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Asal Mohamadi Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Public Health


Next Steps On May 7, a university-record 830 graduates were celebrated during the Commencement 2016 Ceremony held at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, outdoors for the first time since the late 1970s. On Aug. 25, classes officially began on the DeLand campus, including for incoming students, who hope to someday sit as honorees and walk up to a stage. The common thread: Stetson or, more aptly, the Stetson Experience. While the graduates, with lessons learned and degrees in hand, are now off to find their own significance, the newcomers are poised to follow in their footsteps.

Photo by Nick Leibee




50 22 Things to Know About the Hatters This Fall




President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. Vice President of University Marketing Bruce Chong Assistant Vice President, Marketing/Media Relations Janie Graziani Editor Michael Candelaria Designer Michelle Martin



Associate Designers Shana Gorondy, Erin Matherne


20 The Rainmaker

Editorial Assistant Donna Nassick

4 WELCOME Coming of Age 6 INTELLIGENTSIA News and Notes About Knowledge 15 FIRST PERSON The Possibility at Stetson 16 IMPACT The Comeback of LXA

Jeff Ulmer, Stetson’s principal fundraiser, nurtures a climate of philanthropy.

22 Hatter Nation’s New Front Door

The Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center opens the door to Stetson’s past, present and future.

26 Rave Reviews

The storyline: Renovation of Presser Hall’s venerable rehearsal room receives virtuoso applause.

52 ATHLETICS More Than the Score 54 ALUMNI Hatters Celebrate Stetson 60 THE CLASSES Accolades and Achievements 65 PARTING SHOT Carrying on Tradition




Art and Photography Bobby Fishbough, Joel Jones, Nick Leibee, Brittany Strozzo, Lisa Yetter Contributing Staff Rhiannon Boyer, Anna Chun, Veronica Faison, Nicole Melchionda, Brandi Palmer Writers Jamie Bataille, Joann Grages Burnett, Amy Gipson, Elizabeth L. “Beth” Paul, John Pitts, Savanna Wharton-Lake, Trish Wieland, Rick de Yampert Class Notes Editor Cathy Foster STETSON UNIVERSITY 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 at the historic main 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.



Leadership Issue 28 What is Leadership?

Top administrators at Stetson offer their insight.

32 Raising the Volume

At a time when answers to global questions are sorely needed everywhere, Asal Mohamadi Johnson, Ph.D., is helping to lead exploration among students at Stetson.

36 Tackling Stereotypes

Donald Payne’s journey from hopeful newcomer to star player and standout leader only began on the football field.

40 Transformation

Students Jeff Hahn and Alyssa Morley didn’t know it at the time, but they were destined to lead.

42 Creating Harmony

Alumnus Nathan Wolek brings change as a professor with uncommon sounds and style.

44 Giving Back

Stetson’s Bonner Scholars Program is a study in civic leadership.

46 Snapshots of a Journey Back ‘Home’

Sarah-Michelle Howard ’16 travels to touch lives in Swaziland.

48 Serendipity and the Law

Two alumni find good fortune and friendship on the way to guiding The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division.

32 Cover photo by Bobby Fishbough on Stetson University’s main campus in DeLand, Fla.




Coming of Age


his issue of Stetson University Magazine, redesigned and refocused under our new editor, Michael Candelaria, serves as a reflection of our excitement about the new year – as well as the importance of encouraging and nurturing leadership. Many of the pages are dedicated to telling the stories of people throughout our university who are affecting positive change, locally and abroad. They are daring to lead. At Stetson, our rich history and our promising future are about our people, and along with their passion for the world comes their passion for Stetson, for where we have been and where we are going. Three heartwarming letters received just as the academic year started embody this passion for Stetson: Martha Pierson ’61 (M.A.) of Tallahassee, Fla., began her letter with “I’ll be 84 years old … I’m so proud I’m a Stetson Hatter. … I’ll never make it back to see the campus, but it’s in my heart, the happiest time of my life.” A neighbor handwrote the letter; Martha couldn’t because she had suffered a stroke. The second note arrived from Kayla Drury ’16, a former member of the softball team: “To the coaches, I miss you all more than you know, and please know that I would take a hundred more days of conditioning, and lifting, and sprinting, for just one more day to play in a Stetson uniform. “To the team … know that I miss you all more than words can say, and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I was there.” And this from the mother of a May 2016 graduate: “What really impressed us [at the post-graduation luncheon] was our son being surrounded by his faculty, who hugged him and stayed around to share stories of their times together. … His relationships with faculty are what he carries with him as he starts his graduate studies.” Now we seek to create an environment that is even more encouraging and nurturing and provides that foundation in which leaders naturally grow. Given events in the world around us, it sometimes feels we cannot spare another moment to do the important work that we are destined to do.

Now we seek to create an environment that is even more encouraging and nurturing and provides that foundation in which leaders naturally grow.



Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.

To achieve that, we officially launched “Many Voices, One Stetson.” This is an effort designed to give our entire university community the space and support needed to have safe and courageous discussions about the difficult and complex topics that seem to separate us. Success in this won’t be defined by whether we all agree, but that we have agreed to talk. These discussions may, in fact, unite us by creating greater understanding. The goal is to remind us all that both individual and collective actions can make a difference. Indeed, throughout numerous areas of our university, individual and collective actions are making a difference. A transfer articulation agreement between Daytona State College’s QuantaHonors College and the Stetson Honors Program is creating a pathway for top-flight transfer students from Daytona State to join Stetson. Uniquely, the agreement was initiated between faculty in the two honors programs, prompting our institutions to come together. Such synergy creates a vehicle to drive new relationships and spread a transfer-friendly culture across campus. Our Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience is taking a lead role in addressing Florida’s water concerns by bringing together important regional entities to ensure the health of our aquifers. Volusia County representatives gathered on campus for a water summit and signed a pact to coordinate efforts concerning water management. This puts Stetson at the forefront of impacting change regarding water resources across Central Florida.

We have established two new areas of the university: PaCE (Professional and Corporate Education) offers programs to engage mind and body and teach new skills. Boundless Education is centered on activities such as camps, conferences and retreats that are aligned with the university’s purpose and mission. The two areas are designed to enhance educational opportunities for diverse audiences 12 months a year. (Let us know if we can assist you in these areas!) A program of global importance was re-established by our College of Law Dean Christopher Pietruszkiewicz this summer. He was able to revive a successful program that was in peril because of changes to Spanish law. Stetson law students who participate in the J.D./Grado dual-degree program, in cooperation with the University of Granada in Spain, will receive both a J.D. degree from Stetson College of Law and a Spanish law degree (called a Grado) from the University of Granada. Serving as a model, this program allows students to advance their legal careers in both the United States and the European Union. This summer I watched as the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center arose

at our campus in DeLand. Now open, the center enables our past, present and future to come together in one beautiful, functional space. Simply incredible. Most recently, Stetson was recognized as one of the nation’s Best 381 Colleges in the 2017 edition of the college guidebook by The Princeton Review. We now rank No. 5 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Regional Universities – South. (We previously had been tied for 5th.) Also, U.S. News ranked our College of Law first for Trial Advocacy and third for Legal Writing and included us on the list of Best Law Schools. This is the 18th time in our history we have ranked at the top of the U.S. News ranking in Trial Advocacy, and we have placed among the top six legal writing programs since the inception of that ranking. In Athletics, 13 student-athletes from the team that brought football back to campus after a 57-year hiatus are finishing their playing careers as Hatters. They arrived to pursue a great Stetson education with the hope of also playing college football. They have done so much more for our university by carrying our name across the country, appearing on ESPN3 and re-energizing school spirit.

We began this year with 34 new, full-time faculty members from 27 different institutions, along with more than 900 new, first-time and transfer students. Undergraduate retention this year was just above 79 percent, our highest retention rate in 11 years. The retention rate of our fulltime law students exceeds 93 percent, and the most recent bar-passage rate was above 80 percent, one of the highest in Florida. Each day here at Stetson University, I am gratified to see and experience the ways in which our students, faculty and staff are taking leadership roles and, both figuratively and literally, making a difference and moving the university forward. Thank you!

Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. President Stetson University P.S. See you at Homecoming, Nov. 4-6! STETSON


INTELLIGENTSIA Academic Rigor Gets Rewarded Reaccreditations and accreditations were in the air as the academic calendar turned following Commencement 2016. Stetson University School of Business Administration has maintained its business and accounting accreditations for five years by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). Similarly, Stetson’s Department of Education has been awarded full accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for seven years. AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business programs. There are 761 business schools in 52 countries and territories that maintain AACSB accreditation. Also, 183 institutions maintain an additional specialized AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs. CAEP is relatively new, becoming operational as the sole national accrediting body for educator- preparation providers in 2013. Its creation resulted from a consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation standards were fully implemented this year. Notably, Stetson had the option of being reaccredited under outgoing NCATE standards or becoming an early adopter of the new CAEP standards. The university chose the latter and underwent a two-year process, including a comprehensive self-study and a site visit by CAEP’s accreditation team. The Stetson Department of Education met CAEP’s five standards plus standards for diversity, technology and its continuous improvement plan. At the time, fewer than 20 educator-preparation providers, such as Stetson, had completed the new CAEP accreditation process. — Michael Candelaria

DID YOU KNOW? William A. Jackson, Ph.D., has been named director of the Joseph C. Prince Entrepreneurship Program. In 2015, Jackson was named Entrepreneur Educator of the Year by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He arrives from the University of South Florida. 6







Benchmarking the Past If you ever doubted that every place across campus is likely to have a story, particularly one about giving, here’s further proof. Surrounded by swaying palms and the chatter of students, the six benches that curve around Holler Fountain invite you to sit and stay awhile — whether you’re a student in between classes, an alum dropping in for a visit or faculty/staff taking a break. When Dr. Diane Disney ’63 was little and her grandparents (John and Myrtle Masden) would bring the children down on trips through Florida, they always stopped at Stetson to see the fountain. Disney remembered well. “Just over a year ago, as the campus grounds were being revitalized, inspiration struck: A bench by the fountain would be perfect to honor my grandparents and their love of learning and grandchildren,” she says. “By the time I returned to Pennsylvania, the whole plan came together: I’d endow all six of the benches, so the whole family could be together, as all four siblings had attended Stetson, and three of us eventually married Stetson graduates. “I’d like to believe that the Masden/Disney spirit will continue to surround Holler Fountain through those benches and help future generations of students, faculty and staff to find a place to rest, recharge and feel part of the amazing community that is Stetson. And perhaps meet someone they too will eventually marry!” — Amy Gipson Diane Disney ’63 honors a family legacy with benches that curve around Holler Fountain on Stetson’s main campus in DeLand, Fla.

Hatters Among Florida’s Legal Elite A total of 111 Stetson University College of Law graduates were listed among Florida’s Legal Elite in the July 2016 issue of Florida Trend magazine, including hall-of-famers as well as up-and-comers. Stetson Law alumni Stephen D. Busey, Mark A. Hanley and Rhea F. Law were again included in the Legal Elite Hall of Fame, a distinguished group of attorneys who consistently earn high peer rankings in the annual Legal Elite voting. Busey is chairman of the Smith Hulsey & Busey law firm and received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Stetson. Hanley is a partner at the Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP law firm. Law is chair of Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney P.C.’s Florida offices, is a member of the board of directors and co-chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee. She also is affiliated with Stetson University College of Law. Among the Legal Elite, Florida Trend included 20 Stetson law graduates as “up and coming” attorneys and four as outstanding attorneys working in the government and nonprofit sectors. In its 13th edition, Florida’s Legal Elite showcases attorneys chosen by their peers who exemplify a standard of excellence in their profession. For good measure, Stetson graduates also are again ranked among the best lawyers in Florida by Florida Super Lawyers. Stetson University College of Law ranks third in the state for the highest number of alumni on the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers list with 321 graduates. Meanwhile, the 2016 Florida Rising Stars list includes 206 Stetson Law graduates. ­— Brandi Palmer STETSON



2016 Fall Enrollment

Census Snapshot



1 14 2,076 813 357 904 5 7 11 33 1 103 32

0.0 0.3 47.6 18.7 8.2 20.7 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.8 0.0 2.4 0.7






Exchange Study Graduate Law Post Baccalaureate Undergraduate

31 357 904 7 3,058

0.7 8.2 20.7 0.2 70.2

Abroad-Other Abroad-Stetson Continuing Student First Time in College Graduate Student Law School Other One-Time-Only Students Post Baccalaureate Re-Admit from Suspension Re-Entry Seeking Second Degree Transfer Visiting/Transient





58% Female 6% International 29% U.S. Students of Color Source: Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness

In Defense of Violent Video Games Temper allegations about the harmful effects of violent video game use. That’s the message from Chris Ferguson, Ph.D., Stetson professor of psychology. New research published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture reveals that violent video game use is not associated with antisocial attitudes or bullying behavior, according to Ferguson, lead researcher on the project. “All told, results from this study suggest that violent video games are not the object for concern they were once perceived as being,” says Ferguson. “Like previous forms of art — from rock music to comic books — perceptions of harm to society caused by video games may increasingly be a thing of the past.” The debate over whether violent video games influence the behavior of youth has split the academic community for years. In 2011, in a decision examining the constitutionality of regulating the sale of violent games to minors, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the research evidence could not support claims of harm caused to minors. In this new study, Ferguson and John Colwell, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Westminster, examined youths’ exposure to violent content in video games as well as parental involvement in their game play. The study also assessed children’s motives for playing video games, surprisingly one of very few studies to do so. The title of the study is: “A Meaner, More Callous Digital World for Youth? The Relationship Between Violent Digital Games, Motivation, Bullying and Civic Behavior Among Children.” Regarding motivations for violent game play, “among youth who played video games, interest in games as a fun activity, but also as a release from stress were predictors of violent game use,” Ferguson 8



“Like previous forms of art – from rock music to comic books – perceptions of harm to society caused by video games may increasingly be a thing of the past.” — Chris Ferguson, Ph.D.

Joshua Karton pioneered teaching the communication arts to lawyers.

Launch of the Drone Index Stetson has gotten into the drone business through the launch of an innovative drone index called “Drones 9,” which includes nine publicly traded companies with drone-related exposures. The bold move comes from students in Stetson’s Roland George Investments Program — known for having one of the nation’s oldest and best market performances directed entirely by students, who manage a real portfolio of $3.5 million in stocks and bonds. Gonzalo Arroyo-Baudet ’16 developed the concept behind Drones 9 while still a student. He identified nine tradable stocks in the United States and created a proprietary algorithm to determine the optimal combination of the nine stocks. The program’s trustee committee approved the purchase in March, clearing the way for the RGIP portfolio to invest $100,000 in the nine drone stocks. The index has outperformed the S&P 500 by 50 percent for the past 10 years. Arroyo-Baudet believes the drone industry will generate more than $90 billion during the next decade. “Drones are poised to radically change how people see and interact with the world around them,” he said. “Commercial uses are endless, as well as innovative ways to incorporate drones into a business’s growth and development creations.” In related news, RGIP also continues to pay off in collegiate competitions. RGIP’s bond portfolio earned second place in the national G.A.M.E. VI Forum 2016 Competition, and its stock portfolio earned fourth place. With judges ranking actual return performances, RGIP portfolios outpaced nearly all of the other 250 student-managed funds programs from 140 universities, 39 states and 40 countries. — Janie Graziani

Lifetime Achievement in Law Joshua Karton, who specializes in teaching how to apply the communication skills of theater, film and television to the art of trial advocacy, has earned this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy from Stetson University College of Law. The award recognizes people who have fundamentally changed how the world approaches the teaching of advocacy. Karton pioneered teaching the communication arts to lawyers. Charlie Rose, Stetson University professor of excellence in trial advocacy, called Karton the “quintessential teacher of advocacy.” In other recognition by Stetson College of Law, American University Washington College of Law Professor Elizabeth L. Lippy received Stetson’s Edward D. Ohlbaum Award, which honors an individual whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law. ­— Brandi Palmer

DID YOU KNOW? says. “These results are consistent with evidence from other studies that youth often turn to action-oriented games to reduce stress and improve mood.” In addition, parental involvement was not associated with reduced violent video game exposure. “This may be because parents become comfortable with the content of games once they play them,” Ferguson says. “Results of this most recent study suggest that violent video game use is not associated with problem behaviors in youth related to aggression, or with prosocial and civic behaviors.” — Janie Graziani

Stetson students now hope the new Drone Index takes flight.

Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy received the American Bar Association’s 2016 Distinguished Achievement for Environmental Law and Policy Award, recognizing contributions in global wetland, wildlife conservation and environmental issues.




Nicole RiveraMontanez, ’16, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, is emblematic of success among “diverse” students. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society.

Archiving Generosity For years, Susan Ryan admired Lewis Stetson Allen’s passion for serving as family historian. Ryan, dean of the duPont-Ball Library and Learning Technologies at Stetson University, could always count on Allen bringing any factual errors in the library’s archives to her attention. He did so “very politely,” and Ryan considered the successful marketer, banker and financier a trusted primary source. Allen, a great-grandson of university benefactor John Batterson Stetson, died in January 2015, but his guiding influence on the library remains. Shortly before passing, he established the Lewis Stetson Allen Archives Endowment Fund to “provide resources necessary to protect, preserve and digitize the university historical archives.” As a result, expect to see more archives this fall than ever previously at the library. The Stetson family history is included in that preservation, of course. Yet, Allen’s giving extends far beyond, benefiting the library in a variety of ways. Most directly, each year funds from the endowment will enable broader amounts of historical material to be cataloged and digitized. Already, many of the university’s materials are cataloged dating back to the 1800s, with much of it digitized. Also, the endowment will help showcase the library’s dozens of private and special collections. Such efforts are part of Ryan’s overarching goal of “doing the library the right way.” She continually asks: “What does this library have that no other library has?” — Michael Candelaria

Media Recognizes Diversity U.S. News & World Report has ranked Stetson University No. 8 among top universities in its annual “10 MBA Programs with the Most Diversity.” The ranking includes universities with more than 15 percent of students being underrepresented minorities in their MBA programs. According to the article, “At more than 100 MBA programs, the percentage of African-American, Latino, American Indian and Pacific Islanders is less than 10 percent. A few schools, however, have a much stronger representation for these and other groups.” Stetson was then listed among those with the highest percentage of underrepresented minorities. In fall 2015, Stetson’s percentage of underrepresented minorities equaled 16.9 percent. Shortly afterward, more welcomed news arrived from a ranking of “Top 10 Culturally Dynamic Universities” by, which placed Stetson No. 9, emblematic of “diverse campuses that will make you feel at home on a different continent.” The article cites a program called Stetson Visits You that “reaches potential students in Brazil, Turkey and Vietnam to lay out the welcome mat before they arrive in the states.” The article also notes the work of Luis E. Paris, a visiting lecturer at Stetson in the School of Business Administration, who started a club to help international students find work. — Janie Graziani

A Grand Return

This original oil portrait of John Batterson Stetson was given to the university by the family of Lewis Stetson Allen after his death.

GIVING AT STETSON Philanthropy is not merely an idle idea at Stetson. Giving during the 2014-15 academic year totaled more than $13 million, while the endowment tally at the end of 2015 was nearly $209 million. The average undergraduate scholarship for 2015-16 was just under $28,000.

DeLand Hall, where Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., conducts business, housed the Stetson School of Music for several decades. In 1969, the School of Music was moved to its current location, Presser Hall, which opened that year. Notably, this year a grand piano has returned to DeLand Hall for the first time since that move. A New York Steinway Model M piano, courtesy of the School of Music and donors, now graces the new office of Interim Provost Noel Painter, Ph.D., who also is an associate professor of music. Photo: Bobby Fishbough

Source: Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness






Rhonda Harrell ’83 drove from Titusville, Fla., to hear her former teacher Gary R. Libby discuss the art and artists of the American Painting and the Florida School of Art — Selections From Private Collections exhibit at the Hand Art Center during the summer. On the wall behind them is a rare painting by Lois Bartlett Tracy, “Landscape South of Englewood, Florida,” oil on canvas, from a private Florida collection.


History at the Hand Art Center An exhibit in the Gary R. Libby Gallery at the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center on Stetson’s DeLand campus drew record-breaking attendance for May and June. American Painting and the Florida School of Art — Selections From Private Collections opened May 13 after a private showing a week earlier and closed on July 2. During May and June, the Hand Art Center experienced more than a 200 percent increase in attendance over the same period in 2015. In the first six months of this year, Hand Art Center saw a 40.73 percent increase in attendance with 6,624 total visitors. Some of the paintings from the dynamic showcase were landscapes or scenes from around North and Central Florida such as Lake Winnemissett, Ormond Beach, Englewood, St. Augustine, Ponce Inlet, St. Petersburg and other Florida locations. The exhibit brought together 30 paintings dating from approximately 1825 to 1925 by significant artists who had been influenced by Florida. Gary R. Libby, director emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach and namesake of the gallery, defines a “Florida painting” as “Florida subject matter — a representation of Florida by an artist who, whether he lived here or not, felt his inspiration in Florida. And 90 percent of them were done in the state.” The exhibition also included works by artists who taught or influenced Florida School painters but who are not part of the school, hence the inclusion of Robert Henri. — Janie Graziani 12


Students at Stetson volunteer approximately 131,000 cumulative hours of community service each year. By simply calculating the federal minimum wage, Stetson service work is valued at nearly $1 million (without considering numerous other impacts).

A worldwide grant brings a Nearpod license for virtual reality to Stetson.

Classroom Trips a Virtual Reality Walk into Alan Green’s international economics class this fall, and students will be geeked out in goggle-like headset contraptions, looking as if they stepped out of some sci-fi film. However, they actually will be stepping into the world of virtual reality, thanks to a grant. Green, Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of Stetson’s Economics Department, is one of only 50 instructors at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools world- wide to receive awards as part of the inaugural Virtual Reality Grant Program founded by Nearpod. The educationtechnology company develops digital learning tools, virtual reality and interactive content for use in classrooms. Green, who also is director of the Africana Studies program at Stetson, now has access to Nearpod VR headsets and more than 25 VR-based lesson plans. Additionally, the grant includes professional development, one-on-one support services and a Nearpod license for the university. A teacher as well as a research economist, Green has plans for many of the new resources in his international economics and essentials of economics II classes. The goggle-like VR headsets use video, audio and even interactive capabilities so that “you can take a virtual trip somewhere,” he says. “My field research is in economic development, studying poor countries around the world and how they can grow. So we can take a trip to a country in sub-Saharan Africa and get a really strong visual of a village, what people live like, what their houses are like.” — Rick de Yampert

Eckerd Earns Direct Law Admission High-performing Eckerd College students, including students and graduates of Eckerd’s Program for Experienced Learners, now can earn direct admission to Stetson University College of Law. The partnership also means $15,000 or more in scholarship opportunities to accepted Eckerd students based on qualifications and credentials. Through the program, eligible Eckerd students who have completed coursework requirements for their bachelor’s degrees and have competitive grades and scores on the Law School Admissions Test may apply and be accepted to law school at Stetson in their senior year. The partnership represents a good academic fit, officials contend. Eckerd, a private, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences, has a diverse student body with 1,800 students from 48 states and 40 countries and is one of only 40 schools listed in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives. Stetson University College of Law, Florida’s first law school, is ranked No. 1 in Trial Advocacy and No. 3 in Legal Writing in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. — Brandi Palmer





The Possibility at Stetson The Phoenix Islands Protected Area flashes its brilliance. (The photo was not taken during John Pitts’ voyage.)

Photo: courtesy of Sea Education Association

Adventure and Discovery

John Pitts ’17

What I Did This Summer A blog by John Pitts ’17 (environmental science and studies). Excerpted from SEA Semester, published by the Sea Education Association, an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education based in Falmouth, Mass. Dated July 15, 2016.

WE’VE CROSSED THE EQUATOR! The latitude on our GPS hit all zeros as Polaris slunk below our horizon this morning at approximately 0445. Once Neptune awoke in the afternoon, we were put on trial for our misgivings. We were all found guilty, but after a few tests and tributes we were honorably given Shellback status. My favorite thing about life on the ocean so far: the visual embodiment of universal connectedness. At night, infinite numbers of worlds can be seen flickering overhead and floating underfoot. The waves rolling into one another serve as a reminder that nothing comes into existence without the constant, minute change of everything around it. I’m thinking of each of you and look forward to swapping stories of our adventures across the world. In a class discussion on Monday, I said that I feel like a Portuguese man-of-war: pretty powerful on my own but still reliant on the rest of my colony to handle everything that needs to be done. So I will let their posts cover the goings-on of the ship. We are also on track to reach our destination, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, sometime later tonight, so I will use this post to talk a little bit about the nation of Kiribati (pronounced keer-e-bas), whose preservation of the area has allowed us to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Considering that most of us had never heard of Kiribati prior to SEA Semester, I doubt you have either. They know about the U.S., though. While we will not meet many people from Kiribati on our journey — only a caretaker population of about 25 people live in the Phoenix group that comprise eight of the nation’s 33 islands — we do have an I-Kiribati observer, Kore, accompanying us. Unfortunately, the goal for most I-Kiribati is to leave their home. Their property, food and water security are threatened by rising sea and rising population. The largest economic input for the islands is selling tuna fishing licenses to larger nations, as most don’t have the equipment necessary to fish tuna themselves. Despite this, they closed off fishing in nearly an eighth of their exclusive economic zone to create PIPA (Phoenix Islands Protected Area) and protect some of the world’s most pristine coral habitats, which will serve as a baseline for examining reef health across the globe. In a culture where water is common property and refusing help to someone in need is taboo, it is hardly surprising that they would give such a gift to the world. It is time for us to start giving back to nations like Kiribati. It starts by admitting that we as a planet are facing a new era. It doesn’t matter if humans have changed the climate or not; it is changing. It always has. We must change with it. If the United States is going to be an example for the rest of the world, let us be a positive one. 14


EDITOR’S NOTE In the weeks following his writing, John Pitts quite possibly became part of a historic discovery — evidence of rebirth at the site of a giant reef that had been devastated by unusually warm water. In 2003, researchers to the site, located on the floor of a remote island lagoon halfway between Hawaii and Fiji, declared Coral Castles dead. Dives in 2009 and 2012 yielded little signs of improvement. Then researchers last year witnessed promise, with the Coral Castles coming to life. Pitts’ voyage provided confirmation in the form of bright greens and purples, deemed sure signs of vitality. The voyage included 22 other undergraduates from diverse U.S. colleges and universities, along with SEA faculty, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and research divers from the New England Aquarium. The researchers believe that if Coral Castles can continue to revive after years of apparent lifelessness, even as water temperatures rise, there might be hope for other reefs with similar damage. The discovery was reported in the science pages of The New York Times (Aug. 15, 2016).

Opportunities exist for students to explore new territories, shape expanded identities and reach through challenge to higher aspirations.


BY E L I Z A B E T H L . “ B E T H ” PAU L , P H . D .

an you feel it? Possibility is in the air at Stetson University.

John B. Stetson would surely be smiling. As a dedicated educational entrepreneur, he knew the power of — indeed, the imperative of — possibility. He knew that possibility in thought, learning and living is critical for reaching forward, choosing and taking risks, and achieving progress. Stetson University’s mission inspires us to create an environment of possibility for our students — an environment ripe with potential in which our students can make choices from among bountiful fields of opportunities. An environment in which we invite each and every student to explore new territories, shape expanded identities, and reach through challenge to higher aspirations. This pioneering spirit in which students grapple with challenge, question intently, take different perspectives and learn openly is sorely needed in today’s world. We need current and future Stetson graduates who will take on the pernicious challenges facing the security, well-being, success and sustainability of our world. Such individuals will approach these challenges with ethical integrity and compassion, courage and conviction, and vision and creativity. Yet, the perceived value of such a learning environment is embattled in our society today. This brings challenge to the stability and sustainability of universities like Stetson, as we work to compete for a dwindling student population that is increasingly skeptical and cost-conscious. So many small, private universities are struggling mightily to stay afloat financially and maintain their mission. Many are having to make difficult choices that limit mission-directed learning opportunities for students. Stetson, by comparison, is currently in a strong financial and competitive position. From this position of strength, Stetson can — and must — embrace possibility, enlivening students’ learning opportunities. Embracing an environment of possibility and opportunity as core to the Stetson mission creates a vitality that is critical for perpetuating Stetson’s fiscal and competitive strength. What creates such an environment of possibility? Possibility is part realistic opportunity and part attitude. It is a culture and structure that supports people in defining, developing and realizing opportunities. It is a context that encourages dreaming and brainstorming then makes choices and takes some risks to create and support the most promising opportunities. It is a system that ensures the effectiveness of chosen opportunities, so that resources can be redirected to support the most impactful opportunities.

Stetson’s former provost: “Possibility is a privilege that we must not squander.”

An environment of possibility also results from people’s eagerness to connect their passion with a larger purpose. It requires a belief that possibility is possible. Thus, to say that possibility is in the air at Stetson University is to recognize that Stetson’s current strength opens potential that can realistically happen, and opportunities that can be chosen and realized. Sustaining an educational mission such as Stetson’s in today’s world is challenging, to be sure. But our world needs so desperately the transformative potential of such an education. Possibility is a privilege that we must not squander. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice exclaims, “This is impossible,” to which The Mad Hatter responds, “Only if you believe it is.” Believe in possibility for Stetson and its students. Make it happen. Elizabeth L. “Beth” Paul, Ph.D., was Stetson University’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, serving as the university’s senior academic officer. In mid-June, she left Stetson to become president of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. STETSON



The Comeback of LXA

“We now have an opportunity to pass on this legacy to current and future generations of Lambda Chi brothers by contributing to the LXA Endowed Scholarship Fund.” — Richard Swartz ’70

Alumni contributions and university collaboration bring Lambda Chi Alpha back on campus.


“For most of us, being a Lambda Chi was the best part of our university years,” says Ernest Ahlquist ’70. “We shared experiences we’ll never forget and have remained friends and brothers in the bond ever since.”

Founded in 1949 at Stetson, the Zeta Tau Zeta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha was again approved to charter by LXA international headquarters in April. In turn, a $1.5 million fundraising endowment campaign launched in July by its alumni association board is ensuring its future. Renovations to the 1920s house will be completed next fall.



