material gain and insufficiently interested in values.” Similarly, Patricia Bizzell, English professor at the College of the Holy Cross, counters Fish’s arguments as well. She teaches composition studies and sets as her lofty goal to “contribute to making the world a better place.” “I must see all my classroom work as deeply imbued with my moral values,” she writes in her piece “Composition Studies Saves the World.” “My morality can no longer be regarded as purely private and personal, as Weber and Fish would have it.” In short, she understands that she can’t help but bring her personal values into the classroom. While teaching her students the skills of composition, therefore, “we can assign materials that raise issues of social justice and foster reflection on rhetorical methods of engaging them.” Thus, isn’t a professor who chooses books and readings for his or her class automatically declaring value to certain ideas?


Stetson Students Have a Social Conscience Karen Ryan, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, contends that students who come to Stetson are those who want to embrace and explore values. “They have a social conscience and want to serve something greater than themselves, being a global citizen and being of service to the world.” First-year student Kalee Ball, an editorial assistant for this magazine, for example, says she chose Stetson because of its stance on environmental issues. And Ryan believes that this comes out in Stetson classes. “For example, we are developing a program in environmental sciences, and that’s going to be focused very heavily on freshwater studies,” she explains. “It makes sense because we are located in a place where freshwater springs, estuaries, rivers, wetlands and lakes are all endangered. In focusing our intellectual powers here, we are obviously inculcating a sense of responsibility in our students and in those in our community that we need to conserve and preserve these resources. “As we teach and learn about the freshwater resources in our immediate environment, we are also talking about values,” she elaborates. “These are value judgments.” Values are ingrained in what Stetson does, according to Ryan. “We really grapple with values here, and that’s our core. That’s the heart of who we are,” she adds. “The liberal arts are basically about exploration and inquiry, and those lead to self-reflection about all your preconceptions. They lead to an examined life. STETSON


“We want our students to ask the big questions,” she points out. “Why am I here? What is my purpose? What do I want to do with my life?” Ryan also recognizes that some faculty “really feel they shouldn’t be expressing their personal views about politics or religion or social issues, wherever they come down on these things, that it should all be objective and neutral. But we’re teaching our students to think critically, so hopefully we are teaching them to examine these values critically and to think about them in different ways.”


The Value of Spirituality A 1997 document about Stetson “Heritage and Values” begins this way: “From its origin, Stetson University has maintained the importance of religion and ethics in the university mission. The university motto, ‘For God and Truth,’ is an ongoing symbol of this commitment, as well as an expression of Stetson’s determination to integrate ‘the question of God’ and ‘the quest for meaning’ as central components in our mission to educate.” The document continues: “The Christian influence has been, and continues to be, profound at Stetson. The non-Christian influence has been, and is, profound as well.” That spiritual exploration continues today but in a more nonsectarian way. In fact, there is even a Secular Student Association that recently sponsored a lecture on “Good Without God” and gone are the days of mandatory chapel. “Faith comes in many packages, and for many, no package at all,” says University Chaplain Michael Fronk, ’74. “As chaplain, my mission is to be a fellow traveler with our students, faculty and staff as they explore their spiritual lives, either through traditional faith expressions or personal spiritual exploration.” Fronk hosts two services during the week and teaches a class on faith rituals and traditions in the Department of Religious Studies. The monthly FRIDAYS@12 is a faith experience where students participate with a tradition they may be unfamiliar with. “In this way, we celebrate the diversity of faiths on our campus,” he explains. The second activity is the weekly “Gathering,” Sundays at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel. “It’s a reflective time filled with music, readings, prayers and guest speakers,” he adds. “The ‘Gathering’ is nondenominational and open to everyone. It’s a wonderful way to end the week and prepare for the next.” A Stetson graduate himself, Fronk contrasts today with yesterday. “It used to be that the idea of being religious tended to pigeonhole you with what religion you followed,” he says.

“But spirituality is a little more elusive. By its very nature, spirit is hard to grab. And we find some of our students today not having a religious brand loyalty.” Therefore, Stetson’s spiritual circle has widened to be more inclusive, he stresses. Fronk believes, then, that more students, both from traditional religious viewpoints as well as atheists and agnostics, are asking more questions about social justice issues, “particularly a voice that speaks for those who are underprivileged, who have no voice.” But some things never change. “We still find, however, that the values of faith and spirituality involve asking questions about ‘who am I?’ and ‘why am I here’?” Moreover, Fronk also recognizes that the spiritual in all of us connects with values. For example, Stetson’s values about the environment connect to the sacred because “this is the only Earth we get, and we’re entrusted with taking care of our garden.” Today, Stetson explores different faiths and no faith. Special programs on Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, along with other spiritual views, happen frequently on campus. As a matter of fact, there is a new position to encourage this dialogue. Lindsey Graves, the new assistant director of interfaith initiatives, looks at the word “interfaith” as an inclusive term, and that “it’s learning how to develop this language to include everyone, especially those who are asking the bigger questions.” And spirituality, according to Graves, helps us to reflect on our own beliefs and values. “The value of spirituality helps us to understand other social classes, other races, other cultures that we may not have seen before.” As a result, she believes that when people embark on an interfaith dialogue experience they learn about other traditions and other cultures. “Spirituality can make your world a lot bigger,” she says.




A Perceived Need for Values Parents want their children to have values. In a recent New York Times article titled “Raising a Moral Child” by Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, parents around the world, according to several surveys, want their children to be kind and compassionate more so than for them to become successful. “When people in 50 countries were asked to report their guiding principles in life, the value that mattered most was not achievement, but caring,” Grant writes. “Genetic twin studies suggest that anywhere

‘How can I know who I am until I see what I do? How can I know what I value until I see where I walk?’

from a quarter to more than half of our propensity to be giving and caring is inherited,” he continues. “That leaves a lot of room for nurture.” And interestingly enough, “Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do,” according to a classic experiment by the psychologist J. Philippe Rushton. Grant quotes the psychologist Karl Weick as asking, “How can I know who I am until I see what I do? How can I know what I value until I see where I walk?” And that’s where Stetson professors come in. For example, Maria Rickling, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting, says: “The theme that runs through the university is this commitment to values that permeates Stetson. It’s just built into what we do.” Rickling contends that “so many Stetson faculty challenge their students to develop their own argument,” but it’s also about considering what impact a person’s actions or lack thereof will have on those right next to you, those at your job and those in the world. In this way, “Students begin to understand after their four years at Stetson how to take information, assimilate it so they can form their own beliefs or even to challenge their own opinions.” Rickling uses her own field of accounting as an example. “Most of us think of accounting as mostly black and white, a social science,” she explains. “After all, it’s financial reporting. How could accounting possibly tie into social responsibility? Actually, accounting has a huge, huge impact.” A case in point: Many believe that accountants didn’t exercise due professional care when auditing the financial statements of banks and other financial institutions. These actions resulted in the overvaluation of toxic assets that played a large role in the 2008 Great Recession. “We’re now teaching the ethics behind accounting even in the principles course,” she explains. “You give students that perspective right up front about the role accounting plays in terms of conveying truthful information about a firm. Because if it’s not truthful, the implication that has on society and the world can be devastating.” Like many of her colleagues, Rickling notes that Stetson students are values-inclined. “Our students graduate from Stetson not only being able to reason on their own, but they recognize the impact their decisions might have on others. With this knowledge, they graduate with the ability to change the world.” õ Bill Noblitt is editor of stetson magazine. STETSON


The A Values We Explore

A glitzy modern shopping mall, a brand-name T-shirt, a glossy magazine ad, an iconic photo of the Model T on the assembly line — what do these have to do with values? Each example offers a story of American consumerism, and that story is steeped in values. To understand American consumerism, we have to understand how we make meaning out of things — how they define us, why we care about stuff, where our material goods come from, and the messages stuff sends. I teach a course called “American Consumer Culture” where we explore these ideas. I certainly don’t set out to teach a set of “values” in the class, but every topic we discuss raises important questions about what it means to be a consumer. And that discussion is deeply connected to ethical questions that deal with social justice, local and global politics, personal responsibility, and individual wellness and identity. We are all consumers, whether we like it or not (I like to think of myself as a “reluctant consumer”). Some of us thrive in shopping malls, while others try to purchase only the basic necessities of life. But how we think about what’s necessary, how we relate to the objects that make up our world, and even to the spaces where we buy them says much about the ethics, values and ideals that shape our lives and our society. The course moves from the personal to the political: starting with reflection on our own consumer identities and shifting to the history of

As we pull on the brand-name T-shirt, we might wonder about its path from unprocessed cotton to wearable item. How does it affect the environment? Who made it, and how do those people live?

American consumerism, the places of American consumption, the hidden side of consumption (production and labor), and the ways objects make meaning through advertising. We end with a current consumer issue such as teen branding, food politics or the pharmaceutical industry. Along the way, I hope students learn how to ask new questions about consumption. In the shopping mall, we have to pause and think about how these spaces work to turn us into buyers. As we pull on the brandname T-shirt, we might wonder about its path from unprocessed cotton to wearable item. How does it affect the environment? Who made it, and how do those people live? The glossy ad sells us an image of a better self or a better life, but what assumptions does it make about our identities, about gender, about race, about sexuality? And in the photo of the Model T, we can read much of the history of 20th-century American consumerism that helps us understand how we got where we are today. I’m not hoping people will renounce all goods and go live in the woods. It’d be enough if, like me, everyone becomes a bit more “reluctant,” unable to consume without thinking about the ripple effects of your purchase on our world. You might still buy that T-shirt, that

B y E m i ly M i e r a s , Ph . D .

iPhone, that designer handbag, but at least you’ll be asking questions

Associate Professor of American Studies and History

about who made it, what it says about you, and how it fits into the system of goods that shapes our world. And that’s a start. õ






The main goals of my course are to expose my students to other cultures and peoples and to create responsible global citizens. In this realm, I help my students look deeply into bias, prejudice and discrimination that affect race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity. These discussions help students to examine their own prejudices and their impact directly and indirectly on others. They probe deeper into historic events, such as the displacement of Native American peoples through the “Trail of Tears,” the issues of immigration, the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas, the Holocaust, and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. In this way, students reflect on ways to reduce prejudice and to rid our society of all discrimination. Students also reflect on how to become responsible global citizens. They do this by immersing themselves in another culture through class presentations and discussions. They begin to understand global connections in a variety of ways, especially an examination of how other cultures benefit the world and particularly the United States. My course on cultural diversity, along with Stetson’s rich study abroad opportunities, gives students further personal immersion experiences into other cultures. They learn firsthand to understand our connectedness to one another. My students delve deeper into our nation’s key documents: the

Students reflect on how to become responsible global citizens. They begin to understand global connections in a variety of ways, especially an examination of how other cultures benefit the world.

Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They begin to understand the true value of: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Students visualize the connections between our own Constitution and the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the primary instrument for recognizing the inherent rights of all members of the human family in the U.S. and in every country of the world. Through these experiences, I want my students to find their own answers, to be curious and to be questioning. In short, my students become agents of their own learning while becoming productive citizens of our diverse nation and world. These values of human rights and dignity are lived out when one graduate completes her dissertation on “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty Among Several Women.” It also happens after two students take my course and decide to go to Swaziland and spend their summer teaching in that African nation or when another of my students works on a Native American reservation in the Midwest. õ

B y Pat r i c k C . C o g g i n s , P h . D . Professor of Education






While it may sound cliché, I want to make the world a better place through what I do. One of the main things I do is teach college students. Primarily, I teach business statistics courses. In my business statistics courses, my goal is to help students learn to use statistics to make better business decisions, with the ultimate goal of improving the bottom lines for the firms they will eventually work in, manage and own. However, simply maximizing the financial bottom line can sometimes be contrary to making the world a better place, especially when business practices exploit people and environments. More and more, business leaders and business schools are recognizing that a single “bottom line” should not be our primary goal. Rather than simply maximizing the financial bottom line, we must seek to improve the “triple bottom line” of our social, environmental and financial lives. Studying the triple bottom line provides a ripe context for exploring values in the college classroom. Besides business statistics, I also teach a junior seminar titled “Social Justice and the Bottom Line,” in which my students and I explore the values of the triple bottom line. Make no mistake, I want my students to be financially successful, and I want the firms they work in, manage and own to be industry leaders. However, I also want my students to recognize that profit is not the sole

Rather than simply maximizing the financial bottom line, we must seek to improve the “triple bottom line” of our social, environmental and financial lives.

