Stetson Magazine

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Beautiful Music Members of the Stetson University Symphony Orchestra, along with conductor Andrew Larson, D.M.A. (associate director of Choral Activities), share the stage during Stetson’s Christmas Candlelight Concert in early December 2016. The Christmas Candlelight Concert is a holiday tradition at Stetson, dating back more than 100 years and featuring more than 200 student performers from the School of Music. All four concert performances at Lee Chapel on the main campus were sold out.









President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. Vice President of University Marketing Bruce Chong Assistant Vice President, Marketing/Media Relations Janie Graziani

20 Departments


2 BEGINNINGS Beautiful Music

20 Self-Learning

6 WELCOME Initial Steps 8 INTELLIGENTSIA News and Notes 16 FIRST PERSON Rethinking Curricula

For all of the academics, expertise and experience offered in Stetson’s EMBA program, one aspect stands above: personal growth.

22 Opera on the World Stage

Three Stetson alums debut at top opera houses, including La Scala in Italy — “remarkable” firsts.

18 IMPACT Internship Travel Fund 54 ATHLETICS Portrait of a Baseball Legend

62 THE CLASSES Accolades and Achievements 67 PARTING SHOT Servant Leader


Designer Michelle Martin Editorial Assistant Donna Nassick Art and Photography Bobby Fishbough, Joel Jones, Nick Leibee, Brittany Strozzo Contributing Staff Anna Chun, Veronica Faison, Jordan Foley Writers Andy Butcher, Amy R. Connolly, Marie Dinklage, Amy Gipson, Ricky Hazel, Cory Lancaster, Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., Woody O’Cain, Brandi Palmer, Jack Roth, Trish Wieland Class Notes Editor Cathy Foster

56 ALUMNI Hatter Spotlight


Editor Michael Candelaria

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.



Diversity and Inclusion Issue 26 Weathering the Storm

46 Paris Landing

30 Defining Our Terms

48 And Justice for All

Assessing the unsettled — and unsettling — patterns of the nation’s campus climate. There are rays of hope.

What do diversity and inclusion really mean?

34 Common Ground

Under the popular name of Tri-C, students are crossing lines and building community.

For international students at Stetson, Luis Paris is there to help them find their way. Even if it’s not official.

The law school is stating its own case for Many Voices, One Stetson.

50 Global Lens

Stetson University College of Law is creating a worldlier student body, thanks largely to a forward-thinking assistant dean with an international vision.

36 Teaching the Basics

Core competencies in education begin with empathy, equality and cultural understanding.

38 Educating for Social Justice

A Force for Change and Finding a Way Out

44 Philosophy Behind Change

In the quest for academic diversity and inclusion, ground zero has assumed a lead role and is taking it personally.


Hatters to Watch Among plenty of others, here are eight to keep an eye on this spring.




Initial Steps Along the Arc Toward Justice


t’s nearly impossible to discuss the “Stetson University Assessment of Climate for Learning, Living and Working” without placing our experiences into the greater social and political climate we are in every day. The Stetson Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Task Force had already put in 18 months developing the campus climate survey instrument and analyzing the results by the time the findings were released last September. Sometimes important things take time, and we were committed to doing this work the best and most inclusive way possible.

The task force, comprising faculty, staff, students and administrators, invited the nationally recognized consulting firm of Rankin & Associates to develop, deploy and analyze the survey along with us. The firm conducted nearly two dozen focus groups in DeLand and Gulfport. Following the release of the study, the members of the task force gathered feedback through multiple Climate Forums and via online comments. Also, Susan Rankin, Ph.D., met with Stetson’s Board of Trustees last October to deliver the survey’s results. In December and January, this information and recommendations for action were compiled, categorized and reviewed by the cabinet, deans, administrators and academic leaders. In March, if not earlier, the final recommendations for the university, covering both DeLand and Gulfport, are to be released and posted. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We have taken time over these months in the service of justice, inclusive excellence and equity. Some say we are only in the initial phases of our work. However, many of those phases were started years ago at Stetson. But we cannot rest until Stetson is a community of respect and equity, where the celebration of all of our unique gifts is part of the fabric of our university’s soul. Clearly, we are making strides. Diversity and inclusion on college campuses is a national concern that is at the forefront of the finest institutions nationwide — including Stetson. There is encouraging information in the survey results, but there are opportunities for great

There must be continual advancement. That arc bending toward justice cannot be too long, or progress will not be felt. 6


improvement in the areas of respect for one another — regardless of rank, race or religion — and development of a campus climate free from sexual harassment. Given the context of the current national discussion, it is more important than ever to take actions to improve our Stetson environment, to enable all Hatters to feel they belong and are part of our glorious educational community. Last fall, we officially launched Many Voices, One Stetson. Through this initiative, we seek to provide the community with the space and support needed to have dialogue and civil discussions — conversations within the right framework — that allow us to disagree without being disagreeable. And, as I’ve noted on several occasions, success won’t be defined by whether we all agree in the end — but that we have agreed to talk. We are talking; we must talk more. This edition of Stetson University Magazine is dedicated to this critically important cause — diversity, inclusion, respect and equity — highlighting Hatters with real struggles, with potential solutions and with incredible energy. Each has a voice and a vision. It’s a start. There must be continual advancement. That arc bending toward justice cannot be too long, or progress will not be felt. Sir Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” We need as individuals, as groups, as universities, to change often as we seek perfection, perhaps never finding perfection but always to have done our best to reach it. Our commitment to those this university touches demands nothing less.

Our New Provost The recent announcement of Noel Painter, Ph.D., as our new executive vice president and provost greatly strengthens our commitment on all fronts. Noel, also a professor of music, did a remarkable job as interim executive vice president and provost. We witnessed extraordinary integrity, intelligence, energy and passion for excellence. Late last year, as I weighed the prospect of promoting Noel, unsolicited comments from faculty and senior staff on the DeLand campus, those who know him best, reverberated in my head. He was widely recognized as a respected, dedicated and trusted faculty member; solid decision maker; good listener; strong, steady leader; innovator and seeker of creative solutions in difficult and tricky situations; forward thinker who is fiscally minded and refreshingly direct; and an intellectually curious administrator who inspires us to achieve our best.

A member of the Stetson faculty since 1999, Noel was associate dean in the School of Music from 2007 until the interim provost appointment in 2016. He also served as interim dean in the School of Music during much of the 2012-2013 academic year. In those roles, he was integrally involved in many university initiatives, committees and task forces, including work on faculty salary, governance, enrollment and financial aid, student success, accreditation, policy and curriculum revision. In 2009, Noel was awarded the William Hugh McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is the most prestigious honor given to a Stetson faculty member at the DeLand campus and represents excellence in classroom teaching, professional growth and competency, intellectual stimulation given to the academic community outside the classroom, and service to students and the university as a whole.

I concluded that launching another national search would be unlikely to bring us someone more competent or visionary than Noel and would consume valuable time better spent on refining our vision and direction. His appointment puts us firmly on a forward course of excellence. And it’s a course of excellence that wholeheartedly and without reservation embraces the need for equity, diversity and inclusion.

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

Noel Painter, Ph.D., is Stetson’s new executive vice president and provost.



INTELLIGENTSIA The Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center has become a sustaining presence for environmental reasons, too.

Welcomed Recognition The Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center opened last fall as essentially a monumental salute to Stetson’s past, present and future. It’s also proving to be a very welcomed environmental addition to the university’s main campus. In December 2016, the Florida Planning and Zoning Association’s Surfcoast Chapter honored the three-story, 28,000-square-foot building with its award for Outstanding Sustainability Initiative. The Surfcoast Chapter, representing Volusia and Flagler counties, singled out the Welcome Center as the “project that is leading sustainability efforts within the area of our two counties.” Among the highlights of environmental conservation at the $7 million facility are a recyclable metal roof intended to last 50 years, indoor lighting provided by energy-efficient LEDs, and a cooling/heating system controlled by the campus central energy-management system. The building earned Green Globe Certification, encompassing 44 core criteria for conservation, supported by more than 380 compliance indicators. ­— Cory Lancaster 8


DID YOU KNOW? Students in Stetson University’s Honors Program can receive direct admission to Stetson’s College of Law plus scholarships that cover 80 percent of the cost, or more, under a new agreement between the two schools. To receive direct admission to the law school, students must graduate from the Honors Program in good standing, earn at least a 3.3 grade-point average and score in at least the 50th percentile on the LSAT. This academic year, law school tuition and fees totaled more than $41,000.






College with No Fees This is news you can take to the bank: The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recognized Stetson as a model for its use of prepaid debit cards for students’ college-sponsored accounts. In a report to Congress in December 2016, the consumer protection bureau urged colleges and universities to stop approving marketing deals with banks for college-sponsored accounts that come with “risky features” for students who can “rack up hundreds of dollars in fees per year.” However, when Stetson administrators introduced the Hatter1card in 2013, they specifically avoided such features. Instead, Stetson students use reloadable, prepaid MasterCards that carry no fees through an exclusive banking agreement with Fifth Third Bank. The Stetson card arrangement was cited in the agency’s report — “Student Banking, Annual Report to Congress” — as an example for other colleges and universities to follow. It also was mentioned in a story (Dec. 15, 2016) in The New York Times. — Cory Lancaster

John Cossu ’14 has designs on using technology to make life easier for consumers. Other Stetson alumni and students have similar ideas.

An App for Success In coming months, John Cossu ’14 and his team will launch Sale Cents, a digital marketing tool designed to aid small businesses by posting information and promoting their sales and deals to customers. Christian Valderrama graduated in December 2016 and is banking on iWorkout Now as his breakout startup project. He hopes the app will help fitness buffs track and customize workouts. At a recent software-development class, taught by Dan Plante, Ph.D., students — tasked with developing technology that could be a viable business model — presented their idea for WiCheck, a service that tests Wi-Fi for problems at the user level. It’s possible the service could be refined for the consumer marketplace. Those three examples are part of efforts by a small but growing number of Stetson students and alumni who are developing computer products, applications and services with commercial potential. They are looking to make life easier for consumers while building a business future for themselves. Yes, there’s an app for that. — Amy R. Connolly




Courtroom Forensics The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law continues to leave its fingerprint on success. Its most recent grant, for $400,000, will help to produce four national in-person training sessions on topics relating to “Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics” and eight webinars on emerging topics related to capital-case litigation and forensics. Another $400,000 grant in 2015 was used to develop a forensicevidence training program for lawyers who work on death-penalty cases. The Clearinghouse, established to foster communication among the scientific, technological and legal communities, has trained more than 14,000 legal and scientific professionals since its introduction in 2005. — Brandi Palmer

Honor Among Scholars Officials in higher education typically label the situation a “leaky pipeline” — the weak flow of students with associate degrees who transfer to a four-year college and earn a baccalaureate degree. Stetson and Daytona State College are calling it an opportunity to reduce obstacles faced by willing learners. Stetson has signed an agreement to automatically admit students from DSC’s QuantaHonors College who are in good standing, pass certain classes and complete the application process. Sixteen students who pursue pre-law and pre-health degrees can receive a financial-aid package that could cover all tuition and fees at Stetson, valued at $43,240 this academic year, if they are accepted into Stetson’s Honors Program. Other students can receive partial scholarships. Also under the program, Stetson faculty members will advise students from the time they first enroll at DSC, a possible first for such a program nationwide. DSC Honors students make ideal candidates for admission by virtue of classroom performance, notes Michael Denner, Ph.D., director of Stetson’s Honors Program and a professor of Russian studies. Denner, who took a lead role in creating the agreement, added those students also come from diverse backgrounds. — Cory Lancaster

DID YOU KNOW? While more than 800 colleges and universities apply for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll each year, Stetson is the only one in the country to receive that recognition “with distinction” — cited in all four categories of the honor roll for the second consecutive year: General Community Service, Interfaith Community Service, Economic Opportunity and Education. Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement has applied for the honor roll every year since 2007, when the center was created. Stetson has been

Students in Daytona State’s Quanta-Honors College now have the opportunity for automatic admittance to Stetson.

honored each time, including “distinction” for the past two.



The CUB is growing up and changing face.

Healthy Partnership

Let the Makeover Begin

File this under “collaborative cures.” Stetson and Adventist University of Health Sciences are collaborating on the creation of new opportunities for students related to health care. The recent agreement outlines several career pathways that Stetson and Adventist University students can follow toward earning degrees at either campus, as well as dual-degree offerings. Stetson MBA students, for example, can pursue a master’s in Healthcare Administration from Adventist University, which is located in Orlando and has a close working relationship with Florida Hospital. Likewise, Adventist University students are able to pursue a graduate law degree from Stetson. In addition, there are opportunities for joint research in the health sciences and shared campus clubs, events and facilities. — Michael Candelaria

On Nov. 2, 2016, the Chicago Cubs won baseball’s World Series for the first time since 1908. Just days earlier, renovation and expansion work began on Stetson’s 59-year-old Carlton Union Building, aka the CUB. Coincidence? Kidding (or Cubbing) aside, $30 million has been earmarked for the big makeover, which increases the CUB’s size from 52,000 square feet to 86,586 square feet to accommodate more than 3,000 undergraduate students (as compared to the previous 2,100 or so). The work will occur in phases through summer 2019. Funding for the project is coming from a combination of fundraising and sources from the university’s operating budget. The venerable CUB desperately needed the improvements to better serve students, says Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., noting the “way students learn and interact has changed dramatically.” — Michael Candelaria


Stetson students can benefit from a partnership with Adventist University and Florida Hospital in Orlando.

With demand for Stetson housing high — given that undergraduate enrollment on the DeLand campus has grown from 2,100 students to more than 3,000 in recent years — the university added approximately 150 beds for the 2016-2017 academic year plus renovated several newly acquired apartment complexes. Those moves allowed the university to meet the demand for on-campus housing in the fall — for the first time in four years — without having to put any students temporarily in hotels.




Work on the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center, the future home of Hatter rowing, is set to move forward this spring.

Full Speed Ahead

Trial Without Error

The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center is set to launch, with plans for a groundbreaking this spring on the shores of Lake Beresford near the university’s main campus. The 10,000-square-foot center, named for a great-granddaughter of the university’s namesake, John B. Stetson, will be home to Stetson’s rowing teams and provide space for water research through Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience. Completion is slated for late December 2017. Sandra Stetson donated $6 million for the project, $1.5 million of which was put into an endowment to maintain and operate the building. In addition, Volusia County awarded a $400,000 grant from the ECHO program (for environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreational projects) to build public restrooms and public parking on the 10-acre lakefront site, plus provide a public launch for canoes and kayaks. — Cory Lancaster

Not that anyone is really counting, but advocacy teams from Stetson University College of Law have won five world championships, 68 national championships, 75 regional championships, 44 state championships, 54 brief awards, 141 best oralist/best advocate awards and five professionalism awards. The most recent U.S. victory occurred in late November, when Stetson outperformed 15 other top advocacy teams to win the National Civil Trial Competition in Los Angeles. The Stetson student trial team of Colby Connell, Kaitlyn Dugas, Anna Pardun and Joseph Sise was undefeated in each round of competition. Connell also won the Best Advocate Award for the first three preliminary rounds. Erika McArdle J.D. ’12, assistant director for the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, coached the team, along with Patrick McArdle J.D. ’12. Stetson Law also won the National Civil Trial Competition in 2009 — and now has won a premier national trial advocacy competition in three consecutive years. — Brandi Palmer

DID YOU KNOW? Stetson’s Family Enterprise Center, established in 1998, is broadening its footprint. While continuing to align the center with the academic mission of teaching prospective family-business owners, managers and advisers within the School of Business Administration, Isabel Botero, Ph.D., the center’s director, is working to ensure substantial growth through increased outreach beyond the classroom. The center serves as a catalyst to help members of family enterprises — especially the next generation and their advisers — understand, manage, protect and expand their resources.



Raising Dollars, Lifting Spirits Greenfeather, the student-driven philanthropy program of the Center for Community Engagement, is a long-held tradition at Stetson, dating back to 1952. The program still is making an impact. As part of November’s Homecoming Week celebration, Greenfeather awarded $10,000 to Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare to help fund improvements, including a new fitness trail, at SMA’s DeLand Men’s Residential Treatment Program. The facility serves diverse client populations in Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties. Greenfeather began as a fall carnival where students raised funds for local charities. Over the decades, it expanded into a weeklong competition between student teams and in 2014 was merged with Homecoming Week. — Michael Candelaria

A Greenfeather donation is now a Homecoming tradition.

Riggs to Establish Centurion Rigor In January, John Riggs, D.B.A., became executive director of the newly established Centurion Sales Program in Stetson’s School of Business Administration. Riggs is responsible for developing, launching and leading the program, which will begin to offer a major and minor in sales this fall. Most recently, Riggs served as an assistant professor of marketing at Nova Southeastern University, as well as the lead instructor for the Huizenga Sales Institute, where he helped launch the sales program. In 2012, the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern presented him with the Faculty Member with Greatest Student Impact award. Previously, he had spent 23 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry with stints in sales, sales management and as a global vice president. — Marie Dinklage John Riggs, D.B.A.

Beyond Success —

Significance Goal: $150 Million

Current: $97,981,491

COMPREHENSIVE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN As of Jan. 20, 2017 Source: Stetson University Development and Alumni Engagement




“Make sure to be who you are, who you were called to be, and don’t let anyone stop you from becoming you.”

Moving Message Alethea R. Bonello ’98, youth field director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was a guest speaker at the annual alumni banquet for Stetson’s Cross Cultural Center on Nov. 5. An excerpt of her words:

“I have come to know that I am unapologetically a black woman, and some may see that as being between a rock and a hard place. But with the pressures of this world, you can either break or become a black diamond. “And I declare that you are a black diamond. I declare that you are a Latino diamond, a trans diamond — whoever you are. You must speak into yourself what you want to be. And I want you to know that you are a black diamond tonight. I want you to understand that there are times when the pressures are so great that you feel you want to break, you have to pray that you will bend, but never bow to the issues in this world. “I want you to understand that self-care is important. When you feel like it is too much, listen to your spirit and your body telling you that it’s too much. If you are not able to regulate yourself, your body will stop. You’ve got to make sure that does not happen. The world will always be there, but you’ve got to take time out. You’ve got to plug out of social media. You’ve got to plug out of the cell phone. You’ve got to make sure that you take care of yourself. “Make sure to be who you are, who you were called to be, and don’t let anyone stop you from becoming you. So many times, we are fearful about what the next step will be. We are fearful of what we need to do. We are fearful about whether we will even make it. But I’ve just come here to say, ‘Baby, it’s gon’ be OK.’”



DID YOU KNOW? Stetson University College of Law presented the 2016 William Reece Smith Jr. Public Service Award to both Pamela Wiener Dubrule and Kathleen S. McLeroy. Dubrule has dedicated decades to providing public service to low-income individuals. She committed her career to public service, working for more than 30 years at Gulfcoast Legal Services, where she is the public benefits attorney. McLeroy, a Carlton Fields shareholder who chairs pro bono initiatives at her firm, is a leader in bridging the justice gap by providing legal services to people with limited income. She has led numerous nonprofits dedicated to improving access to justice, serving as president of and a member of the board of Bay Area Legal Services for 15 years, among other roles.