Additionally, Stetson is funding the renovation of a 1920s house at 208 E. Pennsylvania Ave., located across from the Sigma Phi Epsilon house, as well as a 3,840-square-foot addition (large chapter room plus bedrooms and baths for 14 additional brothers). All construction will be completed by the fall 2017 semester, although seven brothers are living in the existing house this fall. “All of us benefited from the brotherhood and the traditions, principles and ideals that were instilled in us during our years at Stetson,” says Richard Swartz ’70. “We now have an opportunity to pass on this legacy to current and future generations of Lambda Chi brothers by contributing to the LXA Endowed Scholarship Fund.” The campaign has two components. When the $1 million Lambda Chi Alpha Endowed Scholarship Fund is fully endowed, its earnings are expected to provide as much as $50,000 annually in scholarships to brothers or legacies. Dollars raised for the remainder of the goal will go toward the Lambda Chi Alpha General Purpose Endowment Fund. At $500,000, that fund will provide about $25,000 annually in stipends for General Assembly or Conclave activities, physical enhancements to the house, or other worthwhile goals approved by Stetson’s Lambda Chi Alpha Alumni Association. According to Swartz, alumni leaders intend to receive gifts and documented pledges no later than Nov. 15, and pledges may be paid over a five-year period. “The new house and campaign have provided a real catalyst for over-the-top excitement and re-engagement with our already-strong 1,000-member alumni base,” cites G.A. (George) Mitcheson ’70. “Our target is to have 200 brothers plus guests on campus in November for ‘The Great Comeback!’ We are well over 100 now [in August], so these numbers are real and will likely be achieved.” More than 125 people returned in 2014, he noted. Dave Schofield ’69, president of the alumni association, believes the “significance of having a university administration that recognizes the importance of having responsible Greek organizations on a university campus is essential.” He applauds the support of Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.; CFO Bob Huth; and Al Allen, associate vice president of facilities. “We would not have been able to achieve what we’ve accomplished,” Schofield says. “From recognizing the need for temporary meeting space several years ago to working ‘hand-in-hand’ with us to make 208 E. Pennsylvania Avenue a reality, the university could not have been any better to work with.” He calls the collaborative efforts between Lambda Chi Alpha and the university a win-win. “The key to the success was recognizing early in the process that we were not in a negotiation but working together toward a common goal,” Schofield concludes. “... We owe Stetson our gratitude and appreciation for what we know will be a wonderful long-standing relationship.”

More Fraternal Giving at SigEp Thanks to the generosity of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Florida Beta chapter alumni association board, SigEp brothers at Stetson are enjoying a new outdoor gathering area and a revamped basketball court this fall. In addition, the foyer and both gender-neutral restrooms in the house were renovated. The alumni leadership provided the bulk of funding (total project costs were $284,000) toward the Sigma Phi Epsilon House Renovation Fund, while Stetson University contributed approximately $76,000 and the fraternity donated $30,000. The focal point of the renovation is a new three-tier, fenced concrete deck that contains a fire pit in addition to plentiful seating. According to Wes Brumback ’80, the board’s secretary, the area will be an ideal gathering place for SigEp brothers and alumni at Homecoming, on game days and throughout the year. “Last spring, we were on the final leg of wrapping up the plans for the house renovation,” Brumback said. “Our board came together to fund it, and over the summer the university’s facilities team, including Al Allen [associate vice president, Facilities Management] and Dave Rigsby [manager for grounds and senior assistant for special projects, Facilities Management], made our vision a reality. We are extremely pleased that our brothers will have a house that will give them great pride.”

Donor dollars from Sigma Phi Epsilon alumni resulted in a new outdoor area at the fraternity’s campus house.




Every Hatter. Every Year.

Graduation and Gratitude

“I’m so amazed by the positive response that our new GW&YOU organization has had on this campus. It’s exciting to see students get involved in activities that highlight Stetson as a philanthropic cause. Ultimately our experiences as students, beginning with the scholarships we receive, are in large part thanks to the support of donors. Through GW&YOU, we just want to show our appreciation for these gifts by educating and engaging our students in a fun way!”

A special ‘thank you’ from afar B Y S A V A N N A W H A R T O N - L A K E ’1 6


was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin-island nation located at the most southern point of the Caribbean and just off the coast of Venezuela. During my last year of high school, I decided I wanted to attend a university in the States. I had numerous offers, but Stetson stood out because of the small-school environment and a great scholarship.

During my first year, the experience was everything I could have dreamt of and more. I had wonderful grades, a booming social life and even joined the rowing team. Everything was perfect! A year later, I was faced with a major financial obstacle. I had to make the tough decision to either stay at school or return to Trinidad and work. This was an extremely trying time for me, because I genuinely did not know what to do. I knew my family didn’t want me to stop going to school, but the reality was, at that point, we simply could not afford it. 18


I was determined to overcome this financial burden with perseverance, persistence and hard work. By the grace of God and positive energy,
I decided to become financially independent by taking the national scholarship awarded to me by the government of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as finding an on-campus job with the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee. I spent more than 10 hours a week in the SAFAC office learning the ropes and showing my worth, and balanced work with 40 credit hours. As troubles started to arise, better days and miracles were all that I could have asked for. I made a commitment to myself that I would try as hard as I possibly could to put myself through Stetson. I met with Rosalie Carpenter, the dean of students at the time; when I found out I would get an additional scholarship as a result of two families’ donations, I was thrilled. What a big weight off my shoulder it was! With that, I knew I had to give my all in everything I planned to do moving forward. The opportunities did not stop there, as I was chosen to be the new accounting tutor for 2015-16. I wondered how in heaven’s name I would be able to manage finishing up a double major (accounting and finance), working 20 hours a week, being the chair of SAFAC and serving as the secretary of finance for the Student Government Association. I am so lucky and blessed to have such a strong and wonderful support system to strengthen and guide me along this journey. My professors and the staff at Stetson have helped me, guided me and supported me through it all. I have one less worry, thanks to my donors. I could not have reached this far without you. I have put in the work, but without your help, this would not have been possible. Editor’s Note: Following graduation in May, Savanna Wharton-Lake returned home, where she had a job offer waiting from one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Elsa “Patty” Guevara ’17, president of Green, White & YOU student philanthropy organization, Biology major; Mooresville, N.C.

Stetson students are proud to be Hatters and thankful for the continued support of alumni and friends. When you give to the Stetson Fund, you support academic innovation, engaging environments, and exceptional faculty and students like Patty who are making a difference on campus and out in the world. Help fund the moments that matter. Help support the Stetson Fund in building solid foundations for significant lives.

Make a gift today! (386) 822-7455 421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8286 DeLand, FL 32723

The Rainmaker Jeff Ulmer, Stetson’s principal fundraiser, nurtures a climate of philanthropy. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


eff Ulmer, once an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is doing some very heavy lifting these days. In April 2014, Ulmer arrived at Stetson as vice president for Development and Alumni Engagement. Today, that role puts him squarely in charge of Stetson’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Beyond Success — Significance. Ulmer’s resume, in addition to the NFL, includes successful fundraising stints at the universities of Florida, Central Florida, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. As Stetson moves through its campaign, which unofficially began in late 2012 with a goal of $150 million, Ulmer’s diverse background is proving beneficial to a university harboring particularly ambitious plans. He provided his perspective just before the new academic year began. What is the status of the Beyond Success — Significance campaign? It’s multifaceted. In terms of numbers, we are where we need to be right now — $93 million. That’s a good number for us. When I arrived here two years ago, we were at $48 million. At that time, we hadn’t launched the campaign publicly. Fortunately, we got to $75 million — the 50 percent mark of our goal — and had a campaign kickoff (Oct. 16, 2015). The next big benchmark will be $100 million.

What is the key to such an effort? In other words, how are you getting this done? We have begun to think more strategically in terms of million-dollar gifts to really move the 20


needle. Culturally in approach, we changed. There was a lot of work done to hit $48 million, lots of great work. The big challenge then became identifying where the next leadership gifts were coming from. That’s the challenge you always run into midway through campaigns. At the same time, the $50,000 gifts are very important. I can’t emphasize that enough. But this is a transformative campaign, and we need to reach the people who can make those transformative gifts. So, you need to spend time in those areas while you’re growing the lower levels. I think our biggest feather in the cap is growing our base. Engaging alumni who haven’t been engaged before is the key. Woody O’Cain (executive director of Alumni Engagement)

has really focused on getting more engagement, having alumni come back and/or attend events. Engagement is critical for the campaign, but also for the university. We must continue to create meaningful and beneficial engagement. Giving is a learned behavior. Philanthropy comes naturally to a lot of people. But if we do our job explaining the importance of a $100 gift to the university, and talking about how that gift changes things on campus, people will write a check and say, “OK, let’s see how things go.”

How are those gifts impacting Stetson? Thanks to generous private giving, numerous high-priority initiatives already have been funded. They include the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center, the Stetson Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, student scholarships, our international programs and many other initiatives. We have a transformational message for this campaign because this is truly a transformational time in the history of the university. Just as an example, the new Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience is a first of its kind at Stetson. It will work to protect natural resources while also enabling students and faculty to participate across the entire university.

With students already benefiting, are they also part of the campaign? Absolutely. I believe they are critically important to the campaign’s success. Students are really the end results — the great final products — of the gifts we’re receiving. I think it’s important to hear from students. One thing

I remember one of my really good friends saying, “Jeff, think twice because the hardest thing you’re ever going to have to do is ask somebody for money.” I said, “Yeah, but if I’m asking on behalf of my school, it’s totally different because the university is building something that I really believe in.” Jeff Ulmer, vice president for Development and Alumni Engagement

we have done very well is invite them to dinners with donors. Their messages are powerful, of how important scholarships are to them. They say: “If it weren’t for scholarships, I wouldn’t be in school.” I remember one student who told a group about how she simply could not have afforded college. At the end of her testimonial, she said, “Now my aspiration is to be sitting out there among you as a donor.” That’s a powerful message.

Corporations play a key role too, correct? Very important. Stetson has a long, great history. We hadn’t necessarily been in the forefront, saying, “Hey, we’re here, and we’re really good. And we’re growing.” There are a lot of influential people who graduated from this university — two governors, many legislators came through our hallowed halls and many others from the corporate world. Perhaps we don’t celebrate that enough. I think it’s important to embrace our history and let others know about it. There’s a wonderful story behind Stetson. Also, being

historic is important, but only if you’re on the cutting edge and staying significant today in education and information. We definitely are doing that. We must continue telling that story. We have a lot to offer businesses. We’re opening those doors, and now they’re taking a look at Stetson in a different way.

How did you get your start in the business of university fundraising? It was sort of weird. When I was a student at the University of Florida, I was exposed to the foundation (University of Florida Foundation). I worked in the athletics department and actually ran one of the strength complexes for athletes. On Saturdays, we would have alumni come through, and I would give them tours. I loved the ambassador type of role. During football games, I would watch these foundation guys with their blue blazers and cigars walking around. I thought, “This is something I’d like to do; I can sell this place.” I remember one of my really good friends saying, “Jeff, think twice because the hardest thing you’re ever going to have to do is ask

somebody for money.” I said, “Yeah, but if I’m asking on behalf of my school, it’s totally different because the university is building something that I really believe in.” It took time and time again to get my first opportunity. But in 1989 I got a job as assistant director of development at the University of Florida.

What keeps you going in this role? It’s been everything I hoped it would be since the day I walked across the platform at (the University of) Florida. In fact, when I shook my dean’s hand, he said, “It’s about time.” It had taken me a little longer to graduate than others. And I said, “Hey, I’m going to come back and work for you one day.” And I did. To me, it’s been a labor of love. And I’ve been fortunate. At Stetson, we have a wonderful opportunity to complete not our first campaign, but our first traditional campaign with a hard beginning and a hard stop. We’re seeing several transformative things happen on campus. And we have great aspirations. There’s no doubt about it. STETSON



The Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center opens the door to Stetson’s past, present and future. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA



Photo by Amy Gipson



Last fall, a building pad was put into place, with sand set and compacted. Then digging began for the holes that would house foundational columns. This fall, voilà. The design vision was a traditional building but also one that looked to the future. Done.

“It has all of the strength and power of our university, but it has all the motion and flexibility of how we have to be to go forward.” — S T E T S O N U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S I D E N T W E N D Y B . L I B B Y, P H . D .

Al Allen is done counting down the days. The project first hit his desk in 2011, two years after Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., took office, when a comprehensive plan for the campus was first adopted. Since that time, the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center had been on his mind. Now finally, proudly, the center — essentially a monumental salute to the university’s past, present and future — is up, open and beaming. The three-story, 28,000-square-foot building was finished by the time students arrived on campus in August. Earning Green Globe Certification for environmental conservation, the center houses everything from an alumni gathering area and a one-stop service center for students to a recruitment center for prospective newcomers. When Allen, associate vice president for Facilities Management, looks back at the past year, all the details of site preparation, ever so minute, flash before his eyes. To accommodate construction, a print shop had to be removed, as did a road in front of the adjacent Carlton Union Building. Utilities had to be redirected and stormwater chambers replaced. Just for starters. Last fall, a building pad was put into place, with sand set and compacted. Then digging began for the holes that would house foundational columns. In Allen’s office, a photo within easy reach shows those first columns. Allen’s attention then turned to such details as drywall, paint, tile and air conditioning. Also, trees were selected for landscaping and strategically placed. Superior accessibility was another concern, leading to a sidewalk system that is efficient and effective without the use of railings. 24


BUILDING GREEN Think environmental conservation. The Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center was designed to earn Green Globe Certification, which includes 44 core criteria for conservation supported by more than 380 compliance indicators. The environmental design begins with a recyclable metal roof intended to last 50 years and reflect the maximum amount of sunlight. The use of only three stories consumes less land than might typically be required for its square footage, preserving acreage while reducing roof surface and potential water runoff. Similarly, the building is surrounded with natural light that decreases the need for indoor lighting, all of which comes from energy-efficient LEDs. The brick exterior will never require painting and needs minimal chemical care. Meanwhile, the building’s cooling system is connected to the campus central chilled-water plant, the most efficient and quiet way to provide building cooling. Also, the cooling and heating system is controlled by the campus central energy-management system, where smart sensors are used to, for example, lower the window shades on the third floor to reduce effects of the afternoon sun. Other notables: Any landscaping that was removed to accommodate construction was replaced with an equal amount of landscaping either at the site or elsewhere on campus. Materials used on the floors do not require harsh chemicals. The restrooms have electric hand dryers, eliminating the use of hand towels. Plumbing fixtures support the university’s efforts in conserving water. The building’s site is equipped with underground runoff chambers, retaining rainwater from adjacent areas. The parking area is lighted with exterior solar lights.

During the long, hot summer, aka construction crunch time, the design-build work headed by Williams Co. was exemplary. Like Stetson, the company is a historical presence in Florida. It showed, Allen affirmed, pointing to collaborative efforts and expertise. Mostly, even as the $7 million center was rising, it represented the future of Stetson. Libby watched, worried and wondered. “You’re always nervous about the architectural integrity of putting a new building in the middle of a historic and traditional campus,” she conceded over the summer. “While I’d be kidding if I said I haven’t had a few days where I’ve had butterflies in my stomach, in actuality I’m loving the way this building looks.” Wonder has turned into wow. The design vision was a traditional building but also one that looked to the future. Done. “It has all of the strength and power of

our university, but it has all the motion and flexibility of how we have to be to go forward,” Libby says with both relief and excitement. “I want people to see a beautiful first impression for Stetson,” comments Allen, “and a wonderful sense of revival for the campus.” Done again, according to W. Ray Holley ’91, J.D. ’97, president of the Stetson University Alumni Association. “Stetson continues to amaze me with its ever-increasing momentum and synergy,” he offers. “The new welcome center is truly an incredible addition as a one-stop service area for admissions, registration, financial aid and career services. I also see it as a fantastic first stop for alumni who come back to campus.” That daunting project, the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center, didn’t come easily. Now, though, there is elation. And a center of attention.


Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center First Floor • Designed to welcome prospective students, alumni, visitors and potential employers • Large presentation room and private interview rooms • Alumni lounge • Video-presentation wall

Second Floor • One-stop customer counter for student Financial Planning and Registrar and Bursar offices • Career and Professional Development

Third Floor • Enrollment Management

WELCOME CENTER DONORS Alfred P. West Sr. ’41* Ann Severance Booth ’60* Christine E. Lynn through E.M. Lynn Foundation David and Elaine Strickland Fifth Third Bank Ford Group Four Francis H. Clifton* Gary R. Libby through the Gary R. Libby Charitable Trust Glen W. Hauenstein ’82 Harlan “Butch” ’76 and Mary Ann Paul James S. Rogers ’61* Jill K. Jinks ’79 and John G. Jinks III ’82 through Jinks Private Foundation John and Sheila Rinker through the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation Inc. LeBrone C. Harris ’64* Lee McGraw ’79 through the Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation Lydia Theurer Pfund ’40, ’42* * Estate gifts

Al Allen, Stetson’s associate vice president for Facilities Management, praised the designbuild work performed by Williams Co., citing collaborative efforts and expertise.



Rave Reviews The storyline: Renovation of Presser Hall’s venerable rehearsal room receives virtuoso applause.



ussell Franks ’88 remembers the popularity. As a student at Stetson majoring in church music and voice performance, Franks was among many others who shared time and space in Presser Hall’s lone rehearsal room.

There were practices and classes. And there was plenty of

waiting your turn. The room of roughly 2,000 square feet was all that Stetson’s School of Music had to play with, literally.

“It all happened in that room,” he recounts. Flash-forward to today, and Franks, now an accomplished singer and director, has reason to let out one of his patented operatic tones. That rehearsal space for aspiring musicians, Tinsley Rehearsal Room, has become even more versatile, more effective and more popular. Presser’s old reliable has gotten a makeover, and the enhancements are music to his ears. “It’s a much more usable space. I am viewing it as a small chamber performance venue and a very flexible space,” says Franks, now Stetson’s director of Opera Theatre. Acknowledging the previous room was a “bit tired and worn out,” School of Music Dean Thomas Masse, D.M.A., sought and received “very generous” grant funding from the Philadelphia-based Presser Foundation, a group dedicated to music education/philanthropy and the building’s namesake. Stetson and donors contributed dollars, as well. 26


Notably, in a continuing effort to upgrade resources and facilities at the School of Music, Feasel Hall, a rehearsal hall within McMahan Hall, was added when that building came online in 2009. Masse and others, though, deemed more and better were again needed. Work began last fall and continued into January, when renovations were temporarily halted to accommodate the room’s use. Before this fall semester began, the final touches were completed, including two new 400-pound wood doors. It was the close of one verse and the beginning of a new one. The results resound in these simple words from Masse: “Everybody is very, very happy.” Acoustics, as one might expect, are the headliner. Two layers of insulation were added between the two-story room’s flat metal roof and a newly installed ceiling. Ceiling clouds — small panels placed high to improve

aesthetics as well as reduce ambient noise in a space — were added, while a wood floor replaced linoleum tile. The new flooring consists of white oak, largely considered the standard for acoustics. Acoustical curtains offer further versatility. Lighting and technology also are noteworthy, with new theatrical lights giving students the experience of “hot lights on them and in their eyes,” Franks describes. Two cameras, a top-of-the-line projector and other video equipment deliver instant performance feedback, which can be downloaded and streamed online. Another benefit is that students can make YouTube videos and audition tapes. “You could have a film festival in there,” says Masse, noting that the room also is available for general university meetings and students who aren’t in the School of Music. This fall, Franks is scheduled to use the room for his students three times weekly plus for extra rehearsals on weekends. Orchestra and chamber orchestra groups are present four times per week; the same for the concert choir. That’s just a scan of scheduling and doesn’t include actual performances; there’s seating for approximately 120 guests. “It went from a three-star room,” Masse concludes, “to a seven-star room.” Franks, who has performed more than 1,000 concerts since his days as a student, even has plans to use the room for his own solo recital next March. He knows better than to wait too long to book it.

“It’s a much more usable space. I am viewing it as a small chamber performance venue and a very flexible space.” — Russell Franks, director of Opera Theatre

Russell Franks (in jacket) shares time and the new rehearsal space with (from left) Kyrsten Chambers ’16, Ryan Pagels ’07 and Cassandra Small ’17.

Photo: Lisa Yetter




What Is Leadership?

What Does Leadership Mean to You?

lead•er•ship \ lē-dər- ship\ noun 1 a position as a leader of a group, organization, etc.  2 the time when a person holds the position of leader.  3 the power or ability to lead other people.* |



oogle “great quotes about leadership” — Google, of course, that’s what we do! — and there is no shortage of inspirational entries. Dwight D. Eisenhower is credited with saying, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” From Martin Luther King Jr.: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

“I virtually never think about ‘leadership,’ per se. I just think about doing the best job I can do for the place that is in my care. It’s only in retrospect that it either looks like leadership or it doesn’t. … I don’t work toward a legacy. I just work toward making

Said Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to hold national office in the United States: “You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.” “To handle yourself, use your head,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. “To handle others, use your heart.” John F. Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Yet, what really is the definition of leadership … at Stetson? More importantly, who is defining leadership at the university, and how? The following pages offer insight, only a sampling, beginning at the top.

this wonderful university the best I can make it, to allow Stetson to grow stronger academically and financially. … I build great teams. We agree on a vision. I get out of the way of really great, talented people. I nurture talent.” — President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. “Leadership involves

“Research demonstrates that new ten-

guiding people and

sions to traditional models of leadership

organizations to

exist. Technologies are catalyzing faster

places that they

change and the marketplace is now a

cannot see for

global one. And, our workforce is becom-

themselves, getting

ing more team-centric, diverse and

them to believe that

younger and older at the same time. As a

greater things are

result, an urgent challenge of the 21st

possible than what is

century is the definition of leadership, the

currently happening.

value of leadership and what fundamental

Leading a group — whether students in a class, faculty

skills, capabilities and dispositions are critical to fostering nimble leaders.

in a meeting or administrators who represent a variety inspiration and visioning, all of which are inherent in

“The word ‘leader’ implies followers, and traditional models of leadership have buckled under the weight of this implication. Access to real-time information has stripped

that first statement.

traditional leaders of implied ‘authority.’ Diversity has pushed against the

“The job of all leaders is to vision for the future — to see what possibilities are. To me, that’s where the gift of wisdom — the

notion of the ‘suit,’ replacing it with people from every demographic profile.

ability to see past what you might initially see — can

provost, president, chancellor and others. Given the demand for novel

be a great asset. In some sense, wisdom is a gift,

leadership approaches, positional leaders must rely on distributed models

earned over time and through experience. Great

of leadership. In other words, our roles as positional leaders are to build

leaders, then, have the wisdom to offer insight into

leadership competencies in all people, ensuring institutional capacity for

opportunities for the future.”

change as well as robust succession planning in all facets of the academy.”

— Noel Painter, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice

— Rosalie Richards, Associate Provost for Faculty Development;

President and Provost; Associate Professor of Music

Professor of Chemistry and Education

of areas — requires communication, innovation,



* Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

“In higher education, hierarchical models of leadership have relied historically on the positional leader – coordinator, director, chair, dean,




Some of the best examples of leadership come from humble beginnings — a staff member with an idea that galvanizes those around her to make a significant positive change.

“I define leadership as setting broad agendas to transform an organization, about seeing the big picture with defined outcomes and goals, and working with others to determine how we can advance our mission. We don’t produce widgets; we help students to think about how to be significant in the world, and give them the tools and insight to solve problems that may not yet exist. “Higher education is about people, and leadership is about surrounding yourself with talented people, building teams, empowering them to identify obstacles that have an impact on accomplishing organizational goals, and providing them with the freedom to produce creative and innovative solutions. Leadership

also is about encouraging independent and forward thinking, taking calculated risks and being accountable — then celebrating successes organizationally and individually. Finally, leadership has legitimacy only with integrity. The simple guiding principle is to do the right thing for the right reason.” — Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, J.D., Dean, College of Law; Professor of Law

“Leadership means inspiring, through the efforts of others, accomplishments that would not have been achieved otherwise. That standard

“To me, leadership is service to the community. Leading

means using one’s abilities, knowledge and skills to move the community — however we define it — toward a better future. … Done well, it provides transformative opportunities to students irrespective of social, cultural and

“We all realize that leadership is not just management or administration, and it does not necessarily come with a title. Leadership is perceived, and what some perceive as the ideal leader, others do not. Look no further than our current political climate to know how diverse our opinions are on what qualities best represent a leader. I have come to think of leadership as a balance between perception and instinct. “Leaders must be keenly aware of how they are perceived by those they aspire to lead, but they must also rely on instinct to know that what motivates one person will differ from what motivates

for leadership is something

the next. Leaders

that’s actually quite difficult

the best examples of leadership come from humble beginnings — a staff member with an idea that

in practice.

galvanizes those around her to make a significant positive change in the organization.

“Leadership is not focused on the one who leads — it is about

enable the eager and encourage the reluctant. Some of

“Leadership means giving those who are eager room to succeed. At the same time, leaders must motivate the reluctant to engage

economic background and allows everyone to realize their full

the ones who follow. To the dismay of many individuals in

in moving forward. Sometimes you must lead from the front of the pack; at other times you push from behind. The best leaders find

human potential. So leadership in academia for me means

presumed leadership positions, leadership at its core is a

paths to success that both the eager and the reluctant are willing to follow.” — Susan Ryan, Betty Drees Johnson Dean, duPont-Ball

paying it back and paying it forward: ensuring that our students

democratic concept. Each and every individual with whom

Library & Learning Technologies

receive a first-rate education that equips them to wrestle with

the leader interacts decides whether they will follow or go their

21st-century problems.

own direction.

“The most engaging leaders possess some crucial characteristics which define their leadership:

They are definitely not synonymous, at least in my book.

extraordinary. When designed properly, modern managerial

best leaders are consultative and do their best to draw from as many viewpoints and opinions as possible, and

Management is crucial; it provides a firm foundation on which to

systems help you select and compensate individuals and

then work to develop a vision and mission appropriate to the organization.

build; the trains have to run on time and within budget. But

structure jobs to accomplish the organization’s mission.

leadership is about the longer-term goals, imagining and

The value proposition then of true leadership is inspiring a

our students with the knowledge for them to be successful in their careers, but we model for them a

dreaming and strategizing about where we want to go and what

vision not about what should be, but about what could be.”

behavior that we hope makes an imprint on their development as leaders. Honesty and transparency

we want to build.” — Karen Ryan, Ph.D., Dean, College of Arts

— Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., Dean, School of Business

matter. As leaders, the decisions we make and how we communicate those decisions become an

and Sciences; Professor of Russian Language and Literature

Administration; Professor of Management

example for young adults to emulate. Our behavior both in and out of the academy establishes a

“Leadership sometimes gets confused with management.

“Leadership is about achieving something that is

charisma, vision and empathy. The

“In my vision of leadership, character matters: In an academic environment, we not only educate

model for the aspiring leader.” — Thomas G. Masse, Ph.D., Dean, School of Music; Professor of Music 30





“I tell [students] I know you’re Pop quiz. Multiple choice. At a time when answers to global questions are sorely needed everywhere,

Asal Mohamadi Johnson, Ph.D.,

is helping to lead exploration among students at Stetson. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA

For lack of a suitably precise subject, call this “a look at complex global issues through an uncommon lens.” Or simply label it “Asal Mohamadi Johnson.” Which best describes the subject matter? a. Human rights b. International studies c. Diversity and inclusion d. Social injustice e. Public health f. Urban planning g. All of the above Which best describes the leading character? a. Broad-minded b. Resolute c. Daring d. Atypical e. Curious f. Transformative g. All of the above Indeed, Asal Mohamadi Johnson, Ph.D., is all of the above. What’s more, as an assistant professor of public health, her platform at Stetson puts her in position to make a difference, both on campus in DeLand, Fla., and across the world. Transformational difference? Hyperbole aside, just maybe. Also just maybe, the light wouldn’t be shining on Johnson so brightly this fall without her research “The Effects of Residential Segregation and Neighborhood Characteristics on Surgery and Survival in Patients with Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” which captured academic and media attention last spring. Johnson was the lead author, and the research was selected for publication in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.



uncomfortable and


don’t have to come up with answers right away. But keep this in the back of your mind that this is a problem and our world needs to come up with an .”


Funded by a Stetson faculty-development grant, the research continued an important conversation. In essence, the research focused on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common type of lung cancer. If caught at an early stage, the disease can sometimes be cured by surgical resection. Previous research had documented disparities in the rate of receipt of NSCLC surgery and in survival. Johnson went further, finding that black residents of highly segregated neighborhoods were less likely to receive surgery for early-stage NSCLC than their peers in less-segregated neighborhoods. “Instead of solely looking at health disparities between white and black patients,” Johnson explains, “our study focused on differences in survival among black patients resulting from different levels of neighborhood segregation. “At least half of patients diagnosed at early stages who undergo surgical treatment survive more than five years, whereas, without surgery, most will die within a year.” Clearly, the research is important, providing new insight into an area that warrants greater scrutiny. Even more, it is quintessential Johnson. She was concerned and inquisi-

tive, so she dug deeper for answers. “I’m very much curious to ask questions,” she asserts, “and then go find the answers.” Johnson advanced the conversation while also acknowledging that further study surrounding segregation is necessary. “This is an ongoing conversation that should continue until something actually happens,” comments Johnson, who concedes to continually working on research projects since 2010 even when on vacation. In typical fashion, she raised the volume. And, at a time when Stetson is putting diversity and inclusion squarely under its own microscope as part of mounting “Many Voices, One Stetson” momentum in the quest to initiate discussion of difficult social issues, Johnson’s substance and style couldn’t have come at a better time. Johnson has never been one to sit idly as the world goes by, not growing up in Iran or teaching in DeLand. She not only opens envelopes but stretches them. She explores and implores. Now, at Stetson, she simply asks that her students do the same. With such examination needed globally — and welcomed on campus with arms extended wide — Johnson is taking a lead role. STETSON



Once denied a visa to the United States, among other hurdles, Asal Mohamadi Johnson persevered. She now challenges her students to be “consistent and persistent.”



“Put yourself in my shoes,” she tells her students with her Persian accent, in this instance regarding human rights. “... If I came to this conclusion being raised in Iran, you can come somehow to this conclusion — you live in the United States.” Raised in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Johnson had plenty of opportunities to look away. She was born at the time of the Islamic revolution and the arrival of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Years of uneasiness and uncertainty ensued. Her parents were caring, disciplined and determined. Neither had the benefit of higher education, but they labored to ensure a better life for their five children. Johnson was one of four daughters. While others were having fun, they studied and read, particularly Johnson. Notably, all siblings attended college and remain in Iran. “I read books [mostly philosophy and world literature] that were not appropriate for my age, but they were good books. It kind of defined me as who I am,” she recounts, adding that Iranian girls do have educational opportunities but also must endure ongoing injustices. Her journey to America was similarly challenging and fruitful. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in urban planning in Iran, she received a Ph.D. in urban planning from Florida State University, but not without hurdles. Because there wasn’t a U.S. Embassy in Iran, Johnson traveled to Cyprus to obtain a visa and was initially rejected. Successful application required proof of financial aid from a U.S. university; she didn’t have it. So, she immediately found internet access at a coffee shop in Cyprus and emailed FSU to state her case. She eventually received the aid. Subsequently, against the advice of friends, who thought she was wasting time and money, she reapplied for a visa and was approved. She began attending FSU in 2006. With a doctorate in hand and a year of teaching under her belt, she then landed at Georgia Southern University, where she received a master’s in public health (epidemiology) and taught courses in sustainable development, statistics, international studies and global health. Finally, she found her way to Stetson in 2014.