B y J o h n Ti c h e n o r , P h . D . Associate Professor of Statistics



purpose of business. I like what Peter Drucker, 20th-century management guru, said: “Profit for a company is like oxygen for a person. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re out of the game. But if you think your life is about breathing, you’re really missing something.” I want my students to recognize that “being successful” is about much more than maximizing profits: It is about making the world a better place for everyone. õ




For me, the development of the whole person, including personal growth and global citizenship, is at the essence of teaching and learning. Therefore, I view the exploration of values — such as empathy, respect and social responsibility — as a vital part of the curriculum. Exploring, developing and applying values is a priceless and enduring gift.

A huge part of my role as a Stetson faculty member is to facilitate what I often refer to in my teaching and scholarship as “compass building.” I want each student to construct his or her own values-oriented compass. Values can serve as a guide through our journey in life, and as with any tool, I teach my students about the importance of compass maintenance. I show how our compasses need regular inspections and tuneups along the way. My hope is that each of my students will have the courage to adjust or transform (and sometimes relinquish and rebuild) the inner workings of his or her compass. In my classes, I want my students to feel comfortable sharing life experiences while engaging in honest discussion about values or what is most important in their respective lives. I am a social justice educator whose life’s work is built around visible values that affirm diversity and seek to address social inequities. Therefore, I openly share my “compass” with my students. While I encourage every one of them to advocate for equity in an unjust world, I also continually convey the importance of

As we build our values-based compasses during the semester, I dare my students to dig deeper. I remind them that while our compasses must be durable, they must also be pliable in nature and open to evolution.

each individual determining his or her own set of core values. I support students’ exploration of values by modeling and encouraging ongoing critical reflection. I also give them experiential activities that challenge assumptions and promote intellectual growth. Furthermore, I use community engagement projects centered around the idea that justice is both a process and a goal. Through case study research, I challenge my students to think about situations that require a flexibility of values based on a holistic understanding of the world. For example, I ask students who describe honesty as a core value to then consider a situation in which someone steals because of mental illness or a situation in which someone steals due to hunger and poverty. As we individually and collectively build our values-based compasses during the semester, I dare my students to dig deeper. In other words, I want my students to make sure the values that make up their compasses are authentic reflections rather than just existing because of social indoctrination or apathy. I also remind them that while our compasses must be durable, they must also be pliable in nature and open to evolution. Around the globe, there are socially marginalized and vulnerable individuals — including our children. Each day we make choices that affect

By Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D.

the human condition, and our values impact the choices that we make or

Associate Professor of Education

don’t make. When we develop an internal values-oriented compass, we become more self-aware, and this awareness enables us to find happiness and to make a positive difference in our world.







The value of service in music is undeniable. As performers, we are constantly in a stage of giving ourselves and pouring out our souls to the audience. It is a natural state of giving and also responding to a live crowd that gets engaged with our gift of music. In my experience — there is more, much more. I have had the unique opportunity for the past two years to join colleagues and musicians from around the United States in an outreach teaching and performing festival called Cuerdas de Enlace (Strings That Bond) in Honduras. It takes place in the very dangerous capital city of Tegucigalpa or Tegus as the locals call it. I was struck by the awesome contrast after coming from a terminal in Houston, Texas, to a different world in Central America. Most of our musician team had already been there before, so it was less dramatic to them. But to me it was remarkable. Even in the Honduran airport, there were people everywhere with very little order. How odd it was to see military police and security guards with weapons on every street corner. Thankfully, our connecting musician colleagues met us there with smiles and hugs the size of Texas. There was so much gratitude for us making the trip to Tegus. On our first day, I realized that I was involved in a service that was going to profoundly affect me and impact my teaching and performing for the rest of my life. The musician team was invited to teach at the

The Honduran students’ interaction was filled with emotion throughout our sessions, and on our last day following our performance, they had all gathered with tears in their eyes to give us each gifts for our teaching.

Escuela Nacional de Musica (National School of Music) as well as at the Conservatory for college students. The level of engagement at both places was extremely high. The students could not get enough of us and our teaching, so much so that they were ready to work at any and all times! In their home lives, the students had very little — usually living in a one-bedroom, one-bath house with six to eight people with very few comforts. They worked so hard to get better and wanted to always learn more. “What is the American cellist going to teach us today? Can you show us how you do your spiccato (bouncing bow on the string)? How can I make that beautiful sound? What fingering should I use here?” It was such a pleasure to teach these “hungry for knowledge” students. The Honduran students’ interaction was filled with emotion throughout our sessions, and on our last day following our performance, they had all gathered with tears in their eyes to give us each gifts for our teaching and service. It was so moving, and it made me realize that we had both given so much to each other during this 10-day outreach. The bonds were created with strings and music, but they last beyond the visit and live in me yet

B y Dav i d B j e l l a , M . M .

today. Sharing and teaching music is our gift and our service.

Professor of Music, Cello

What better way to explore values with my Stetson students than to model the value of service to others? õ






Sociologist James Loewen writes that each of us is born into “a social slot, born not only to a family, but also a religion, community, and of course, a nation and a culture. The challenge is to see the influence on our lives of the social structure and culture we have inherited; not understanding our past renders us incapable of thinking effectively about our present and our future.” Understanding the interdisciplinary history of America’s struggle to make the principle of equality a reality is essential to our students’ understanding of every social issue they have inherited, and it’s their personal responsibility to sustain and advance social justice. This is the heart of the liberal arts tradition, and Loewen’s words suggest that students see their history as personal. And so, each year Associate Professor of Religious Studies Greg Sapp, Ph.D., the College of Law’s Director of Student Life Tammy Briant and I take students who share interdependent academic interests in philosophy, political science, religious studies and law on a journey together. We take them to the historic places identified with perhaps the most important modern social justice movement in America: the civil rights movement. That movement defined our democracy in the words of the two great laws we celebrate in 2014 and 2015 — the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Our learning environments include museums, institutes and cen-

The students meet with still-living civil rights movement veterans. And to emphasize the personally transformative experiences, the students also visit the actual sites of the major civil rights events.

ters that archive this history. But most important, the students have the opportunity to personally meet and visit with still-living civil rights movement veterans. And to emphasize the importance of personally transformative experiences, students visit the actual sites of the major events in the civil rights struggle. We want them to see, touch and feel their history and thus understand its meaning to them. This is what transformative learning is about; frames of reference are not static, but rather can change with deep reflection. Alicja Duda, political science major and student member of the university’s Social Justice Committee, shares the values deepened by this experience: “Just as civil rights movement veterans fought for a more just world for our generation, so we are called to make our own contribution to a more just world now and for future generations.” õ

By Robert Bickel, J.D. Professor of Law





Hatters Who Live Their Values


t’s one thing to talk about your values, but it’s quite another to live them in the everyday. In three

articles — “Looking for Miracles,” “Harvest Home,” and “Taking Care of Our Garden” — we tell the stories of six Hatters who live their values.

40 40


You find yourself first looking at their feet because of the terrible disfigurement that comes with having a cleft palate.

Looking for Miracles B y R o n a l d W. W i l l i a m s o n


o one can know. Not really know. Not unless someone has stood among a group of hopeful parents and deformed children in one of the poorest areas of a relatively poor country. Unless they’ve stood and moved and helped powerful miracle-workers who, with deft skills, deep knowledge, and indispensable technology, not only heal, but change lives absolutely. Bring profound joy or, through no fault of their own, bring profound regret and sorrow. Four Stetson University alumni, three of them friends for more than 50 years, know that feeling. They recently worked together to facilitate miracles during a weeklong mission mounted by SHARES International, a Florida Hospital Foundation charity that pierces poverty and despair to provide free reconstructive surgeries for children born with cleft lips and palates. “It was unlike anything I had done before,” says Jay Landers, ’64, JD ’70, of Tallahassee, a trustee emeritus and past chair of the Stetson board. “Witnessing a mother’s tears of joy that her child’s life had been forever changed was a wonderful experience.” STETSON


Hatters Who Live Their Values “I returned a different person,” says John Haire, ’68, of Vero Beach, a former Stetson business school adviser. “One cannot know the personal impact of such an experience unless you actually see the faces of the families and children.” Seeing such raw, open emotion of children and parents, their hopes and dreams and love, can overload one’s senses, says Nestor de Armas, ’73, of Winter Park, trustee emeritus, former Stetson board chair and a retired software executive. Their anonymous faces drift through one’s thoughts long afterward. As chair of SHARES since 1998, de Armas has personally led about 10 medical mission trips, juggling dozens of tasks necessary to move surgical teams, support personnel and supplies in and out of foreign cities. Jessily Ramirez, ’08, also made the trip. An Orlando-area resident, she is SHARES coordinator and works for many weeks before a medical mission, traveling to the city, arranging

team, extra pairs of hands during the fast-paced days. “We were Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers in the early and mid-1960s,” says Landers. The friends stayed in touch and their mutual respect and admiration grew. The tears of one child, perhaps the oldest at 10 or 11, touched the hearts of Haire and Landers in the same sort of compelling way described by the veteran de Armas. A fleeting wordless glimpse into the boy’s life affected the two first-timers so strongly that they stepped in to become his personal benefactors. “We saw him being examined and, in addition to being older than most and having dental and oral issues, one of his feet was missing,” says Haire. “He had no crutches and was supported by his mother when he stood and hopped away.” As the men left the examining room, they saw the boy in the hallway. “He was very distraught,” says Landers, “crying, almost sobbing. It struck me that the infants didn’t know, had no understanding

‘One cannot know the personal impact of such an experience unless you actually see the faces of the families and the children.’ scores of details and support among an array of government, civic, medical and other people, perhaps 100 in all. The most recent trip was in November to Chetumal, a Caribbean coastal city in the far southeast of Mexico. Fifty potential patients, nearly all infants with their parents, gathered outside a little hospital, waiting to be examined and learn whether their particular condition would allow doctors to help. Operations were performed on only 20. When he describes the trip to others, they cannot fully grasp the emotional impact, says Haire, a United States Public Health Service retiree. “It is difficult to imagine unless you actually see the faces of the parents and children waiting to see the doctors and the happiness when they learn they have been selected for surgery and their joy after surgery. “Or the sadness when they find out they were not selected,” Haire says. It was his first SHARES trip, as it was for Landers, who manages investments after a varied career in law, government and business. They knew of de Armas’ work with SHARES and volunteered as nonmedical members of the 42


whether they were accepted or rejected for surgery. But this boy did know, and he appeared to be devastated. “It was very, very moving. It was a terrible thing to watch,” Haire says. Haire and Landers asked their good friend, de Armas, to find out something about the boy and learned that although he was rejected for surgery on this mission, a speech therapy program was prescribed. They asked de Armas to make contact with the boy’s family: “We wanted to help in terms of buying crutches and paying expenses for speech therapy,” says Haire. “If there is anything else he needs, we will look into that,” says Landers, “so the story is unfinished insofar as helping the boy, but we are ready to assist him in any way.” It’s a sentiment the SHARES veteran de Armas understands. “Humans are hardwired for service,” contends de Armas. “We yearn for something more. We yearn for significance. I find significance in partnering with SHARES volunteers to heal broken little children and bring hope to them and their families.” õ



Hatters Who Live Their Values

Harvest home Math Professor Hari Pulapaka Makes Healthy, Sustainable Choices for His Renowned Restaurant


rom a tender age, Hari Pulapaka vividly remembers going to market near his home in Mumbai, India, to pick up his family’s milk ration at 5 a.m. This required waiting an hour in line before school. And after school, he was expected to go back to the market to get what his family needed for cooking a meal that evening. “Locally grown food was all I knew,” he says, looking to the sky as if pulling his childhood into better focus. “I’ve always been aware of the farmer and his role in what we put in our bodies.” Little did the dual-careered associate math professor/professional chef know how much this experience would impact him years down the road as his values of intellectual development, personal growth and global citizenship were taking shape. It also affected his insatiable work ethic, passion for life, and expertise in the math and culinary arenas. “I am tirelessly seeking ways to practice and live a thoughtful and inspired existence,” Pulapaka explains, “whether it be as a teacher who motivates or a chef who creates.” Pulapaka arrived in the United States for graduate studies in 1987, proceeded to earn his doctorate in mathematics, and began work as an associate professor at Stetson University in 2000. Once he earned tenure at Stetson in 2004, he set his sights on an additional passion — cooking. The next two years were spent earning



B y Tr i s h Wi e l a n d a degree at the Orlando Culinary Academy, meeting and marrying the love of his life, Jenneffer, a podiatrist, and dreaming about their future restaurant. “We married on an Alaskan glacier only a few months after we met, and it was on the ride back home from Anchorage that we brainstormed the name ‘Cress’ for our restaurant,” he explains with a wide grin that shows the enthusiasm of a child receiving a much-desired present. Everything about Cress was meticulously planned before opening in the summer of 2008. Because of his commitment to values (which are very much in line with Stetson’s core values) and the way in which he grew up depending and surviving on food from his neighborhood, it was clear Pulapaka’s passion would revolve around the local farmers’ harvest. Pulapaka quickly made contacts at local farmers markets who were more than happy to support his culinary desire for Cress. One Volusia County-based farmer in particular, known simply as “The Barefoot Farmer” in New Smyrna Beach, was equally as passionate as Pulapaka in spreading the word about the sustainable food movement, its benefits for health, and how it preserves the Earth’s resources. “It is hard work but so worth it,” explains Pulapaka as he stands alongside a field in which Bill (“The Barefoot Farmer”) and his son, Paul, are eagerly harvesting that day’s crop. “These local farmers are a dying breed and yet so important.”