FALL 2016


September 9, 2016

Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness

Census Snapshot






43 3 57

4000 3,089


3000 2,516


64% 30% 6%



2000 1,062

















2,064 2,118

0 1,021



1,168 1,127 950 916 904


208 176 182


4,357 800

DEMOGRAPHICS First Year Sophomore Junior Senior Graduate Law



58% 29% 6%

Female U.S. students of color International

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016




Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., dean of Stetson’s School of Business Administration

Rethinking Curricula Education in business requires the continual assessment of what we teach today and how it prepares for tomorrow. Now more than ever. B Y N E A L P. M E R O , P H . D .


he opportunities and challenges facing business leaders in the global economy require daunting preparation. Daunting, too, is the task of educating its next generation of leaders. That difficulty is made more complex as the realities of today too often don’t exist tomorrow. Those statements have been true for decades, in fact, centuries. Yet, with current events quite possibly shifting tides and altering economic landscapes in historic proportions, they have never been more resounding ... or more demanding for business educators. Being a business educator for more than 25 years, my view of education has evolved dramatically. Initially, my focus was on wellestablished content that was strictly presented through curriculum.



Now, while that content remains important, I recognize that it merely provides the foundation for what is essential in business education. In other words, content is where education begins, not ends. Consequently, as business educators, we must continually rethink and renew our curriculum in terms of what we teach our students and how adequately it prepares them for working in modern organizations that are on the move. Provide dynamic content. The content of our curriculum must provide well-proven analytical models adapted to applications in an evolving business context. While on one hand, our strategic management classes still teach our students “Porter’s five forces analysis” — content created 40 years ago — the application of that analysis is much different today. While industries, for example, still need to be wary of the threat of new entrants (one of the five forces), the application is quite different in a hyper-competitive global context.

The need for dynamic content also is required with fundamentals from disciplines of accounting, finance, marketing and information systems. Content is dynamic, and most assuredly many aspects of today’s content are out of date relative to what is needed to succeed into the future. To educate for tomorrow’s context, our curriculum has to be equally dynamic. Create self-learners. The business world is in a constant state of reinvention. As a result, it is impossible to teach our students everything they need to know, so we must teach them to be self-learners whose professional development continues long after they leave our program. While business schools can provide foundational content, success in business demands the ability to assess the current context and be mindful of how that context is changing. This ability enables our graduates to anticipate change and determine innovative approaches to emerging opportunities and challenges. Create experiences that develop professional acumen and enhance learning. Preparing business leaders requires experience, which results in the ability for students to adapt from the academic context to the business context. This enables the students to professionally transition so they “hit the ground running” — understanding the professional behaviors, communication styles and accountability mechanisms of the business world. This means new business graduates who “still need to mature” will be less successful finding high-quality initial professional positions and will quickly fall behind. It has become a business imperative for firms to identify talent early, so they can begin to groom that talent for leadership positions. Our students must be ready from day one. That professional competency also necessitates the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, to work in self-managed teams, and to appreciate what constitutes appropriate professional behavior. (Notably, we are currently seeking support for a “career accelerator” to increase the training and experience of our students to develop their professional acumen.) Three major ways of providing this acumen for our students are through mentorship opportunities, internships and international travel. Mentorships allow students to develop their skills at interacting with senior business leaders and provide opportunity to get individualized professional and career advice. Experienced business mentors profoundly affect our students by virtue of perceived credibility. Through internships, students develop the skills needed to adapt to the professional context — showing them real-world applicability

and enabling them to see how much they don’t know. (See page 18 for more about internships.) Regarding travel, given the globalization of business, it is vital that each student’s education includes experience at dealing with and appreciating other cultures, and navigating new systems. Over the years, I have watched students engage in international travel where they interacted in a social system and language quite different from their own. As simple as it seems, experiences such as navigating an unfamiliar transportation system quickly get students out of their comfort zone and force them to adapt. In turn, students develop a critical core skill for business leadership, both in navigating the uncertainties of international relationships and developing a deep appreciation for culture and customs, that cannot be replicated in a classroom. Develop a strong ethical core. Perhaps the most critical element of success in business is for our students to have a well-developed ethical core. The uncertainty and dynamism of the modern business context places business leaders, young and old, in complex situations where there are few clear rights or wrongs. In an era of business failures due to unethical behavior, we have seen the results when leaders are immersed in a culture (society, profession and/or organization) where unethical behavior is condoned and accepted as the norm. Even the most well-meaning of young business leaders can quickly develop a tolerance of inappropriate behavior when they lack a common internal grounding that helps them face these situations and make ethical choices. Building ethical business leaders requires helping our students develop a core set of values, as well as a well-developed approach to dealing with contexts that provide ethical dilemmas. (Similar to the “career accelerator,” we are pursuing an even more robust “business ethics program” that will foster research and new learning opportunities for our students.) At the School of Business Administration, we recognize the need to fully integrate learning opportunities into the student experience in ways that both enhance professional acumen and develop the ability to make ethical choices in complex contexts. And, while the targets in the workplace continue to move, at Stetson we remain focused on the mission of developing prepared business leaders.

As business educators, we must continually rethink and renew our curriculum in terms of what we teach our students and how adequately it prepares them for working in modern organizations that are on the move.

Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., is dean of the Stetson University School of Business Administration and a professor of management. The newest dean at Stetson, he arrived in November 2015. STETSON



Access and Experience The Internship Travel Fund helps to immerse students in their fields.

Blair Brannon ’17 was an account management intern with Saatchi & Saatchi in New York City.



y internship with Sea Communities put me so far out of my comfort zone in the most beautiful of ways,” says Ashlee Renich-Malek ’18, an aquatic and marine biology major, about her summer in Bali, Indonesia. “I spent a week participating in volunteer dive research with the National University of Singapore, where I helped collect data and do coral transplants as part of a five-year study assessing whether human rehabilitation on reefs has a quicker or more efficient effect on reef regrowth. It not only helped me develop vital professional skills for my future career as a researcher, but it also helped me align myself with the type of work that will make my education valuable and my life meaningful.” Renich-Malek’s experience was made possible by the Internship Travel Fund and donors like Derek Jansante ’11, who understand that internships provide students with critical hands-on experience and access to professional networks — so students can emerge with a competitive advantage when it comes to career opportunities and grad-school applications. Jansante once was such a student, gaining a foothold as part of the first class of Brown & Brown summer interns. Brown & Brown is an independent insurance intermediary that provides a variety of insurance products and services to corporate, public entity, institutional, trade, professional, association and individual clients. The company is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices located nationwide.

Ashlee Renich-Malek ’18 interned with the nonprofit Sea Communities in Bali, Indonesia.



“I was fortunate to have earned a stipend as part of my internship, but I know that so many great internship opportunities are unpaid,” says Jansante, now an undergraduate academic adviser in the Kogod School of Business at American University. “My internship was the first time I was able to directly apply lessons from my business courses and see how a live organization functioned so successfully. I do not want housing, travel, food and living expenses to prevent a student from gaining experience outside of the classroom, and that is why I chose to make a contribution to the Internship Fund.” For many Stetson students, those associated internship costs — whether they intern in a nearby city or across the globe — present real financial obstacles. From fall 2015 to summer 2016, there were 52 Stetson students who requested more than $68,000 to complete their internships. Because of limited funding, only 25 students received total internship funding of $13,800. The Internship Travel Fund can make a difference between accepting an internship — or turning it down. Internships are a priority at Stetson because of their immediate and long-term benefits for students, who get the chance to accelerate their learning. “We know internships are vital to a student’s career development, with national data showing nearly 62 percent of interns across the nation accept full-time positions with their internship employers,” explains Amy Barber, internship coordinator in Stetson’s Career and Professional Development office. “These opportunities provide students with insight into their potential futures and help them make more informed employment decisions after graduation. This travel fund opens so many doors for students. Rather than worrying about how they’re going to pay for living expenses during their [often unpaid] internship, they are able to focus on working on Capitol Hill, developing new companywide marketing plans, or on one of the many other exciting internship projects Stetson students pursue.” To make a gift to the Internship Travel Fund, go to, or contact or 386-822-7455.

Thank-A-Donor Day. In November 2016, approximately 400 students joined Green, White & YOU to write thank-you notes to donors who give to Stetson. Students from across campus came together as “humble Hatters” to express gratitude, eat pizza and share their Stetson spirit on social media.

Philanthropy & Fun The student startup Green, White & YOU delivers some old-fashioned school spirit. BY AMY GIPSON


ou may be living under a rock if you haven’t encountered them yet at Stetson. They are everywhere — on campus, at alumni events and in the arena crowds. They are Green, White & YOU. And you can’t help but love their enthusiasm. Stetson’s new student philanthropy organization, led by staff adviser Rebecca Thomas, debuted with several events last fall, gaining rapid momentum through word-of-mouth and building a robust student membership. The group’s spirit is infectious. At a home football game, one member sported full-body glitter to promote Hatter spirit and the importance of giving back — as well as to cheer on fellow GWYer and student-athlete Davion Belk plus compete for a cash prize. By the way, Belk, a senior defensive lineman from Chicago, had quite a season and was recognized as an Academic All-District selection for 2016. Its mission is to “educate, engage and develop current students’ awareness, understanding and participation in philanthropy at the university.” A byproduct is the fun. “The uniqueness of the group lies in its cultivating personality,” says 2017-2018 President-elect Steven Ersing. “Each member understands the importance of what we’re trying to accomplish. We are constantly trying to bridge that gap between students’ awareness of

Three Wishes. Held Sept. 20, 2016, on Values Day, this event offered students a chance to share their wishes (for themselves, for Stetson, for the world), which were then strung on lines throughout Palm Court and shared with the community. Pictured: Kendall Ganey ’19, left, and Katiana Roberts ’18.

philanthropy and the ample benefits that Stetson provides students through donor support. With increased recognition of how truly amazing the ‘Stetson experience’ is, students begin to demonstrate higher levels of appreciation. This appreciation leads students to understand the importance of giving back to the university that did so much for them. Green, White & YOU has the ability to bring a new, exciting aura to Stetson, and that is exactly what it’s done thus far.” STETSON


Self-Learning For all of the academics, expertise and experience offered in Stetson’s EMBA program, one aspect stands above: personal growth. BY JACK ROTH


n the official website for the Stetson University Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA), the program’s description includes offering “professionals from any academic background the opportunity to earn an MBA degree in only 18 months while still working.” Further down on the page, prominently displayed under a subhead, accreditation is outlined, with Stetson’s School of Business Administration holding prestigious accreditation by AACSB International. Hidden a bit are the words “a life-changing development experience.” The EMBA program, offered at Stetson’s Center at Celebration, teaches business and, according to its students, changes lives.



With apologies, Paula Richter, Kara Dingledine and Marissa Condello beg to differ about such word positioning, as do Andrew Wertheim, Heitor Bover and Melanie Johnston. They believe, among many other recent program participants, that while Stetson’s EMBA is ultra-convenient and highly credentialed for professionals, the program is all about personal growth. Life-changing? Absolutely, they assert — and you could put it in the headline! Richter, a consumer research manager for Marriott Vacations Worldwide, initially was attracted to Stetson’s schedule of full days of class on Fridays and Saturdays, every other week. It provided the chance to supplement her decade of professional experience with intense, two-day learning at a physical site while missing minimal work time. What she didn’t expect was to “answer questions and stand up there.” As part of a student cohort group of 16, the intimate setting made it difficult to hide. “You do a lot of presentations. You have to be vulnerable and go out on the limb a lot,” says Richter, who will receive her degree in May. She smiles and sighs in relief, adding, “There’s a reason I chose Stetson. I felt like this would be an environment where they wanted people to grow and develop. “You start seeing everything; the [business] pieces come together.” For Dingledine, the motivation was purely personal from the start. A project manager in creative costuming, she had been at the Walt Disney World Resort for 13 years. In 2015, surviving a personal turning point, her enrollment in the program equaled “regaining my independence” and answered the question “can I do this?” She could do it and did. “This was about coming out of a bad experience and going into a good one,”

Dingledine says, pausing before adding, “My level of confidence has soared. I’m less reactive and more positive.” Graduating in May, she essentially has a new direction in life. In addition, there was a bonus: leadership development to help her on the job. “I thought I was doing well at work, and this was really all about my personal journey, but there was overlap,” she explains. “I’ve learned things that have applied to work and made me a better person at work. That has been an added benefit!” The EMBA program, housed at Stetson’s Center at Celebration, south of Orlando, primarily comprises course work in management, finance, accounting, marketing, leadership, technology and global business (including an international trip) — with an accent on practical application. Maybe even an accent on life. “I think what Stetson does is bridge the gap between your personal life and your professional life,” Condello describes. Condello points to leadership as her big gain. She began at Disney in 2012 following an internship there. Now in revenue management and analytics, supporting Disney’s pricing division, she largely deals with hard data. Yet, a critical look at herself, aimed at enhancing soft skills, proved to be the main benefit in obtaining the master’s in May 2016. Executive coaching sessions, especially, made a difference. “It [the leadership component] really forces you to kind of sit Marissa Condello down and think about, and really reflect on, what’s important to you,” she says, citing that the program begins with a deep dive into core personal values then examines how they play into professional and personal life. “I’m more thoughtful and mindful in my decisions.” As part of the Cohort 13, which graduates in May, Wertheim earned the Top Academic Performance Award. Before learning of his award, he had this to say about A’s and B’s: “My attitude is that ‘I did this for me and for my benefit. And I’m going to implement it the best I can.’ The grades were just a byproduct of that mindset.” More than academics, he sought overall improvement. He received it with knowledge plus a more outgoing personality. “I’ve Andrew Wertheim gotten lots of good feedback from my team at work that they’ve seen really good changes,” says Wertheim, a revenue analyst at Disney. Project work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida a year ago was a significant turning point, he notes. He and his cohort raised nearly $60,000 for the nonprofit, and in December 2016 the cohort continued that relationship with a toy drive. “That was really powerful,” Wertheim comments, adding that his cohort has “all become kind of family!” Bover, from Brazil, more than turned course study into personal success. He also turned it into a business — creating an online travel agency by using project research started during a class on Heitor Bover technology for business. A civil engineer with an MBA in marketing, Bover was fruitful on numerous fronts before arriving at Stetson. Most notably, he was chief operating officer of his father’s Brazilian-based multinational traffic-engineering company. However, as he and cohort members studied the components of e-commerce, collecting a wealth of information on everything from consumer demographics to online buying trends, he conceived the idea for the agency. Based on that initial research and fueled by further exploration into global travel to Orlando, he established in spring 2015. “It was a project, and then it became real,” says Bover, who graduated in May 2016.

Early trepidation, along with self-doubt as the program intensified, all became worthwhile. “There’s a point in the program where you think, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ Everyone feels the same way. But you discover yourself. You realize you can do much more than you expected,” he comments. A favorite program? “All of them,” Bover adds. Johnston is a team leader at Disney in the area of VIP tours. Before deciding to pursue an EMBA, she wondered “is this the right time?” Also, she was concerned about not being “worthy enough to do it.” Today, following her graduation last May, she exclaims, “I know I can accomplish any assignment and get the job done.” Her cohort’s international trip to Bangkok was “fascinating,” the same word she used (with a laugh) to describe her accounting classes. She says that coworkers have seen an “immense change in who I am.” She also believes the “raw feedback” received from her cohort has been highly beneficial. One result, though, has made real magic, to paraphrase Johnston and echo the others: personal growth. “This has been a life-changing experience,” Johnston concludes. “I know that no matter where I am this has changed everything about me.”

READ MORE Sonja Scott, a humanresource specialist in her native Iceland, moved to the United States specifically to attend Stetson’s EMBA program. She rented her house and moved with her husband and three children. A month before completing her final day of class in November, she interviewed with a multinational company back home via Skype — and was virtually hired on the spot. (Coming in March, read more about Scott and Stetson’s EMBA program in Stetson Today, the university’s daily online news site,



Opera on the World Stage Three Stetson alums debut at top opera houses, including La Scala in Italy — “remarkable” firsts.



ameo Humes stood on stage in the most famous opera house in the world in Milan, Italy, and couldn’t believe he would sing where the greatest names in opera have performed. Teatro alla Scala, or La Scala, as it’s commonly called, has been the anointed place for Italian opera since 1778, the place where Rossini, Bellini and Verdi premiered their works.

Humes ’06 made his La Scala debut in Porgy and Bess in November 2016, an incredible accomplishment for a 33-year-old graduate of Stetson University’s School of Music. Even more amazing was another Stetson alum — Donovan Singletary ’06 — was making his La Scala debut with Humes. Singletary is an accomplished opera singer and the first Stetson student to win the Metropolitan Opera Grand Finals in New York City during his senior year.



No Stetson alum had ever performed at La Scala, to the best of the faculty’s knowledge, and here two of them were making their debuts together. A third Stetson alum, Tai Oney ’07, was performing at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London and will make his debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in March. Three male opera singers, all recent Stetson alums. “These are all world-class opera houses

and, to my knowledge, these are firsts for Stetson voice (graduates),” said Thomas Masse, D.M.A., dean of the Stetson School of Music. “This many singers, this young, at the most internationally renowned houses, that’s pretty remarkable.” And surprisingly, the three of them arrived at Stetson with no aspirations of being opera singers. They were friends in college and even performed in a Stetson ensemble together for a while.

“La Scala was a dream come true,” said Humes, who now lives in Chicago. “There are so many singers gunning for the same small pool of jobs in opera companies and opera houses. That’s what makes my story and Tai’s story and Donovan’s story so incredibly unique. And I’ll add this: For all three of us to be African-American males in the opera industry is also an incredible milestone in and of itself.” After graduating from Stetson, Humes went on to study at the University of Florida and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. But he credits Stetson first and foremost for his success. “Stetson has an amazing music program, and had I not chosen to go to Stetson, I’m not sure if things would have turned out the way they did,” he commented.