“Put yourself in

my shoes

rights]. ... If I came to

[regarding human

conclusion being raised

in Iran, you can come somehow to this conclusion —

you live

She arrived with her husband, Allen Johnson, Ph.D., a native of Charleston, S.C., and now a professor at Rollins College, whom she had met at FSU (partly by virtue of their mutual interest in public health). Also, Johnson brought passion strengthened by a trying path. “If you are consistent and persistent,” she asserts, “I don’t think there’s anything that’s impossible in this world. “There have been barriers, but I’ve never given up. Persistence has always gotten me the result I wanted.” At Stetson, that conviction became lesson No. 1. By that time, Johnson had merged her academic training in urban planning and public health to address global issues across a spectrum that encompasses everything from socioeconomics and healthy neighborhood development to human rights, race and ethnicity, religion, apartheid, and sexual orientation, among others. She employs a multilayered approach to understanding the connections among health, the built environment and social justice. Regardless of topic — maddening, messy, controversial or contradictory – she presses her students to assess and question, even when instincts suggest otherwise. “Maybe they don’t want to think about those topics voluntarily,” she says. “But I put them out there. I have them do research and come to class ready to discuss the problem. I tell them that you might be really out of your comfort zone, but that’s why you’re here. “I tell them I know you’re uncomfortable and you don’t have to come up with answers right away. But keep this in the back of your mind that this is a problem and our world needs to come up with an answer.”

in the United States.”

A blend of academic training in urban planning and public health is used to help students explore global topics such as socioeconomics, healthy neighborhood development, human rights, race and ethnicity, religion, apartheid, and sexual orientation, among others.

It’s all part of raising the volume. Johnson’s “Effects of Residential Segregation” is one example. For the record, she advocates urban planning and public- policy efforts to encourage a shift to more racially and economically mixed neighborhoods. “It’s not very healthy for people to live in racially isolated areas when they do not have access to job opportunities, transportation options and many other resources,” she says. Her work with Spring Hill, a community just minutes from campus, is another example. Spring Hill, a 4-square-mile area, is largely considered one of the lowest-income communities in Florida. Johnson and a class of students went to see for themselves, assessing public-health needs and attending community events. She called the students’ fieldwork a

“transformative experience,” one that cut to the very core of diversity and inclusion. Johnson isn’t looking to change the world. She’s not even certain of being thought of as a leader, noting, “I don’t know if I’m there yet, but I would like to be.” By teaching students, though, she is hoping to make a difference, to prompt some sort of change or at least to initiate discussion. “You can always hope that some time in the future something will happen in their life experience that will remind them of their class experience,” she says. A transformative impact? Johnson isn’t ready to be graded on that question. She shakes her head and flashes a broad smile. “Right now, I do not know that,” she concludes, “but I am hoping to work toward that direction.” STETSON



Tackling Stereotypes

Stetson’s All-American: “I want people to walk around campus, walk up to a janitor, a professor or a teammate and ask, ‘Remember that kid Donald Payne?’ I want them to say, ‘He was a nice guy, and he always was respectful, no matter who he was speaking to.’”

Donald Payne’s journey from hopeful newcomer to star player and standout leader only began on the football field. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


onald Payne Jr. isn’t quite what you’d expect. On the football field, No. 7 in Stetson green runs from one sideline to the other with reckless abandon. He entered the 2016 season, his fourth at Stetson, with 424 total tackles and 243 career unassisted tackles, thirdmost in all of NCAA football. That includes 30 in one game as a sophomore. A crushing safety, Payne became an instant star for a football program that was absent for 57 years. He ascended to All-American status in about the time he takes to sack a quarterback. He’s on the National Football League’s radar too, with many professional scouts projecting him as a likely draft selection — reportedly the first in Hatter history. That high regard comes despite playing at the Football Championship Subdivision level. Yet, when he departs DeLand, Fla., in just a few months, following the team’s 11th game this fall, he wants to be remembered not as merely an athlete who was able to achieve, but as an ambassador. His words: “I want people to walk around campus, walk up to a janitor, a professor or a teammate and ask, ‘Remember that kid Donald Payne?’ I want them to say, ‘He was a nice guy, and he always was respectful, no matter who he was speaking to.’



Photo by Nick Leibee

“I want my legacy to be not just a great player, but as a great image for the school.” How’s that for an impact hit? It really wasn’t supposed to be that way. At the very least, it could not have been expected. When Payne arrived at Stetson in August 2012, he was just another hopeful among 120 or so others, trying for a chance at college football. He was a good player in high school, quite good, but apparently not good enough. Deemed smallish (he’s 6-foot-1, 220 pounds now) and a bit slow afoot, he drew only scant interest from recruiters and received few offers for his services. Ironically, he had the requisite bloodlines. His father, Donald Payne Sr., was an All-American defensive back at Morris Brown College in the 1970s, while his uncle, Ezra Johnson, had a 15-year NFL career. At the urging of his mother, Sylvia Payne, he chose Stetson and a first-year football program with neither guarantees nor glory.

Games weren’t even scheduled for that startup year, although Payne did shine in practice. Stopwatches, he proved from the outset, don’t measure heart. This isn’t about football, though. This is about finding yourself, growing as a person and, ultimately, leading. Coming from small, private Landmark Christian School in Fayetteville, Ga., Payne was well-prepared for Stetson’s classroom rigor. Campus life was another matter. He was a 17-year-old freshman from metropolitan Atlanta, away from home for the first time. Payne was raised by a demanding but doting mother and had a little brother; his father died when he was 13. Football wasn’t welcomed with open arms by all on campus. There was no recent football tradition, either, or mentors to follow. Also, Payne — like many of the other incoming football players — was African-American. Stetson’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion notwithstanding, times weren’t always easy.

From day one, Donald Payne has meant pain for opposing ball carriers from his safety position.




Pioneering Spirit “The whole football team was under the microscope,” he remembers. “We were bringing football back. We had to show them [classmates, faculty and the community] that we were student-athletes first. We had to show them that we’re just like anybody else.” They showed them, particularly Payne. Early on, while leaders emerged by virtue of talent on the football field, Payne went beyond. With stellar play and colorful “Mohawk” hair, he stood out, and he knew it. He embraced the challenge of scrutiny. “I learned over time that people are watching at every moment,” he describes. “I’m representing not only myself, but I’m representing my family, this football program, and I’m representing this school as a whole. “I also learned that leadership must have extreme ownership over both craft and teammates.”

HIS LEADERSHIP CREDO IS SIMPLE: Make those around you better. “A good leader gets his followers to where they want to go. But a great leader pushes his followers past their expectations.”

When Sylvia Payne urged her son to attend Stetson, he listened.



“Now,” he adds, “we’re one of the biggest parts of Stetson. That was a big jump for some of us, but we were able to make it as a team.” His leadership credo is simple: Make those around you better. “A good leader gets his followers to where they want to go. But a great leader pushes his followers past their expectations,” he says. Among others, he points to current and past coaches as key influences in his life, along with hometown mentor Durand Rice, director of athletics at Landmark Christian School. As Payne grew in all respects, he wove himself into the very fabric of Stetson. “There have been multiple times where he has demonstrated his leadership in advancing the team from an athletic-skills standpoint, but he also volunteers at other sporting events,” cites Athletics Director Jeff Altier. “He works as an usher at basketball, baseball and softball games. He’s consistently supporting the other programs, both visibly and with his encouragement.”

Impactful. Indelible. At least two characteristics haven’t changed about Payne. One is his love to prove people right, an attitude that has a direct tie to football. He carries a chip on his shoulder, as the saying goes, about being ignored by big-school recruiters, noting, “A lot of people just waved me by.” As a result, he stands staunchly by the people who care, in his hometown and his Stetson community. “The people who didn’t believe in me, I’m not trying to prove them wrong. But the people who did believe in me, I’m trying to prove them right,” asserts Payne, crediting his high school coach with that thinking. Such motivation has lifted him to great football heights, but Payne also has already graduated with a degree in finance (and a minor in management) — receiving recognition for high academic achievement along the way. His work ethic was further evident this summer when he interned at a medical facility near campus, handling patient accounting, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Another constant is personality. Payne has always exhibited ample measures of it. “Being African-American and a football player at this school makes me different already,” he says. “But it’s given me a plat-

Payne has the NFL watching, but he has a backup plan: criminal and social justice.

form to express myself freely. I don’t think you can walk around this campus and have someone say that ‘Donald isn’t himself 24-7,’ because I definitely am. “I just like to have fun. People know that I’m the leader on the field, when it comes between those lines. But at the end of the day, I’m going to joke with you and have fun with you.” Later this fall might not be so joyful. Game 11 on the schedule is set for Saturday, Nov. 19, marking the end of Payne’s Hatter career. It could also mean a new beginning in the NFL. Maybe. That’s unknown. Of the NFL, he concedes, “That’s my goal. I want to be there; I want to get there. Anything in between the lines I have to do to get there, I’m working for it.” If it doesn’t happen? “Ohhh,” he responds slowly. “My mom always said, ‘Your body will wear out one day, but your mind will never.’” His backup plan includes blending his finance/management

education with passions in criminal and social justice. Amid that uncertainty, there are givens. Stetson has changed Donald Payne. “It’s given me discipline on the football field, discipline in the classroom, discipline out and about,” he says. “I can honestly say I made lifelong friends here. It really has been a blessing to be here.” Payne has returned the favor, both on the field and off. “You get all that package wrapped up in somebody who’s a tremendous athlete,” Altier says. “And that is unique and novel and something special to Stetson.” Payne, indeed, doesn’t want to be forgotten when he’s gone — especially by future Hatters needing help. “I want them to be able to call me up in any crisis, about image or how others perceive them,” he says. “I want people to tell them, ‘You need to call Donald up and ask him.’”

“I learned over time that people are watching at every moment. I’m representing not only myself, but I’m representing my family, this football program and I’m representing this school as a whole.”

Talk about leading the way. When the 120 or so hopeful souls with football dreams arrived on campus in August 2012, no one had come before them — at least not in 57 years. Yet, they pioneered college football back to Stetson, and they persevered in uncertain times. Today, 13 of those original players, from as far away as California, Illinois and New York, remain Hatters, each playing in his final season. Donald Payne, of course, is among them. All, however, are worthy of applause. They ushered in a new era of growth on campus. Stetson research shows for every player who enrolled at the university, another 1.8 students resulted, simply because they wanted to be at a school that had football. In addition, by virtue of journey, hardship and triumph, these players personify values that are at the very core of the university’s mission. Personal growth? Winners? Touchdown.

The Original 13 Glenn Adesoji, Memphis, Tenn., Integrative Health Science Christopher Atkins, Jacksonville, Fla., Digital Arts Davion Belk, Chicago, Ill., Marketing Christopher Crawford, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., Accounting Patrick Fogarty, Savannah, Ga., Sports Business Eric Fogle, Evans, Ga., Sports Business Jonathan Jerozal, Canyon Country, Calif., Marketing David Lazear, Newark, Del., Economics and Chemistry Kegan Moore, Marietta, Ga., Business Administration Donald Payne, Fayetteville, Ga., Finance Matthew Wawrzyniak, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Accounting Dylan Wydronkowski, Glenville, N.Y., Business Administration/MBA Mike Yonker, Cocoa Beach, Fla., Elementary Education




Transformation Students Jeff Hahn and Alyssa Morley didn’t know it at the time, but they were destined to lead. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


eff Hahn walked onto Stetson’s campus with no intention of being a leader. At Fort Myers High in southwest Florida, Hahn rose to commander of the school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and was friends with the mayor of Fort Myers. As the first in his family to attend college, however, he was more concerned with adaptation and assimilation than ascension. “Absolutely no, not at all,” he said in May, just days after his junior school year ended at Stetson. 40


Alyssa Morley was told by her third-grade teacher that she would make a great lawyer some day. Growing up, she was emotional and exuberant and anything but an introvert, noting, “It takes about three minutes to figure that out.” At Riverview High in Riverview, Fla., Morley was a member of the National Honor Society, played on the girls’ golf team and failed in a couple of races for office in student government. She arrived on campus with characteristic curiosity and an eagerness to get involved. But leadership? Not really.

Then things happened. This fall, Hahn and Morley are the face of the Stetson Student Government Association as president and vice president, respectively. The SGA is the governing body for all undergraduate students enrolled at Stetson. Any reluctance has been replaced by resolve. While firm believers in the Stetson way, they are staunch advocates for advancing the student experience. The tenets of their platform range from greater campus communication and diversity to keeping a vigilant eye on student activity fees, among other issues. Mostly, they are emblematic of the typical transformation among many students on campus. More than an evolution, or a natural occurrence over time, this is dramatic change. Hahn, a senior, and Morley, a junior, serve as proof that leaders come in all shapes, sizes, approaches and appearances at Stetson. And they don’t necessarily arrive as leaders; they are developed. Truth be told, neither was even thinking about Stetson out of high school, much less rallying troops and addressing concerns. Hahn considered hometown Florida Gulf Coast, the newest of Florida’s public universities, before friends steered him to Stetson. He wound up committing sight unseen. Morley had her heart set on Florida State until chance intervened. While working in a pizza shop, a regular customer, a Stetson alumnus, asked a fateful question: Where are you going to college? She said, “Florida State.” He said, “Wait! Go visit Stetson.” She listened, citing, “I never shut a door. If there’s a door open, I’m going to walk through it and see what’s up.” With one visit, she was left with a new thought: “This campus is what I’m looking for.” On campus, each has found more than expected. Hahn, a social science major with concentrations in political science and sociology, never figured to join a fraternity or lead that fraternity as its president. The same for being a FOCUS coordinator, a job that involves oversight, support and guidance for the five-day comprehensive orientation program for new students (Friends On Campus Uniting Students). Then there was student government, going from a freshman who was involved but was “really shy; I never talked” to SGA president.

“Stetson has given me a comfortable space. My personal expression and confidence have shot through the roof being at Stetson.” — Alyssa Morley ’18

“Everything I’ve ever done I said I would never do,” says the clean-cut, measured Hahn with a broad smile. Ultimately, he deemed just being a student wasn’t good enough for him or very much fun. He adds, “I like having a say; I like being the voice for people when they have concerns.” From almost day one, Morley, a political science and economics major, was perpetual motion. About the only way to slow her was with a cast, which she wore last May. She fractured an ankle while dancing. Colorful figuratively and literally with piercings and tattoos, Morley took a stab at the student Senate during her freshman year. She steadily moved up, “grabbing a seat” on the leadership team halfway through the second semester of her freshman year. Others were hesitant to fill the vacant seat so late in the school year. She wasn’t. Morley fell in love with the idea of creating “real change,” adding that making a difference on campus “lit a fire in me.” Now as student leaders, both seek to continue making a difference for themselves and for their constituency — in compatible, complementary fashion. Morley was some-

DID YOU KNOW? Of the 4,375 total students enrolled this fall at Stetson, 3,089 are undergraduates. The College of Arts and Sciences has 1,892 of those undergraduates. There are 805 freshmen. Females comprise 58 percent of the undergrad population.

what of a surprise choice as Hahn’s running mate last winter. He concedes they might not look the part but work very well together, noting, “It’s a positive.” Kat Thomas, assistant director of student governance and organizations, student development and campus vibrancy, agrees. “They complement each other,” she says, “because Jeff has the large picture and is an excellent relationship builder for the organization. Alyssa is detail-oriented, an executer of ideas, and has given the last two years to the organization. This allows her to give historical context and fill in the gaps for those involved in their work. They are both articulate and have a desire to enhance the student and Stetson experience. The thing that makes them most compelling is they share a vision for Stetson and what it can mean to attend this university.” Hahn has designs on becoming a university administrator, maybe even a president, following further education. His leadership style: Provide direction and motivate. “A lot of leadership, to me at least, is making people know that everything is in their control. But they have to be the ones to put the initiative forward,” he says. Law still might be in Morley’s future but grad school is first, as she watches for opening doors. Not dissimilar to Hahn, she sees leadership as “always making people feel validated” and “part of the process.” Both agree they wouldn’t be where they are now, and certainly not in leadership, without Stetson. Hahn points to a distinct, nurturing environment: “If it wasn’t for Stetson, I wouldn’t have the desire to be in the positions I’m in. Everyone can be significant at Stetson in their own way.” “Stetson has given me a comfortable space,” Morley concludes. “My personal expression and confidence have shot through the roof being at Stetson.” STETSON



Creating Harmony Alumnus Nathan Wolek brings change as a professor with uncommon sounds and style.



eluctant to consider himself a groundbreaker in the areas of curriculum reform or scholarly research, Nathan Wolek ’99, Ph.D., is a humble leader, to say the least.