Juggling his roles as head chef of a high-end restaurant and a prominent math professor requires many things, especially one particular value — efficiency. “This doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t stop to smell the roses. It just means that I live with purpose and use my time wisely,” he explains. “This is one of the most important values I strive to share with my students,” Pulapaka continues. “I try to let them see by my example of living my life. Make everything you do worth your time. That allows you to grow and become aware of others around you.” When it comes to the restaurant…well, even the scraps and waste are used efficiently. Any leftovers go back to local farmers for either personal consumption or as feed for animals. “This type of thing sets an example for my students, who don’t typically ask many questions about Cress. They see and begin to realize the kinds of ways I am making healthy, sustainable choices,” he says. As a professor, Pulapaka tries to quietly and purposely set a good example. “I will let them figure out by their natural curiosity how to solve problems and be responsible. “I don’t waste their valuable time,” Pulapaka asserts. “I try to teach as much as possible about math while supporting them through a journey of self-discovery. That leads to personal responsibility, which is so basic, yet so powerful. “This helps us take care of our resources and sustain us for the betterment of not just our generation but for those coming after us.” õ



Hatters Who Live Their Values

Taking Care of Our Garden


By Kalee Ball

ow serious is the global food crisis? Just ask Sasha Pesci, ’14, a recent graduate, and she’ll be happy to tell you. “We are in need of finding sustainable ways of growing food that will allow us to be ‘food secure’ even when modernized unsustainable ways of food production shut down,” Pesci explains. “Let me put it another way. Sustainable agriculture is a way of food production that is concerned with still being able to continue growing edible plants in the future. “That’s why I got involved in Hatter Harvest,” she adds.

Pesci, an international student from Argentina, is an environmental science and geography major who says she’s not only environmentally aware but also socially aware. “Almost everything and anything we do has some sort of social and environmental impact,” she asserts. “And this starts with our consumption pattern. “When we go to a store and buy an item,” she adds, “it may have been industrially produced in a facility where humans are being exploited and one that greatly pollutes air and water. On the other hand, maybe it was handmade or grown by someone who lives a couple blocks away who uses practices that aim at not damaging the natural environment.” She believes that “most of us don’t think about the origins of things, whether it be food or any type of item.” Pesci knows, however, that being environmentally and socially aware 46


doesn’t mean doing everything with no negative impact on any living being. She just wants people to reflect more on their choices. “We need to at least think about the implications of our actions,” she explains. Originally from Mendoza, Argentina, Pesci is a bilingual student whose first language is Spanish. She also has traveled to many Spanishspeaking countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru, and took advantage of opportunities in Stetson’s Latin American studies program. Visiting these places helped her to learn a lot about her passion: the environment and sustainable agriculture. Pesci has lived her values in Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and at the IMPACT Conference in Indiana. The summer before her sophomore year, she traveled to Campeche, Mexico, for an internship. There, she interned at a center for

Sasha Pesci, a recent May graduate, lives her values by embracing sustainable agriculture.

sustainability and volunteered at a sea turtle conservation camp. And her travels have made her aware of the many problems with the way food is grown in the modern world. “The Hatter Harvest garden is a place where students get to learn how they can grow their own food in a sustainable way,” she points out, adding that they “learn about plants, spend time outside, interact with other students or community members, and learn about healthy lifestyle choices.” Pesci has been deeply involved with Hatter Harvest since some friends told her about the opportunity. “For me, it started out as more of a social activity or hobby. I started taking it more seriously when I realized the positive impact that it has on the surrounding community and natural environment.” How is Hatter Harvest different from other ways of growing food? “Our gardening approach highly considers the needs of the natural environment,” she says. “We don’t use any type of synthetic pesticide or fertilizer since these are detrimental to the soil and the atmosphere for the long term.” Plus, the crop diversity found at Hatter Harvest contributes to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem, according to Pesci. “Our community garden allows us to be exposed to healthy foods that may not be accessible otherwise,” she says. “When supporting local farmers, we are supporting a market that contributes to the sustainability of human existence on our planet.” Pesci maintains that sustainable agriculture is important because it’s concerned with “still being able to grow edible plants in the future without sacrificing our needs or the needs of any other living species in our ecosystem.” Industrial ways of agriculture greatly damage the soil and the atmosphere, according to Pesci. In her junior year, she immersed herself in Stetson’s garden and became president of Hatter Harvest. How has this experience influenced her future endeavors? “Four days after graduation, I will be going to California to participate in a program called Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farms. I’ll be volunteering on organic farms in exchange for food and lodging,” she says. Then she plans to take what she calls a “gap year” and travel around South America while continuing to volunteer on organic farms and learning more about sustainable agriculture. “Hatter Harvest greatly influenced my interest in agriculture and inspired me to work to improve our global food system.” õ Kalee Ball, student editorial assistant for this magazine, is a Hatter Harvest volunteer. STETSON



Developing Future DaVincis A new after school club is known for both its forward-thinking teaching methods and for the fun way it draws elementary students into the imaginative worlds of reading and artistic expression. The DaVinci Club, a school program at Blue Lake Elementary sponsored by a Stetson Nina B. Hollis Institute research effort and funds, helps foster a love of reading as well as the arts. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, fourth- and fifth-graders make their way to this voluntary after school program. Hollis Institute team members and education professors Mercedes Tichenor, Ed.D., Kathy PiechuraCouture, Ph.D., Doug MacIsaac, Ed.S., and Bette Heins, Ph.D., help with data analysis, observational data, and writing. They also report on their findings at professional conferences. Heins, director of the Nina B. Hollis Institute, says, “Many schools have had to decrease the amount of art classes because of budget cuts, so this is our way of putting it back into the curriculum.” Now in its third year, the club promotes a love for reading and artistic expression. Nostalgia hits you when you walk into the class because it resembles the classrooms of your childhood. However, this classroom is different. Some children sit at desks, others at tables, and some even lie on the floor. It’s their choice. Robin Diedrichs, a fourth-grade teacher at Blue Lake Elementary who developed the idea for the club and approached the Hollis Institute with the idea, calls the students over to the floor. Free choice reading is over, and it’s time for book discussion. The children are eager — one even dashes over to his friend and begins talking excitedly about his book. STETSON

It’s almost as if they all want to tell everyone about their books immediately. It’s easy to see their passion for reading. Diedrichs kicks off the discussion for the day: The children are to pair up and tell their partners about their least favorite character in the book. Many animated conversations ensue as club members express what made their chosen character unlikable as they engage in literary discussion. These fourth- and fifth-graders are not only improving their reading and comprehension skills, but their communication, listening and planning skills as well. The second half of the afternoon is spent doing whatever creative endeavor the children are using to represent the book they’re currently reading. This activity includes writing, drama, music, or visual arts, including painting, drawing, collage and sculpture. Before they begin, they complete a plan that one of the teachers approves. Then, they are free to make their masterpieces a reality. The results are impressive. Some of the students’ creations have even been featured in local galleries and art festivals. Not only are these students improving in academics, but they are also discovering talents they didn’t know they had. “And we have data that shows improvement in reading,” Heins says. For example, when an Exceptional Student Education fifth-grader joined the club, she surprised everyone when she showed amazing artistic talent — her pieces were featured at a local art show. She also passed the Reading Counts test that went along with her book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. One student, performing in the bottom 30 percent for reading in his grade level, was asked if he would return to the DaVinci Club for his fifth-grade year. The young student wrote that he would “because when school started I hated reading, but when

DaVinci Club started my teacher Mrs. Diedrichs kept pushing me to read. “I thought reading was boring, but now it shows me a picture in my head that I think is real when I read exciting books.” Yet another student wrote a letter to Stetson that said, “Since I have started DaVinci Club my grades have gone up to B’s and A’s.” She went on to thank Stetson for helping fund the club. “These students exemplify the hope we have for all students who participate in the DaVinci Club,” Diedrichs asserts. Stetson’s Hollis Institute provides funds and volunteers to support the club. Several students in the education degree program volunteer weekly, gaining valuable experience for their future careers. The club’s impact doesn’t stop with the students or the volunteers, however. Every year, they walk in the DeLand Christmas Parade and hand out free books to other children in the community. This gives them firsthand experience in giving back. Blue Lake Elementary is a Title I school, which means that many of the students’ families are at or below the poverty level. Having a club such as this one gives these children opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, according to Heins. Research shows that it’s difficult for these kids to ever catch up, whether it is in reading levels or figuring out long-term goals. The DaVinci Club has helped to turn around this research and open up a better academic and personal future for the students involved. “It is exciting to visit this program and listen to these students talk about their books with such enthusiasm,” declares Heins. In this way, the students become passionate about books and art. “They eagerly show you their art and how it depicts their books. The atmosphere is electric with their joy and passion.” —Kalee Ball

A Threatened Resource Let’s put it this way. Unless Florida takes significant steps to conserve, reuse and look for alternative sources, the state’s freshwater supplies will not meet the needs of its ever-growing population. That’s according to almost 60 participants at a recent St. Johns River Basin Supply Workshop held on the Stetson campus. These Central Florida water and energy officials and members of the St. Johns River Alliance, including Visiting Professor Clay

Henderson, ’77, and many others from the Stetson community, outlined the scope of the water problem and what might be done about it. “Under Florida law, water is technically free,” explained Associate Professor J. Anthony Abbott, Ph.D., chair of Stetson’s Environmental Science and Geography program. “But the conditions needed to maintain a consistent supply in the face of growing demand require resources. This is why a shared vision on regulation is required,” Abbott pointed out. Tom Bartol, assistant director of the St. Johns River Water

Management District, discussed the scope of the problem. “Our population is expected to grow by 38 percent over the next 20 years,” he said. “Water-demand projections exceed groundwater availability by about 250 million gallons a day.” Putting all this into perspective was water expert and Stetson Associate Professor of Biology Kirsten Work, Ph.D. “The Floridan Aquifer underlies multiple counties and municipalities and provides the majority of the drinking water for much of Florida’s population,” she explained. “As Tom Bartol pointed out, our projected population

growth will put additional strain on the freshwater resources in the aquifer.” Abbott agreed. “While the per capita efficiency of water use has been improving over time in Central Florida, the rapid population growth has pushed us nearly to the limit of sustainable use,” he said. Other concerns were raised at the meeting. Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper, said that 60 percent of water is used to water lawns. “Enforcement of water regulations is almost nonexistent,” she said. “Every drop counts. We need more incentives for water conser-

vation and stricter regulations.” Why not take more water from our rivers? “Our rivers are already in distress,” Rinaman explained. “Algae and the toxicity levels in our rivers have already risen dramatically.” What’s the solution? Restoration and conservation, according to Work. “And if we reduce our reliance on aquifer water for lawn watering, we would have more for drinking,” Work said. Karen Ryan, Ph.D., dean of Stetson’s College of Arts and Sciences, and professors Work and Abbott are thankful for the continued meetings about Central Florida’s fresh water. “Because policy on environmental management follows science, it is important for leaders to come together to discuss the implications of the latest findings,” Work said. “We are pleased that Stetson could host this event and that our faculty and students could be involved in the workshop,” Dean Ryan said. “This is a prime example of community engagement and collaborative problem-solving, learning experiences we prize here at Stetson. It’s wonderful to have so much expertise in water management and conservation assemble on the campus,” Ryan added. “Stetson can and must be a key player in resolving the issues discussed at the workshop.” Similarly, Stetson’s College of Law recently hosted a public lecture on improving Florida’s water situation, especially as it relates to how water quality trading can improve the water supply. The Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series presented a talk by David E. Bailey, senior project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. Bailey explained how creating incentives results in the reduction of pollutants, especially through the use of credits that may be sold to power companies. He pointed to the Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project as a way to pay farmers for environmental improvements, for example. —Bill Noblitt STETSON