Far left, the grandeur of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, dates to 1778. Photo courtesy of Teatro alla Scala Above, the cast of Porgy and Bess onstage at La Scala in November included Stetson alums Cameo Humes, in the light purple jacket, and Donovan Singletary, standing beside him in hat and short-sleeve shirt. Photo courtesy of Teatro alla Scala

The Science of Vocal Art On the second floor of Presser Hall on Stetson’s DeLand campus, a sign on a door read Hollis Voice Laboratory. Inside, Associate Voice Professor Craig Maddox, D.M., was seated at a piano working one-on-one with a student. As the student sang, a computer monitor on top of the piano filled with colors and lines, showing the sound frequencies, from lows to highs, that made up the student’s voice. “That’s a real-time voice spectrogram,” explained Maddox, a nationally known voice teacher. “Think of it like a prism. What a prism does to light, this does to sound. Those little lines are my voice being broken down into its component overtones in real time. It’s part of the method to my madness and the secret to my success, if there is success to be assumed.” Maddox has used the voice-analysis software for 22 years. To him, singing is as much science as art. Forty percent of what a singer hears, he said, is the bones of the singer’s head vibrating. That’s why people are surprised at how different they sound on a recording. “That’s my job security,” he added. “A singer can never hear, except about 60 percent of the truth. They have to learn to interpret what they’re hearing and feeling with what is actually coming out on the outside.” The spectrogram allows students to see what Maddox hears with his well-trained ear. A baritone, he has performed with the

Left, Stetson alum Tai Oney performs at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London in the 2015-2016 production of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter. Photo by Alastair Muir/ Royal Opera House

Orlando Opera, Mobile Opera and Shreveport Opera, among others. On this afternoon, he played musical scales on the piano as senior Maria Gikas sang, again and again, in a high, powerful voice that at age 22 already sounded destined for the operatic stage. With each repetition, Maddox guided her toward the ideal operatic sound — a ringing brilliance that the Italians call chiaroscuro, meaning “light-dark,” a high, light ringing sound combined with depth underneath it, and seen on the computer monitor as a mass of yellow lines in both the upper and lower parts of the spectrogram. “A lot of times, when she really gets it going, she knows it,” said Maddox. “She can read my eyes. She describes it as ‘it goes into the pocket.’ It feels like the voice goes into a place where it exits your body very effortlessly. That’s what I’m working to achieve with every student.” And students who wish to sing opera

professionally must vocalize this sound up to 120 decibels, or as loud as a jet engine. That’s what separates opera singers from other genres of singers, Maddox said. Opera singers do not need a microphone to be heard. “Ours is an older style of singing,” he said. The operas of Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, for example, were performed in the 1600s in an opera house that seated a thousand people and required an orchestra with more than 40 musicians. Today’s opera houses regularly seat more than 2,000. The singers’ voices must carry through the house and over the orchestra — without a microphone. But take away the microphone from today’s pop singers and the audience won’t hear them over the instruments. “We call it vocal art,” Maddox continued. “It can take 10 years to build a singing artist, with artistic and technical development and a good bit of physical maturation of the voice. The bigger voices tend to take more time to develop.” STETSON


Stetson Has My Heart Singletary and Oney both received their voice training here in Maddox’s laboratory. Oney said he is “so grateful” for Maddox’s voice training. Raised in Lynn Haven, near Panama City, Florida, Oney grew up in a musical family, performing in churches and at community events. He attended Stetson with plans to become a high school choir director, and he also sang as a tenor in Stetson’s Concert Choir. It was while working as student conductor for the Concert Choir that his career arc veered in a new direction. He was demonstrating how he wanted the female sopranos to sing a particular phrase, and a friend commented later that Oney might have the vocal range of a countertenor. Oney didn’t know what a countertenor was at the time. But he did some research. Countertenors are rare. They are men who can sing in the highest register — in the full range that a woman can, plus what a man can sing. “I brought the idea to Dr. Maddox,” Oney recalled, “and he assigned me a song, and he listened to me, and he said, ‘Let’s start working on this. Let’s see where this can go.’ And I’m so grateful that he allowed me to explore that part of my voice, because if he had not I really don’t know if I’d be where I am today, to be honest.” Maddox, a Stetson professor for 33 years, has taught only three countertenors in his career. Oney made the change during his junior year and won the School of Music’s Giffin Vocal Scholarship award — the top in-house voice competition. After graduating from Stetson, Oney earned a master’s degree in voice performance from Boston University, a graduate diploma from the New England Conservatory and an opera performance diploma from the Royal College of Music in London, where he now lives. “Stetson really does have my heart,” added Oney, 32. “I really got a chance to get to know who I am as well as those around me. Even nine, 10 years later, I still talk about Stetson as being the best and the greatest experience of my life, honestly. It was the sense of community. That’s something that is so unique.” 24


Top: Stetson School of Music senior Maria Gikas sings for Professor Craig Maddox as the voice spectrogram breaks down the sound frequencies in her voice. Gikas, a vocal performance major, hopes to be a professional opera singer. Bottom: Professor Craig Maddox works with senior Lucas Coura inside the Hollis Voice Laboratory in Presser Hall. Photos: Bobby Fishbough

So Much Competition Down the corridor in Presser Hall, Voice Professor Jane Christeson, M.M., was working with another student, Jack Sumrall, who came to Stetson from Jacksonville Beach to major in music education but had since been “bit by the bug” — the opera bug, as Christeson described it. Stetson has a rich tradition of voice training and choirs, dating to its founding in the 1880s and growing out of its Baptist origins. About 80 students are majoring in voice performance, out of approximately 200 students in the School of Music. The singers each have fine voices or they wouldn’t have been accepted into the program. But becoming an opera singer requires much more than a great voice. Students must take one semester each of Italian, French and German, followed by a second semester in one of those foreign languages. They take language diction classes, so they can sing in those languages, pronouncing words correctly and without an

American accent. They learn music theory, opera literature, movement, posture, breath work, acting and more from Maddox and Christeson, as well as from the director of Stetson Opera Theatre Russell Franks ’88, M.M., conductor Anthony Hose and coach Kristie Born, D.M.A. “If you say you want to be an opera singer, you have to treat your voice like an instrument, and you have to learn all the other skills that it takes,” said Christeson, an accomplished pianist and mezzo-soprano who has performed around the world. “There’s so much competition. The odds are minuscule that you make it to the level that these three guys have made it. But having all the gifts in the world — doesn’t matter how talented you are — you have to have the breaks and you have to be willing to work really hard.” Aspiring opera singers also need experience on stage, and that’s where Stetson stands apart from the vast majority of music schools in the country. Stetson is one of only

“ This many singers, this young, at the most internationally renowned houses, that’s pretty remarkable.” — Thomas Masse, D.M.A., dean of the Stetson School of Music a handful of music schools that teach only undergraduate students, and that makes a big difference, the professors and students say. At most music schools, undergraduate students do not take voice lessons with their professors. They take lessons from students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees. The graduate students get voice lessons with the faculty, and they and the faculty get the lead roles in operas, not the undergraduate students. “One of the greatest advantages of Stetson School of Music for an opera student is if you look at other great schools of music, they have graduate programs,” explained Masse, who was hired as dean in 2013 from Yale University. “If you’re in a school that has master’s and doctoral students in voice, they’re going to be the leads in the opera. They have the more mature voices.” Humes, the Stetson alum who made his debut at La Scala, credits his success partly to this distinction at Stetson. Raised in nearby Titusville, Humes grew up singing in choirs and playing piano. He was recruited to attend Stetson’s School of Music. But he worried about earning a living as a musician and pursued a double major in International Studies, considering a career in business. Stetson Voice Professor Jane Christeson plays the piano as student Kevin Romero, a vocal performance major, practices opera in her office in Presser Hall. Photo: Bobby Fishbough

Christeson, who gave voice lessons to Humes, remembered him arriving at age 18, shy, soft-spoken, an imposing figure who stood more than 6 feet tall. He was a talented musician, but he hesitated at performing opera when Christeson, then the school’s opera director, suggested it. But she persisted. “Ever since I was introduced to opera, I just love it,” said Humes, a tenor, who also sings for Lyric Opera of Chicago. “There’s something about it that’s very moving to me that I just saw myself being a part of, and fortunately for me, being at Stetson University, with all undergrads, when it came to opera workshops and operas, we weren’t competing with graduate students like many do at other institutions.” Humes’ trip to La Scala began with an email from a management company, asking if he’d be interested in performing in Porgy and Bess there. “Of course, I said, yes. I didn’t care what I had on my schedule; it was definitely a, yes,” he recalled. Humes sent in his materials and was offered multiple roles in the opera, which took him to Milan for five weeks for rehearsals and seven performances. Written by George Gershwin, the opera was based on a book about impoverished African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 1920s and

a “crippled beggar” who is transformed by love. To this day, Gershwin’s estate requires the opera be performed by an all-black cast, although La Scala reached a compromise with the estate to have blacks in the lead roles and a white chorus, according to The Financial Times of London, which gave the performance good reviews. “I wish I could say, oh, I flew into Milan and auditioned for the house and they loved me,” Humes said with a laugh. “But they contacted me, which was really amazing.” Also cast in the opera was Donovan Singletary, a bass-baritone who did voice training with Maddox. After winning the Metropolitan Opera Grand Finals and graduating from Stetson, he completed a three-year, artist-development program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and was selected for residency training in Vienna, Austria. He has recently sung with the Seattle Opera and Knoxville Opera. Raised in Crestview, Florida, Singletary is described as the total package — good looking, talented, a certified personal trainer who does modeling, and possessing an incredible work ethic. During breaks in college, Singletary didn’t go home. Christeson said she’d find him on the third floor of Presser Hall, the only student up there, still practicing. “Going to college was one of the most significant things to happen to me,” Singletary, who originally planned to be a pop singer, told Stetson University Magazine in 2010. “I doubt any of these things would have happened to me if I hadn’t gone to Stetson.” Maddox and Christeson say Singletary and Humes are their first students to perform at La Scala, although many others have gone on to the best graduate programs in the country and performed in opera companies nationwide. But the prestige of La Scala stands in a class by itself. “What are the chances that two of our alums — two great young men, very talented and really good people, too — both are making their La Scala debuts together?” asked Maddox. “I couldn’t script it any better.” STETSON



Weathering the Storm Assessing the unsettled — and unsettling — patterns of the nation’s campus climate. There are rays of hope. BY A N DY B U TC H E R


tudent activism on campuses across the United States in recent months has reached a high-water mark not seen in half a century. According to a study by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California, Los Angeles, one in three students demonstrated for some kind of cause in 2016.



Fifty years ago, much of students’ concern was epitomized by the famous flower-carrying Summer of Love. In recent days, it has been more of a winter of discontent. And, while much of the attention back in 1967 was on a war 8,000 miles away, now it is on issues closer to home — with diversity, inclusion and campus climate high on the agenda. Not only has the focus of student activism changed, so, too, has the face. Back in 1971, 90 percent of full-time, first-year college students were white. Blacks comprised 7 percent of full-time, first-year students, with Asians and Latinos accounting for 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, reports HERI’s “The American Freshman: Fifty-Year Trends 1966–2015.” The most recent statistics show a starkly different picture. Today, the breakdown is 58 percent white, 13 percent mixed race/ ethnicity, 10 percent each for Asian and Latino, and 8.5 percent black. Notably, such a shift is somewhat in line with broader societal changes, with non-Hispanic whites comprising 63 percent of the U.S. population, followed by Hispanics at 17 percent; blacks at 12 percent; Asians at 5 percent; and multiracial Americans at more than 2 percent. The shift has been beneficial. The greater campus diversity has been found to improve educational outcomes for all students, not only minority groups. The business world, meanwhile, is mostly looking for a more diverse workforce. Although some business regionalization does exist, globalization continues as a trend, transcending cultures and enabling new markets to emerge among minority communities, from those involving sexual orientation to those with disabilities. Yet, the “Fifty-Year Trends” study hints that any celebration over apparent diversity advances on campuses may be premature. Consider this: The study also reveals selfrated emotional health among students has declined over the latter three decades in which it has been tracked. The student body may be more diverse these days, but it’s not particularly well. That condition is borne out by the almost 60-percent dropout rate of higher-education students — many of whom fail to complete

“If your institution has a reputation for not being diverse and inclusive and civil, you are not going to attract students and you are not going to retain them.” Artis Hampshire-Cowan, J.D., senior fellow, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

their studies not because they don’t have the ability, but because they are not helped to realize their best. The list of causes for dropout are “long and varied,” according to the 2011 Harvard Graduate School of Education study “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the challenge of preparing young Americans for the 21st century.” The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, D.C., asserts that among the reasons is the “disconnect between diversity and educational excellence” — failing to make the kind of broad institutional and academic changes needed to ensure success. The AAC&U points to the failure to tackle the “persistent achievement gap” facing “historically underserved” African-American and Latino students, which means running the risk of failing a significant portion of today’s college-bound students “even as we diversify our campuses to a greater extent than ever before.” Fact is, a lack of a sense of belonging is the No. 1 reason students leave higher education, says Sue Rankin, Ph.D., a Pennsylvania State University professor who has pioneered independent campus-climate assessments. Stetson is among the 170-plus institutions for which she and her team have conducted studies, with the results presented last sum-

mer as part of the university’s Many Voices, One Stetson initiative to improve inclusion. (See WELCOME, page 6 and the sidebar on page 29.) Although academic success is important, it’s not the only reason to want students to feel more at home while at school. Two other chief concerns for institutions, binge drinking and sexual assault, also are linked to a sense of belonging. Example: Marginalized new students — often first-generation, lowerincome, students of color or of alternative sexual orientation — may go to a party they usually wouldn’t attend simply to try to fit in, Rankin contends. “Add a little alcohol to that,” Rankin says, “and it can cause situations you normally wouldn’t be in as you try to belong to that particular place.” If some schools have looked at their changing student demographics and given themselves a pat on the back, that sense of self-satisfaction has been rocked over the past couple of years. Most recently, countless campus demonstrations about Black Lives Matter, transgender rights and the fears of undocumented students have surfaced, heightened further by a volatile election season. As part of the general discontent with current times, as well as events on particular STETSON



Clearly, inclusion is important to millennials, which three years ago prompted to also rank the nation’s top 100 universities by their diversity.

campuses, some student groups have issued lists of demands to colleges and universities, ranging from the dismissal of current leadership to the removal of references to past benefactors. “The protests we have been seeing are an indication that universities are not really living up to their promise [of diversity and inclusion],” comments Donna Young, Ph.D., a professor at Albany Law School in New York and a member of the American Association of University Professors’ committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The protests also have been something of a wake-up call, forcing the issue to the fore. Emblematic of that push was a special focus on diversity and inclusion issues at the AAC&U’s annual meeting in January 2017 (Building Public Trust in the Promise of Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence), while a second AAC&U event in March is slated to look at the importance of diversity in student success. Meanwhile, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) recently released a statement on “campus climate, inclusion and civility” to help leaders assess and improve their schools’ health. Doing so appears both principled and practical. In addition to inherent morals and ethics, diversity and inclusion are “market 28


issues,” says AGB senior fellow Artis Hampshire-Cowan, J.D., former senior vice president and secretary of the board at Howard University, a historically black college. “If your institution has a reputation for not being diverse and inclusive and civil, you are not going to attract students and you are not going to retain them,” HampshireCowan comments. Clearly, inclusion is important to millennials, which three years ago prompted to also rank the nation’s top 100 universities by their diversity. In 2016, Stanford University topped the list, but even that distinction comes with a caveat: A mixed student body doesn’t necessarily mean a school is achieving all of its diversity goals. Ensuring that students A to Z are included on campus requires wrestling with complex issues, such as balancing concern for individuals with a commitment to academic freedom — a crucial debate sometimes trivialized by mainstream media that cartoon the issue merely as coddled students whining about the need for “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” While Hampshire-Cowan affirms that part of higher education’s role is to stretch students beyond their familiar comfort zone, she notes, “Uncomfortable is fine, but feeling afraid for your personal safety is another issue.”

Rebecca Dolinsky Graham, AAC&U’s director for student success in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Student Success, adds that although the ideal of diversity on campus may be broadly accepted, much needs to be done to make it more of a reality. “It’s not just about numbers,” says Graham. “They don’t resolve the fact that perhaps the campuses aren’t structurally set up to ensure that students succeed.” Getting to where they do succeed means shifting from a focus on equality to equity, which Graham contrasts as sameness versus fairness. This emphasis is being championed by groups like the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California, which advocates changes that tackle “the historical marginalization of some racial and ethnic groups.” By way of example, the Center for Urban Education points to how a redesign of the math department at a Colorado community college, including the addition of mentoring and a support lab, saw success rates for low-placing black students treble over a two-year period. Those students had long lagged behind white and Hispanic peers. That’s a promising result. Change, however, doesn’t come easily. The American Council on Education, representing nearly 1,800 college and university

presidents and the executives at related associations, blames the recent campus unrest on “a troubling and rising level of institutional complacency surrounding diversity issues.” Also, progress is problematic even for the willing. HERI’s “2016 Diverse Learning Environment” study concluded that while “students may recognize their institutions’ efforts in promoting an appreciation for cultural differences … they continue to encounter and perceive racial tensions in their daily experiences.” Those experiences could include what Rankin calls “micro-aggression.” Rankin told of a tall African-American student who upon arriving at his first engineering class was asked by the professor, “Do you play basketball?” For Donald Harward, president emeritus of Bates College in Maine and co-founder/director of Bringing Theory to Practice (a partner of the AAC&U), progress in diversity is a battle against so-called tradition. When it comes to schools advocating for “sustainable campus cultures” that help students succeed, he believes some schools are “well along” while others fall behind. Among his reasons: “Diversity is a challenge to entrenched power and the status quo.” Despite recent events, Harward is concerned that diversity remains a peripheral issue for many schools. At the same time, Harward does offer optimism. Applauding Stetson’s climate study as an important first step on its campus, he comments, “My hope, my argument would be that as educators, as citizens, as persons who have great hope in the promise of not only the academy but democratic and civil society, that the issues of campus climate, including the role of diversity as core and central to it, is indeed an essential objective for higher education.” Young of the AAC&U agrees, concluding, “Diversity is not a catchphrase or a fad. It goes really to the heart of our rights as human beings.”

Assessing Climate at Stetson So, what kind of grade is 75 percent? OK … but with work to do, according to the 377-page Campus Climate Study released in September 2016 by Rankin & Associates Consulting. (See full report at Most notably, 23 percent of responding students, faculty and staff in DeLand and 25 percent in Gulfport said they experienced “some kind of conduct that interfered with their ability to work or learn on campus.” That percentage mirrored other colleges and universities nationwide. Rankin & Associates received a 26-percent response rate (1,082 respondents) to the survey in spring 2016 from students, faculty and staff at the DeLand campus. Among the top complaints at Stetson: Hourly employees who felt devalued and perceived discrimination based on race, ethnicity and gender. In addition, 12 percent (125 people) said they experienced unwanted sexual contact at Stetson, as tallied from a compilation of four categories. Shortly after the study’s release, a series of forums and town-hall meetings commenced, and the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Task Force has presented preliminary recommendations to Stetson leadership. Those recommendations will be posted online as of March 1, 2017. STETSON



Defining Our Terms What do diversity and inclusion really mean?