Five years ago, then-Provost Beth Paul, Ph.D., challenged Wolek to lead a sincere and tough conversation, addressing a pressing issue at Stetson: What can we do with the various small arts departments scattered across campus? And how can we improve their collective functionality, resource management and enrollment? Wolek, an associate professor of digital arts at that time, acknowledges that Paul perhaps recognized and nurtured his talent for thinking differently. “I was asked to lead this process of deciding which programs would join this new umbrella of ‘Creative Arts Department’ — which houses studio art, digital arts, theater arts and art history,” Wolek explains. “I think Beth saw my leadership potential before I did and encouraged me to embrace it.” Not coincidentally, Wolek now chairs Stetson’s Creative Arts Department. He concedes his leadership style isn’t ordinary. “I recognize I have a different perspective than most people,” he says. “I see connections that others may not see that are, permit the cliché ‘out-of-the-box,’ but first you have to really know where the box is. I think I am good at looking at curriculum and structure of the department to make sure our view is not too limited to find creative solutions. I just try to make sure we are asking the right questions.”

It All Started With a Hearing Test For as long as he can remember, Wolek has been fascinated with sound. He had a lot of ear problems as a preschooler, which led to years of painful fluid buildup, hearing tests and ear tubes. “I had so many audiological tests, I knew the drill. I became focused on the noises themselves coming from that machine, and it just consumed and intrigued me at a very young age,” he notes. In elementary and middle school, he began experimenting with musical sound, first with a small Casio keyboard and eventually working on an impressive aptitude for the horn. He was in the band at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and earned a music scholarship to attend Stetson in fall 1995. That’s where his calling and passion were developed.



“I remember my sophomore year at Stetson when I first heard of a new course: computer music. These two words were like a collision in my brain,” he says. “I like computers, I like music, but I had never put the two together. It was a 400-level course, but I talked my way into it. Now I teach that class.” Using a laptop as his instrument, he began to create uncommon and unlimited sounds. After earning an undergraduate degree at Stetson, Wolek married his college sweetheart, Amy Friend ’99, and they moved to Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. in music technology at Northwestern University. Then in 2005 life brought them back to Stetson. Wolek believes his return was thanks to a “perfect storm” of events, which resulted in a great deal of trust. He had, in popular parlance, “been there and done that,” and now was his opportunity to lead. “I had received my Bachelor of Music, completed the honors program and was one of the first digital arts program graduates. I saw the inception and start of this program as a student,” Wolek says. “Additionally, I’d gone out in the world and saw the potential of what Stetson had to offer, where it could improve. This all opened a lot of doors when I joined the faculty. It granted me a level of trust from so many people at the university because I had experiences that connected me to both music and arts and sciences.” Hired as an assistant professor of music, Wolek focused on his craft, his students and research. By 2012, he was tenured, doing research with an international ad-hoc team to develop new software and was named a Fulbright scholar. That was about the same time Paul and Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., asked him to be chair of the new Creative Arts Department. The goal was to lead it from small, separate programs into a more cohesive department. He is leading by example. “I remain passionate about sound and audio by making time for my art and research on a consistent basis. You have to be accountable to yourself,” says Wolek, whose collaborative software research can be found at (a website that touts “modular patching and programming for realtime

media”). “This is an important part of how I lead as chair of the department. If I’m making regular time for scholarship and creative work, then it sends a signal to my colleagues in the department that is what faculty should be doing. This is one of the most concrete ways in which I try to lead, by being passionate and active in my scholarly work.”

Sounds of Success His style is working. In less than five years, the number of minors in the Creative Arts Department has increased from 26 to 68. Additionally, the department now has one strong, united “voice” and can better advocate for all Creative Arts students at Stetson. “Putting several smaller art programs under one umbrella has helped Stetson in terms of programming, student enrollment and faculty collaboration,” says Wolek. “For example, each program now has collateral requirements that require students to go beyond their own major and explore subjects related to the arts. This has led to measurable growth in our minors.” With the initial mission accomplished, there’s more to come. “We’ve been successful at this transition in many ways,” Wolek concludes. “We have added faculty and staff, increased and streamlined our budget, and better utilized resources. It is a win-win for all of us, but then again, I’m an optimist. We have some potential work to do in terms of curriculum, but it’s come a long way for the benefit of our students. And I think we are just starting to scratch the surface of what Creative Arts can be at Stetson.”

“If I’m making regular time for scholarship and

creative work, then it sends a signal to my colleagues in the department that is what faculty should be doing. This is one of the most concrete ways in which I try to lead, by being

passionate and active in my scholarly work.”




Giving Back Aaron Cook ’17 traveled to Osaka, Japan, to help shed light on photonics as a green resource.

Stetson’s Bonner Scholars Program is a study in civic leadership.



aron Cook ’17 had always been interested in Japan, so much so that he learned to speak Japanese. The computer science and digital

arts double major also enjoyed sharing knowledge. This past summer, he combined those two passions approximately 7,500 miles from home at the Advanced Nano Photonics Research and Education Center in Asia, run

by Osaka University in Osaka, Japan. 44


There, in Japan’s second-largest city, Cook contributed to the Osaka Photonics Initiative, helping to raise awareness about photonics, a branch of physics that deals with the properties and applications of photons, especially as a medium for transmitting information. “We’re trying to inspire the next generation of scientists,” says Cook, a graduate of Suncoast Polytechnical High in Sarasota, Fla. “We’re also trying to educate businesses, government and individuals because photonics is a very green resource, but it’s also a really fun technology to learn.” Estefany Arenas-Revelo ’19, majoring in both international studies and psychology, stayed much closer to home this summer, her hometown of Lake Wales, Fla. Her impact on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Citrus County and Lake Wales High School strikes near to her heart. An immigrant from Mexico, she moved to Lake Wales at age 8. Growing up, she attended that same Boys and Girls Club and was the 2015 class valedictorian at Lake Wales High. In June and July, as part of a year-round effort, she encouraged and engaged young children with productive activities while mentoring at-risk high school students.

“I sat in their shoes, and I realized there’s only so much they can do,” Arenas-Revelo describes her experience at the Boys and Girls Clubs. “I just want to let them know that there are people out there who care for them, and that they can do and be whoever they want to be as long as they know that they can.” Cook and Arenas-Revelo are among 29 Stetson students in the Bonner Scholars Program who “gave back” throughout the world over the summer, serving as far away as Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru and Japan. They also were in Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Florida, of course, was well-represented, too. A sampling of other organizations served: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Free Arts Northwest, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Hope CommUNITY Center, the National Park Service and the Salvation Army. The Bonner Scholars initiative, established nationally by the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in 1990, is designed to provide students with “access to education and an opportunity to serve” and has grown to become the largest privately funded, service-based college scholarship program in the United States. Stetson, starting its program in 2005, has the oldest, largest and only endowed Bonner program in Florida. Students, many of whom have high financial need, receive scholarship dollars. In return, they commit to what essentially is a four-year internship of community service, locally or abroad. Stetson’s total of 60 Bonner scholars essentially are leaders in civic service. “This generation, more than any, is excited about this kind of work,” says Savannah-Jane Griffin, Stetson’s director of Community Engagement and Inclusive Excellence, who oversees the Bonner program. “They want to make a difference in our community.” Griffin, in fact, personifies such commitment. Walking onto the Stetson campus as a student, she already possessed a keen sense of community, interning in high school at a local hospital in Miami. Her Stetson education, preceding the Bonner program, only broadened that appeal. When she graduated in 2007, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in management, she was promptly hired

“I knew I wasn’t going to change the world, but I could contribute to it. I have things that I can give, ability that I can share, so why not help in any way possible?” — Estefany Arenas-Revelo ’19, originally from Mexico

to become part of Stetson’s official community-engagement efforts. By the time she received her M.B.A. a year later, she was entrenched as a campus go-to. At present, she’s also a second-year National Bonner Fellow, serving the entire Bonner Foundation. For Cook, giving back began long before going abroad. His community work includes Web development for West Volusia Habitat for Humanity, interning at United Way and chairing a philanthropy committee for his campus fraternity.

“It’s just great to be able to work and make an impact on people,” he says. “It’s really great being able to change people’s lives, enabling people to live a better life.” Arenas-Revelo always wanted to do something. “I knew I wasn’t going to change the world, but I could contribute to it,” she says. “I have things that I can give, ability that I can share, so why not help in any way possible?” Civic leadership in action.

Global Change Locally Before arriving at Stetson, Taylor Duguay ’17 had “grand plans to change the world someday.” Later, she learned her passion for changing lives in low-income families could be directed to local communities on a smaller scale. As a member of Stetson’s Bonner Scholars Program, she has spent more than 1,300 hours working at local food pantries, with a youth basketball league and on campus to expand service Taylor Duguay ‘17 learning. Earlier this year, by virtue of those efforts, she was named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow, one of 19 Florida students to be honored by Florida Campus Compact. Florida Campus Compact consists of 50-plus institutions of higher education and endeavors to enhance community impact by students. Newman Civic Fellows, nominated by their college or university president, are the “next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” according to the Compact. Duguay, a political science and communications double major who plans to pursue a career in public-interest law impacting impoverished people, is emblematic. “These experiences have taught me about the many ways one can make change in the lives of those around them,” she says. “And because of my work thus far, I know that I will continue to make change on the local level for the rest of my life.”




Snapshots of a Journey Back ‘Home’ Sarah-Michelle Howard ’16 travels to touch lives in Swaziland. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


f it’s true that home is where the heart is, Sarah-Michelle Howard ’16 had quite a three weeks to remember this summer — visiting “family” in Bulembu, a small town located in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Howard graduated from South Lake High School in Clermont, Fla., as well as Stetson, about a two-hour drive northeast of Clermont on Interstate 4. Yet, in the days leading up to her journey of roughly 8,500 miles, she couldn’t have been more excited. “Swaziland is more home to me than the United States,” she said before leaving, with her patented broad smile and without a hint of disrespect. “My heart’s just been aching to go back.”



The 8,500-mile journey was all about building relationships, which included repairing roads. At left: SarahMichelle Howard is joined by an “auntie,” a surrogate mother for orphaned children.

Upon returning to DeLand, where she resides, there was no disappointment. “I loved every moment of being back in Bulembu; it truly feels like home, and seeing the same kids grow makes them like family to me,” she commented, calling the experience “amazing.” For most of her trip, the graduate of Stetson’s Bonner Scholars Program (general studies in education) provided a helping hand in impoverished Bulembu. Swaziland, a sovereign state neighbored by Mozambique and South Africa, is one of the last complete monarchies in Africa. It’s also a place with one of the worst HIV rates in the world and negative population growth. Bulembu, a deserted mining town, is filled with hundreds of orphans — newborns, boys and girls — in need of care. Landmark change is afoot, with entrepreneurs from abroad coming in to rebuild hope. Bulembu Ministries Swaziland now provides everything the orphans might need, including placement in a home with a caregiver, a school (The Bulembu Christian Academy) and a health clinic. Howard, whose parents were missionaries, was there to assist. Specifically, she worked on a roadway project that involved digging two trenches and filling them with concrete, thus improving traction for trucks. The road had been prone to washing away during rains. Howard also helped build a school fence that kept errant soccer balls from rolling down a mountain. There was classroom teaching and mentoring, too. In addition, Howard spent a week in Mbabane (the capital city), where English isn’t often spoken, so she used a translator. “The conditions [residents] are living in are

“The great and surprising thing is that despite everything, the Swazi people are so joyful, friendly and willing to give what little they have to others.” heartbreaking. The great and surprising thing is that despite everything, the Swazi people are so joyful, friendly and willing to give what little they have to others,” she described. During her travels, one girl, in particular, stood out. Howard and Nicky (real name withheld) first met in 2011 during her first trip to Bulembu. An aid volunteer, Howard had just graduated from high school and was assigned to Nicky’s house, where she lived with several other girls. The two bonded. They met again two years later when Howard led a trip of Stetson Bonner students to Swaziland. Howard didn’t think Nicky, who was several years younger, would remember her. She was mistaken. Nicky is now one year from graduating from high school and beginning an internship in Bulembu. “My sweet ‘sister’ is doing so great,” Howard said. “She has grown into a beautiful 18-year-old young lady.” Nicky personifies the town’s rebirth — a result of Bulembu Ministries “pouring into each child’s life,” Howard added. Nicky is making it through Bulembu’s emerging makeshift education system, where schooling is provided to both children and adults. “She has so much life in her,” Howard continued. “She watched her parents pass away from AIDS; she watched them suffer through it. And yet she still has this hope and

this vibrancy. And she has dreams.” Howard labeled Bulembu a “beacon of hope for Swaziland.” Noting that the town is next to the highest mountain in Swaziland, she said, “It literally is a city of light on a hill.” Howard is a beacon, too. She was born in Johannesburg, where her parents were missionaries in South Africa for seven years. She lived in Swaziland until age 4 before moving to Tennessee, Oregon and Florida. For Howard, giving isn’t new, but it’s never gotten old. Her Bonner education reinforced lifelong lessons. During her time at Stetson, she taught disadvantaged young students and fed the homeless. Also, she has touched countless lives far away. Howard hopes to continue those efforts by teaching elementary school, but first she had to make that trip. “I absolutely love helping people,” she said. “It’s what really makes me happy.” Howard then added another benefit, one she receives while giving. “In the end,” she concluded, “they teach you something.” Editor’s note: Shortly after returning from her summer trip, Howard accepted a volunteer position to teach first grade at the Bulembu Academy, starting in January. STETSON



Stetson University College of Law, in Gulfport, Fla., was founded in 1900 in DeLand as the state’s first law school.

“Looking back on the advantages of a smaller school, professors and other students knew who I was.” — Katherine Hurst Miller ’06

Serendipity and the Law Two alumni find good fortune and friendship on the way to guiding The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division. BY JOANN GRAGES BURNETT ’08


atherine Hurst Miller became president of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division in June. Zack Zuroweste will serve as division president next year.

The Florida Bar leaders began their leadership training — and their friendship — as classmates more than a decade ago at Stetson University College of Law. During orientation, Zuroweste ’06, a University of Tennessee graduate, was obviously aware of alphabetical order. His “ZZ” initials almost always put him last in line. Meanwhile, Miller ’06, a



Vanderbilt University graduate, had a place well ahead of him. The chance of meeting at the time wasn’t great, and it didn’t happen. Eventually, their paths crossed in Professor Kelly Feeley’s research and writing I class. By the end of their first year, they were on Stetson’s Moot Court Board, library study partners and fellow parishioners at church. Sharing similar legal interests, they became great friends.