Women’s Basketball Team Does Both Quite Well

Work Hard, Play Hard The winningest season in Stetson women’s basketball history came to an end as host University of South Florida downed the Hatters 75-56 in the second round of the WNIT tournament. Brianti Saunders led the way with 16 points, but the Hatters (27-8) shot just 32 percent from the floor and 18 percent from behind the arc. Inga Orekhova hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead the Bulls (21-12). USF outrebounded Stetson 43-32. “It just wasn’t our day,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria says. “I thought we got some good shots, but at some point you have to stick them in the basket.” Senior Sasha Sims added 11 points in her 135th and final game as a Hatter. She finished her career with 1,617 points, more than any player in school history and the 16th highest total in conference history. She also recorded three blocks against the Bulls, bringing her Stetson career-record total to 147. “I thought she had a great game,” Bria says about Sims. “She was aggressive, she was physical, and she played like a pro. She did a great job, and I was really proud of her.” For the season, the Hatters set school records for most wins (27), most conference wins (16), most road wins (12), and longest winning streak (16). Stetson’s 79.3 scoring average was the secondhighest total in school history. The team also set school records for most points, rebounds, threepointers, and blocked shots in a single season. “I never dreamed that after losing six seniors these kids would



do what they did,” Bria says. “This was a tough game for us, but when you look at the body of work, they did a great job.” As the lone senior, Sims will be the only player graduating from this year’s roster. “She will be missed,” Bria says. “She will be hard to replace, but we have the bulk of our kids back, so that is encouraging, too. I think we will be more of a veteran team (next year). “I think the expectations will be very high, because this team has set the bar there,” Bria adds. “If we have everybody back and healthy, I think we will have a really good team. How many wins will we have? I don’t know. This team was good, but I think next year’s team will be better.” A big reason for this successful season is that the team, obviously, has good players. For example, women’s basketball Hatter Amber Porter produced one of the top statistical seasons in school history. Her 484 points was the highest total ever for a Hatter freshman. However, it was her ability to block shots on a consistent basis that made her one of the top rookies in the country. With 129 blocks, Porter produced the second-highest blocks total in A-Sun history and the fifth-highest total for a freshman in NCAA history. Stetson did not lose back-to-back games all season. “Our recruiting class ended up being really good, we had a good nucleus coming back from last year, and they’re good people who work hard and together,” Bria says. “So when you put those things together, you’re probably going to win some games.” õ

Amber Porter Now a Sophomore Business & Psychology Major Woodbridge, Va.

Syndi Davis Now a Sophomore Business Major Lima, Ohio

Myeisha Hall Now a Senior Digital Arts Major West Palm Beach, Fla.

Jama Sharp Now a Senior Sports Management Major Mooresville, Ind.

Sasha Sims Recent Graduate Sports Management Major Mooresville, Ind.

Stacia Allen Now a Sophomore Integrated Health Science Major Fayetteville, Ga.




Donors Support Student Goals Would you like to make a gift to Stetson but just aren’t sure where your interests can best align with students’ needs? Trustee Joe Cooper, BBA ’79, MBA ’82, and Cindi Tidwell Cooper, BBA ’82, have a suggestion: Talk to Stetson. “When my wife, Cindi, and I were considering a gift to Stetson, she came up with the idea of supporting students’ entrepreneurial spirit as well as encouraging them to look outward into their communities and positively impact others’ lives,” says Cooper. “One of Cindi’s friends had donated the seed financing for a program at a Midwest university where students competed by presenting entrepreneurial ideas that would benefit the community,” he adds. “We loved the idea and discussed the concept with President (Wendy B.) Libby and Linda Davis, ’73, (special assistant to the president for philanthropy), which led to a conversation with Provost Beth Paul and School of Business Administration Dean Tom Schwartz,” Cooper explains. “We were thrilled to discover that a group at Stetson was already working toward launching a similar program called Enactus. “Great things are happening at Stetson, and Cindi and I feel privileged to be able to play a small role,” he continues. “We believe Enactus is perfectly aligned with what we were hoping to support. And it is certainly consistent with Stetson’s goal to help prepare students not only for successful lives but also lives of significance. “We are excited to provide seed money and the initial funding toward an endowment that will help ensure the future viability of this program,” Cooper says. “We look forward to seeing Stetson’s Enactus chapter come to life and truly fulfill its mission at our great university.” What is Enactus? “It’s comSTETSON

petitive community service with a twist,” says adviser Rebecca Oliphant, Ph.D., associate professor of management. “Social entrepreneurship is not just about business. It is about transforming others with an entrepreneur’s idea, project or service. Enactus serves our local community with longerterm sustainable projects that will impact people’s lives.” Art Drogue, BA ’68, first suggested Enactus as a good match for Stetson, having served on Enactus’ board and as a judge since the late 1990s when it was known as SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). “I got my company (Unilever) involved, sponsoring regional competitions and mentoring students at nearby schools,” he says. “It felt good to help and support students while recruiting some great talent into our business. I’ve been blown away by the value of what the students are gaining and what they are giving to their communities.” Stetson’s Enactus chapter was established in November with 12 members and now has two projects under way: creating raised garden beds at DeLand’s Southwestern Middle School to teach gardening and basic cooking skills to

kids who have been bullied and assisting youth at an area juvenile detention center in developing business skills. Next year Stetson will compete, showcasing an Enactus project for business leaders who judge quality and impact. —Amy Gipson To learn more about Enactus, please visit

Grant Supports Internships Internships allow students to get a foot in the door, and with a new grant, Stetson is making strides to ensure more students have access to opportunities that give them practical experience and a competitive edge when it comes to post-graduation employment. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is providing $100,000 over three years to support a new full-time internship coordinator position that’s centrally located in Career Development and Academic Advising. Stephanie Ryan, the

new coordinator, will collaborate campuswide on initiatives that help students with career decisionmaking and preparation. Ryan has previous experience working in the nationally recognized Michelin Career Center at Clemson University, the Counseling Center at Anderson University, and most recently at Florida Hospital. Only 31 percent of 2013 graduates participated in an internship. However, according to the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 78 percent of first-year Stetson students say they intend to participate in one. To help students reach their goals, a centralized internship program will help Stetson achieve uniformity and efficiency in internship guidelines across departments on the DeLand campus, meet national standards, and develop strategies to overcome financial and logistical barriers that prevent Below: Mark Marcus, ’14, interned in corporate accounting at Siemens Energy.

some students from interning. Research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that internships increase students’ success in securing post-graduation employment. In fact, 67 percent of interns in the survey were offered full-time positions with their employers. Stetson’s NSSE research shows that among its 2012 graduates, those who interned had a 22-percent higher employment rate upon graduation than those who did not. —Amy Gipson

Student Leaders Give to the CUB Stetson students want to see the Carlton Union Building expanded and renovated — so much so that the Student Government Association (SGA) is making its largest donation ever: a $10,000 gift this year plus a $375,000 pledge over three more years to help bring the $26 million project closer to reality. “Many of the issues that SGA works on year after year could be solved by expanding the CUB to include more socializing areas, meeting rooms and student offices,” says Alex Bowen, SGA’s secretary of finance and a finance major in the Roland George Investments Program. “The plans for what this building will become will change this campus for the best by provid-

ing more common spaces where students can interact together,” Bowen adds. The donation comes from a small portion (less than 10 percent) of collected student activity fees. SGA will continue to fund student organizations and events from these fees while investing in students’ futures — and leveraging the gift for additional donations. “I am proud that we, the students through SGA, have taken the lead on the renovation of our student union,” says SGA President Dudley Joseph, a political science major, about the conversations that led SGA and other undergraduate student leaders to set this priority. “This donation serves to showcase the importance of this project and hopefully encourages others to follow our example,” he explains.

“Our intent is for alumni to match our gifts and help us renovate the CUB.” —Amy Gipson Interested in giving to one of these initiatives (or something else of your choosing) at Stetson? Contact the Office of Development at (386) 822-7455 or

Stetson Receives $2 Million Gift Last February, Kate Pearce, Stetson’s assistant vice president of university relations, received a most welcome telephone call. Attorney Melvin D. Stack, JD ’79, a partner in the Daytona Beach law firm of Every, Stack and Upchurch, shared the news that two of his clients had remem-

bered Stetson in a trust that would endow a scholarship for students. Lt. Col. Jesse and Ruth Miles, who had lived in St. Augustine in the latter years of their lives, had not attended Stetson nor had anyone in their family. When preparing their estate plan, they asked Stack to recommend worthy universities to leave this generous gift, as both felt strongly about education. “They chose Stetson because they were looking for a university with high academic standards and a great reputation,” Stack explains. “It was an honor to help contribute to my alma mater in this manner,” Stack continues. “I felt fortunate that I could attend Stetson’s College of Law and glad that others will be able to achieve their dreams as a result of my being a small part of this process.” —Mary M. McCambridge

Top 5 Ways to Support Stetson Through Estate Planning In addition to gifts of cash, there are many different ways to support Stetson students. Here are a few avenues through which you can arrange to make a gift to Stetson while also taking care of loved ones. Through your estate, the most popular ways to include Stetson are:

1 2 3 4 5

Establish a bequest in a specific amount, a percentage of your estate, or the remainder of your estate after expenses and bequests to individuals. Designate Stetson as a beneficiary of your IRA. When left to individuals, these assets are taxable, but IRAs left to charities are not subject to tax. Name Stetson as the POD (Payable on Death) or TOD (Transfer on Death) beneficiary on CDs or investment, bank or savings accounts, depending on your state of residence. Set up a Charitable Gift Annuity, which provides regular payments to you and, at your passing, comes to Stetson to be used as you choose. Create a Charitable Remainder Trust — during your lifetime or through your estate — that benefits both your loved ones and the university.

For more information, contact the Office of Gift Planning at 386-822-7461 or STETSON



ap Into

water Sustainability at stetson A state with abundant waterways, picturesque coastlines and a seemingly endless supply of lakes dotting the landscape, Florida can paint a false picture — water seems to be an infinite resource here. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In less than 30 years, the Department of Natural Resources predicts we will be facing far-reaching water shortages both globally and in Florida. Even today, more than a billion people face the daily challenge of finding safe drinking water. The ever-increasing stress and pressure we are placing on this lifegiving resource is not sustainable, according to numerous sources. Each drop of water we save extends life. This is why Stetson takes conservation seriously and has invested significantly in conservation education and a campuswide sustainability action plan. In 2010, Stetson began retrofitting aging water systems by installing low-flow toilets, high-efficiency shower heads and faucets and updating old plumbing systems. Our efforts have led to a reduction in water consumption of 1.8 million gallons per year.

By 2020, Stetson is projected to save

18,000,000 Gallons of Water.

If all that water were in one-gallon jugs lined end to end, they would stretch more than 2,841 miles, a little farther than the distance from San Francisco to Orlando.



2M iles

reclaimed water

= 10” 10” x (18 x 106) 63,360 (inches in a mile) 54


= 2,840.91 Miles

Infographic by Jeremy Caldwell

Is used to irrigate Stetson’s campus. This gray water also helps reduce aquifer consumption and recharges the aquifer while staying out of the St. Johns River.

But we can do more. A recent study projected that by retrofitting additional buildings and modernizing Stetson’s cooling plant, we could save an additional six million gallons of drinking water every year. We all have a substantial part to play, from conservation in our homes to supporting Stetson in responsibly managing Earth’s limited resources. This is why we need your help. With your support and partnership, we can reduce our water consumption much quicker. Your action now will help us make a lasting environmental impact and enhance a culture of conservation within our campus community.

support water efficiency Replacing toilets, faucets and other fixtures in Allen Hall, Davis Hall, duPontBall Library, Edmunds Center, Flagler Hall, Hollis Wellness Center and the Lynn Business Center will significantly reduce consumption. With 30 people giving just $3,000 each, the project can be completed saving an estimated

1,698,000 Gallons a Year. help expand reclaimed water use Stetson loses 10 million gallons of water every year through evaporation alone. Adding a filtration system to the central plant cooling towers will allow the towers to use reclaimed water instead of aquifer water. With 100 people giving $5,000 each, this project can be completed saving an estimated

6,000,000 Gallons a Year. With your support, Stetson University can significantly reduce its water consumption while helping to educate the campus community in the process. Your contribution can make a huge difference. To donate to Stetson’s water sustainability effort, go to STETSON