“Diversity and inclusion offer the ability to wrestle with the complexity of life in the ‘American Experience.’ I recently visited one of the local theme parks, took a mental scan of the individuals attending and thought to myself how this country is a beautiful melting pot. There were people from all around the world. In the children’s play area, you could see in the eyes of each parent the unlimited possibilities of hopes and dreams for their children that being in America provides. In that same moment, I thought of the unlimited possibilities for my children. I thought of the evolution of the ‘American Experience’ for them as they grow into adult black males. I also thought of the hopes and dreams of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and Freddie Gray, all of whom looked, walked and talked like my sons and I, before their time on Earth ended. “Diversity and inclusion for me means wrestling with the realities that, in the same context that provides infinite possibilities for the hopes and dreams of my children and children around the world, also can be the experience that vanquishes those possibilities with little to no reasoning.” Resche Hines, Ph.D., assistant vice president of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Office of Institutional Research

“To me, the principles of diversity and inclusion represent an opportunity. Diversity’s opportunity lies in the strengths drawn from multiple, intersectional identities, backgrounds, viewpoints and experiences of individuals, all contributing to the collective strength and resilience of the Stetson community. Inclusion presents the opportunity to ask, ‘Now that we’re together, how do we move forward to succeed as individuals and as One Stetson?’

“Diversity and inclusion are broad enough to include more than the typical ‘check boxes’ we think of like race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. The whole person and all of their identities must be considered. When we share our unique identities with our community, we give ourselves and others a chance to give and receive support and encouragement as we grow. “When a shy introvert speaks up to tell their friend ‘I’m nervous,’ when a staff member reaches out to a struggling student or when a professor asks ‘what pronouns do you prefer?’ doors open and powerful conversations around equity and access can begin. …” Rachel Boldman, M.S., director, Counseling Center



“Diversity means the wide array of differences that make each of us unique. Those differences cover the entire range of the human experience, including physical, environmental, experiential, religious or ideological differences. At Stetson, inclusive excellence is a goal that expressly underscores our strategic plan. To me, that means we strive to intentionally and proactively embrace diversity, making sure that we respect, value and learn from the differences among us as individuals. Moreover, being inclusive means making sure that everyone is supported on our campuses and has the opportunity to thrive in our community.” Joseph Morrissey, J.D., professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law

“Diversity and inclusion are concepts often used rather vaguely to mean acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Stetson can certainly take pride in becoming an increasingly more diverse community of learning. But does this automatically imply that it is also an inclusive community?

“Diversity and inclusion are notions that are radically intentional. They indicate a genuine openness to the world around us and ask us to accept ambiguities of meaning and the complexity of human experiences, and to be willing to engage with ideas, belief systems and life scripts that differ profoundly from our own.

“As educators, we need to transgress conventional teaching styles, practices and structures, and question traditional disciplinary canons of knowledge and literacy, so that we can find alternative forms of understanding our lived differences, past and present, national and transnational. “I am often reminded of the American-Caribbean poet, essayist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, who firmly believed that what was ‘most important to (her) must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of it having been bruised or misunderstood.’ Her words are a powerful reminder of the long history of subjugated knowledge that we need to bring into students’ critical consciousness through course contents and pedagogies. Her words also serve as an imperative to challenge the dominant ideology that reduces differences to the simple binary of ‘us/them,’ and to understand that diversity includes not only ways of being, but also ways of knowing. Lorde’s words are a call for the practice of dialogue that is the foundation of intentional diversity and inclusion, in the classroom and beyond. …” Elisabeth Poeter, Ph.D., associate professor of German, director, Gender Studies Program, Department of World Languages and Cultures




“‘What do diversity and inclusion mean to you?’ What a simple question, but what a challenge to answer! Diversity and inclusion are integral concepts in my field of sociology and fundamental to my worldview. Hence, it’s difficult for me to differentiate between common understandings of these concepts and my understanding of them, which derives from a disciplinary perspective and my experiences. “Diversity simply means variety or difference. But variety or difference with respect to what? In the realms of sociology, higher education and social life in general, diversity often refers to an array of socio-demographic and group characteristics, identities and statuses that we recognize and define as socially meaningful: race, ethnicity, nationality, regional location, immigrant status, sex, gender, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, physical ability, mental-health status, religious affiliation, age, generation and so on. Additionally, diversity pertains to individual qualities, such as personality, appearance and life experiences, along with cultural dissimilarities regarding beliefs, values, norms, rituals, traditions, language, symbols and discourses, plus political, religious and philosophical ideologies. However, diversity also relates to our organizational and institutional systems, structures, operations and cultures. In sum, diversity is a

convenient catchall term that captures the assortment of qualities, characteristics, identities and statuses that make us unique but that also profoundly shape our lives. “Diversity is thus complex, because we imbue these very features that distinguish us and our social organizations and institutions with meaning through and during social interactions and within social contexts. ‘We’ — that is, individuals, groups, organizations and social institutions — single out and categorize people on the basis of these distinctions and then treat people according to their classifications. In other words, diversity may be the cause for unfair privilege, opportunities and advantages and for prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, genocide and other atrocities that, in effect, translate human variety into systems of social disadvantage or inequality. Or, diversity

may be a cause for accepting, respecting, embracing and celebrating our unique differences; for acknowledging our interdependence and

the richness of our social fabric that stems from such variety; for building alliances and fostering community; for acting intentionally and deliberately to achieve equity, fairness and social justice. In other words, for inclusion.” Diane Everett, Ph.D., professor of sociology, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

“Diversity to me is a noun that explains the variance within the human population. Some of the categories that overlap to make each person a unique individual may include nation or state of origin, language, political affiliation, gender expression, sex, race, religion, personality style, and even the fields we choose to study. We should view inclusion as a noun — the work toward equity. It is an active process based in continuous improvement. “At Stetson, the inclusion that we strive for is a requisite to maximizing the full educational experience. In this educational community, we are all learners who should strive to actively develop skills needed to understand inequity and power dynamics in our communities and address them toward effective change.

We should deeply process our own identities and how they may impact the way we view the world. We should hone the ability to have difficult conversations. In my

experience, this work to develop ourselves and our communities toward our individual and community potential requires vulnerability, honesty, listening, patience, and compassion for ourselves and others.” Lua Hancock, Ed.D., vice president, Campus Life and Student Success 32

“Who would have thought a little girl who hated reading as a child would become a teacher for 30 years? On her 21st birthday, she visited a local optometrist and was diagnosed with a disability. The doctor: ‘Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say. You have the vision of an 80-year-old woman! I don’t know how you made it into Stetson.’ I replied, ‘Someone forgot to tell me I was disabled.’ “Well, this was the tail end of my many discoveries at Stetson. I take pride in my story as the youngest of eight to parents who completed sixth and ninth grade. My parents valued education, and today I try to share the same passion. My goal is to inspire children to become whatever they set their mind to become. I embellish in the fact that I became a teacher to teach what I was not allowed to learn. I was about 10 when my mother brought home a calendar filled with famous people who looked just like me. Captivated by the information, I read it from start to finish in one night. The next day, I asked my teacher when we would learn about some of the people I just read about. Her answer: ‘It’s not in our curriculum.’ I remembered these words and made it my mission to make some changes when I set the rules in my classroom. “My journey has come full circle. I received an academic and athletic scholarship to attend a few in-state and out-of-state

colleges. However, I had given my life to the Lord my senior year in high school. I didn’t want to travel too far. A Historical Black College/University (HBCU) by the name of Edward Waters College (EWC) was my selection. It was 12 miles away from home. After completing a full academic year, I was not challenged while traveling with the basketball team and church, and was still maintaining a high GPA. I transferred to Stetson, where I truly met my challenge. … I was a walk-on but chose academics over athletics. “Today, I am an assistant professor at EWC and, guess what, I am instructing — reading, language arts and social studies to future teachers. Good for a girl who was asked if I thought I was different from others at my alma mater. I am happy to see many changes taking place on campus today. I wouldn’t trade anything for my journey. My daughter, Jessica Henry, graduated in 2012 in accounting. She teaches in Dallas. For the past seven years, I have been honored to return to speak on the Multicultural Panel to share experiences of old with current students. The struggle

continues, but as the saying goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and ‘Where there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ That’s part of my story.”

Winifred Elizabeth Bowers Henry ’86, M.Ed., assistant professor, Edward Waters College, president/CEO, Winnie’s Project H.O.P.E. Inc.

“Imagine somewhere there is a street that people on it are being judged constantly. Yet, people are judged not by their skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender or by their age. Yes, there is such a street — Wall Street. Just as the color of your money is as green as Warren Buffett’s, Wall Street is blind. “Investors are only judged if their money is smart or not. Financial markets only reward smart money from original thinking and strong work ethics. In this sense, Wall Street is fair. “The Roland George Investments Program at Stetson University has been founded on the premise that financial markets are both blind and fair. Minority students make up one-third of a typical George class. Another third of the class are international students. This achieves two of the three Stetson’s missions, diversity and global citizenship. Wall Street professionals are required to be highly disciplined, to work under constant pressure and to make decisions within short time intervals. These are the same traits that professional athletes possess. On average, more than one-third of George students are Stetson Division I student-athletes.” K.C. Ma, Ph.D., Roland George chair of Applied Investments, director, George Investments Institute, School of Business Administration




Common Ground

Luis Melecio-Zambrano (far left) joins others at the Cross Cultural Center on campus.

Under the popular name of Tri-C, students are crossing lines and building community.



uyen Le was about to become a statistic. In Stetson’s voluminous Campus Climate Study unveiled last fall, among the revelations were disproportionate struggles by students

during their first year on campus. Arriving at Stetson in fall 2014, Le was one of them and, in the midst of only her first semester, was almost ready to transfer.



“I felt a little alienated,” Le says, explaining that she had difficulty making friends and didn’t feel classmates understood her background. Born in Vietnam and raised there until age 11, Le and her family then moved Jacksonville, Florida, where relatives resided. She went to Englewood High, a large public school in the city. She also finished third in her class academically and was chapter president of the National Honor Society. As a sophomore at Englewood, she toured Stetson and “fell in love” with the setting. Yet, when she stepped on campus to begin classes, with no high school classmates joining her, anticipation turned into angst. In retrospect, she says, the saving grace occurred during FOCUS, a mandatory orientation for first-time Stetson students. There was mention of the SU First Peer

“Not only did [the center] help me become more comfortable with my identity, it helped me find my voice, it helped me find my community and a group of supporters.” — Huyen Le Mentor Program for first-generation college students at the Cross Cultural Center on campus. Le, a first-gen student, was initially uncomfortable embracing that designation. Eventually, she did and her world changed. “The center became family to me,” she says. “One of the values that I was raised with is, you don’t abandon family.” Le didn’t leave Stetson. Two years later, Le, a junior business administration major, is president of the Asian Pacific American Coalition. She is a first-gen peer mentor, too, where her turnaround includes telling fellow first-gen students that “you are great, that you have come so far.” Le now exudes pride. “Not only did [the center] help me become more comfortable with my identity, it helped me find my voice, it helped me find my community and a group of supporters,” she says. The primary mission of the Cross Cultural Center, popularly referred to as the Tri-C, is to educate the campus community on issues relating to social identity development — in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic status or ability — and how those factors can impact the college experience. Aside from the SU First program, the Multicultural Student Council consists of 14 student organizations. Also, Interfaith Initiatives works to cultivate related cooperation and understanding through dialogue and service. Gender and Sexual Orientation Resources, meanwhile, is reserved for educating and developing awareness for “LGBTQIA+” identities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning, intersex and asexual/agender/ aromantic and others). When Luis Melecio-Zambrano arrived at Stetson in fall 2014, he found a Hispanic

“population that was there but a community that was less strong.” Becoming president in 2015 of Unidos, Stetson’s Latin American student association, he now is striving to bring change through music, food, discussion and camaraderie. Previously, the group was called H.O.L.A. (Hispanic Organization for Latin Awareness). He has helped to raise its profile. “That together is important, so I try to foster that,” he says. Growing up with an Air Force father, Melecio-Zambrano went to high school in Niceville, a small town in the Florida Panhandle of more than 90 percent white residents. His father, originally from Puerto Rico, and his mother, from Venezuela, met in Tennessee. He was born in Venezuela, where his father was stationed. Spirited and outspoken, MelecioZambrano talks of one of his best high school friends from Niceville being “racist, sexist, bigoted and homophobic.” The friendship enhanced his understanding of others. “My blessing was seeing that he was a complex human being,” Melecio-Zambrano comments. Adding to his own personal mix, he is a chemistry major who also is a vocalist minoring in music. He lives in multiple worlds. Tri-C has become home. “It was where I found my center,” he says, calling it a “safe place,” a “place to decompress,” and where he’s enjoyed “amazing times” and “shared struggles and shared joys.” Mostly, at the Cross Cultural Center he sees hope, particularly as the university moves forward on the vision of Many Voices, One Stetson. “I think we can be better [in terms of diversity and inclusion],” he says. “We have to enable complex dialogue and attempt to generate people who come out of the university better than when they started.

Huyen Le

I think that requires difficult dialogue; I believe it.” Le, like Melecio-Zambrano essentially an agent of change, is similarly wishful of both witnessing progress and helping to make it happen. “I hope that my efforts and my contributions make a difference within the four years that I am here,” she says. “However, tangible results are over long terms; I understand that. Maybe my contributions are just a drop of water in the bucket that over time will overflow. I still want to be part of that.”

DID YOU KNOW? As part of Stetson’s reaction to the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando last June, graduate student Lindsay Kincaide created a database of mental-health counselors for victims and their families. An index of Google spreadsheets, for example, enabled clinicians to arrange counseling sessions throughout Orlando. Additionally, other students, professors and Stetson community members provided help, while Stetson’s Center at Celebration provided space and administrative support to the Greater Orlando Trauma Recovery Network.




Teaching the Basics Core competencies in education begin with empathy, equality and cultural understanding. BY TRISH WIELAND


hen Professor Patrick Coggins, Ph.D., LLD, was a teenager, he took great personal risk by civilly protesting in Springfield, Massachusetts, after four young girls were senselessly murdered for the color of their skin during the horrific 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in September 1963.

“I just had to do it. I was so compelled,” Coggins passionately explains, with equal looks of fervor and sadness in his eyes. In the United States on a college visa at that time, the Guyanese native was repulsed by what he witnessed and experienced. “I came from an English-speaking, tolerant nation,” he explains. “No one in Guyana was judged by their skin color. You weren’t labeled for your looks, and when I came to America, it was such a shock for me to be treated differently because I am black. It made no sense to me, and it lit a fire in my soul to share the tolerant upbringing I had with Americans.” Coggins grew up in a society where all people were valued and encouraged to be inclusive. Arriving at Stetson in August 1991, he continued to work for the same more than 2,100 miles away — and sometimes worlds apart — in DeLand. “We use the term ‘inclusiveness,’ which essentially means basic human rights. We have to be mutual about our ‘globalness.’ And that’s what I strive every day to bring to Stetson University, the students and the community at large,” adds Coggins, himself a blend of cultures. His great-grandmother was a native Carib Indian and married a Cuban sailor of Hispanic descent, who brought sugar and other goods to Guyana. Coggins’ father also was mixed race, of Spanish, Portuguese, native Indian and African lineage. He was the middle of five children. His father, a tailor, died when Coggins was 10, thought to be from complications related to diabetes. His mother was a seamstress with an eighth-grade education who worked from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and always emphasized to her children the importance of education. Yet, she found time to advocate for the equal rights and interests of women. Coggins left his home in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1963 with a scholarship from the Institute for International Education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Community Development from Springfield College in Massachusetts. He then earned a master’s degree in Urban Studies from Southern Connecticut State University, and eventually a specialist degree in adult development and education, a law degree and a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Connecticut. Using all of that academic background plus his own life experiences, Coggins has developed and evolved many methods for teaching his students. His intent is to make them more aware of their worldviews and how those views impact others around them. His approach is threefold. 36


First, his students are encouraged to engage with him as he explains his philosophy of inclusiveness and diversity. Second, he instructs students that the world is changing and they need to be prepared to have “female bosses, bosses who are not European and bosses who may not speak fluent English,” he describes. Third, and the most intense, is the journey he embarks on with students in his Cultural Diversity and Education course within Stetson’s Department of Education. He opens the class by inviting them to watch “The Eye of the Storm,” which documents the perceptions of third-grade students who are sadly doused with racism, sexism and hatred. “This is very painful for some of my students to watch and digest,” Coggins says. “But they all are then invited to reflect on their own way of seeing meanness and prejudices over the 14 weeks of class. We strive to address improvement in the students’ ability to dialogue with and show empathy to others and, in some cases, counter the prejudices some of them grew up with. If we stick with goodness in people, we will eventually see goodness and progress in people we encounter daily.” Coggins is a person of numerous firsts at Stetson. He is the first fully tenured Africandescent professor on campus, as well as the first Caribbean Guyanese professor and first holder of an endowed chair (Jessie Ball duPont), a position held from 1991 to 2011. He was the first African-descent faculty member to serve as a chapter adviser for a Greek organization and currently is chair of the university’s Faculty Senate. Also, in 1996 Coggins founded the Cross Cultural Center (serving as its first director) and the

Patrick Coggins, Ph.D., LLD Photo: Bobby Fishbough

“ One of my greatest dreams is to get beyond race and gender, and build a community at Stetson University where everyone feels OK to join and interact with any group. This starts from the top and filters down, and we’ve had tremendous leadership at this campus to support and strengthen our diversity and goals toward inclusivity and a safe space to live and learn together.” — Patrick Coggins, Ph.D., LLD, professor of education Multicultural Education Institute at Stetson — the first of its kind in Florida. Additionally, he leads Stetson’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, an event that draws hundreds of people to campus, and he spearheads the Multicultural Alumni Student Awareness Day during Stetson Homecoming. He has programming oversight responsibilities at the campus Cross Cultural Center, too. In November 2016, he was honored with the Guyanese Kaieteur Falls Award in Education, recognizing accomplishments and influence in education and culture. The award was part of the Guyana 50/50 Awards celebration, coinciding with the country’s 50th year of independence.

Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., associate professor, director of Education Graduate Programs, and the Jessie Ball duPont chair of social justice education at Stetson, calls Coggins a dedicated ally in the march for culturally responsive education and justice. “Dr. Coggins has an incredibly generous spirit,” Shankar-Brown offers. “Despite his busy schedule, Patrick always makes time for others. He actively supports faculty, staff, students and our community. As our Faculty Senate chair, his leadership is a vital part of the fabric of Stetson University, and his positive impact is expansive.” (See a profile of Shankar-Brown on page 38.) “One of my greatest dreams is to get beyond race and gender, and build a community at

Stetson University where everyone feels OK to join and interact with any group,” Coggins comments. “This starts from the top and filters down, and we’ve had tremendous leadership at this campus to support and strengthen our diversity and goals toward inclusivity and a safe space to live and learn together.” Further, his passion allows him to be especially involved with cultural issues across geographic boundaries. He has served on several state commissions to help make curricula more culturally and racially relevant. Coggins is a pioneer. Yet, for all that he has strived to achieve in breaking down barriers, Coggins believes there still is room for improvement – for doing more and doing better while linking talk and actions in congruent ways that build a racially equitable and inclusive world. “While Stetson University may only be one university of many, we have the opportunity to be a model institution that proactively engages faculty, students and staff,” he says. “We can build an inclusive climate by collecting data, analyzing it and taking lessons from the environment to make it a better place for all. The basic challenge is the way we treat, recognize and support each other as having the right to live, learn and enjoy life as valuable members of the human race.” STETSON



A Force for Change Stetson professor makes social justice in education her life’s work. BY CORY LANCAS TER


ajni Shankar-Brown’s father was awarded a scholarship to come to America from India to study mechanical engineering. When he arrived at Howard University in Washington, D.C., he learned the scholarship covered tuition, but not room and board. His family wasn’t financially well off in India. As the oldest son, he was supposed to support his parents and siblings, not ask them for money, so he became homeless. When his prearranged bride arrived a year later, she became homeless, too. “They were both working extremely hard. My mom set aside her own dreams to support my dad going through college. They lived in many taxing situations, including under a bridge,” said ShankarBrown, Ph.D., a Stetson associate professor of education and the Jessie Ball duPont Chair of Social Justice Education. “In D.C., winters can be harsh. They were grateful for shelters and for caring members of the community.” Her parents saved enough for a car and lived out of that — until they could afford an apartment and then a house, where ShankarBrown and her two siblings were raised. “There’s all these myths and stereotypes about what somebody who’s homeless is and looks like, and my life’s work has distinctly shown that there’s no single story,” she said. An internationally known expert on poverty and homelessness, Shankar-Brown grew up volunteering in homeless shelters in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., a value instilled by her parents, who wanted to give back. She noticed the kids in shelters didn’t have a place to play and study, away from the “chaos,” for example, of a man going through drug withdrawals or a family in tears after fleeing domestic violence, so she organized community projects to add ones. “My parents raised us with this very strong consciousness of the immense disparities that exist in our world and how so many people, including children, struggle to survive. They were thankful for the help they were given, and so am I,” she said.



Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown encourages fifth-graders in the “Dream Big” program to show their best dance moves during their visit to Stetson in December 2016. The students attend DeLand’s Starke Elementary School, where 99 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, an indicator of poverty.

Shankar-Brown has turned that consciousness into a force for change. She teaches her Stetson students about the need for social justice in education and the vast inequities borne by students of color and in poverty. She brings children from a high-poverty elementary school in DeLand to Stetson each year, encouraging them to excel in school, be positive change agents and build a better world. She develops workshops for educational leaders and teachers, and started a Poverty and Homelessness Conference to raise awareness, especially because families with children are the fastest-growing segment among the homeless. She also reaches out to schools in India and Colombia, trying to help them find funding for things like technology, and using Skype to take her students inside classrooms often very different from the ones they experienced in America. “I call this my life’s work because it is,” she said. “As much as it’s professional, it’s also deeply personal. In terms of inclusion and justice, I grew up experiencing firsthand a lot of very painful kinds of things in my life — racism — seeing it happen to my mom and my dad in awfully real ways, and my siblings and I experiencing the emotional impact and consequences of racism.” Racial epithets were spray-painted on the family’s home, she said. She watched as people talked painstakingly slowly to her mother, assuming she couldn’t understand English, and her father was harassed at work for his accent. She experienced discrimination as a Hindu child in public schools, which didn’t embrace religious diversity.

Continued on page 40

Alex Greene pedals past the Carlton Student Union and The Rock in December 2016, just before graduating from Stetson with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He is the first in his family to graduate from college. Photo: Bobby Fishbough

Finding A Way Out Alex Greene goes from ‘extreme poverty’ to Stetson graduate. BY CORY LANCAS TER


lex Greene was 15, waiting for a city bus to take him from an Atlanta innercity housing project to a better school across town, when a carjacking

happened right in front of him. It was a freezing winter morning, about 7 a.m., and Greene faced two bus rides and a train ride to attend a better high school out of his zone. He stood alone, as he usually did, making sure he didn’t get caught up in any trouble.

“This guy was standing in the middle of the street talking about, ‘I just got jacked. They stole my car.’ And I thought he was crazy,” Greene recalled. “Out of nowhere, this car comes zipping down the street and he’s like, ‘That’s my car.’ He’s in the middle of the street, telling them to stop, so the guy swerves out the way, jumps the curb and almost hits everybody on the sidewalk. And I was just like, I’ve got to get out of here.” Greene found a doorway out of his crime-ridden neighborhood and has an inspiring story to tell about overcoming adversity and poverty. He graduated No. 2 in his high school class, earned a Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship and graduated from Stetson in December — the first in his family — with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He hopes to attend graduate school and work for the FBI. “I love Stetson. I don’t think I would have survived anywhere else,” said Greene, 23, who credits the small classes and close relationships with professors.

Continued on page 41




A Sudden Realization

“Although we live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have exceedingly high numbers of families and children living in poverty and homelessness. And then you pair that with the deep racism that exists and operates, both unintentionally and intentionally, it’s tremendously distressing. Our children deserve so much better.” — Rajni Shankar-Brown

These experiences led her to teaching and wanting to promote inclusive learning. She took her first public-school teaching job in 2003 — at a high-poverty, segregated middle school in Charlotte, North Carolina. She walked into a single-wide trailer with more than 30 eighth-graders in the class, predominantly black and brown students. “We were squished together in this confined, dilapidated space with inadequate resources, certainly not conducive to teaching and learning. You talk about disparity from schools serving economically advantaged populations, many of which I’d experienced during field experiences and internships,” she recalled. “I had eighth-graders who could not functionally read. This blew my mind. Massive layers of inequality.” A student, for example, might be able to read a board book and identify the word “dog” if the word was paired with a picture. For Shankar-Brown, these kids already had been pushed out of the school system through “systemic oppression,” such as social promotion. “When asked what they wanted to be or what were their plans? Many would say, ‘I’m dropping out of school as soon as I can,’” she said. One day, standing in the trailer, Shankar-Brown was struck by a realization. At the time, she was pursuing a master’s degree in teaching from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. If she went for her doctorate, she could prepare educational leaders and teachers to be more responsive to these children, and they could help far more kids than she could on her own. While pursuing her doctorate, she started bringing students from high-poverty schools to visit the campus, designing curriculum that engaged them in learning and encouraged them to do well in school. She helped create Middle Grades University, a program that followed them through high school and awarded a scholarship for a full ride at UNC-Charlotte to one student each year. She created a similar program at Stetson after she was hired in 2013. Called “Dream Big,” it currently brings fourth- and fifth-graders from Starke Elementary School, a nearby public school serving predominantly black and brown students living in poverty, to campus to expose them to a world they rarely experience. She’s working with Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement to develop Junior Hatters and Hatters University, which will support and follow the kids through middle and high school with long-term mentoring. She hopes to find donors to provide a full scholarship to Stetson for at least one student in each graduating class and many partial scholarships. “Poverty is a big thread through all of my social justice work,” Shankar-Brown said. “Although we live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have exceedingly high numbers of families and children living in poverty and homelessness. And then you pair that with the deep racism that exists and operates, both unintentionally and intentionally, it’s tremendously distressing. Our children deserve so much better.”

“The Opportunity Gap” Inside Starke Elementary, media specialist Sarah Sieg said it was “an eye-opener” when she started at the school: “My kids told me when I came to Starke, they said, ‘Mrs. Sieg, we don’t read.’” Sieg knew for them to do well in school, she needed to “spark the joy of reading.” The school started a reading fair, and Sieg and Shankar-Brown now give books to the kids through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Sieg and Shankar-Brown met when Sieg taught at another high-poverty school, Citrus Grove Elementary in DeLand, and Shankar-Brown’s son was a student there. (Shankar-Brown said she and her husband have kept their son, now 13, and daughter, 6, in high-poverty schools, even though those schools often focus too much on standardized testing.) “Rajni has been with me all along,” Sieg added. “It’s just a passion about literacy and being cognizant what these children come with and what their needs are. We share that. She has the expertise, and I’m down in the trenches.” Twenty years ago, educators looked at test scores and talked about “the achievement gap” between white and minority students. Today, they call it an “opportunity gap,” the end result of children who don’t experience the arts, who don’t enjoy the same extracurricular activities and who often receive harsher punishment at school for misbehavior, said Chris Colwell, chair of Stetson’s Education Department and a 34-year veteran of K-12 schools. “When I first began teaching in the ’70s and became a school principal in the ’80s, I can honestly say the way I looked at it — the way my colleagues looked at it — was an academic gap, an achievement gap, instead of an equity and an access perspective,” said Colwell, who led the committee that hired Shankar-Brown after a national search. “Rajni, who is a distinguished scholar in this area, would say there’s a great deal of work to do and there’s a tendency to fall back on this as an academic issue, and it is. But there are fundamental issues at the root of that, and these issues can be addressed.” Continued on page 42



According to one longitudinal study by the U.S. Department of Education, just 12.6 percent of African-Americans of low socioeconomic status earn a bachelor’s degree or higher. Poor whites do only slightly better, with 14.4 percent earning a bachelor’s degree or higher. As income rises, so does college attainment in all racial groups, reaching 42.5 percent for blacks of high socioeconomic status and 63.2 percent for affluent whites. The disparity in those statistics has fueled a movement for social justice in education that Greene’s mentor, Stetson Associate Professor of Education Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., has made her life’s work. To her, the numbers tell a story about the obstacles faced by students in poverty, especially students of color living in poverty. “Alex is one of my bright spots,” she said. “He spent most of his life in extreme poverty. But he is such a story of promise when we talk about social justice, especially because the intensity and vastness of social inequities are often daunting. There’s so much that needs to be fixed and transformed. “In getting to know Alex, I quickly learned that there were instrumental people in his life — such as his grandmother and a teacher who cared and believed in him, and with those few people who were able to say, ‘We believe in you. We’re not going to give up on you,’ he developed resilience and pushed through challenges. He came to Stetson, he became a student leader on campus, and now here he is graduating.”

“God Heard and Answered Our Prayer” Greene was born to a single mother in Atlanta’s inner city who worked as a hotel maid and already had twin daughters, three years older than him. They shared a bedroom in his grandmother’s house. Only sporadically did he see his father, a high school dropout who worked various jobs. Left: Alex Greene was Salutatorian and Top Student-Athlete (on the basketball team) in the 2012 graduating class at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta. Photo: courtesy of Alex Greene Below: The Englewood Manor public housing project in Atlanta, where Greene lived as a child, is shown in 2008, shortly before the city’s housing authority tore it down. Photo: Curtis Compton/AtlantaJournal Constitution

When he was in second grade, his mother moved out of his grandmother’s house and into a housing project with her children across town. It was a crime-ridden neighborhood where drug use and alcoholism flourished, he said. Greene missed 67 days of school that year from sickness, which now he attributes to poor nutrition. Sometimes, he might find ramen noodles, Cap’n Crunch cereal and milk in the kitchen; other times, only ketchup. “Some nights I had to go to bed hungry,” he said. Greene didn’t want to attend schools near the projects, so he used his grandmother’s address to enroll in middle and high school back on the east side. But he had to get there on his own, and some days he missed school because he didn’t have the bus and train fares. When his grandmother found out, she started buying him tokens. A bus driver for Atlanta’s public transit agency, she knew her grandson — who liked to read and earned straight A’s — was smart. “I was always telling Alex, ‘You’re going to be something in life,’ ” recalled his grandmother, Jacqueline Gant, now retired. Added Greene, “My grandmother is the primary force of my success.” By middle school, Greene was spending weekends with her. During the week, after school and basketball practice, he’d visit her, his aunt, godparents or friends — just to avoid going home. Usually they’d feed him, never realizing he might go hungry otherwise. His “nomad” existence continued until the summer before his senior year. He had an argument with his mother, and she sent him to live with his father. He left there after a few tumultuous months, vowing to be homeless before he’d go back. That’s when his grandmother suggested he move in with her. “If she hadn’t taken me in, I would have been somewhere totally different, and I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” he said in December, right before graduating. Throughout his childhood, teachers had noticed his academic ability and taken an interest in him. That continued at Maynard Jackson High School, where a teacher and another educator steered him toward college. Lola Azuana, then director of the College Bound Center, said Greene had an “intrinsic desire to be better” and talked about “not wanting to be a statistic” in a city where only 38 percent of AfricanAmerican boys graduate from high school. He entered his senior year with the third-highest grade-point average in his class. His homeroom teacher, Erica Hall, encouraged him to apply for a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which provided tuition, room and board for 20,000 students from low-income backgrounds to attend the college of their choice. The envelope arrived in the mail on April 19, 2012. “When he opened that big envelope, he looked at me and fell to his knees and started to cry,” his grandmother remembered. “I was crying, and he was crying. This boy is going to college for free. How many black kids get that? “When we filled out the application, I started to pray. I said, ‘God, you know I don’t have any money to send this kid to school.’ God heard and answered our prayer.” Continued on page 43




“Into Their Hearts” Shankar-Brown envisions creating an interdisciplinary Center for Equity and Social Change at Stetson that would address these issues and support children, schools and communities in poverty. The center would promote what she calls “culturally responsive curriculum” and “transformative instruction” through research, and bring in educators nationally and internationally for professional development and projects. Already, she Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., moderates a student panel during her Poverty and Homelessness was one of the lead developers of Conference at Stetson in 2015. Seated from left: Stetson students Gabriela Barros, also Osceola County a master’s degree of education: Schools Homeless Education Liaison, Chan’tia Vasquez, Tiffaney Langhorn, Alex Greene and Chyina Powell. educating for social justice proPhoto: Penny Dickerson/Equal Voice Magazine gram, and is now creating an On an icy day in January 2000, a car drove into her lane and headed interdisciplinary master’s of art program in equity and social justice. straight for her. She saw “little, tiny moments” of her life flash before her “Education is not just about the three R’s. It’s about building eyes — her brother, sister and her on a tire swing; her mother handing citizens who are actively engaged and trying to build a better world for everyone, not just privileged groups. It’s complicated work. It’s exhaust- her a birthday cake. She awoke in the hospital. Rescue crews had cut her out of the car, which didn’t have an airbag. The steering wheel had ing physically and emotionally, but it is so needed,” said Shankarslammed into her chest, breaking her ribs and leaving her black and Brown, a board member for the National Coalition for the Homeless. blue. She had months of rehabilitation. The trauma caused weight gain “I always tell my students: I describe it as a Monopoly game, and I say it’s like half the money has been passed out, along with half of the and panic attacks, among other issues. Her graduation was delayed a properties. And then we put everyone on Start and say, ‘Let’s play. It’s semester, and she still lives with severe pain in her back and legs. “The accident reinforced the fragility of life, and it can be taken a fair game in life.’ But it’s not; that is far from the truth.” away at any moment,” she recalled. “So, while I’m breathing and living To her, social justice education means helping educators see the and while I can walk and move, I’m going to live each day intentionally, ways in which public school systems may limit opportunities for to do everything in my power to live my life uplifting others.” millions of children. “A significant part of addressing inequity begins She made another decision, too. Her parents taught her to value with preparing and educating teachers — most of whom are white, diversity in people, but when it came to marriage, they held tradimiddle class, monolingual English speakers and come from more tional views for her, wanting to preserve their culture. She didn’t want privileged backgrounds — for equity and inclusion,” she added. to disappoint them and reveal she and a young man in college “were She started the annual Poverty and Homelessness Conference to madly in love” because he’s white with auburn hair and freckles help educators understand the challenges faced by “historically and socially marginalized students.” After the first conference in 2014, she (Benjamin Ross Brown is now an Instructional Designer at Stetson). “After that accident is when I got the courage to step up and say and her team, including Pam Woods, homeless liaison for Volusia I’m marrying Ben,” she said, adding her parents came around once County Schools, realized the participants needed not only theoretical they saw his devotion to her family’s values and traditions. discussions and workshops, but also they needed to hear from chilShankar-Brown has spent much of her life, navigating the two worlds dren living in poverty. Then, they’d become allies for change. of Indian and American cultures. Each one has enriched the other. “We’ve got to get into their hearts,” Shankar-Brown recalled “My grandfather was a journalist, and he worked alongside thinking, and she assembled a panel of students who’d grown up in Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. I have photographs of my poverty, including Stetson students Tiffaney Langhorn, Chan’tia Vasquez, Chyina Powell, Gabriela Barros and Alex Greene, one of her grandfather, Thatha G., with justice activists such as Nehru and Gandhi, and now share these treasures with my kids,” she said. many protégés. “Activism and service are in my blood. Stetson’s commitment to She said the students — generous spirits with amazing resiliency — social responsibility is largely why I am here. My family history, my shared the sometimes-ugly realities of their lives and became vulnerable students, my children, all inspire my daily march for equality and in a room full of strangers. She admired their courage and decided to share a painful story of her own: She was hit by a drunken driver during human rights. There is joy in uplifting others, and you don’t turn a blind eye to injustice.” her senior year at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. 42


Photo: Bobby Fishbough

The Challenge Ahead After his high school graduation, Greene received his report card and realized he’d moved up a notch to salutatorian of his class. His GPA: 3.97. He was accepted at a half dozen colleges and chose Stetson, a college that would “help him get somewhere in life,” as one of his mentors in high school said. He wasn’t the first in his family to attend college — his uncle attended college in Tennessee on a football scholarship, and his twin sisters attended college in Georgia. But all three left before graduating. That illustrates the challenges faced by many first-generation college students. “Some come from high-poverty public schools that may struggle with a number of serious challenges such as teacher retention, finding qualified teachers, teachers working under high stress and lack of resources,” said Stetson’s Shankar“I want to give back to kids in my position, and show them, Brown. “That learning environment can’t compare with more affluent public and private schools. Suddenly, the inequities ‘Hey, you can do this. You can make it out.’” — Alex Greene of K-12 schools arrive on campus.” Recognizing these challenges, Stetson administrators Giving Back have created a number of programs to help first-gen students. These students can receive tutoring, a student success coach, peer Greene experienced some of these challenges when he arrived at mentor, extra academic advising, guidance on financial aid and help Stetson in 2012. For example, he enrolled in calculus his first semesjoining campus organizations, where they can connect with other ter. He was a math whiz but hadn’t taken calculus in high school students and make friends. These are services that all students may because it wasn’t offered. Quickly, he became lost in class. need during college and, when paired with support from family and “When I first got to Stetson, it was the biggest culture shock,” he professors, and their own resiliency, can help them reach graduation. said. “I was salutatorian. I was smart, but coming here, I did not feel (See page 34 about the SU First Peer Mentor Program.) like that at all at first. ... The schools we went to didn’t prepare us “We have numerous first-generation college students here, which I for college.” value. They make up 30 percent of Stetson students. There are many In high school, he made straight A’s without studying. At Stetson, obstacles they face every day,” Shankar-Brown said. “In terms of he was overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at him. equity issues, the fight does not stop at K-12, but it continues.” “Freshman year, I needed study habits and I never learned study The challenges are a national issue, said Kelvin Harris, director of habits,” said Greene, who later volunteered as a SU First peer mentor Leadership Development Programs for the Gates Millennium Scholars to help other students like him. “I wanted to quit a thousand times program. Gates scholars were selected based on academic achievement, over. But I had a lot of encouragement from my grandmother and my but many reported struggling when they arrived at college. family. And then I finally figured it out and got myself back on track These scholars cited a lack of classroom confidence, challenges about sophomore year.” forming close relationships with other students and being shocked at the He also found encouragement from professors, including Rajni rigors of college academics, Harris said. Unfamiliar with college culture, Shankar-Brown and Gregory Sapp, Ph.D., a Stetson associate profesthey were unsure of the resources available or how to locate them. sor of Religious Studies. “This concern points to the national issue of college readiness “A lot of us take for granted what we get, but he isn’t one of affecting first-generation students, who are largely students from low them,” Sapp said. “He was grateful for everything he had at Stetson, socioeconomic backgrounds and students of color,” Harris wrote. and he made the most of it.” “The conversation of college readiness for this population of students Greene will return to Stetson in May for Commencement, with a suggests a larger issue of social economic disparities related to educa“caravan” of proud family members. Until then, he’s living with his tional attainment.” grandmother in Atlanta. The Gates scholarship will pay for grad Added Shankar-Brown, “On one hand, we have this great notion school, but only in seven fields, such as computer science and educathat education is the golden key. It is the vehicle to freedom and tion. He wants to study criminal justice and work for the FBI, and is justice, but in our society unfortunately many times education is part figuring out how he might pay for grad school. He’s also helping at an of the problem. Our institutions and systems, the way they are built inner-city ministry. and operate, often perpetuate these very inequities that we say educa“I want to give back to kids in my position,” he said, “and show tion is built to break or eradicate.” them, ‘Hey, you can do this. You can make it out.’” STETSON