Part serendipity. Part Stetson. The College of Law’s size and welcoming philosophy provides a learning environment that encourages students to get to know one another as well as interact with professors.

“Looking back on the advantages of a smaller school,” Miller recounts, “professors and other students knew who I was.” Even more, the campus in Gulfport, Fla., nurtured leadership. Miller is the second and Zuroweste will be the third Stetson alumni to lead The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division (YLD) in the past 20 years. Florida Bar Past-President Gregory Coleman BBA ’85, J.D. ’89 led the YLD in the 1999-2000 term. In addition, both Miller and Zuroweste have been recognized locally and regionally, earning numerous professional-distinction awards during their service at local bar associations and the YLD. Each is rated AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. “Stetson has always been very good about ensuring that graduates are practice-ready by being good thinkers, persuasive advocates and creative problem solvers,” Miller says. Zuroweste credits one specific law professor for teaching him critical skills, noting, “Associate Dean Stephanie Vaughan taught us to say it directly and to say it correctly.” As YLD president, Miller’s goals are to ensure access to justice, encourage pro bono work, and provide practical training for young lawyers through continuing education as they launch their legal careers. She also is striving to promote health and wellness for young lawyers and their families. She and Zuroweste were instrumental in last year’s inaugural YLD Health and Wellness Month. As for her “day job,” she is a partner at Cobb Cole in Daytona Beach, Fla. For 2017, Zuroweste’s priorities will include using smart technology and ensuring that new lawyers know about the division’s many resources. He also will focus on networking and continuing the YLD’s progress on issues of diversity and inclusion, especially through the work of Florida’s Commission

on Women. He is a partner at The Persante Law Group, P.A., in Clearwater, Fla. “Florida’s young lawyers are extremely fortunate to have Katherine and Zack at the helm,” comments Gordon J. Glover, YLD immediate past president. More unexpected fortune is part of this leadership story. During Miller’s second year of law school, she began dating Arthur Christian “Chris” Miller ’05, who would later become her husband and a prosecutor in Florida’s 7th Judicial Circuit. Shortly after graduation, Zuroweste met and later married Stetson alumna Elizabeth (Liz) Hempling Zuroweste ’05, a prosecutor for Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit. Both couples have children.

Stetson Law Families of Leadership Although they practice law on opposite coasts in Florida, Miller and Zuroweste remain friends while sharing a commitment to advancing the legal profession. Today, as the two friends who met at Stetson law school work together to steer The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, they have their own leadership plan. “The key,” says Miller, “is to trust each other to shine.”

Katherine Hurst Miller and Zack Zuroweste (both ’06) will be the second and third Stetson alumni to lead The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division in the past 20 years.

DID YOU KNOW? Stetson University College of Law welcomed 273 new Juris Doctor students in August, with LSAT scores that matched last year and new students representing a slight increase in overall GPA. More than half the students arrived with plans to live on campus.




Things to Know About the Hatters This Fall BY JA M I E B ATA I L L E



First-year head 2 coach Bryan Harmon looks to

With an injury and the graduation of quarterback Ryan Tentler, sophomore Gaven DeFilippo will lead the offense — with help from senior running backs Cole Mazza and Mike Yonker, as well as a veteran group of receivers.

make an impact on both the men’s and women’s teams.

squads compete at seven races, including the 3 The NCAA South Region Championships on Nov. 11.

Senior Joe Beery will attempt to break his own school record for fastest 8,000meter time, set at last year’s conference championship.

MEN’S SOCCER Senior goalkeeper Paul Ladwig, who played every minute last season and led the ASUN with 67 saves, is Stetson’s top returner.

5 50


Madison Akins paces both the offense and defense, with the senior right-side hitter collecting more than 780 kills, 560 digs and 180 blocks in her career.


team seeks its fourth consecutive ASUN 8 The tournament appearance. Hatters host eight home matches, ending with 9 The a Nov. 5 battle against Lipscomb. Junior middle blocker Shelby Connors is a force All-time assists leader Kayla 10 at the net, recording more than 200 blocks in her 12 Weller, who graduated, has first two seasons. been replaced at the setter position.

CROSS COUNTRY Senior Clarissa Consol is among the leaders of the Hatter women, who last season earned their best team finish at the ASUN Championship in 23 years.



is the team’s fourth season 14 This since returning to the gridiron in 2013. All-American Donald Payne leads the defense 15 once again. (See Page 36.) He’s compiled the most total tackles in the Pioneer Football League in each of the past three seasons. Head Coach Roger Hughes signed a contract 16 extension in the offseason that will keep him on the Stetson sideline through at least the 2018 season. There are six home games at Spec Martin 17 Memorial Stadium, including Homecoming on Nov. 5 vs. Marist and Nov. 19 vs. Drake on Senior Day.

4 WOMEN’S SOCCER First-year head coach Jared 6 Vock leads the Hatters as they seek to return to prominence in the ASUN. Stetson hosts seven home 7 matches at the Athletic Training Center. It opened at home against Georgia Southern and closes the slate on Oct. 29 vs. Jacksonville.

Hatters seek to follow up one of the best 18 The seasons in program history with even more success. Head coach Manoj Khettry begins his fourth season 19 at Stetson. He guided the Hatters to a 10-8-1 record and an appearance in the ASUN semifinals in 2015 — the team’s first semis appearance since 2010. The 10 wins marked just the fifth time in 20 the program’s 23-year history that the Hatters reached double digits in victories.

Among the returnees is 2015 first-team all-conference forward Sarah Collins, who tied a school record with 12 goals last season.


Season and single-game tickets are available for all Stetson Athletics events. For information, call 738-HATS (4287) or visit

Hatters return a veteran group of 14 letter-winners, 21 The supplemented by 10 newcomers. STETSON



High Grades for Hatters

More Than the Score Becky Ahlgren Bedics, Ph.D., had a 10-year career at the headquarters of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where she directed the national CHAMPS/Life Skills program and co-created the NCAA’s Leadership Conference for thousands of student-athletes each year. She has more than two decades of experience providing expertise on life skills for student-athletes as well as for corporate professionals. In addition, Ahlgren Bedics is a recognized expert on generational differences, presenting nationally on the topic and being featured on ESPN’s Outside the Lines discussing the subject. This is what she has to say about the Hatters athletic department: It’s a winner. “Stetson has made it a priority to turn out athletes who are more than just the bodies in motion,” Ahlgren Bedics comments. This fall, the former University of Dayton softball player, who earned a doctoral degree in sports psychology at West Virginia University, begins year two of orchestrating the Stetson Leadership Academy for student-athletes, as part of being director of Leadership Education – Collegiate Division for the Janssen Sports Leadership Center. Janssen Sports offers sports leadership training for college and high school athletic departments worldwide. Essentially, the Stetson Leadership Academy trains through workshops that occur 52


New Look Shines Light on New Identity

The second-year Stetson Leadership Academy tallies a different way to win. Workshops focus on commitment, work ethic, character and confidence, among other themes.

twice in the fall and twice in the spring, when Ahlgren Bedics travels from her home in Indianapolis to campus. Also, there is ongoing follow-up. Coaches, too, are part of the academy, receiving separate training. Last year, Hatters were divided into Emerging (first-year students and sophomores) and Veteran (mostly juniors and seniors) leader groups. Among the themes: commitment, work ethic, character, confidence, selflessness and the willingness to engage others for both encouragement and discipline.

A total of 97 Hatters from all men’s and women’s teams participated in the 75-minute sessions, which for the studentathletes included information sharing, group discussions and hands-on activities. A third group has been added this year, composed of “legacy leaders,” who will complete a “360-degree process” that includes self-evaluations, plus evaluations by teammates and coaches. At the end, participants will receive a qualitative and quantitative report they can take off campus and into the job market. For the

other groups, foundational leadership development is the core intent. “This extends beyond the athletic playing field, for sure,” Ahlgren Bedics says. At a time when many university athletic programs have reduced initiatives not directly linked to wins and losses, Ahlgren Bedics believes Stetson has stepped up and scored big. “This leadership piece is the foundation,” she concludes, “not only for your athletic teams but for being able to have productive college graduates.” — Michael Candelaria

It’s a new day for the ASUN — and a new look for the Hatters. Stetson and the seven other members of the Atlantic Sun Conference are now displaying a new conference logo, representing a new identity for the ASUN. Beginning with fall sports, the black-and-yellow logo is being used in association with each of the ASUN’s 19 sponsored sports. The redesigned mark includes a bold and steady typeface that reflects conference “stability, strength and reliability.” The rising sun locked within the A represents hope and optimism for the future, as well as for students and student-athletes, according to ASUN officials. The versatility of the two-color mark enables each of the ASUN member institutions and eight affiliate members to display the logo in their own colors. The unveiling of the new identity began last spring and was largely achieved through social media, including a strong Stetson presence. “The ASUN brand has grown significantly in the last several years and in large part due to the success of our many outstanding programs, including NCAA postseason wins in basketball, golf, softball and baseball,” said Jeff Altier, Stetson’s director of athletics. Altier added that Stetson will incur some costs associated with the change, but the ASUN is providing a grant to minimize the financial impact. The ASUN worked to develop the new identity in partnership with SME Branding, a New York-based company that has successfully positioned itself as an industry leader in the rebranding of a variety of major sports organizations. Fueled originally by the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the ASUN and SME solicited input from a wide audience, including student-athletes, administrators, coaches, faculty and others. — Jamie Bataille

For the 2015-16 academic year, a record percentage of Atlantic Sun Conference student-athletes received Honor Roll accolades — and the Hatters were significant contributors to that classroom success. Stetson placed second behind Lipscomb University in the academic rankings, with 71 percent of its student-athletes who competed in the ASUN earning conference Honor Roll recognition. (Football and men’s and women’s rowing were not included.) The Hatters ranked third in the league for total number of student-athletes honored, with 179. Across the conference, more than 70 percent of all student-athletes earned membership to the ASUN Honor Roll by posting a 3.0 grade point average or better. It was the second consecutive year of reaching a new high in conference Honor Roll membership. In terms of sports, men’s basketball, men’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s soccer, men’s track and field, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, and women’s golf each reached new bests. Also, a total of 99 ASUN student-athletes received their undergraduate degrees while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA — including the Hatters’ Cornelia Sochor of the women’s soccer program. Beach Volleyball’s Kendale Speyerer, 2016 graduate and member of the ASUN Honor Roll — Jamie Bataille

DID YOU KNOW? Veteran Tickets Foundation is teaming up with the Hatters at Homecoming with “Seats for Soldiers.” Every $15 donation sends a military member or veteran to the game (Nov. 5 vs. Marist). Donors receive a camo Stetson ball cap. Call 386-822-8124.




Hatters Celebrate Stetson


t was a Stetson summer in North Carolina and across Florida, as alumni representing multiple decades gathered to, well, be Hatters. They spanned the 1950s through the Class of 2020. In common: a love for all things Green and White. To be part of an event near you, contact the Stetson University Office of Alumni Engagement at 386822-7480 or

Asheville, N.C.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Dale Zinzow Retter ’72, George Retter ’73, Ellen Kirby Winner ’74

Kristi Baetzman Tyrrell ’84, Austin Tyrrell ’17, Kerry Baetzman Nordman ’84, Stephanie Tyrrell Natalie Wearstler deYoung ’10, Analisa Jahna ’09, Natasha Sosa ’07, MBA ’08

Diane Harney, Ci’erra Larsen ’20, Carol Larsen, Susan Dye ’84

Chuck Wolfe ’85, Ed Towson ’80

Blane McCarthy ’92, JD ’95, Andrew McCarthy, Jonah McCarthy, James Stetson McCarthy, Jennifer Meier McCarthy ’92

Luke Wooley JD ’13, Richelle Wooley



Kate Pearce, Jessica Pearce Grochowsky ’06, Jason Grochowsky

Mike McKercher, Janelle Watson ’59, Bill Watson ’59, Jeff Altier ’82, MEd ’87

Savannah Harris ’18, Gregory Harris




Hatters Celebrate Stetson

Central Florida

The Blind Pig: Caroline Peterson Wieland ’07, Blair Wieland, Billy Wieland ’07, JD ’10 Dia Davis ’04, Allison Foster ’04, Derek Jansante ’11, Amy Scaturro Dedes ’04, Justine Talmidge Sanford ’04

Orlando City Soccer pregame party!



Commencement 2016

Tallahassee, Fla.

Bert Bevis, Cynthia Henderson ’82, JD ’85, Victoria Vangalis Zepp

Tampa, Fla.

Katy Prats JD ’83, Lu Prats ’78, JD ’81, Jessica Prats Murray ’10, JD ’14




Hatters Celebrate Stetson

Meet Your New President of the Stetson University Alumni Association

South Florida

Ray Holley, ’91, J.D. ’97 Go Hatters! It is a great honor to serve as your new Alumni Board President during this exciting time for Stetson University. The momentum at our alma mater is incredible. If you have not recently been to the main campus, please come visit, as you will be amazed at what you see. Please know that the Stetson University Alumni Association (“SUAA” or “Alumni Board”) is working diligently to live up to Stetson’s motto and challenge to “Dare to be Significant.” At the end of 2015-2016, there were approximately 40,000 alumni spread throughout the United States and 82 countries in the world. It is also interesting that 41% of our alumni are outside the state of Florida.

Tony Guzzetta ’85, Jen Doheny Quinton ’85 Jeff Altier ’82, MEd ’87, Frank Valdes ’99, MBA ’00, Nick Franco ’02, Kevin Wasilewski ’86

As an organization, the Alumni Board is charged with the responsibility of actively engaging you as alumni and/or parents through programs and activities, holding organized events on campus and in your local area, and providing communications about the incredible successes and developments at Stetson. We also would like to hear about, and share, your successes as well. To accomplish these goals, we have established local groups in numerous areas of Florida and the nation to help bring the Stetson Experience to you. Your support is greatly needed and appreciated. If you want to get involved, please be sure to contact me or our local Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement!

HOMECOMING 2016 Finally, don’t forget HOMECOMING is Nov. 4-6, 2016. I highly encourage you to come join the fun. Anticipated Class Reunions include 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961, 1956 and an entire celebration for the 1950s Hatters! On behalf of my classmates from 1991, I am “just saying” that we plan to show the other classes how it is done! All joking aside, I hope you can make it back to campus. Last but not least, I want to thank you all for everything you have done (and will do in the future) for Stetson. I am firmly convinced we have the best alumni and parents in the world! Because … WE ARE STETSON! Sincerely yours, Ray Holley

Linda Parsons Davis ’73, Mike Davis ’76



Brian Rodriguez ’15, Michael Rodriguez ’18, Manuel Rodriguez ’16




Send Us Your Class Note


STETSON UNIVERSITY is proud of its alumni and their accomplishments. We would love to hear about your achievements. If you are a graduate from the DeLand or Celebration campuses, please send your class note to Stetson University, Office of Alumni Engagement, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8257, DeLand, FL 32723, or email your news to

Donald N. Yates ’70, Longmont, Colo., is principal scientific investigator for DNA Consultants, an ancestry testing company he founded in 2003. He and his wife published a book titled DNA and You: Blog Posts From the Golden Age of the Human Genome Project.

1980s Vicki Ward Frey ’80, Kennesaw, Ga., was one of eight recipients of a 2016 Student Scholarship Award from the Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). She received scholarship awards in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and successfully completed the AGO’s Service Playing Examination (SPC) in March.