Bruin Named Alumni President Scott Bruin, ’75, believes philanthropy is important. “At any level, it makes a big difference,” says Bruin, who begins his term as Stetson’s new Alumni Association president on July 1. “People can connect by participating at local and on-campus events. They can make financial contributions when and as they are able. There are lots of different ways to be active and engaged at Stetson University, and all are vital!” Bruin, the executive managing partner of CapTrust Financial Advisors, currently lives in St. Petersburg. Yet he happily returned to campus for the Hatters’ first football game of the year as well as Homecoming. “When alumni come back for campus events, they see this is not the same place that many of us experienced,” Bruin says. “There’s been a transformation since President Wendy B. Libby (Ph.D.) 56


arrived at our university. Whether it is the Hand Art Center, the new sports facilities and fieldhouses, the campus landscaping and Stetson Green, the transformation of the library into a state-ofthe-art learning center or simply having dorms that are pet-friendly, Stetson is on the move.” Bruin and outgoing Alumni Association President Kathy Graf have been friends since their undergraduate days at Stetson. “Kathy actually suggested that I get involved with the board,” he recalls. “I have a huge amount of respect for her because she led the board through a transition period and built a solid foundation for the future.” One of Bruin’s personal goals is to improve the flow of information that goes out to alumni. “I remember getting a flier in 1998 that featured a picture of Gary Meadows (then director of Alumni Affairs) with his pants rolled up, standing in Holler Fountain,” Bruin says. “I saw a sense of humor that I didn’t perceive was there the last few

times I‘d engaged with the university. The university foundation is the same, the sense of humor continues to expand, but the focus and attitudes are all about excellence in everything we do.” He believes it is “critical” for alumni to give back to Stetson and gratefully acknowledges the role his Stetson education and experience played in his professional career. “I grew up in a small town in Florida. There wasn’t much there,” Bruin says. “Stetson was the launching pad for me to have a life and career that I never would have had by attending another university. Stetson turned out to be a great fit for me. You’re looking at a man who has spent 30+ years in business and who never took a business class. A liberal arts education helped me to succeed in life.” And Bruin shares that success with others: He proudly points to five Stetson graduates working for his company. “I’ve been accused of ‘Stetsonizing’ the firm,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s absolutely true.” —Renee Garrison

Past Alumni President Reflects Not long after she graduated in 1976, Kathy Linehan Graf attended her first Stetson alumni event in Jacksonville. “The people who attended were a lot older than I was at the time,” she recalls. “They were lined up in chairs along one wall. I remember thinking the evening could be a lot better — from a social networking point of view.” Graf ’s interest was piqued, so she got involved and has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors in many roles since 2004 — most recently as its president. Under her leadership, the number of opportunities for alumni to be engaged with the university has expanded. “Not only does the alumni board organize and host social events in various cities, but we

Kathy Linehan Graf offer alums — both board members and non-board members — the chance to participate in student recruitment through the HART (Hatters Alumni Recruitment Team) Program. We also assist admissions at college fairs, hosting ‘Accepted Student Receptions’ and ‘Off to School Parties’ for incoming freshmen, as well as writing notes to prospective students to encourage their selection of Stetson.” According to Graf, alumni also are encouraged to offer internships and career opportunities to students. “This initiative is not as formalized as the student recruitment process but is an area of interest for alums,” she says. “The university is working to strengthen ties between alums and students for career development opportunities.” One of her goals was to have an active board that connected people around the country. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people — I now consider to be friends — whom I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise,” she says with a smile. “We all have the Stetson experience in common.” Now retired from a career in banking, Graf is contemplating new directions in her life after she hands over the gavel in June. “My husband keeps asking me what I’m going to do with all of my free time,” she says, laughing. “I don’t have an answer, yet.” —Renee Garrison

Where Stetson Alumni Live in the U.S.

130 26


68 27 7 47

U.S. Territories Armed Forces Pacific 5 Guam 1 Puerto Rico 14 U.S. Virgin Islands 11 Top International Countries United Kingdom 33 Cayman Islands 31 Canada 27 Germany 26 Jamaica 14


39 92 56

10 34

527 116


242 40 47

44 521














138 16







367 68





21,987 21 37





Send Us Your Class Note Stetson University is proud of its alumni and their accomplishments. Therefore, we want to hear about your achievements. If you are a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand or Celebration, send your class note to the Office of Alumni Engagement at Stetson University, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8257, DeLand, FL 32723, or email your news to alumni@stetson. edu. If you are a graduate of the Stetson University College of Law, send your class note to the College of Law’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 1401 61st St. South, Gulfport, FL 33707, or email your class note to alumni@ For the DeLand campus, you can fill out the online form for class notes by going to and clicking on submit class notes in the side menu. For College of Law graduates, you can fill out the online form at https://www. alumni-news-update. php. We will only use photos that are at least 300 DPI, and because of space limitations, we cannot guarantee use of all photographs. STETSON

1940s Betty Amidon Kesmodel, ’44, Birmingham, Ala., would love news from her Stetson friends. She turned 91 and currently lives in a Presbyterian retirement home in an independent living apartment.

Atlantic Opera’s production of Verdiana, which presented scenes from several of Verdi’s operas. He sang bass in the chorus for Christina Fontanelli’s Christmas in Italy at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York. He retired from teaching in 1994.

1950s Robert H. Pinder, ’50, Georgetown, Texas, received his Ph.D. from Florida State University in 1971 and went on to teach at Texas Tech University for 23 years. He is currently retired and living in Georgetown, Texas. David P. Houchens, ’59, Columbus, Ohio, has retired from a career in preclinical and clinical cancer research and endocrine disruptor studies after over 50 years in the field. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications and made presentations both nationally and internationally.


▲ Hope Huska Byrnes, ’61, Sarasota, is now the chair of the Foreign Service Retirees Association of Florida. She is also a professional singer, performing at retirement homes, senior centers and private events. Harry A. Whitley, ’64, Ocean Grove, N.J., was cast in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Borodin’s Prince Igor as a featured supernumerary. He was also cast in the chorus of the Mid-

▲ Charles B. Bugg, ’65, Georgetown, Ky., recently published his 10th book titled I’m Trying to Lead…But Is Anybody Following? The Challenge of Congregational Leadership in the 21st Century. Elaine Ogburn Kilcullen, ’68, Parsippany, N.J., has completed another successful year of riding at the Horseman’s Riding Club in Sussex County, N.J. Walter L. Kilcullen, ’68, Hackettstown, N.J., published his book, Brain Injury, Living a Productive Life After a Stroke or Traumatic Brain Injury. Find it on or at barnesandnoble. com.

▲ Elizabeth Haddock Ruvo, ’68, Port St. Lucie, is serving as the 2014 president of the Florida

CRB Chapter (Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers) and is on the 2014 Florida Realtors Board of Directors and Executive Committee. G. Richard Swartz, ’68, Tavares, was recently spotlighted in an Orlando Sentinel article regarding a trip he made, along with his wife, Gena Medrano Swartz, ’67, to Vietnam in February 2014. Richard is a holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the nation’s highest aviation honor, for his service during the Vietnam War. David E. Sumner, ’69, Anderson, Ind., has published the third edition of his textbook Feature and Magazine Writing: Action, Angle and Anecdotes, which has been used at more than 50 universities in 20 countries. He has been a professor of journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., since 1990.

1970s Alexander S. Myers, JD ’70, Sarasota, has been named a volunteer advocate for the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics and was appointed to the inaugural Senior Lawyers Committee for the Florida Bar. Michael D. Chiumento, JD ’71, Palm Coast, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Chiumento Selis Dwyer, PL. Michael J. Daniels, JD ’72, Ocean City, N.J., has retired from the practice of law. William H. Bartlett, JD ’73, St. Petersburg, has retired from the State Attorney’s Office. Christian D. Searcey, JD ’73, North Palm Beach, appeared as an expert on the NewsTalk 980 radio station. Peter S. Miller, JD ’74, Newtown Square, Pa., has retired after a 36-year career as COO of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. Scott C. Renwick, MBA ’75, Jacksonville, after spending 35 years in the banking industry, recently joined the United

Way of Northeast Florida as the director of human resources in Jacksonville. He is responsible for all facets of the human resources function. John J. Wall, ’75, Lyndonville, Vt., has retired after 35 years of practice. Bryan S. Henry, JD ’76, Dillon, Colo., has been elected president of the Continental Divide Bar Association for the 5th Judicial District of Colorado and has been appointed associate municipal court judge for the town of Frisco, Colo. Jane Stubbs Hunston, JD ’76, Stuart, recently formed her own practice in Jupiter. W. Jay Hunston, JD ’76, Stuart, was recently selected to serve as a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Roster of Neutrals of Commercial and Construction Mediators and Arbitrators.

▲ Kimberly Willson-St. Clair, ’76, Oregon City, Ore., has been selected to receive the 2014 Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Instruction Section (IS) Innovation Award for her work on the software library DIY. The software assists students in finding the information they need quickly. Stephen C. Page, JD ’77, Stuart, was recognized by Martindale-Hubble this year for maintaining his AV rating for 20 consecutive years.

William M. Gross, JD ’78, Mount Dora, announced his retirement in December 2013. David B. Mitchell, JD ’78, Coral Gables, received his advanced diploma in local English history with honors from the University of Oxford and coauthored Family Law Strategies in Florida, published by Aspatore/ Thomson Reuters in 2012.

▲ Thomas R. Moore, ’78, Casselberry, has recently been named the 2013 Florida Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The award recognizes the most outstanding instructors in the nation. Moore has been with Rollins College since 1989. John Paul Parks, ’78, JD ’81, Scottsdale, Ariz., has been elected vice president of the North Phoenix Bar Association. He is licensed to practice law in Arizona, California, Florida and the District of Columbia. His primary areas of practice are trusts and estates and business law. Lewis R. Cohen, JD ’79, North Miami, has been honored as a top lawyer by South Florida Legal Guide. J. Allison DeFoor, JD ’79, Tallahassee, a former environmental adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former board member of statewide business and environmental groups, has been

appointed chairman of the political committee backing a proposed constitutional amendment for conservation lands.

1980s Steven R. Clark, ’80, Bremerton, Mass., conducted the Illumni Men’s Chorale in a performance of his Exapostilarion of Pascha Plotiyou/In the flesh Thou didst fall asleep at the North West American Choral Directors Association in March 2014. Rebecca Morgan, JD ’80, St. Petersburg, wrote multiple blogposts for the Elder Law Prof Blog including the March 4 Ann F. Baum Memorial Lecture on Elder Law at Illinois Law, the March 3 New Factsheets in Financial Exploitation in LTC Facilities, and the March 5 Surrogate DecisionMaking in Hospitals: A Report. Michael J. Boryla, JD ’81, Castle Rock, Colo., launched his one-man play, The Disappearing Quarterback, at the Plays and Players Theatre in Philadelphia. His story from NFL starting quarterback to tax attorney and now professional playwright was featured in The Denver Post. Katherine Phillips Cobb, ’81, JD ’83, Melbourne, provost at Eastern Florida State College, received an Excellence in Education award. Carmen Gillett, JD ’81, Sarasota, is a founding member of the Sarasota Collaborative Family Law Professionals Group. The group, made up of attorneys, mental health professionals and financial experts, is the first of its kind in Sarasota and favors a climate of honesty, cooperation and transparency to achieve comprehensive settlement on all issues. She also funded a top-grade award in family law at Stetson this spring. Gregory P. Holder, JD ’81, Tampa, spoke at the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance 2014 Florida event. Joe Montgomery, ’81, Rome, Ga., was reappointed for a second term by Gov. Nathan Deal to the

board of the Private Colleges and Universities Authority. Shannon Wilson-Farmer, JD ’81, Melbourne, has been recognized as a 2013 Central Florida Humanitarian by Space Coast Daily magazine for her volunteer leadership with Crosswinds Youth Services and other community organizations. Brian A. Bolves, JD ’82, Tampa, is a shareholder with MansonBolves Attorneys at Law, which was named a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News and World Report for the third consecutive year. Diane Beck, JD ’83, Bradenton, was reappointed judge of compensation claims for the Sarasota district, which includes Manatee and Sarasota counties. Joseph Negron, ’83, Stuart, was awarded the 2013 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award by the Florida First Amendment Foundation. The nomination was based on actions taken by Sen. Negron during the 2013 legislative session. The award is given annually to someone in Florida who has made a significant contribution to the cause of furthering open government. Lynne Wilson, ’83, Winter Park, a Partner with ShuffieldLowman & Wilson, P.A., has announced the opening of their new satellite office in DeLand. Jonathan F. Pequignot, ’84, DeLand, has partnered with Jerry Costigan ’81, Naples, and are owners of the Express Employment Professionals office in Seminole County. Express Employment Professionals offers a full range of employment solutions for area businesses and job seekers. G. Donald Thomson, JD ’84, Bonita Springs, a managing attorney with Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., is the newest member to the Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida’s Board of Directors. Deborah Blue, JD ’85, Sarasota, is a founding member of the Sarasota Collaborative STETSON



Family Law Professionals Group. The group, made up of attorneys, mental health professionals and financial experts, is the first of its kind in Sarasota. The collaborative process favors a climate of honesty, cooperation and transparency to achieve comprehensive settlement on all issues. Christopher E. Dougherty, JD ’85, Devon, Pa., became chair of the board of directors for Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C., effective January 2014.

