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ADVENTURE AND DISCOVERY Plus a wild ride in college baseball

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STETSON | Summer 2018

A moment in time. This photo, captured outside of the Athletics Training Center, was taken in August 2014, during incoming students’ first week on campus, as part of FOCUS (Friends on Campus Uniting Students). The comprehensive orientation program, designed to help new students have a successful transition to a life at Stetson, is a requirement for all first-year and transfer students with less than 24 credits. On May 12, most of these students pictured were among the 648 recipients of undergraduate degrees as part of Commencement 2018. Congratulations!

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

24 Departments


2 BEGINNINGS A Moment in Time


6 WELCOME Delicious Ambiguity 7 LETTERS Reader Responses 8 INTELLIGENTSIA News and Notes About Knowledge 18 FIRST PERSON Once in a Lifetime 20 IMPACT Transformative and Timely 54 ATHLETICS Net Gains 56 ALUMNI Celebrating Hatters Everywhere 62 THE CLASSES Accolades and Achievements 67 PARTING SHOT Juris Doctors

The anatomy of an acronym in plain English — celebrating its 60th anniversary

24 Armed With Commitment

Military leaders look back at their success in service as well as their humbler Hatter beginnings.

30 Let’s Turn on the Sun

When it comes to the cost of college, educators should be given the chance to collaborate on solutions.

Editor Michael Candelaria Designer Michelle Martin Editorial Assistant Donna Nassick Art and Photography Bobby Fishbough, Joel Jones, Nick Leibee, Brittany Strozzo Writers Jamie Bataille, Markus Bates ’91, Andy Butcher, Rick de Yampert, Marie Dinklage, Tressa Gill Fanoe, J.D., Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., Amy Gipson, Ricky Hazel, Cory Lancaster, Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., Brandi Palmer, Trish Wieland Class Notes Editor Cathy Foster STETSON UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE is published three times a year by Stetson University, DeLand, FL 32723, and is distributed to its alumni, families, friends, faculty and staff. The magazine is printed on FSC-certified paper. The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Music are at the historic main campus in DeLand. The College of Law is in Gulfport/St. Petersburg. The university also has two satellite centers: the Tampa Law Center and the Stetson University Center at Celebration near Orlando.

Want to add, remove or change your magazine subscription?

Email to universitymagazine@stetson.edu.


STETSON | Summer 2018



Adventure and Discovery 32 Grand Slam

50 ‘Moments of Discomfort’

36 Hatters Against Homelessness

52 Array of Options

The Hatters’ wild ride onto college baseball’s national stage produced great drama and lasting impact for their university.

The search for self has, in turn, helped to save others.

44 Exploration Equals Growth

In her quest for true direction, Maria Wrabel ’12 has finally found just the right course to satisfy her appetite for service: helping to feed the world.

46 Yellow Brick Road

For Elijah McCoy ’19, “home” is maximizing time and opportunities on campus, even if the final destination isn’t yet known.

48 The Science of Self-Study

Sarah Coffey ’18, Stetson’s first Environmental Values Fellow, departs with degree in hand and a new perspective of the horizon.

Maxwell Droznin ’16 went from medical-school rejection to assessing community needs and prescribing public-health remedies. Along the way, he fixed himself, too.

Beams of inspiration from unlikely sources led students Alexa Fortuna ’18 and Jimmy Dean ’20 to a potential landmark project for the university.

On the Cover The Hatters celebrate advancing in the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship after defeating Oklahoma State University on June 3 at Melching Field in DeLand. Photo by Steve Simoneau

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Delicious Ambiguity Here’s the thing about journeys: They send you into unmapped terrain. They disregard your expectations. Your destination, and whatever crosses your path in your attempt to get there, are outcomes unknown at the start of your adventure. Even if you have a notion of where you’re going, there are no guarantees that you’ll end up there. This is true whether you are a military officer on assignment or a new grad exploring your calling in life. Like it or not, journeys test your mettle. They place decisions at your feet like boulders — decisions about pursuing opportunities that align with your values, decisions that demand you sort through ethical dilemmas. You’ll read such stories in this issue. Journeys expose you to new people and ideas, and open you up to joy and your own humanity. Jason Cruz ’17 discovered this while volunteering at The Neighborhood Center, where he met Bob, who taught Jason about making a human connection, about genuineness and respect. There are lessons to learn and opportunities to be better versions of ourselves, if we only pay attention to the moments when our life

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” – Comedian Gilda Radner (1946-1989)