Philosophy Behind Change

In the quest for academic diversity and inclusion, ground zero has assumed a lead role and is taking it personally. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


ven in the abstract world of philosophy, a universe rooted in the uncertainty of observation, speculation, beliefs and concepts, there is no wiggle room for debate on the topic of diversity and inclusion. When it comes to philosophy, women and people of color largely are underrepresented. James Anthony Froude, a 19th-century English historian, novelist and biographer, once said: “Philosophy goes no further than probabilities, and in every assertion keeps a doubt in reserve.” The same cannot be said for its diversity and inclusion. This is an absolute. Regardless of the specific data cited, the percentage of women earning philosophy doctorates is less than in most of the physical sciences, while the respective percentage of women in full-time instructional postsecondary positions is worse. Women of color? In a 2013 article published by The New York Times, author Sally Haslanger used the word “appalling.” Haslanger is a member of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and director of the MIT Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She’s also been a member of the philosophy faculty at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and the University of California-Irvine. Further, there is anecdotal evidence, such as described by Stetson Department of Philosophy faculty member Susan Peppers-Bates, Ph.D., who characterizes the general setting as a “sea of whiteness.” White men, typically older white men, are the form, function and face of philosophy. Peppers-Bates, associate professor, was prompted to change her undergraduate major to English because of this comment from a professor: “Girls just can’t do philosophy.” Eventually, she earned a doctorate in philosophy from a different university but not before enduring more sexism. “I had male professors who refused to acknowledge my existence,” she says about graduate school. Melinda Hall, Ph.D., like Peppers-Bates, doesn’t need to see data to state the case for great disparity. Of her experience in grad school, particularly, she says, “It was not a welcoming environment for women.”



Hall, assistant professor of philosophy at Stetson, is quick to note the comment is not an indictment of her university, where she attended from 2008 to 2013 and which she generally salutes. More, the problem was a prevailing attitude across philosophy departments at even the best institutions nationwide. Respect was frequently slow and often absent, she says. “Just the way philosophy is done is primarily welcoming to only a few different sorts of ways of thinking and talking. Many of the most famous philosophers are already white and male, and the people who feel comfortable in that environment are white and male,” she says. “There’s this incredible sort of hostility to diversity.” Talk about diversity and inclusion — and the many challenges thereof faced at colleges and universities. The discipline of philosophy just might be ground zero for the difficulty of improvement. At Stetson, however, within the smallish Department of Philosophy, consisting of approximately 200 students and a faculty count of four, change is in the works with the hope of making a mark, if only a ripple. “We want more women, and we want more students of color in our classrooms,” asserts Hall. “So, what we would like to do is make sure that we have a welcoming environment in

which those students can flourish and thrive and learn.” Adds Peppers-Bates, “It’s very ironic for philosophy to be blind to this. … We question everything, except for racism and sexism and other issues we never discuss.” The two other professors in the department also have their own stories. In 2007, when Joshua Rust, Ph.D., was on his way for a job interview on campus, a casual conversation at Orlando International Airport revealed a possible unpleasant reality, that Stetson might have issues with race. During his first class that fall, Rust didn’t experience it. As an associate professor of philosophy teaching epistemology, he had four black women among his six total students. That initial alarm, though, still resonates. Ronald Hall, Ph.D., (no relation to Melinda) is the old-timer of the group, professor and chair of the department. A fun sort, he would likely laugh lustily at that label. Yet, he’s all too serious about changing views, perhaps even including about himself. Hall is a 1967 graduate of Stetson in philosophy, at a time when gender segregation and conservatism ruled the day. “Things have changed, and I’m just hoping the culture is going to continue to change,” he says. For them, the pressing question is how? For starters, the four professors are focusing on what they teach in an attempt to affect whom they teach. While each department at Stetson regularly assesses its curricula for a variety of factors, the Department of Philosophy, driven by both personal and professional agenda, has put the bull’s-eye on the prescriptive, lasting enhancement of diversity and inclusion. Work began last spring, with a disclaimer: “We aren’t doing this because anybody has called us to. We’re doing this of our own volition because of its value within our department,” says Melinda Hall. Rust took the lead on research, beginning with demographic compilations, by year, and analyses of students within the department. The numbers date back to 2010. One initial observation: While the gender breakdown for Introduction to Philosophy classes is roughly 50-50, the percentage of females declines as course study advances. “There’s a kind of curve downward,” says Rust. “When we start to look out over four or five years, hopefully we’ll begin to see an upward trend.” Melinda Hall, meanwhile, spearheaded curriculum assessment for three types of diversity: 1. Are the authors on the syllabuses diverse? 2. Are the topics diverse? 3. Are the methodologies diverse? “We’re looking at our syllabuses, and we’re checking,” she says. “We don’t want to just throw a reading in and think, ‘It happened to be written by a black person so I guess I’ll just try to teach that without any of the relevant expertise.’ We are really trying to work on our expertise.” The change has equaled challenge, even with motivations aligned. There are weekly department meetings, so details don’t get lost in the shuffle. And there is continual conversation among the four professors, as well as with students, staffers and other faculty members. “Nobody wants to be in that position of being told ‘you’re the reason why we don’t have students of color,’” Melinda Hall adds. “We really need to be careful about that. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re

Susan Peppers-Bates, Ph.D.

Melinda Hall, Ph.D.

Joshua Rust, Ph.D.

Ronald Hall, Ph.D.

saying that when we have these environments that are educational, sometimes they can end up being hostile in ways we don’t predict.” Ron Hall plans to continue using books and articles he deems useful in class, with selection based on quality not gender or ethnicity. Women authors, like Hannah Arendt and Martha Nussbaum, are part of his trusted resources. “I didn’t do that because I wanted, say, to expose students to women philosophers. I did it because these are good books,” he says. “There is more than people realize about how you can incorporate into the curriculum,” Peppers-Bates offers. “And students want to see that, so it doesn’t feel like [diversity is] at the center of what we do [at Stetson], but, oh, if you want to actually learn about it at the university, you’ll have to seek it out on your own.” It’s a start. Each agrees more is needed — more data, more thought, more discussion. Mostly, more diversity and inclusion. “It’s so hard,” concludes Melinda Hall, “to get this right.” “Philosophy is about trying to figure out the best arguments for really tough questions. So, if I want the best arguments, I need all the voices.” STETSON



Paris Landing For international students at Stetson, Luis Paris is there to help them find their way. Even if it’s not official. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA

Luis Paris knows a thing or two about taking life for a ride. An avid skateboarder in his early teens, he came up with a plastic strap that went around the shoe to prevent excessive wear when the foot was dragged during skateboarding. He eventually had the strap patented but couldn’t get a company to follow his vision. Later, he started and directed an international sales and marketing department at a multinational softwood sawmill, generating $120 million annually and restructuring the global marketing efforts for civilian and military skydiving parachutes. In addition, he created three startup businesses and secured more than $450,000 in capital funding. And for good measure, his father owned a construction company in Venezuela for large housing developments near and far. Paris also knows what it’s like to be an international student at Stetson, another sort of leap of faith. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, with German heritage, he earned a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration from Stetson in 2001 and 2007, respectively. Now, he is using his “bug to be an entrepreneur” and his insight into the life of a student from abroad to establish a safe haven — and a launching pad — for global students. Officially, Paris is an instructor of international business and new venture creation in Stetson’s School of Business Administration, beginning as an adjunct teacher in 2009 and gaining a full-time position in 2011. Behind the scenes, “he’s always been there for us.” Those are the words of Guillermo Casique, a fellow native of Caracas, who arrived at Stetson as a freshman in August 2015. Casique learned of Stetson from a college counseling agent in Venezuela, whose job is to identify good fits and direct students to schools across the United States. An excellent student who sought personalized attention and the requisite business certifications, Casique stepped foot on campus with hopes of someday working for a company that operates internationally. 46


Yet, as the saying goes, he didn’t quite know what he didn’t know. “When you first come here, you know some stuff,” says Casique, who speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese. “But there are quite others you don’t really know. So, [Paris] was like that guy for us. ... He wants us to know how to play by the rules and how to be successful.” He adds: “We all experienced a similar shock.” In 2015, Paris started an informal club for international students that continues to host meetings almost every two weeks. There are approximately 196 international students on campus from 59 countries and three territories, representing 6 percent of Stetson’s total student undergraduate population. As many as 30 students participate in the meetings, where the agenda is loosely characterized as “help” — spanning from how to obtain a driver’s license and maintain visa status to ultimately getting a professional job. Aside from the meetings, there is continual guidance, problem-solving and general support. “I could have done some of the things that he has taught me, but maybe not as well or as smoothly. ... We are basically visitors in someone else’s house,” comments Casique, an international business major. Last May, released its ranking of “Top 10 Culturally Dynamic Universities,” and Stetson placed No. 9, emblematic of a “diverse campus that will make you feel at home on a different continent,” according to the website. The article cited 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.” Among the other reasons was Paris, who “started a club to help international students find work.” Stetson’s formal resources for international students are housed at the expansive W.O.R.L.D.: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning. W.O.R.L.D. (World Outreach, Research, Learning and Development) works to promote and support intercultural competence and global citizenship through study-abroad programs, international student and scholar support services, and community-based international initiatives.

From far left: Instructor Lou Paris goes beyond the classroom in working with international students, including Nezha Elabbassy and Guillermo Casique.

Meanwhile, in concert with those efforts, Paris makes it a personal mission. A clear emphasis is jobs. Paris would like to see a program or department at Stetson where the sole mandate is international student placement. At present, while there isn’t one, he is the de facto director. “I live and breathe the pain. I know what it’s like to be really good [in a field] but can’t get accepted, find an employer that’s a good match,” he says. “That’s why I take it so personally.” As part of that mission but outside of his Stetson duties, Paris founded The number of international students at Konkeros, an interactive website designed U.S. colleges and universities surpassed to help international 1 million for the first time during the students land U.S. 2015-2016 academic year — an increase of jobs. The site already 7 percent from the previous year to a new has roughly 200 Stetson users and is high of nearly 1,044,000. That number in ongoing developrepresents 5 percent of the total student ment for widespread population at U.S. institutions. Stetson’s expansion. international population of approximately Nezha Elabbassy 196 undergraduate students is 6 percent isn’t thinking about her big job just yet. of the university’s total. Growing up in Source: 2016 Open Doors Report on Casablanca, Morocco, Elabbassy says she International Educational Exchange, “always liked the released by the Institute of International American way.” At Education in partnership with the U.S. Stetson since August Department of State’s Bureau of 2015, she’s continuEducational and Cultural Affairs ing to find her way.


Elabbassy is especially well educated, having attended a Jewish school within the French system and living among Muslims. She has learned both French and English, in addition to Hebrew and Arabic. More top-notch schooling was there for the taking in several countries, but she chose the United States, intent on “getting an American degree because it’s worth a lot.” She came to Stetson as a sophomore. Graduating next December with a degree in international business and marketing, she would like to return to Morocco and open her own business but not before “getting as much experience as I can in the United States.” First, though, Elabbassy wants to continue broadening her horizons at Stetson. Her jobs now include, among several others, being a resident assistant and a tutor for French and Arabic. She’s also a member of the 2016-2017 W.O.R.L.D. Council. “You’re always adjusting; I don’t know that much,” she says in a modest tone, pointing to a recent difficulty in renting a car. Moments later, she adds, “I’ve changed and improved so much in 18 months.” She gives much of the credit to Paris, simply noting, “Lou Paris actually knows our struggle.” There are struggles, of course, for almost all international students everywhere. Stetson isn’t perfect, both Casique and Elabbassy openly concede. Among other topics, they talk about the need for greater tolerance, understanding and communication — the very core components of the university’s Many Voices, One Stetson initiative. There is work to do, they agree. With global business dependent on such cultural understanding, they are especially attuned. Neither, though, has regrets. About first attending Stetson, Casique decided to “take a shot at it.” He says he hasn’t looked back. Elabbassy thought Stetson was “too beautiful to be true.” Now, she is “really happy to be here.” For Paris, while there isn’t necessarily a “help” sign on his office door, there is “live-and-breathe” conviction. He is one of their own. STETSON



And Justice for All The law school is stating its own case for Many Voices, One Stetson. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


his little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” echoed in the Great Hall on Stetson’s Gulfport campus in January. Terrell Strayhorn, Ph.D., a professor at The Ohio State University, was concluding his keynote speech to students as part of the first-ever Intention and Impact Summit. Strayhorn, a choir director in addition to being a nationally recognized social scientist, belted out the lines as he powerfully ended his presentation on the importance of belonging. Some said it raised goosebumps on their arms. Strayhorn, also director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at Ohio State, is a renowned student-success scholar and acclaimed public speaker who has authored 10 books and numerous articles.

The summit was the most recent in a series of initiatives on the Gulfport campus focused on making Stetson’s College of Law a more inclusive and supportive environment for all of its community members. The initiatives began in earnest more than two years ago when Stetson University’s Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Task Force convened and embarked on a comprehensive, multiyear, university-wide climate survey project. The task force was initially co-chaired by then-Provost Beth Paul, Ph.D., and Professor of Law Joe Morrissey. (With Paul’s departure in June 2016, Bruce Chong, Stetson’s vice president for marketing and communications, stepped in to co-chair with Morrissey.) From the outset, all members of the task force recognized the challenges of such an ambitious project. Morrissey also knew the self-evaluation process at the College of Law would have some unique challenges. First, most College of Law students live off campus and are more difficult to survey than their younger undergraduate counterparts on the DeLand campus. In addition, he recognized that an inherent component of the legal profession might be an obstacle to securing the information the university needed. “Lawyers and people who are trained to be lawyers are inherently questioning and thoughtful in ways that involve a certain amount of healthy skepticism,” he explains. 48


A Stetson professor of law, Joe Morrissey has co-chaired the Stetson Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Task Force since its inception.

Morrissey, who joined Stetson’s faculty in 2004 and ran investment offices in Russia and Uzbekistan prior to his academic career, accepted the Gulfport challenge. As he began his work with the task force roughly two years ago, his professional experiences provided perspective. “I’ve always been excited by and respectful of other cultures. That is the perspective I bring to our mission,” says Morrissey. More importantly, Morrissey said that he and others at the law school — principally fellow Professor Judith Scully — wanted to get this right.

January’s Intention and Impact Summit, noted Morrissey, was about “finding your place, feeling a sense of belonging, but it also was about the importance of the institution being able to help people feel like they’re part of a shared mission.” On Feb. 25, Stetson hosts the third annual Inclusive Excellence in Teaching Symposium on the Gulfport campus. Faculty and staff are invited to participate. The theme is “Pedagogical Ecosystems,” with a focus on the idea that classrooms are like ecosystems, where learning takes place among students and teachers from varied backgrounds and diverse perspectives. The symposium provides faculty and staff with the opportunity to discuss how they have transformed their teaching techniques and classroom spaces to accommodate a diverse student body. Morrissey describes the efforts both in Gulfport and DeLand as a “long-term phased Judith Scully (with glasses), the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at Stetson, is a noted champion of human rights on campus and internationally. approach with realistic short-term expectations.” “We very much have a long-term view while Scully, the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at recognizing that we must make progress in the short term,” he says. Stetson, is co-founder of Stetson’s Social Justice Advocacy concentra“We’re optimistic that we’ve already had a significant impact and will tion and the Innocence Initiative at the College of Law, and assists continue to be able to create change for the better.” several student organizations that volunteer to help close the justice gap. Scully is “cautiously optimistic.” While she says doing a campusA former Chicago criminal defense attorney, she teaches criminal law, wide survey and hiring consultants to work on issues related to criminal procedure, juvenile criminal law and trial advocacy, as well as diversity and inclusivity are a good start, she points to the work seminars related to race and American law and social justice advocacy. required after the consultants leave. Prior to teaching law, she managed her own law firm in the city “Although I am proud of how far we have come, and I am encourof Chicago, where she primarily represented defendants in criminal aged by the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, the cases and plaintiffs in civil rights cases. real work of changing our culture takes years to accomplish and In a 2010 article, “Killing the Black Community: A Commentary of requires continued commitment over a long period of time,” she the United States War on Drugs,” Scully began by writing: “We live in a concludes. “Our success cannot be judged for years to come.” country that is deeply rooted in racism. The laws establishing this country were written by white men who did not believe that black people were full human beings.” Professor Scully recently spearheaded the first William Reece Smith Jr. Pro Bono Competition at the law school. While Morrissey and Scully, also a member of the university-wide Ten students at Stetson University College of Law participated task force, worked with the group in DeLand, they led the law school in addressing specific areas. in a class designed to assist the 2014 Clemency Project. One Consultants from Elon University were brought in to focus on of the 1,300 clemency grants out of 16,000 petitions was improving the student experience, while the Prism Consulting Group prepared by Stetson Law students in the class. Stetson’s Gary facilitated listening/learning sessions with students, faculty and staff. R. Trombley Family White-Collar Crime Research Professor Morrissey co-chaired a separate diversity committee at Gulfport, along with Professor of Law Luz Nagle. That committee is composed of Ellen Podgor and Federal Defender Donna Elm created the students, faculty and staff. clemency class in fall 2015. Stetson students received a crash Since survey results were released last September, the work to improve course in clemency, learned how to write drafts of petitions the campus climate of diversity and inclusion is ongoing, Morrissey said, citing an “outpouring of participation” at the College of Law. and worked in-depth on cases with Elm, the lead federal The spring semester at Gulfport includes a short course on diverpublic defender for the Middle District of Florida. sity issues in advocacy, taught by Scully and fellow professors Ellen Podgor and Roberta Kemp Flowers.