▲ Augustus Way Fountain, ’85, Bel Air, Md., has been elected as a 2014 SPIE Fellow. SPIE is an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Fellows are members of distinction who have made significant scientific and technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics and imaging. As one of the 76 SPIE members elected to fellow status in 2014, he has been recognized for his achievements in innovative research and its application in hazardous chemical detection. He also acts as the associate editor of SPIE’s peer-reviewed Journal of Optical Engineering, which publishes papers reporting on optical science and engineering. John B. Grandoff, JD ’85, has been appointed to the Tampa Port Authority board. Michael P. Brundage, JD ’86, Safety Harbor, is a partner and practice group leader of the creditor’s rights and bankruptcy practice group of Phelps Dunbar LLP in Tampa. He is chair of the Lawyers of Conscience pro60


gram associated with the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, where he serves on the board of directors. Parrish L. Hill, ’86, Tampa, was recently named a board certified fluency specialist, one of only 10 in Florida. Certified fluency specialists have national certification and are trained speech language pathologists who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of fluency speech disorder for children and adults. Wendy Hunt, JD ’86, Milford, N.H., is the new executive director of the Milford Improvement Team. Paul F. Granello, ’87, MS ’90, Powell, Ohio, recently published his fifth book, Wellness: A Guide for Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle. Published by Pearson, it is a textbook for undergraduate college students. Richard D. Kriseman, JD ’87, St. Petersburg, has been elected mayor of St. Petersburg, effective January 2014. Kriseman formerly represented the 53rd District in the Florida House of Representatives. Christopher T. Vernon, JD ’87, Naples, was reappointed to the Edison State College District Board of Trustees by Florida Gov. Rick Scott. He will represent Collier County. Robert W. Cranston, ’88, Haines City, was a guest broadcaster on ESPN 3 for the Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic High School meet back in October 2013. Cranston currently teaches AP economics and German at Ridge Community High School in Haines City. He also coaches cross-country and track. Alberto F. Gomez, JD ’88, Tampa, has joined the Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns LLP law firm. Brian G. Williams, ’88, Brighton, Mass., a professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, recently published a widely reviewed book on a pro-U.S., anti-Taliban warlord who is also a

women’s rights activist. He spent two summers in Afghanistan and interviewed U.S. Special Forces and CIA operatives who rode with the warlord in fighting the Taliban in 2001. The book is titled The Last Warlord. The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warrior Who Led U.S. Special Forces to Overthrow the Taliban Regime. It can be found at T. Glenn Kindred, ’89, Orlando, completed his Master of Science degree in international real estate from Florida International University.

Mia McKown, JD ’91, Lakeland, has become a partner with Holland & Knight LLP, where she practices in the firm’s litigation group and is a member of its teams for healthcare, life sciences and government advocacy. Christopher M. Shulman, JD ’91, Tampa, is an American Arbitration Association mediator and arbitrator, an SMCS labor arbitrator, and a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and has been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators.

1990s Paul D. Bain, ’90, Tampa, was recently promoted to shareholder at Trenam Kemker in Tampa. Christine Walker Bange, ’90, Flagler Beach, has been promoted to associate accountant at James Moore, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants. As an associate accountant, she will perform work in both the tax and audit departments.

▲ Pamela Bondi, JD ’90, Tallahassee, Florida attorney general, presented the commencement speech at Stetson College of Law’s 2013 Commencement ceremony. Brian M. Bursa, JD ’90, Apollo Beach, a partner with Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP in Tampa, presented at the 50th Annual LeadingAge Florida’s Annual Conference in Orlando on the latest social media issues facing the healthcare industry.

▲ David F. Mack, ’92, Roswell, Ga., was recently ranked ninth on Registered REP’s 2013 “Top 100 Wirehouse Advisors” list published on WealthManagement. com. He is one of the four founding members of the Global Corporate and Institutional Advisory Services team and is a senior leader in the group. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ certificant, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. He was also named to Barron’s Top 1,000 Financial Advisors in 2013. William J. Boyce, JD ’93, St. Petersburg, served on the acquisition team and currently serves as president of the Texas Legends, a minor league affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Development League. He was honored with the 2013 NBA D-League Team Executive of the Year award. David A. Holmes, JD ’93, Port Charlotte, Farr Law Firm’s

current president and managing partner, was recently accepted to Leadership Florida’s Class XXXII. Robert J. Sniffen, JD ’93, Tallahassee, was named Tallahassee Employment Lawyer of the Year in Best Lawyers in America 2014. He was listed in the U.S. News “Best Lawyers – Best Law Firms 2013.” James G. Vickaryous, JD ’93, MBA ’98, Sanford, has been elected by peers to the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association Board of Directors. Robert “Jake” Bebber, ’94, Millersville, Md., was a contributing author to the book Culture, Conflict and Counterinsurgency, published by Stanford University Press. His chapter, titled “Developing an Information Operations Environmental Assessment in Khost Province, Afghanistan,” dealt with the challenges to IO practitioners in a counterinsurgency operation while deployed to Khost Province, Afghanistan, in 2008. Elizabeth Stark Campbell, ’94, Dodd City, Texas, has adopted five children out of the foster system and is building a horse program with Gypsy Vanner horses to serve foster children. Many foster children do not have the self-confidence or study skills to go on to college, even though their college is paid for. The horses give them love, self-esteem and confidence. You can visit her ranch’s website at Fredrik V. Coulter, ’94, MAcc ’95, DeLand, has accepted a position as the budget officer for the City of Daytona Beach.

▲ Dimitri Diatchenko, ’94, Studio City, Calif., is featured

in the World War II action film Company of Heroes, starring Tom Sizemore, Vinnie Jones and Chad Collins. He traveled to Romania last September to star in the suspense thriller Repossessed, which will be released in the summer of 2014. He will play guitar in this film, combining his music and acting skills. He will also guest star on the hit television show Bones. Michael T. Dolce, JD ’94, West Palm Beach, has formed Dolce & Paruas PLLC with offices in West Palm Beach and Hollywood. Richard A. Kinne, ’94, Youngsville, N.C., started a new job in the Purchasing Department at Wake Health Services Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. Carol Mirando, JD ’94, Atlantic Beach, was appointed a new U.S. magistrate judge in downtown Fort Myers. Bonnie Polk, JD ’94, Sarasota, was elected vice chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 12th Circuit. Joseph C. Bodiford, JD ’95, Lutz, was interviewed by The Daytona Beach News-Journal and 970 WFLA and has published opinion articles in the Orlando Sentinel and Tallahassee Democrat on criminal law issues in the news. Thomas S. Harmon, JD ’95, Tampa, a partner at Harmon, Wood, Parker & Abrunzo, P.A., spoke in November at the Hillsborough County Bar Association 17th Annual Bench Bar Conference on traumatic brain injury litigation. James L. O’Leary, JD ’95, Naples, received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Byung Jin Pak, ’95, Lilburn, Ga., was appointed to the Judicial Nominating Commission by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. The Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) is responsible for screening and recommending judicial candidates for appointment by the governor to the courts of Georgia. He is the first Asian-American to be appointed to the JNC in its history. Lauralee Granson Westine, JD ’95, MBA ’01, Palm Harbor, has

Ahmad Yakzan fulfilled his childhood dream of practicing law.

A Wish Come True Ahmad Yakzan, ’03, MBA ’05, JD ’08, LLM ’09, was 18 years old when he came to the U.S. from Lebanon. Since his teen years, Yakzan says he wanted to practice and one day teach international law. While attending Brevard Community College, Stetson alumna Kathy Cobb, ’81, JD ’83, told Yakzan about Stetson University. Four degrees from Stetson later, Yakzan says he feels at home practicing immigration law. “As an immigrant myself, I think this is my life’s calling,” says Yakzan. Yakzan explains that he knows firsthand how difficult it is to navigate the immigration process and paperwork. “The process is very complicated,” Yakzan explains. “For the person navigating the system, I think having a knowledgeable attorney is a plus.” He started practicing law more than two years ago. Since his admission to the bar, he has been instrumental in developing the immigration practice at the law firm of Tucker & Ludin. He notes that immigration work is where he belongs, and immigration is part of international law. “The practice of law is becoming more internationalized,” affirms Yakzan, who says he reads the news constantly to stay current on international affairs. “What’s happening in Syria,” Yakzan adds, “is bringing more asylum cases to the U.S.” While still a student at Stetson University College of Law, Yakzan reported and wrote a regular column on international law topics for the student newspaper in addition to competing and winning a prestigious competition with the moot court team. Today, he researches and writes frequently for the blog “Immigration Talk With Ahmad Yakzan” at “What I like about the law,” Yakzan continues, “is that it is part of the real world. It is complicated, challenging and rewarding. I love going to work every day knowing I am helping someone have a chance at becoming an American.” —Brandi Palmer STETSON



Heather Grove has devoted her life and career to the local food movement.

A Career Devoted to Local Food Stetson graduate Heather Grove, ’11, studied local food and geography at Stetson, co-created Hatter Harvest with Kate Matthews and Caity Peterson, and was involved in many other environmental issues on campus. Her work at Stetson foreshadowed her future career. The process of completing her senior research project played a significant role in what she planned to do after college. While at Stetson, she had studied the benefits and barriers of local food sourcing for the county’s farmers and for institutions, such as her alma mater. “Through my research, I met some of the pioneers of Central Florida’s local food movement, including the founder of A Local Folkus, who is now founder and owner of East End Market, Slow Food Orlando’s chair, and many inspirational growers and producers,” she explains. The results of Grove’s senior research were eye-opening, and she realized there was much to be done in the local food movement. After graduating, she moved back home to Orlando and began volunteering for the Winter Park Harvest Festival and other local food initiatives. After six months of volunteering, her hard work paid off and put her on her current career path. “I knew there were more opportunities for growth in Orlando,” Grove says. “It’s very rewarding to be a part of a mission-driven startup, knowing that you are contributing to a cultural change. “We wanted to create a place where people could better understand their roles within the regional food system and how their food choices affect not only their bodies, but the local economy, environment and community,” she asserts. She now plays a vital role in Central Florida’s growing good food movement, making a positive difference in Central Florida’s food system. This is what the East End Market plans to achieve. Grove’s career is something she is passionate about and expresses her gratitude to Stetson for guiding her in her current endeavors. “The more engaged I become in Orlando and East End’s Audubon Park Garden District, the more I discover how much DeLand has contributed to my appreciation of localism,” Grove says. As the community manager, she has played a prominent role at East End Market. She thanks Stetson for teaching her to appreciate the small businesses and farms that are such an important part of DeLand’s culture. Check out the East End Market’s Grand Opening album at —Courtney Allbee 62


been appointed to the board of trustees of St. Petersburg College by Gov. Rick Scott. Russell H. Young, JD ’95, Sarasota, is a partner with the law firm of Eraclides, Gelman, Hall, Indek, Goodman & Waters LLC in Sarasota. Jean-Paul “JP” Durand, JD ’96, Clearwater, has been appointed vice president, chief ethics and compliance officer in Tech Data’s worldwide ethics and compliance program. Edward G. Kingfield, ’96, Melbourne, has successfully completed one semester and is continuing in the Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree program in the College of Education and Human Performance at the University of Central Florida. Gregory D. Lee, MBA ’96, JD ’99, Orlando, partner with Baker & Hostetler LLP, has been appointed chair for the Central Florida Sports Commission Board of Directors. Tiffany Moncrieff, JD ’96, Naples, has joined the Naples office of Quarles & Brady LLP. Tangela Barrie, JD ’97, Stone Mountain, Ga., of the Dekalb County Superior Court will be the speaker during the Albany State University National Alumni Association’s Founder’s Day Luncheon in April 2014. Sheri Hutchinson Buchanan, ’97, Mount Dora, is the new press secretary for the Florida Department of Health. She will serve as the official department spokesperson responsible for coordinating media interviews with senior Department of Health officials and other subject matter experts, as well as conducting earned media campaigns that highlight the many successful programs and extensive services provided through the Department of Health. Jonathan C. Chane, JD ’97, West Palm Beach, has been elevated to shareholder for Greenberg Traurig LLP. Lisa Griffin Hodgdon, JD ’97, Tampa, of the law office of

Broad and Cassel, has earned an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Vivien Monaco, JD ’97, MBA ’01, Orlando, was elected treasurer of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar and was recognized in Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” and Best Lawyers in America.

▲ Jason D. Paulk, ’97, Portales, N.M., received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching at Eastern New Mexico University. The award is given to full-time faculty nominated by their students and peers.

▲ Frederick B. Entenmann, ’98, Upper Arlington, Ohio, has partnered with John Assaraf, CEO of Praxis Now. Praxis Now is a world leading brain research and product development company specializing in developing neurotechnology that helps individuals maximize their potential. Michael C. McGinn, JD ’98, Riverview, was profiled in the Osprey Observer newspaper along with his family law practice.

Christopher C. Noyes, ’98, DeLand, recently graduated from the Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO) program from the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University.