If you are a graduate of the College of Law, send your class note

Clifford Johnson ’81, Orange Park, Fla., earned a Doctorate in Theology from Saint Thomas Christian University in April. He was the class valedictorian.

to Stetson University College of Law, Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, 1401 61st St. South, Gulfport, FL 33707, or

Seven Elements of High Performance™, taken from three years of intensive study about how best- performing organizations separate themselves from others. Glen W. Hauenstein ’82, Atlanta, Ga., assumed the role of president of Delta Air Lines in May. Since joining Delta in August 2005, he has overseen the transformation of the airline’s network from a primarily domestic operation to an equal ratio of international and domestic service. Delta has added more than 70 destinations to its worldwide network. Cynthia VanWart Henderson ’82, JD ’85, Tallahassee, Fla., recently completed her service as president of the Florida Federation of Republican Women (2013-2016), one of the largest statewide organizations striving to enhance the election process in Florida.

Thomas R. James ’83, Bowling Green, Ky., completed his term as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and is starting a term as a trustee for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Gretchen Anderson Nelson ’87, West Hartford, Conn., has been named director of pupil services for West Hartford Public Schools, effective in July.

Jaime Clark-Soles ’89, Richardson, Texas, has been a professor of New Testament at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University for 15 years. She is ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA.

Designating and Determining Intent in the Context of Parental Rights in the Penn State Law Review. She also won the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ 2016 Leaders in the Law award. Andrew P. Daire ’91, MS ’93, Richmond, Va., was promoted to dean at the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brian D. Ray ’91, Gainesville, Fla., graduated with a Master of Strategic Studies (MSS) degree from the U.S. Army War College in July. The MSS is the Army’s highest level of professional military education.


email your class note to alumni@law.stetson. edu. College of Law graduates also can fill out the online form at lawalumninews. We will only use photos that are high resolution, and because of space limitations, we cannot guarantee use of all photographs.



Robert G. Riegel ’78, JD ’81, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is AV® peer review rated by MartindaleHubbell and listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, where he has been named Jacksonville Lawyer of the Year 2016 under the category of Employment Law - Management. He is also recognized as a “Florida Legal Elite,” and for many years has been selected by his peers for the Florida Super Lawyers annual list.

Gary E. Lear ’81, Macon, Ga., was recognized by the U.S. Navy for supporting its leadership development for 10 years. Resource Development Systems (RDS) developed and published a model, The

Kevin B. Lowe, MBA ’82, Stokesdale, N.C., was named the director of the Graduate School of Management at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a global 100 University. He oversees the MBA, Business Master’s and Executive Education programs.

Heather McDonald Kolinsky ’90, Orlando, Fla., published The Intended Parent: The Power and Problems Inherent in

Jean “Abby” Loreto Hamilton ’94, New Port Richey, Fla., has been promoted to the position of associate dean of academic affairs at Everglades University.

Steven T. Palmer ’94, Roswell, Ga., is the head of School at The Cottage School. Previously, he was a school superintendent in Michigan.

Lori Keeton ’95, Charlotte, N.C., has been selected by the Mecklenburg Times as one of the 2016 “50 Most Influential Women.” She was also named to Business North Carolina magazine’s 2016 Legal Elite. Brett J. DeMarzo ’98, Burlington, Mass., has been promoted to the position of director of admission at the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Simmons College. Also, he was elected president of the New England chapter of the National Association of Graduate Enrollment Management Professionals (2016-2018 term). Frederick B. Entenmann ’98, Columbus, Ohio, published Surviving Sports and The Game of Life: Your Holistic Guide to Achieving World-Class Results. Lynn Hanshaw, JD ’99, St. Petersburg, Fla., Langford & Myers, P.A., received the 2016 Sixth Judicial Circuit Outstanding Pro Bono Service by a Lawyer award.

2000s Christopher D. Donovan ’01, JD ’04, Bonita Springs, Fla., has been selected as a 2016 Florida Rising Star (40-year-olds and under). Rachel Greenstein ’02, JD ’05, St. Petersburg, Fla., was elected to the Hillsborough County Bar Association board of directors and received the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers’ 2016 President’s Award. Jason S. Lambert ’02, JD ’12, Clearwater, Fla., was named president- elect of the Clearwater Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. He was also elected as a 6th Circuit representative to The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division board of governors.

the DeLand Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She is a motivational speaker, personal coach, facilitator and traveler of Cameron Enterprises LLC.

Ryan G. Benson ’03, Fort Myers, Fla., a principal with A. Vernon Allen Builder, has been selected as chair of the Immokalee Youth Development Center Construction Committee for the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County. Primrose Cameron, MS ’03, DeLand, Fla., is the newly elected president of

Andrea Lauren ’05, Asheville, N.C., published her book Block Print: Everything you need to know for printing with lino blocks, rubber blocks, foam sheets and stamp sets.

Shakespearean Adventure “To be, or not to be: that is the question,” wrote William Shakespeare. Douglas M. Lanier ’77 has decided “to be.” Lanier, a professor of English and director of the University of New Hampshire London Program, has received the Fulbright-Global Shakespeare Centre Distinguished Chair Award. The award enables him to study, lecture and research at Queen Mary University of London as well as the University of Warwick. As a participant in one of the most prestigious and selective scholarship programs worldwide, Lanier is working on a book about screen adaptations of Othello from across the globe. He’s also teaching classes at QMUL and the University of Warwick. “I hope this work will broaden my perspective on Shakespeare’s extraordinary cultural reach and provide me with material to enrich my classes and research for years to come,” he said.




Lawyers in Tampa, was recognized as a 2016 Florida Rising Star.

Silviya Mateva ’08, Norman, Okla., graduated in May from the University of Oklahoma with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance. Christina Mixon ’08, Trinity, Fla., has been promoted to senior business consultant at ConnectWise Inc. Following Stetson, she received a Master of Science, Information Technology; Master of Divinity; and The Megiddo Expedition Fellowship in Archaeology.

Mark J. Rose, MBA/JD ’08, Boca Raton, Fla., a lawyer with ROIG Lawyers in Deerfield Beach, Fla., was recognized as a 2016 Florida Rising Star.

Miguel R. Roura, JD ’08, St. Petersburg, Fla., a lawyer with ROIG

Thomas J. Dolatowski ’09, Lake Mary, Fla., earned the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) credential, a highly respected and recognized global investment management designation. Andrew J. Glasnovich ’09, Minneapolis, Minn., was one of the recipients of the University of Minnesota’s 2016 President’s Student Leadership and Service Award (PSLSA), presented

Bart DiNardo ’10 is giving Home Team Sports another meaning. That’s the name of his employer, but it also sort of describes his employment. A lifelong sports fan growing up in Rye, N.Y., DiNardo now is a senior research analyst in New York City, not far from his hometown. Home Team Sports is a sales unit of Fox Sports that offers advertisers “build-yourown,” scalable branding opportunities for TV, mobile and digital media sponsorship of every MLB, NBA and NHL home team nationwide, reaching 94 million-plus homes with its platforms. “This is a dream job for me, as I’ve always wanted to work in television, with a specific interest in sports,” says DiNardo, who joined the company earlier this year and oversees digital/linear television research and insights relevant to Major League Baseball, National Basketball League and National Hockey League properties across the Fox Sports Regional Sports Networks.


recognized as a 2016 Florida Rising Star.

Marriages Jay Younger Kruger ’70 to Reed Clary, April 2, 2016. Mark Reed ’96 to Matthew Boyer, Aug. 15, 2015.

Kelly Kuenning Ohmes ’06, and husband, Todd, a son: Colton Vincent in April 2016.

Digital Dream


to approximately one-half of 1 percent of the student body.

David R. Glerum ’09, Oviedo, Fla., received a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Central Florida in May. He also received the International Personnel Assessment Council James C. Johnson Student Paper Award for The Trainer Matters: Cross-Classified Models of Trainee Reactions.

Elizabeth Lamontagne ’10, MAcc ’11 to Scott Weaver, March 26, 2016. Zach Whiting ’10, Spencer, Iowa, announced he will run as a Republican for the District 1 seat in the Iowa Senate. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Stetson.

Amy Rigdon ’05, JD ’08 to Gabriel Robertson, Feb. 14, 2016.

Peter S. Nayrouz, JD ’10, St. Petersburg, Fla., a lawyer with ROIG Lawyers in Tampa, was

Carly Fender Watson ’08 to Paul Tobler, April 30, 2016. Allison Dhand ’12, St. Petersburg, Fla., graduated from Stetson Law in May 2016 and received the Hearne Environmental Law Award. Christine Jacobson ’12, Niceville, Fla., received a master’s degree in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies from Harvard University in May. Nathalia Ramos Mattos ’14, Houston, Texas, has been promoted to compliance analyst at Tricon Energy.

Ana Porth ’16 to Nicholas Smith ’16, May 28, 2016.


2010s Melania Lavezzi, MBA ’10, Celebration, Fla., has published her second book, Stop, Think and Save Your Money! (explaining to her son how money works in the real world). She worked for more than 10 years as a pediatric dentist.

Katherine St. Clair Chacon ’09, and husband, David, a son: James Alexander in July 2015.

Samantha Howell ’09 to David Penn, May 20, 2016.

Melissa Pehlke ’11 to Francisco Boden ’13, Feb. 27, 2016.

Alessandra Alessi Cole ’12 to Bryan Cole, Feb. 13, 2016.

Melissa Randolph Dodson ’98, and husband, Stuart, twins: a son, Stuart Mosby Samuel, and a daughter, Sofia Grace Elizabeth, in December 2014.

Tiffany Crow Handyside ’07, and husband, Philip ’06, a son: Alistair Philip, in May 2016.

Stephanie Wisniski Covatta ’02, and husband, Brian, a daughter: Madeline Kathleen in August 2014.

Brittany Green Gloersen ’08, JD ’11, and husband, Paul ’06, a son: Gregory Gray in May 2016.

Erica Demers Crews ’09, and husband, Robert ’11, twins: a son, Connor Easton, and a daughter, Cassidy Rae, in June 2015.

Jessica Spear Swick ’10, and husband, James ’10, a daughter: Scarlett Katherine in November 2015.




Alyssa Thompson Lindsley ’12, MAcc ’13, and husband, John ’09, MBA ’11, a son: John Watson Jr. in November 2015.

In Memoriam ’40s Margaret Foy Kaleel ’42 Dorothea Clarson Watson, LLB ’42 Lula Morrison Pinder ’44 Frances Mills Jones ’47 Gilbert Bentley, LLB ’48 Joseph B. Benson, MA ’49 Libby Braddock Richardson ’49 Robert W. Vincent ’49

’50s Marvin S. Newmark, LLB ’50 Stephen J. Rellas, MA ’50 Fred R. Langford, LLB ’51 Earl C. Branning, LLB ’52 Mariam Katiba Cook ’52 Larry M. Lafferty ’54 Joe B. Momyer, LLB ’54 Barbara Johnson Moser ’55 June Mims Porter ’56 George M. Stephens ’56 B.C. Akers ’57 Gerald M. Florence ’57 William D. Dooley ’58

’60s Leslie D. Franklin, JD ’60 James A. Roman, LLB ’60 Jack F. White, LLB ’60 William Burmeister, LLB ’61 John D. Chapman, LLB ’61 Joe F. Britt, LLB ’63 Martin W. Taplin, JD ’63 Janet Coukart Deem ’64, MA ’71 William D. Rowland, LLB ’64 Peggy Justice Clay ’65 John T. Proctor ’66 Rosa Waldrep ’66 John C. Gardner, LLB ’67




Grandchild Carrie Perman ’98, a granddaughter: Quinlee Morgan in April 2016.

Craig H. Gruber ’67 James R. Boyer, JD ’69 Jeanette Nobles King ’69 Donald M. McComb ’69

’70s E. Thomas Fisher, Jr., JD ’70 Robert E. Leoni ’70 Barbara Bennethum Dalrymple, MEd. ’71 Susan F. Schaeffer, JD ’71 Peter W. Rotella, JD ’72 Patricia Morris Nichelson ’73 Patricia Reynolds Adams ’75 Carole Parisot Broderick, JD ’76 Kenneth M. Brown, JD ’76 Jay M. Gottlieb, JD ’76 Ronald E. Greigg, JD ’76 Charles T. Rabun ’76 Paul W. Hitchens, JD ’77 R. Michael McMillan, JD ’77 Mark S. Memoly ’77 Scott T. Apell ’78 Jeffrey C. Boll ’78 John Welding ’79

’80s Joseph D. McFarland, JD ’81 Shelley Jo Foster ’83 Peter W. Cooley, JD ’84 Wilma Carrillo, JD ’86 Dolores C. Schafer, MS ’89

’90s Gregory J. Blackburn, JD ’91 Bruce A. Tischler, JD ’91 Landy Ortiz, JD ’96

’00s Carol Voelker, JD ’00 Geri Zall, JD ’07

Stardom As a Costume Designer Ret Turner April 14, 1929 – May 4, 2016 The names read like a who’s who of show business from a bygone era: Cher, Carol Burnett, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Dinah Shore, Billy Crystal, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and Neil Diamond. Walter Raymond “Ret” Turner ’50, with legendary flair and grace, dressed all of them and many others. In May, Turner, a winner of five Emmy Awards among 23 nominations for costuming, died at age 87. Turner, who himself always looked good with his signature all-black outfits and red tassel, last visited campus during the 2005 Homecoming. That was 15 years after winning his fifth Emmy (Outstanding Costume Design for a Variety or Music Program/Carol & Company/ NBC). His first Emmy came in 1978 (Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for Music-Variety/Mitzi ... Zings Into Spring/CBS). Behind the scenes, Turner achieved stardom on musical and awards shows, television series and celebrity specials. He co-owned a popular Hollywood costume and design shop. He was the oldest active member of the Costume Designers Guild. He became an A-lister far from his hometown of Marianna, Fla. In 1950, he reportedly arrived in Hollywood, seeking to become an actor. Instead, he took a job in the wardrobe department at NBC. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Among his additional credits were working on the openings of Disneyland in 1955, Disney World in 1971 and EPCOT in 1982. Turner leaves behind a legacy of greatness that is preserved on the videotape of decades past. Today, for those much too young to remember, he is lasting personification of the potential of a Stetson arts degree.

Carrying on Tradition Move-in Day in August was the first opportunity of the new academic year for returning students to show newcomers the Stetson way. Done.

Photo: Courtesy Academy of Television Arts & Sciences



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University Symphonic Band Featuring Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Michael Rickman, piano Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 22

Oct. 28

University Symphony Orchestra Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m. Pre-concert talk Tinsley Room, Presser Hall 6:30

A Night of a Thousand Stars: the best of opera and musical theater 6 p.m., reception 7 p.m., dinner and concert Tinsley Room, Presser Hall

Nov. 4

Oct. 23

Faculty Chamber Ensemble Featuring Brahms’ Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 3 p.m.

A Night of a Thousand Stars: the best of opera and musical theater Tinsley Room, Presser Hall 3 p.m., concert only

Oct. 25

Great Guitarists at Stetson: Irina Kulikova Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Stetson Homecoming Concert Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 6

Nov. 8

Stetson Chamber Orchestra Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 9

Great Pianists at Stetson: Jooen Pak Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Oscar Bluemner: The Language of Architecture – Works from the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection, through Dec. 9 at the Hand Art Center

Nov. 12

Southern Winds Band Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 13

Stetson Symphonic Band Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 4 p.m.

Nov. 15

Stetson Sounds New XIII: Amernet String Quartet Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 16

Stetson Jazz Ensemble Athens Theatre 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 18

Stetson Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition Winners Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 22

Stetson Choral Union Mozart’s Requiem First Baptist Church 7:30 p.m. More information:

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Stetson Magazine  

Fall 2016

Stetson Magazine  

Fall 2016

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