Stetson University College of Law is creating a worldlier student body, thanks largely to a forward-thinking assistant dean with an international vision. B Y J A C K R O T H


hen you are asked to head up international programming at an institution recognized as one of the top schools in the country for global outreach and excellence in international law, you better be up for the challenge. No problem here. As an attorney with prior experience in international and diversity outreach, an undaunted JR Swanegan, J.D., saw Stetson as a well-established law school with a respected international program. He also saw tremendous opportunities for expansion. Swanegan is a slender man with short hair, a quick smile and contagious laughter. His competitive spirit is evident in all he does. When he wanted to lose some weight last year, he signed up for a triathlon eight months down the road. He had never run a triathlon before. A new daily-exercise routine had him ready last fall for one of sport’s more demanding competitions. “I inherited great international programs when I arrived at Stetson Law three years ago. My goal has always been to build upon Stetson’s reputation of excellence,” says Swanegan, assistant dean of International Programs at Stetson University College of Law. “Law students are an underrepresented group in studyabroad programming. We have focused on creating programs that fit the unique schedule and academic rigor required for these students.”

Sharing Perspectives

JR Swanegan, J.D.



Stetson’s Center for Excellence in International Law has always sought to educate students who will not only serve ethically and competently in the practice of law, but who have a global perspective and enhanced intercultural skills. Swanegan has leveraged this mantra to establish and cultivate international partnerships on a global scale. Some of his new initiatives include expanding the study-abroad programs, hosting international scholars, creating student-

Global Mindset

exchange programs, and arranging for talks by international speakers. He administers study-abroad and exchange in Granada, Spain; The Hague, Netherlands; George Town, Cayman Islands; London and Oxford, England; Dublin, Ireland; Toulouse, France; Havana, Cuba; and Seoul, South Korea. Each of these programs provides students with an uncommon chance to gain a broader perspective on comparative legal systems, including international, public and private law concepts. “When students are required to navigate foreign languages and cultures, an amazing transformation occurs,” explains Swanegan, who arrived at Stetson from the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering, where he was director of study abroad, international and diversity outreach. “The benefits associated with participating in these programs are vast and literally last a lifetime. Our students are fostering friendships in a world that continues to globalize, and they are meeting lawyers, judges and students from other countries who will become part of their professional network when they graduate.” “JR creates phenomenal global learning experiences for our law students,” comments Professor of Law Charles Rose, Stetson’s director of advocacy. “He has the unique ability to maximize comparative learning opportunities with individual student development. His initiatives allow us to create outstanding 21st-century Stetson lawyers.” Adds Christopher Pietruszkiewicz, dean of the College of Law, “We hired the right person to lead our international program, and he continues to have such a positive impact on the entire Stetson community.” Stetson Law has a number of partnerships with other universities and organizations. Swanegan says by leveraging Stetson’s strengths in advocacy, legal writing, elder law and environmental law, he is able to reach out to institutions and develop mutually beneficial partnerships that expand opportunities for Stetson students. Foreign law schools looking to provide learning opportunities for their students and faculty find Stetson a highly attractive school, Swanegan adds. Notably, Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy received the 2016 Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Award from the American Bar Association. The institute serves as an interdisciplinary focal point for education, research and service activities related to global, regional and local biodiversity issues. Stetson hosts a number of international delegations on campus each year that are searching for customizable opportunities to partner with the right American law school for their students. Swanegan emphasizes that the university strategically examines every potential partnership opportunity to “ensure that faculty and students from both schools receive a world-class education.”

Swanegan is confident that students who gain a global mindset will have a greater appreciation of diversity and humanity, and will increase their career prospects. “The type of legal work U.S. attorneys engage in will continue to become more international in nature. We’re on a path to greater globalization and interconnectivity, so acquiring these skills is a critical benefit to our students,” asserts Swanegan, a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia (B.A. political science, 2001) and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law (J.D., 2004). To illustrate, Stetson’s dual-degree program with the University of Granada, Spain, enables Stetson law students to receive both a J.D. degree from Stetson Law and a Spanish Master of Law. As a result, this one-of-a-kind program allows students to advance their legal careers in both the United States and the European Union. For Swanegan, this international aspect of learning and personal growth is an integral part of what Stetson represents as a university. He is dedicated to seeing Stetson continue to grow as a global learning institution. Moving forward, he wants to continue to provide outstanding study-abroad programs and create additional opportunities in both Africa and South America. “I appreciate and recognize the growth that comes with participating in these programs,” Swanegan says, modestly. “To have friends and colleagues all over the world is simply incredible and also represents goodwill diplomacy for Stetson. We’ve embraced globalization as an institution, and as a result, we’re drawing the world closer together.”

Global Partner Schools Some of the students who participate in Stetson’s studyabroad programs are not from Stetson but instead attend partner law schools that do not have comprehensive international programs offices. Stetson works to provide high-quality international programming to those students while also diversifying its study-abroad group demographic. Stetson’s institutional partners for study-abroad programs include: Mercer School of Law, Macon, Georgia Nova Southeastern College of Law, Davie, Florida Charleston School of Law, Charleston, South Carolina Oklahoma City School of Law, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Roger Williams School of Law, Bristol, Rhode Island Tulsa College of Law, Tulsa, Oklahoma Washburn School of Law, Topeka, Kansas Elon University School of Law, Greensboro, North Carolina Florida A&M College of Law, Orlando, Florida

• • • • • • • • •




Hatters to Watch Among plenty of others, here are eight to keep an eye on this spring. BY RICKY HAZEL

Loic Blanco

Carolina Meregalli

The junior from France opened the season ranked No. 106 among singles players by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. He is the first Stetson men’s singles player to receive a national ranking since Max Levanovich in 2012. Blanco, also ranked 19th in the Southeast Region, leads a young team that has four freshmen.

Meregalli, from Italy, is one of four seniors who will be counted on to help ease the transition of women’s tennis coach Travis Sandlant, who arrived from East Tennessee State, where he was head coach for the past six seasons. Meregalli won 11 matches last year and was an ASUN All-Academic selection.

Paige Kemp The women’s golf team closed the fall season with a second-place finish in Waikoloa, Hawaii, with Kemp, a junior from England, earning medalist honors to go along with ASUN Player of the Week. Leadership is shared by three seniors — Giulia Vandenberg, Alessandra Kutz and Kristine Odaiyar — and two other juniors, Carolin Schart and Eilidh Watson. The team looks to win its first conference title since 2012 under first-year coach Danielle JacksonShelburne ’10, a former player and Stetson Athletics Hall of Famer.



Kristin Lind A native of Sweden, the senior already has compiled 64 dual-match victories, a school record. The team finished ranked No. 8 nationally last season and will face seven of the top 10 in the nation this spring, including the University of Southern California, reigning national champion. Also, the ASUN Beach Volleyball Championship will be held on campus for the first time, April 22-23.

Pigskin Prep The Hatters open spring football practice March 21, holding three practices per week before concluding drills with the annual Spring Game on April 22 at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium. The team must replace 16 departed senior starters, including Donald Payne, a three-time All-American and three-time Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Year. The 2017 home schedule begins Sept. 16 vs. Dartmouth.

Lindsay Summers Summers, a senior from Maryland, is part of a dynamic scoring duo in women’s lacrosse. She started the season with a school-record 104 career points (goals and assists). Junior Hallie Merz, from New York, owned the career record for goals with 50, but Summers was only five goals behind her. Their schedule has four teams that appeared in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Jessie TenBroeck The senior from Live Oak, Florida, seeks to become Stetson’s all-time stolen-base leader. She needs six steals to reach 100, and 15 for the record. Also, she looks to repeat as a first-team All-Conference selection, as does senior Kelsey Waters. The Hatters will host 36 home games, with coach Frank Griffin being two wins away from 900 in his career.

Tate Smith During the fall season, Smith, a sophomore from Port Charlotte, Florida, led men’s golf with a 72.67 scoring average and two top-10 tournament finishes. The team had a total of five finishes in the top 10. A strong fall season vaulted the Hatters up in the national rankings by more than 100 spots.

Steve Trimper This is Stetson baseball’s 100th season, and the program is under new leadership for the first time since 1980. Hall of Fame coach Pete Dunn announced his retirement in December, and Trimper was hired from the University of Maine. His new team will play 34 times at Melching Field, including games against Florida, Florida State, South Florida and BethuneCookman. Also, the Hatters will host the 2017 ASUN Championship Tournament, May 24-27.

Season and single-game tickets are available for all Stetson Athletics events. For information, call 386-738-HATS (4287) or visit




Portrait of a Baseball Legend In December 2016, Hall of Famer Pete Dunn reached the final out of his 37-year coaching career at Stetson. • Began as a player at Stetson in 1969 (graduated in 1972, physical education) before becoming a student assistant coach in 1971, returning in 1977 as an assistant and then taking the helm in 1979. • Compiled a record of 1,312 wins, 888 losses and three ties; ranks 20th on the all-time NCAA list for career coaching victories over all divisions and 15th in NCAA Division I history. • Advanced to 17 NCAA Regional Tournaments while at Stetson and won nine Atlantic Sun Conference titles; named league Coach of the Year six times. • Sent 62 players on to play professional baseball, with nine reaching the Major Leagues, including two — Jacob DeGrom and Cory Kluber — who have starred in the past two World Series. • Served as an assistant coach for USA Baseball in 1998; inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014.



t a R E M M U S 7 1 N SO


Offering Academic Enrichment Programs and Specialized K-12 Summer Camps! Did you know that Stetson University offers a variety of summer camps, programs, courses and activities including athletics, science, music, gifted education, art and STEM? Stetson camps provide hands-on activities with expert instructors. Make friends and have fun through a rewarding educational experience. All of our instructors, coaches and staff members have been screened to provide students a safe and rewarding experience. Their selection has been based on subject expertise and their ability to inspire a love for learning.

More at STEM • HATS Program • The Reading Institute • Music • Athletics • Theater


Hatter Spotlight: JULIA NESHEIWAT ’97


ulia Nesheiwat ’97, Ph.D., is the Acting Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, serving to strengthen diplomatic efforts to secure the safe return of Americans held hostage overseas. Representing the United States, she works closely with the families of American hostages, foreign governments and the interagency Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell.

During Stetson Homecoming last November, Nesheiwat sat down with Woody O’Cain, assistant vice president of Alumni and Parent Engagement, to offer insight about her time on campus and her distinguished career.


Your family has a very unique history with Stetson — in what way?

All four of my siblings attended Stetson, so we truly are a family of Mad Hatters (Janette Nesheiwat ’98, Daniel Nesheiwat ’99, Jaclyn Nesheiwat Stapp ’02 and Dina Nesheiwat ’03). Even my mother, Hayat, took a class there! We are a close-knit family and, as the leader of the pack, I think my enthusiasm for Stetson spread to my entire family. Aside from its proximity to the ocean surf, I was drawn to Stetson’s unique character and intimacy on campus and in the classroom. I also loved the faculty/student ratio, the small classes and openness to diversity that I found refreshing for a small private liberal arts school.


Can you share a few distinct memories that you have from your Stetson days, and what part did Stetson play in preparing you for such success?


My fondest memories no doubt were of my professors. They were truly engaging and had a profound impact on who I am today. When I was a freshman at Stetson, it was at a point in my life where I was in need of mentorship after losing my father in high school and growing up helping my widowed mother care for my younger siblings. The selfless time and guidance that these professors took with me was incredible. In particular, Dr. (Mitchell) Reddish, Dr. (T. Wayne) Bailey, Dr. (Leonard) Nance and Sims Kline. Dr. Reddish inspired my interest in religious studies, learning about the intersection and interconnectedness of humanity through shared



Alumna Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D., with Stetson’s Woody O’Cain

beliefs. Studying religions of the world and embracing a set of concepts, which can be either theological, philosophical and religious, that center on the belief that all human beings exist under one universal umbrella, has resonated with me today as a U.S. diplomat. Dr. Bailey was also very influential. I remember going on a class trip to the Florida Legislature, and it sparked my interest in public service. Luckily, decades later I was recently able to see Dr. Bailey during his retirement farewell at Stetson, showing how much of an impact he had in not just my life, but so many others as well. Sims Kline is a rock star. During my time at Stetson, I used to work in the duPont-Ball Library. It was at a time when we still had the old-fashioned card catalog system, which encouraged more personal interaction between the librarians and students. Outside of the library, Sims hosted the Canterbury House youth group, where I debuted my first acoustic guitar performance thanks to his encouragement. His coaxing helped me break out of my shell, even though it was not where my talent lies. Finally, Dr. Nance, who was my sociology professor and adviser, truly inspired me to take a greater interest in cultures and the development and structure of society. In addition to the great memories I have of my professors and the adventures in the library, I spent a lot of time in Army ROTC training (yes, I was a bit of a nerd, if you haven’t caught on). … Stetson’s ROTC program taught me self-discipline, how to perform under stress and everything from cleaning a rifle to briefing senior defense officials.


When you look at your long list of accomplishments to date, what are you most proud of, excited about?

I think about the institutions I have been a part of creating — a Cabinet-level agency in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a new State Department Bureau on Energy Diplomacy, a new course at the Naval Postgraduate School, an intelligence section for the interim governing council in Iraq and a new Presidential Envoy Office for Hostage Affairs. In general, however, I try not to look back; I think there is still so much more to do. I have been very fortunate in some of the experiences I have embarked upon. Step up to the plate and take a full swing; don’t wait for someone to push you!


Well, on that note about not looking back, from this point forward what’s on your bucket list personally and professionally?


I seek new adventures and challenges. I believe we must continue to evolve as our own authentic selves. I have always felt a deep connection to the water and our environment. The ongoing water crisis is an important global issue for the 21st century, and I hope to continue to move the needle in promoting clean energy and water for the 1.3 billion people who lack access to modern resources; that is unacceptable. This also touches on many geopolitical issues, whether it is refugee flows or spikes in global conflicts or gender issues. My passion and heart lies in impacting issues of significance to our global community, not just in our backyard. We must look beyond our comfort zones. I have studied languages such as Arabic, Spanish and Japanese. I would love to add Portuguese to that list. Brazil has so much economic potential, as well as Portuguese-speaking parts of Africa. From an energy standpoint, there are many development opportunities for these countries. I would certainly be keen to learn the language, immerse deeply and enjoy the culture.


Would you ever consider running for president of the United States?


Since you pretty much dodged that question (a smile), how about sharing some fun Nesheiwat family stories?

This question is what I’ve always loved about Stetson: You really believe in your students! I have always encouraged women to take more leadership roles. Right now, I am focused on my current position and other development issues at the State Department.

My younger sister Jaclyn and I have constantly been mistaken for one another. Many thought we were twins! I remember Jaclyn visiting me on campus before she attended Stetson. She was standing in my doorway, and one of my friends walked by and said to her, “Hey, lieutenant,” without even hesitating. It took us a minute or so to realize that they had thought she was me. It was very funny at the time, given she was a Florida beauty queen recognized by many. Also, my mother visited campus sometimes, since so many of her children were there. She has always looked much younger than she is, and people would think she was our sister. At the time, it was a bit embarrassing for us, but she loved it.


What are three things most people don’t know about you?


When it is all said and done, what do you hope you will be remembered for?

1. I own a 1966 convertible Mustang. My surfboard fits perfectly in the back seat with the top down. 2. I’ve studied tea. I took a course on the origins of tea and visited various tea plantations throughout Asia and the U.S., including a monastery in Japan. 3. I’ve broken my toes several times. The last time, I was at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and had not packed flat shoes. I still managed to walk the mile within the security zones back and forth to all my meetings with dignitaries, and get there in time! No pain, no gain.

As I’ve said, one thing that I loved about Stetson was the mentorship I received, and I am a big believer in paying it forward. I think it is important to take the time to advise and connect those with a thirst for knowledge. It’s all about finding your own path and balance and being an “eternal student.” I’m a firm believer in that. I enjoy helping others figure out their journeys to discovering that path, like so many others who have helped me. It is not a one-man/ woman show!


wo more questions: What color is your ’66 Mustang, and would you care to circle back to that “running for president of the United States” question?


(A smile) Springtime yellow.

More About Julia Nesheiwat Prior to becoming Acting Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Nesheiwat was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Implementation Nesheiwat’s many roles in government in the Bureau of Energy have enabled her to work with highResources. She also profile officials such as Condoleezza served as a PoliticalRice, former U.S. secretary of state. Military Advisor and Visiting Professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s National Security Affairs Department. Nesheiwat has held numerous other positions, such as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and U.S. Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Security, among others.




Celebrating Stetson


he fall season brought Hatters together from across Central Florida, highlighted by Homecoming Week, Oct. 30-Nov. 6, 2016, and the camaraderie of a common bond: our university. To be part of an event near you, contact the Stetson University Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement at 386-822-7480 or

Daytona Beach

Brian Ray ’91 (center) with his parents, Dennis and Donna Ray From left are Matt Anderson ’93, Stetson Former First Lady Margaret Lee, Lorna Jean Hagstrom ’64 and Ray Holley ’91, J.D. ’97.

Natalie Quintero ’15 and Maria Abreu ’15 Gwen Azama-Edwards ’71, M.A. ’83, and Kate Pearce, Stetson assistant vice president for development



Mad Hatter Saturdays

Front row: Seniors Donald Payne ’17, Patrick Fogerty ’17 and Jonathan Jerozal ’17 lead the Hatter Walk before their game vs. Dayton. Marcus Moore, father of Kegan Moore ’17, and Kevin Kelly, father of Nick Kelly ’20

Hatter football parents: Jennifer Yonker, Greg Mazza, Kelli Mazza, Mike Tyrrell, Jeanne Mazza Prudot and Kristi Tyrrell ’84





Stetson cheerleaders at the DeLand Christmas Parade: Vaughan Lumpkins ’19, Aubrianna Hall ’18, Sarah Blackwelder ’18 and Carli Turngren ’18 Jessica Prats Murray ’10, J.D. ’14, Marilina Vilches, Leopolod Pujols ’73 (2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient) and Lu Prats ’78, J.D. ’81 (2016 George and Mary Hood Award recipient) Bunny Yeargin ’61, Jane Messersmith, Patti Messersmith Turken ’82 and Sally Lieb ’61


Stetson Law grads: Howard Williams, J.D. ’12, Mark Osbourne, J.D. ’12 and Elizabeth Galbavy, J.D. ’09 Lauren Feldman ’13 and Kim Hamill ’13




Brian Hanafin, J.D. ’10 and Sara Hanafin, J.D. ’11 Lee Alexander and Steve Alexander ’85

Alumni Board 2016-2017

Board members are listed at




Send Us Your Class Note


working on book No. 126. You can find her online at

STETSON UNIVERSITY is proud of its alumni and their accomplishments. We would love

Russell A. DeJulio ’76, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recently retired.

to hear about your achievements. If you are a graduate from the DeLand or Celebration campus, please send your class note to Stetson University, Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8257, DeLand, FL 32723, or email your news to If you are a graduate of the College of Law, send your class note to Stetson University College of Law, Office of Development and Alumni Engagement, 1401 61st St. South, Gulfport, FL 33707, or

Harry A. Whitley ’64, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, was awarded the Disney Performing Arts “Mouscar” in recognition of his contributions to the musical heritage of the Walt Disney World Resort. He was interviewed about his history of directing the first elementary chorus in front of Cinderella’s Castle in 1973, along with many years of other performances at Disney. His interview was slated for the official Disney blog. Charles B. Bugg ’65, Georgetown, Kentucky, has published his 11th book, “Preaching That Connects,” Smyth-Helwys Publishers.