▲ Nicolette Corso Vilmos, ’98, JD ’00, Orlando, partner in the Orlando office of Broad and Cassel, has been named chair of the Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights Practice Group. She is actively involved in a wide variety of professional and community organizations, including the American Intellectual Property Law Association, International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation, American Bankruptcy Institute, Central Florida Inns of Court and the American Bar Association. Daniel A. Garcia, JD ’99, Fort Lauderdale, has earned an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was named as one of the “Top 40 Litigation Lawyers Under 40 in Florida” by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James V. Pascale, ’99, Brooklyn, N.Y., has been elected partner at the international law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP. He represents clients in connection with securities offerings, securitizations, lending, leasing, acquisitions, and financial restructuring transactions. His deals are routinely recognized by leading industry publications, and in 2012 he was named a “rising star” by Airfinance Journal. Amanda Sharkey Ross, ’99, Miami, has been selected to be

included in the South Florida Legal Guide. Selection to the top listings is based on peer nominations, which are then reviewed by the editorial department. That department looks at the accomplishments and credentials of each nominee. This is Ross’ first year being included as a Top Up and Comer in the guide. Nominees to the Top Up and Comer division include younger attorneys, generally in practice more than 10 years, who are making their mark on the legal profession. The Law Office of David L. Ross, P.A., is a dynamic, growing firm in the South Florida community. Jose A. Toledo, JD ’99, Tampa, was honored by the Lima (Peru) Bar Association at Stetson’s Tampa Law Center.

▲ Richard B. Weinman, MBA/JD ’99, Orlando, of the law firm Winderweedle, Haines, Ward & Woodman, P.A., was recently named a firm partner. He has been with the firm for more than eight years, practicing in the Orlando office in the areas of general business, commercial litigation and creditor’s rights in state, federal and bankruptcy courts, as well as binding arbitrations. He served as corporate counsel to a Fortune 500 company for more than four years, and he has particular experience in creditor compliance and the defense of actions brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

2000s Michelle Johnson-Weider, ’00, JD ’03, Silver Spring, Md., published a children’s book, In the Garden of Our Minds and Other Buddhist Stories, through her company Blue Moon Aurora LLC. Johnson-Weider’s book was recognized with a bronze medal in the 2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in the religion/spirituality category. Heather Quick, JD ’00, Jacksonville, was profiled in Financial News & Daily in October 2013. Matthew B. Taylor, JD ’00, Bradenton, has joined the Tampa office of Lewis Longman & Walker, P.A., as an associate. Blair Henry Chan, JD ’01, a principal with Givens Givens Sparks PLLC in Tampa, has been accepted into the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group. Billy Edwards, JD ’01, West Helena, Ark., of Broad and Cassel has been named to the Legal Advisory Council for the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations. Edwards serves on his firm’s practice groups for commercial litigation, corporate and securities, and labor and employment. Reinaldo J. Ojeda, JD ’01, Bartow, has been appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to the bench for the 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida, which covers Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties. Louis Barbieri, ’02, Atlanta, Ga., was promoted to partner at Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, LLP, in January. Barbieri represents corporate clients in sophisticated and technical transactions from formation to exit and also guides them through state and federal corporate compliance issues. Sabrina Beavens, JD ’02, Portsmouth, N.H., has been promoted to partner at Iurillo Law Group, P.A. The firm’s practice areas include complex bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, business law, business litigation, real estate, and personal injury.

▲ Nicholas S. Dzembo, ’02, Sarasota, completed the inaugural Disney Dopey Challenge, running the Disney 5K, 10K, halfmarathon and full marathon over four consecutive days in January 2014. He ran to raise awareness and money for a cure for his son, 7-year-old Connor, who has a life-threatening progressive neurodegenerative condition, Ataxia Telangiectasia.

▲ Rachael Greenstein, ’02, JD ’07, Tampa, recently was awarded The Lynn Futch Most Productive Young Lawyer Award by the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division. This award is given to a young lawyer who is not a member of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, who has worked most diligently in the past year in Bar and/or law-related activities and who has an excellent reputation for legal abilities and integrity. Samuel A. Bruning, ’03, Stuart, has been named to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Pacesetter’s Club. The Pacesetter’s Club is a global recognition program for financial advisers who, STETSON



within their first five years, demonstrate the highest professional standards and first-class client service. Ya’Sheaka Campbell, JD ’03, Land O’ Lakes, was named partner in the law firm Eraclides, Gelman, Hall, Indek, Goodman & Waters, LLC, in Tampa. Amber Crooks, ’03, Naples, has recently been promoted to senior natural resources specialist at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples. At the Conservancy, she specializes in environmental policy and advocates to protect environmentally sensitive lands and waters within a five-county region. Christopher R. Koehler, MBA/JD ’03, Tampa, received his board certification in admiralty and maritime law and was elected to the board of directors for the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Tampa chapter. Rhia Farr Winant, JD ’03, Tampa, joined Paramount Title Corporation and will represent Hillsborough Title as legal counsel. Erin Banks, JD ’04, Seminole, was elected to shareholder at the firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt. She is a member of the firm’s construction and real property litigation practice groups. Brent R. Bigger, JD ’04, Tampa, recently launched his own firm, Bigger Law, based in Tampa. Dana Harris, JD ’04, Maitland, joined the Umansky Law Firm in Orlando. Sara Klco, ’04, MBA/JD ’08, Sarasota, has joined the law firm of Broad and Cassel as an associate.

▲ Matthew P. Miller, ’04, Bradenton, was recently hired by 64


Dewberry, a privately held and nationally ranked professional services firm, as an environmental scientist in the firm’s Orlando office. He is responsible for wetland and threatened/endangered species surveying and permitting, water resource coordination and permitting, and other public projects. Courtney Nicholson Rettew, JD ’04, St. Petersburg, has earned her LLM from the University of Alabama. Liza Ricci, JD ’04, Wesley Chapel, was promoted to supervising attorney for the guardian ad litem program for the 13th Judicial Circuit. Rena Upshaw-Frazer, JD ’04, Tampa, an associate at Quarles & Brady LLP in Tampa, has been appointed editor of Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Lawyer magazine for 2013-14.

▲ Tara Calderbank Batista, ’05, DeLand, had an article titled “Network Meta-Analysis for Complex Social Interventions: Problems and Potential” published in the Journal for the Society of Social Work Research. She also published a book review in the Journal of Children and Poverty titled “From Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and Their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System.” Patricia Calhoun, JD ’05, North Redington Beach, was elected to shareholder at the firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt. She is a member of the firm’s healthcare, national trial practice, pharmaceutical, medical device, products and toxic tort liability, white collar

crime and government investigations practice groups. Andrew Chiang, MBA/JD ’05, Bradenton, is now 12th Circuit managing attorney for children’s legal services in the Florida Department of Children and Families. Brandon T. Crossland, JD ’05, Valrico, has become a partner in the Orlando office of BakerHostetler’s Complex Commercial Litigation group. Jason A. Ortitay, MBA ’05, Pittsburgh, Pa., announced his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination for Pennsylvania State Representative in the 46th District. Ortitay is the owner and president of Jason’s Cheesecake Company, LLC, a fundraising enterprise serving Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

▲ Arly Ramos, ’05, Tampa, Jessica Ciancitto Gutierrez, ’06, Los Angeles, Calif., and Erin Lea-Endrelunas, ’08, JD ’11, San Diego, Calif., completed the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, Calif., this past October. Paul V. Suppicich, JD ’05, Tampa, is on the board of directors of Grand Hampton Homeowners Association, Friends of the New Tampa Regional Library, Hillsborough Literacy Council, and the Rotary Club of New Tampa. Suppicich is a council member for Friends of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries. Thomas R. Yaegers, MBA/ JD ’05, Orlando, is a partner at Akerman LLP. Traci Dyshell Blake, ’06, JD ’12, Bronx, N.Y., accepted the position of associate attorney at Lamson & Cutner, P.C., in New York, N.Y. Lamson & Cutner specializes in elder law and estate

planning. Michelle Lajoie Hermey, JD ’06, Bradenton, of the law firm Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A., has become board-certified as a specialist in real estate law from the Florida Bar. Christopher R. Jones, JD ’06, St. Petersburg, is now a partner at Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry, LLP. Alicia Howell Koepke, JD ’06, Tampa, was recently promoted to shareholder at Trenam Kemker. Marc L. Levine, JD ’06, Orlando, received his AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

▲ Jodie Snow, MBA/JD ’06, Tifton, Ga., was admitted to the Georgia Bar in November 2013. She is the chief operating officer of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Foundation in Tifton. Andrew Abramovich, JD ’07, Fleming Island, has been elected partner at the law firm of Boyd & Jenerette, P.A., in Jacksonville. Ann Willard Fiddler, JD ’07, Ringgold, Ga., was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in December 2012. Leslie McMurtrey Goodman, JD ’07, Miami, became the managing attorney for Infinity Insurance Company’s Fort Lauderdale office. Tino M. Lisella, JD ’07, Alexandria, Va., has been named counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil/criminal coordination for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

He currently serves as the operations training manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and is an adjunct professor at Valencia College. Christopher Y. Mills, JD ’08, West Palm Beach, was named overseeing partner of the Florida offices of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh, LLP, and will manage the firm’s West Palm Beach and Jacksonville offices. ▲ Traci McKee, JD ’07, Fort Myers, has been named a stockholder with Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt, P.A., and was elected to the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation Board of Directors. Chad R. Nikola, ’07, Trinity, has returned to Florida and is now working at Catalina Marketing as director of brand development in St. Petersburg. Mary Pirtle, MBA/JD ’07, Nashville, Tenn., has joined Bass Berry & Sims PLC in Nashville, Tenn. Brian E. Smith, JD’07, Orlando, has joined BakerHostetler as an associate. Alex D. Vandermark, ’07, Portsmouth, N.H., is now the owner and operator of two food establishments in Portsmouth. In mid-December, he opened The Soupery, featuring fresh, natural and wholesome soup of all kinds. His other business, The Juicery, is located directly next door. Krista Anderson, JD ’08, Dade City, has been named an attorney at Brock Law, LLC, in Tampa. William B. Collum, ’08, JD ’13, Clearwater, has joined the law firm of Butler, Pappas, Weihmuller, Katz, Craig, LLP, as an associate. Jonathan T. Gilbert, JD ’08, Winter Park, is now an attorney at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter, LLC, practicing personal investigation, medical malpractice, product liability and nursing home abuse. Brandon D. Howell, MBA ’08, Davenport, has earned his doctor of education degree from Nova Southeastern University.

▲ Caitlan Walker, ’08, MAcc ’10, Port Orange, has earned the designation of certified public accountant. She joined the James Moore firm in November 2010. As a senior accountant, she performs audit and accounting procedures to support the firm’s accountants’ reports on financial statements. Kristy Guy Zinna, JD ’08, Parrish, has been hired by the Luhrsen Law Group, LLC, in Sarasota. J. Christian Barker, MBA ’09, JD ’12, Franklin, Tenn., founded the law firm Barker Nashville, PLLC, which specializes in entertainment, copyright and trademark law. Forrest J. Bass, JD ’09, Port Charlotte, has been elected to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. He is also working on an LLM in taxation at Boston University School of Law. Nicholas A. Bilotta, ’09, MAcc ’11, Edgewater, has been promoted to senior accountant at James Moore, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants. As a senior accountant, he will perform audit and accounting procedures necessary to complete financial statement audits. He also

will participate in various phases of audit, compilation and review engagements, including budgeting and planning. Derrick R. Connell, MBA/JD ’09, Palm Shores, is now a partner at Nancy Cacciatore, P.A. Kasey Cox, ’09, Brighton, Mass., has been promoted to enrollment and advising manager at Berklee City Music, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. Berklee City Music is a nonprofit education program that harnesses the energy of contemporary music to reach underserved fourth- to 12th-graders. Students dedicate themselves to building their musical talent, their self-confidence, and in the long run, the strength of their communities. Daniel J. Krinsky, ’09, Palm City, received his Master of Science degree with a major in forest resources and conservation from the graduate school of the University of Florida in December 2013. Cynthia McGirk, JD ’09, Tampa, was promoted to manager, Strategic Initiatives, for the Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation. Lawrence E. Miccolis, JD ’09, Tampa, was a team co-coach for the 2014 Andrew Kurth Moot Court National Championship in Houston. Jason A. Shrive, JD ’09, Scranton, Pa., has been appointed city solicitor of Scranton, Pa. Sean M. Tamm, ’09, DeLand, earned Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Certification in January 2014. He currently works in downtown DeLand as a financial adviser with Edward Jones.

2010s Yova Borovska, JD ’10, St. Petersburg, joined Fowler White Boggs, P.A., after graduating and is featured in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s article “2013 Up & Comers.” Philip E. DeBerard, MBA/ JD ’10, Stuart, is following in his father’s footsteps and is the most recent addition to the law firm of

Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney. Paul M. Messina, MBA/JD ’10, Tampa, has joined the Tampa office of Greenspoon Marder, P.A., as an associate in the litigation group. Paul T. Sabaj, LLM ’10, New York, N.Y., was a featured panelist speaker for the third year in a row at Inn of Court meeting, which took place at the Brooklyn Bar Association’s meeting in February 2014. He addressed the ethical considerations of third-party nonrecourse litigation financing. William M. Allen, JD ’11, Fort Myers, has joined the Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., firm as an associate in the business and tax practice area.

▲ Callhan Garrett, ’11, Naples, became a “double-Hatter” when she graduated from the Stetson University College of Law with a JD with a Certificate of Concentration in International Law in May 2014. Vincent M. D’Agostino, JD ’12, Tampa, was among 147 students across the country chosen for a three-month internship in the White House and worked in the Office of National AIDS Policy. Robert T. Fountain, JD ’12, South Pasadena, has a new job as associate counsel with Minor League Baseball, where he will oversee the areas of trademarks, corporate governance and intellectual property. Blake P. Hampton, JD ’12, Fort Myers, has joined the law firm of Sheppard, Brett, Steward, Hersch, Kinsey & Hill, P.A. STETSON



John R. Henley, JD ’12, St. Petersburg, is now an associate at Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry, LLP. Alyssa Thompson Lindsley, ’12, MAcc ’13, Port Orange, has recently been hired by James Moore, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, as a staff accountant. Before joining the firm, she served as an intern for an accounting firm in DeLand, preparing federal income tax returns, performing monthly and quarterly payroll and accounting services, as well as assisting with audit and financial review engagements. Scott Stevenson, JD ’12, New York, N.Y., is working at the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York. Pamela Wolfcale, MEd ’12, Port Orange, was appointed principal of Oakland Avenue Charter School in Oakland, Fla. Brandon A. Blake, JD ’13, Gulfport, has joined the Tampa law firm of Beytin, McLaughlin, McLaughlin, O’Hara and Bolin, P.A. Jon Paul Brooker, JD ’13, Gulfport, began work as a policy analyst in the fish conservation program at the Ocean Conservancy, an environmental nongovernmental organization. His work focuses on federal fisheries regulation in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. B. Claudette Goyanes Fornuto, JD ’13, St. Petersburg, has joined Trenam Kemker and has been named to the Board of Trustees of American Stage. American Stage is a professional equity theater in St. Petersburg. Jeffrey W. Hane, LLM ’13, Hallock, Minn., has earned his LLM in elder law from Stetson University College of Law. Jennie Hayes, JD ’13, Melbourne, was hired as an assistant state attorney in the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida, working in the main office in Brevard County. Christie Letarte, JD ’13, Tallahassee, has published an article “Keepers of the Night: The STETSON

Dangerously Important Role of Resident Assistants on College and University Campuses” in the Kentucky Journal of Higher Education Policy and Practice. Kayla Richmond, MBA/JD ’13, Fort Myers, has joined the firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. Evan D. Rosen, JD ’13, Tampa, has been selected to serve as an assistant attorney general for the Suncoast Region of the State of Florida. Brett H. Sifrit, JD ’13, Punta Gorda, has joined the Farr Law Firm. Sydney Smith, JD ’13, Singer Island, has been selected as a resident at law at the Naples law firm of Laird A. Lile, P.A. Matthew L. Yost, ’13, Lutz, is now the legislative assistant to Rep. Ross Spano in the Florida House of Representatives.

Kelly Britcher, ’06, to Kevin Phillips on Nov. 3, 2013. Carin DeFerdinando, ’06, MAcc ’07, to Doug Falasco on June 8, 2013.

▲ Kelly Kuenning, ’06, to Todd Ohmes on Nov. 2, 2013.

Lina DeWolf, ’10, to Joseph Sellix on Aug. 8, 2013.

▲ Madison Goode, ’10, to Christopher Cofield on Nov. 23, 2013.

Marriages & Unions Carlynn Ricks, ’69, to Elizabeth Shively on Jan. 31, 2014.

▲ Frederick Ingham, ’80, to Barbara Marshall on May 11, 2013.

▲ Tania Meireles, ’99, to Richard McGilton on Oct. 27, 2012.

▲ Megan Krinsky, ’07, to Marcus Fischer on Jan. 18, 2014. Stephanie McLean, ’07, to John Gallagher on Dec. 21, 2013. Allyson McKenna, ’09, to Gregory Mullins, ’10, on Oct. 12, 2013.

▲ Erica Demers, ’09, to Robert Crews, ’11, on Nov. 9, 2013.

▲ Jacqueline Nading, ’09, to Nicholas Camerlengo on July 19, 2013.

▲ Natalie Gorham, ’10, to C.J. White, ’08, on Oct. 19, 2013.

▲ Alexandra Hernandez, ’10 to Nicholas Combs, ’12, on April 2, 2011.

▲ Laura Loveday, ’10, to Joseph Maury, ’10, on Nov. 23, 2013.

Sarah Scherff, ’10, MA ’12, to Andrew Wilson, ’12, on Nov. 23, 2013.

Ashlei Saltsman, JD ’13, to Steven Richardson, ’08, JD ’11, on Dec. 14, 2013. Sylvia Evans Chappell, ’83, and husband Rick celebrated their 25th anniversary Nov. 7, 2013.


▲ Eric Crane, ’11, to Maggie Boroni on Jan. 1, 2014. Jenna Siladie, ’11, to Shane Hagan, ’08, MBA ’08, on Oct. 12, 2013.

▲ Marisol De La Sancha Bahena, ’96, and husband Manuel, a daughter, Mareli Angelica, in December 2013. Edward Kingfield, ’96, and wife Melissa, a son, Michael Edward, in May 2012. Kristin Ludecke Young, ’96, and husband James, a daughter, Grace Genevieve, in May 2013.

▲ Melanie Ginsber, ’12, to Edward Maharam on Nov. 30, 2013.

▲ Alyssa Thompson, ’12, MAcc ’13, to John Lindsley, ’09, MBA ’10, on Aug. 3, 2013.

▲ Lindsay Loper, ’13, to Jacob Cash, ’11, MBA ’13, on Nov. 16, 2013.

▲ Amy Brenner Ryan, ’00, and husband Seth, a daughter, Evelyn Sue, in September 2013. Elizabeth Sullivan Rountree, ’01, and husband Matthew, a son, Benjamin Matthew, in October 2013. Shelley Stoops Budke, ’02, and husband James, ’00, MBA ’02, a son, Grant Wesley, in July 2013. Nicole Paterniti Harper, ’02, and husband Robert, ’02, MBA ’06, a daughter, Nora Ruth, in August 2013. Kelly Coller Metzinger, ’02, and husband Bradley, a daughter, Sydney Ann, in January 2014.

Dawn Proffitt Jancheson, ’03, and husband Richard, a son, Jackson George, in February 2014. Victoria Newton Sabonjohn, ’03, and husband Steven, ’03, a daughter, Elizabeth Kate, in November 2013. Christina Smith Ruehl, ’05, and husband John, a daughter, Remy Ann, in January 2013. Robert Hanks, ’06, and wife Kristen, a son, Colin Wayne, in November 2013. Micaela Hermann Heuglin, ’06, and husband Joey, a son, Reed James, in November 2013.

▲ Lukia Tsitsakis McLean, ’06, and husband Michael, ’07, a daughter, Anaston Leigh, in September 2013. Alexis Amurgis Nikola, ’07, MBA ’08, and husband Chad, ’07, MBA ’08, a daughter, Ava Victoria, in August 2013. Katherine St. Clair Chacon, ’09, and husband David, a son, Gabriel Armando, in December 2013. Joyce Fulton-Bradley, ’08, a granddaughter, Harley Ann, in September 2013. Parents are E. Scott Fulton, ’05, and wife Laura.

In Memoriam ’40s James T. Nelson, LLB ’41 Gwendolyn Powell Tuten, ’41 Helen Driggers Nordman, ’42 Carolyn Howes Branch, ’43 Mary Jones Hargrove, ’47 Myrtle Roebuck Evans, ’48 Thomas C. Graves, ’48 Farris M. Smith, ’48 Winifred Demorest Whitehurst, ’48 William C. Harris, JD ’49 Mark G. Weatherly, ’49 ’50s Lloyd M. Clifton, ’50

Jean F. Dickman, ’50 Juanita Mikell, ’50 James L. Tomberlin, ’50 R. Julian Bennett, LLB ’51 Troy P. Odom, ’51 Jacquelin Wood Sappia, ’51 Andrew G. Speer, LLB ’51 Grace Lenczyk Cronin, ’52 Durwood C. Chaffee, ’53 Charles F. Foster, ’53 Betty Nordman Myers, ’54 Ronald B. Clonts, ’55 Franklin R. Ritter, ’55 Wayne H. Chastain, ’56 Mary Noriega Hingle, ’57 Richard H. McInnis, ’58, JD ’69 M. Chris Christman, ’59 ’60s Mary Ann Ulmer, ’61 Frank M. Wolfe, LLB ’61 Lewis L. Fraser, LLB ’64 John P. Griffin, LLB ’65 Herman F. Williams, MA ’65 William L. Penrose, JD ’66 Helen Hansel, LLB ’68 Sarah Durham Clark, MA ’69 ’70s Karyl Kesmodel-Rice, ’70 James J. Hall, MBA ’71 Vernon R. Peterson, ’71 J. Peter Straube, MA ’71 Maude McKinney Fain, MEd ’72 Edgar A. Hinson, JD ’72 Rebecca Williams Kelly, ’72 Julia Scheer Esposito, ’74 Martin E. Rice, JD ’74 Marion Panton Collins, MEd ’75 Florence Olsen, MBA ’77 John J. Wilkinson, MEd ’77 Michael J. Keane, JD ’78 John M. Swalm, JD ’79 ’80s Abbie Barnshaw Dunn, MEd ’80 Richard D. Weiss, ’83 Robert J. Miller, ’85 Harold V. Dansberger, ’86 Patti A. Haber, JD ’86 Carl A. Johnston, JD ’87 ’90s Diane DeJose Ginsburg, ’90 Dian Nguyen, ’94, MBA ’96 ’00s Martin P. Shenk, MBA ’05 Machelle Votra, MS ’05 Jestin E. Boyd, JD ’07 STETSON



In an increasingly complex world, where you stand shows who you are.

Why Values Are Important to Stetson


Pulsing with the chatter of the day’s events, humming with hopeful anticipation, or reverberating from the aftershocks of a tragedy, a university community turns to its values to help make sense of the world. Where have we been, where are we headed, and what does it all mean? A university is punctuated by such question marks. Educators and student learners wrestle with the “whys” and “what ifs” as they seek to solve the many complex challenges across the disciplines. In these pursuits — whether on the trading floor, the concert stage or in the courtroom or science lab — our own values guide us in our ability to delineate between right and wrong. They drive our courage and integrity, elicit our concern for others, and compel us toward fair treatment for all. A university has the responsibility to welcome open exchanges exploring a wide range of thought and to reflect and model what’s impor-



B y We n d y B . L i b b y , P h . D . tant to our community, our Stetson community. And, together, we hope we can influence the world. Our values are not only important: They are foundational to our work at Stetson and to the difference we all strive to make. Our values infuse all we do. They exist alongside and within our mission and inform the strategic plan that directs our actions. We weave them into our curriculum, celebrate them on Values Day and during Orientation, post them for the world to see on our website, and embrace them in the thousands of activities that occur throughout Stetson each day. Defined by our community, our values are the heart and soul of Stetson and what our university stands for. They guide our decisions and direct where we invest all of our precious resources. As a Stetson community, we believe in intellectual development, which means we place

high importance on delivering an academically rigorous education and championing exploration and inquiry. We believe in the value of personal growth and have introduced health and wellness programs and invested in the professional development of our employees. We believe in the value of global citizenship and have increased the global focus of many of our programs, while expanding study abroad options for students. Our long-held commitment to social justice and civic engagement — to personal and social responsibility — means we make a commitment to our communities to do the right thing. Our values create the context for our thinking and our actions. Why are values important to us? In an increasingly complex world, where you stand shows who you are. More than ever, values anchor us and show us the way forward. Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., is Stetson’s president. Above photo by Joel Jones


Corinthian columns along Elizabeth Hall’s cupola STETSON Photo by Joel Jones


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Chaplain Michael Fronk, ’74, at Stetson’s Commencement. “Chap” discusses Stetson values inside this issue.

Stetson Magazine  

Vol. 30, Iss. 2

Stetson Magazine  

Vol. 30, Iss. 2