E. Bruce Strayhorn ’74, JD ’77, Fort Myers, Florida, was appointed chairman of the Board of Commissioners at the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers. Strayhorn practices law at Strayhorn & Persons, P.L., in Fort Myers. He has served as assistant state attorney, director of the Fort Myers Downtown Property Owners’ Association, board member of the Lee County Housing Development Corp. and member of the Lee County Affordable Housing Task Force.


email your class note


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



Russell P. Schropp ’78, Fort Myers, Florida, was named the 2017 Land Use and Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year in Fort Myers by Best Lawyers in America. Shropp serves as managing stockholder for Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, representing property owners and others before local, regional, state and federal agencies.

lawyer who demonstrates the highest degree of professionalism, ethics, civility and legal excellence in the practice of law. Timothy P. Tatem ’83, Arlington, Virginia, received the Outstanding DoD Service Members and Civilians with a Disability Award. It’s the highest honor the U.S. Department of Defense gives to recognize the contributions of employees with disabilities. Tatem works for the support division of the Defense Intelligence Agency in Reston, Virginia. Lynne Wilson ’83, Winter Park, Florida, a partner at the law firm ShuffieldLowman, was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Nancy Naylor Rue ’73, Lebanon, Tennessee, has published 125 books since her 1973 graduation — many for the “tween” audience. She now operates a writers’ mentorship program, From Shadow to Shelf, and is

Harry O. Thomas ’75, Tallahassee, Florida, Of Counsel lawyer at Radey Law Firm, was chosen by his peers for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Insurance Law; he also was recognized as a “Lawyer of the Year” award recipient.

Steven R. Clark ’80, Bremerton, Washington, was part of a recent CD concert release by the Illumni Men’s Chorale. Clark’s set of Three Exapostilaria of the Resurrection “Plotiyu” (In the Flesh Thou Didst Fall Asleep) were sung in concert on April 22, 2012. Joshua Magidson, JD ’80, Clearwater, Florida, was awarded “The Barney” for 2016 from The Barney Masterson American Inn of Court. The Barney is awarded annually to the

Alison Steele ’84, JD ’87, St. Petersburg, Florida, has opened Alison M. Steele, P.A. Her practice includes the representation of news media and non-media members in First Amendment, Sunshine Law and other civil rights matters; employment law advice and litigation; and varied complex civil litigation and appeals in Florida’s state and federal courts.

J. Eddie Ellis ’86, Bradley, Illinois, published his first children’s book, “Good Boy, Achilles!” (Westbow Press, 2016). The story is based on the premise that, because human beings are flawed, God has given dogs the task of helping us along. His book is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Ellis is a professor of New Testament at Olivet Nazarene University. He can be found online at

1990s Bret D. Marty ’91, London, England, has worked in the city of London for the past 24 years, thanks to a “few seemingly small opportunities provided in the late-1980s at Stetson.”

Vincent A. Citro ’98, MBA/JD ’00, Maitland, Florida, has joined the Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A., where he focuses on criminal and related civil and administrative matters, including grand jury and internal investigations. He recently was named the Federal Bar Association Younger Federal Lawyer of the Year. He left the U.S. Department of Justice after serving as a federal prosecutor for nearly 14 years.

2000s Heather Quick, JD ’00, Jacksonville, Florida, founder and CEO of The Quick Law Group, was recognized in the 2016 edition of Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite. Her law firm offers family and marital law services specifically for women and was recognized in the Marital and Family Law category.

Nefertiti Walker ’05, ’06, Amherst, Massachusetts, has been appointed director of diversity and inclusion at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Davis D. Mallory ’06, Nashville, Tennessee, released his debut holiday single “Box It Up.”

Derrick R. Connell, MBA/JD ’09, Indialantic, Florida, was named Top 40

Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers for the third consecutive year and a Rising Star by Florida Super Lawyers magazine — an annual publication that recognizes the top 2.5 percent of the state’s young lawyers. Connell is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level of professional excellence for legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards.

Ryan J. Lynch ’09, Columbus, Georgia, completed his doctor of philosophy in Islamic history at the University of

Oxford and has become an assistant professor at Columbus State University.

2010s Jake C. Broselle ’11, Naples, Florida, has completed his first children’s book, called “Rockstar.” The story is about a rock that wants to be a star. You can find it at: Ashley Rutherford ’12, Savannah, Georgia, graduated with a doctorate in public affairs (health services research and management) from the University of Central Florida. She is being commissioned as a public health officer in the U.S. Air Force this spring. Amanda James ’13, Sanford, Florida, chorus teacher at Deltona High School, accompanied her choir to the 75th anniversary remembrance of the Pearl Harbor bombing. She was chosen to lead the combined choir (more than 125 members) at the opening ceremonies, as

Retelling History Peter J. Matulis ’94, Orlando, Florida, was promoted to executive vice president/profit center leader at Brown & Brown Inc. Matulis works at Brown & Brown’s Orlando office. Donald J. Spence ’94, Ormond Beach, Florida, was promoted to assistant professor of biology at Bethune-Cookman University. He also has published “Assessing the Survival of the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle and Laurel Wilt Pathogen in Wood Chips” in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Christopher D. Girata ’02, Dallas, Texas, was named the eighth rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas. Established in 1945, Saint Michael and All Angels is the nation’s second-largest Episcopal Church. He is in the process of completing his doctorate of ministry at Duke University. Girata already is recognized as a leader in the Episcopal Church, presenting regularly at national conferences.

Ed Hughes ’64, ’66 certainly hasn’t forgotten the lessons taught by his history professor at Stetson, Gilbert Lycan, Ph.D. Lycan directed his master’s thesis on American neutrality legislation in the 1930s — and that initial inspiration is infused throughout Hughes’ two recent books, “Governor John Milton and the War for Southern Independence” and “Civil War Correspondence.” The latter book is dedicated to Lycan, who taught at Stetson from the 1950s through the 1970s, wrote the first history of the university and has two Department of History awards in his name. Hughes, a retired educator and small businessman now living in Colombia, says Stetson “illuminated American history for me.” With his books and his passion, he’s seeking to continue doing the same.




well as perform the national anthem to start the commemorative parade. She also had the honor of directing her high school choir’s performance at the USS Missouri and the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park. Upon her return, her choir was invited to attend the D-Day Commemoration ceremonies in June 2019 in Normandy, France. Nora Porter Bailey ’14 and Patrick M. Bailey ’14, Tallahassee, Florida, currently are approaching graduation from Florida State University, College of Law. Nora will begin her career as a litigation attorney in the medical malpractice division of Wicker, Smith, O’Hara and McCoy, P.A. Patrick will attend Georgetown University to study medicine. Jennifer Wilson, JD ’15, LLM ’16, Tampa, Florida, has joined the law

firm Adams and Reese in Tampa as a government affairs adviser (non-lawyer lobbyist). She has a decade of experience working for the Florida Legislature, drafting and analyzing legislation as a staff member for four elected officials.

Marriages 1 Mercedes Lucas ’00 to Errol Thurston,

March 13, 2016.

2 Mallory Manning ’11 to Mike Sosinski,

May 27, 2016.

3 Elizabeth “Liz” Rollison ’14 to Josh Tew, June 18, 2016. 4 Lauren Bryan ’10, MBA ’11 to

Jeff Fernandez, Aug. 6, 2016.

5 Jessica Ford ’12, JD ’16 to Brian Tolin ’11, Aug. 6, 2016. 6 Kirsten Engel ’09 to Walter Connors, Sept. 24, 2016. 7 Nora Porter ’14 to Patrick Bailey ’14, Dec. 17, 2016.


Christian “Chase” Coleman ’16, Seattle, Washington, now is a marketing brand specialist at Starbucks’s corporate office. Five years ago, he began the career track as a barista.

Thelma Hagberg James ’49 and her husband, John, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last July. Thelma formerly sang with the Fort Myers Symphony Orchestra chorus and the Sarasota Sweet Adelines chorus. More recently, she sang with the Still Sharp Singers at the senior center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thelma and John reside at the Presbyterian Homes Retirement Center in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Births 8 Elizabeth Sullivan Rountree

’01 and husband Matthew, a son: William Robert in January 2016.

9 Julianne Holmes Young ’05 and husband George, a daughter: Ashlyn Isabelle in January 2015. 10 Christina Vathis Childears ’06 and husband James, a daughter: Ava Christina in September 2016. 11 Elizabeth Schaefer Shibly ’07, MBA ’10 and husband GabrielMaroun ’08, MAcc ’09, a daughter: Shay Neva in June 2016. 12 Amanda Bartholomew McNeill ’08 and husband Nicholas, a daughter: Isabella Joyce in May 2016. 13 Allyson McKenna Mullins ’09 and husband Greg ’10, a daughter: Isabella McKenna in March 2016. 14 Zach Whiting ’10 and wife

Juliana, a son: Jack Hudson in May 2016.

15 Robert Clark ’46 a greatgranddaughter: Lena Ruth Riddle in October 2016.

Service Through Golf When Steve Greiner ’83 began seeing wounded military personnel coming back to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006, he wanted to help. He was head professional of the Fort Belvoir Golf Club. Initially, he began giving lessons to Warrior Transition Units, which helped injured, active-duty military recover in the hopes they can rejoin their regular unit. In 2008, Greiner’s lessons grew into the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warrior Golf Program then further sprouted under the umbrella of the nonprofit organization Links of Freedom, where he now is the director. “I had no idea [the Wounded Warrior Golf Program] would be such a success,” says Greiner, who is not a military veteran. The eight-week program, held each spring and fall, pairs wounded warriors with a Professional Golfers’ Association of America member for free instruction sessions. It’s helped more than 1,200 service personnel. For his work, Greiner has been invited to the White House and won several national awards, including the 2016 Patriot Award, presented by the PGA to a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to military personnel. “Giving back is a culmination of all the schools I went to, including Stetson,” says Greiner, a management and marketing major who played for the Hatters golf team.




















In Memoriam ’40s Edwin L. Mason, LL.B. ’40 Mary Conte Napoli ’41 Kathryn Ward McCampbell ’42 Ralph A. Smith ’45 Dorothy Stephens Ganey ’46 Charles Clements ’47 Noble C. Doss, LL.B. ’49 Martha Hudson Harless ’49 Margaret Vriesenga Langford ’49 Varian Cooper Millirons ’49

’50s Mary Ainsworth Cooper ’50 Irvin Frank, LL.B. ’50 Gordon V. Frederick, LL.B. ’50 Margaret A. Rosenberger ’50 Stanley D. Shaull ’50 William H. Tuten ’50 Leonard G. Hardy ’51 Charles D. Patterson ’51 Dennis R. Dingle, LL.B. ’52 Anthony F. Kovacs ’52 Richard W. Lassiter ’52, LL.B. ’55 Richard E. Whipple ’52 Dorothy Bohren ’53 Madeline Dinkins Quinn ’53 George A. Schrieffer ’53 Lawrence R. Warrick, J.D. ’53 Clint Kimbrough ’54 Dolores Hancock Kimbrough ’54 Joe A. McClain ’55, J.D. ’58 George W. Phillips, LL.B. ’56 Sue Ferrell Roskosh ’56 Glee Griffith Langston ’57 David E. O’Neil, J.D. ’57 Marinelle Carr Simmons ’57 Theodore F. McLane, LL.B. ’58 William C. Strode, LL.B. ’58 Charles N. Wolfe ’58 Elizabeth Gregg Blodgett ’59 James G. Mahorner, J.D. ’59 Hugh E. Shiver ’59

’60s Jane Alexander Beloin ’60 Richard G. Bennett ’60 William G. Cone, LL.B. ’60 James E. Connolly, J.D. ’60 Thomas H. Fish, LL.B. ’60 Diane Grainger Freeland ’60 Gordon H. Richardson ’60 Rosalie Gregory Snyder ’60 Sid J. White, LL.B. ’60 John W. McCarthy, M.A. ’61



Ralph Watson ’61 Robert B. Miller, J.D. ’62 A. Robert Rizner ’62 J. Boone Sutherland ’62 Raymond E. Thompson, LL.B. ’62 Erma Jones Hoopes ’63 Terry W. Lung ’63 Lynn L. Plenge ’63 Gary W. Ostrom ’65 Raymond A. Alley, J.D. ’66 James D. Brown, J.D. ’66 George A. Pierce, J.D. ’66 James G. Roth ’67, J.D. ’70 Ruth Rainwater Smith ’69

’70s William R. Hawthorne, M.A. ’70 Jerry C. Soper, MBA ’70 Foster W. McFarland, MBA ’71 Mary Whelchel Smith, M.Ed ’71 James D. Henry, J.D. ’72 Teresa Deen Massey ’72 Sally Lambert Quirk, M.Ed ’72 Anna Esworthy Straight ’72 Michael S. Barranco, J.D. ’73

Lester E. Durst ’73 Stephen J. Finta, J.D. ’73 Edwin W. Held, J.D. ’73 Jeffrey D. Knowlton, J.D. ’73 Gordon L. Walker ’73 Gregory E. Gustavson, J.D. ’74 Ronald L. Hively, MBA ’74 Sara Edmondson Markey ’74 Edward A. Adamczyk ’75 David C. Bookhardt ’75 Steven R. McCain, J.D. ’76 Kenneth Rodman, J.D. ’76 Charles G. Weishaar ’76, MBA ’78 Bill McCullough ‘77 Alan L. Arons, J.D. ’77 James M. Douglass, J.D. ’77 Steven C. Henry, J.D. ’77 Richard D. Warnick, J.D. ’79

Mary Jean McAllister, J.D. ’81 Mark S. Thellman, J.D. ’81 G. Wade Harper ’82 Alexander H. Jackloske, J.D. ’83 Susan Tacy, J.D. ’83 David E. Taylor ’84 Eleanor Flood ’86 Robert E. Bickford, J.D. ’88, LL.M ’99 Kristin Koch ’89



Delys A. Dearmon, J.D. ’80 Michael H. Lubin, J.D. ’80 Sara Rodgers, M.Ed ’80 Ernestine Miller Stevenson, M.Ed ’80 John T. Bruner, J.D. ’81

Carol Wells Sarnese, M.S. ’02 Matthew T. Smith ’03 Bryan S. Funk ’06

’90s Sandra Mullgrav, J.D. ’91 Roger B. Ray, J.D. ’91 Kelly Burchette, M.Ed ’92 Candace C. Drake, J.D. ’92 Joseph D. Paul ’92 Judith G. Hill ’93 Kathryn M. Ray, J.D. ’99

Kristin Koch: Giving Life Kristin Koch ’89 (BA, Sociology) was born in Chicago, Illinois, with big brown eyes but also with very poor vision. She wore her first pair of glasses at 9 months and continued to wear them until she was able to get contact lenses at age 12. Because of the thick glasses, Kristin learned to live with teasing. Instead of having a negative impact, the teasing caused Kristin to develop a keen sensitivity to the needs of others and a desire to extend kindness and generosity to everyone she knew. Following her time at Stetson, she became a teacher — delighting her students with her dramatic presentations and zany costumes. In her last few years, she found great joy teaching special-needs students. Upon her sudden death at age 48 on Dec. 5, 2015, Koch donated her corneas, lungs, kidneys, heart and liver to those in need. The very eyes that failed Kristin gave sight to two recipients. For those reasons and more, on Jan. 2 Koch was a 2017 Rose Parade Honoree as part of the Donate Life Rose Parade float, “Teammates for Life.” The float depicted a spectacular Polynesian catamaran propelled by a team of 24 organ, eye and tissue transplant recipients rowing in unison. The 128th Rose Parade was held in Pasadena, California. In addition, family and friends of Koch were on campus last November to celebrate her life in Palm Court.


Servant Leader Michael Fronk, known to many Hatters as “Chap,� retired as Chaplain effective Nov. 1, 2016. A 1974 Stetson graduate with a major in religious studies, Fronk went on to earn a Master of Divinity in 1979 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He returned to Stetson as Chaplain in 2004 and became a cherished fixture on campus. In recent months, he had fallen ill, prompting students, staff, alumni and friends to share heartfelt memories of a true leader and Stetson treasure. Photo: Joel Jones



Office of University Marketing 421 N. Woodland Blvd., 8319 DeLand, FL 32723

STETSON is printed on FSCcertified paper.


Stetson Jazz Ensemble Patrick Hennessey, director Athens Theatre 7:30 p.m.

March 2

Stetson University Symphony Orchestra Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 Anthony Hose, conductor Daniil Zavlunov, musicologist Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

March 14

Stetson Concert Choir Timothy Peter, conductor Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

March 21

Great Organists at Stetson Series David Higgs, organ, Eastman School of Music, performs on Bach’s 332nd birthday. Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m Complimentary admission

March 28

Stetson University Symphonic Band Douglas Phillips, conductor, A Salute to John Philip Sousa and His Band The Peabody Auditorium, Daytona Beach 7:30 p.m. Complimentary admission

Great Guitarists at Stetson Extravaganza

March 16

Pasquale Rucco and Douglas James, guitars; Elliot Frank, guitar Rucco and James specialize in the guitar literature of the early 19th century, performed on authentic instruments of the period. Frank has received worldwide praise for his unique blend of powerful virtuosity, beautiful tone and natural musicianship. Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall, 7:30 p.m., Complimentary admission

March 17

David Russell, guitar, Russell, a Grammy Award winner, is renowned for his superb musicianship and inspired artistry. Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall, 7:30 p.m., Complimentary admission

Oscar Bluemner: Becoming a Painter, works from the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection, through May 3 at the Hand Art Center

April 4

Stetson Chamber Orchestra Anthony Hose, conductor Featuring Dvořák’s Serenade Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

April 11

Stetson Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra Bach’s St. John Passion Simon Carrington, conductor Derek Chester, evangelist Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m.

April 25

Stetson Choral Union Brahms’ Requiem Sandra Peter, conductor First Baptist Church, 7:30 p.m.

April 26

Stetson Jazz Ensemble Patrick Hennessey, director Athens Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

April 28

Stetson University Symphony Orchestra Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, Michael Rickman, piano Anthony Hose, conductor Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall 7:30 p.m. Pre-concert talk by Daniil Zavlunov, musicologist Tinsley Room, Presser Hall 6:30 p.m. All events held in DeLand, Florida, unless otherwise noted. More information: music/calendar

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