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intersects with others. Journeys will scoop you up and set you down a changed person, if you allow it. There is nothing linear about them. You’ll read on these pages about a student who experienced growth through exploration and another who dabbled in lots of interests. For both Sarah Coffey ’18 and Maria Wrabel ’12, one thing led to another, and suddenly there they were — living authentically, living their passions. Such adventures give you inspiration. What you witness on your journey — whether it’s poverty and homelessness or a planet being depleted of its resources — can be motivators for change. We become “solutionaries,” in the words of Rajni ShankarBrown, Ph.D., or like students Alexa Fortuna ’18 and Jimmy Dean ’20, who moved the idea of establishing a renewable solar energy farm on campus into reality. Wherever your own journey is taking you, I hope that Stetson has been a guiding light in your life — transformative, encouraging and prompting you to seek new discoveries, new adventures. Write the book, stage the play, start the project, board the plane. Say, “yes,” if only to see what you encounter along the way. And, send me a note and let me know where your journey has taken you.

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


Alumni News Back to 1893 Congratulations on your Spring 2018 magazine! As an old member of the alumni class of ’72, I was very impressed with the editorials and especially the 1893 picture. I can’t think of anything else that conjured up more feelings of nostalgia and educational fulfillment. Personally, my immediate reaction was to wonder what became of those past classmates in the picture. But there was no opportunity for me to research that because of the lack of information related to the picture. Roger Sanders ’72 Editor: According to “The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and Other Military Training Programs at Stetson University” by Gilbert L. Lycan (Stetson University Press/Copyright 1985), a course in military training was first introduced at Stetson in 1890. The 1892 catalog stated that the young men in military drill preferred to wear a “uniform, including cap,” and that the university would supply these at an expense of $13 to $16 per pupil.”

Liberal Education


Fact or Fake?

I just read your article in the new Stetson magazine about liberal education (“Fact or Learning to discern the Fake,” Spring 2018 issue). It truth, especially in uncertain times, was wonderful and very is at the core of a liberal-arts education. important, especially in these times. There have been many conversations I’ve overheard or been part of where people talk about why aren’t there more trade schools or vocational programs or certification programs, and that people don’t need to get a college degree. It’s sort of a feeling of a general consensus that we have too many collegeeducated people without the skills to be gainfully employed. So, it was really nice to be reminded of the many other important aspects of getting a college education! And, discerning what’s real from what’s not. … I hope our son ends up getting his master’s degree at Stetson. He’s talking about it. Kathleen Collins Steen ’85 (master’s degree) BY WEN DY B. LIBBY, PH . D. , PRESIDEN T, S TET SON UN IVERSIT Y


he 2016 presidential-election process got me thinking about the value of a liberal education, and I haven’t stopped since then — but not for the reasons you might suppose.

My intent isn’t to continue adding fuel to our nation’s still-heated political environment. Instead, I’d like to reflect on higher education’s role at a time when “alternative facts” and “fake news” remain a fixture in our national conversation, stirring up a mood of uncivil discontent and mistrust. Let’s pause for a moment and look beyond unsettling headlines. Colleges and universities are part of a pervasive media narrative that reflects and feeds public concern about the affordability, return on investment, and even the necessity of a liberal-arts degree. According to Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the devaluing of a college degree has been “exacerbated by the recent political jockeying and appeals to people’s fears and prejudices, in which rational inquiry built on evidence has all but been abandoned.” Pasquerella made the statement in January 2017. It remains valid today. As president of Stetson — a private liberal-arts university, of course — I hold myself accountable for doing more to champion the outcomes of liberal education. I urge other educators to join me in that crusade.


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In particular, I see an opportunity to reaffirm liberal education’s role in discerning the truth, not as an ivory-tower exercise but as a requisite for building the next generation of informed citizens. Fundamentally, a liberal-arts education helps students understand that facts can mislead, particularly when taken in isolation or without proper context. An ironic case in point: fake news. The rise of alternative facts may seem like an aberration of our current political environment, but fake news is actually a time-honored American tradition. Back in the founding days of the republic, John Adams and his fellow Boston patriots planted fake stories aimed at undermining royal authority in Massachusetts. Benjamin Franklin was an especially skilled

I am reading the recent Stetson University Magazine (Spring 2018 issue) and enjoying it very much. I taught magazine journalism for 25 years and have judged many magazine contests. Your graphic design and layout are very excellent and among the best I’ve seen. I am enjoying the news and features about students, faculty and alumni. I like this issue better than some previous issues that focused on “values,” “ethics” and “meaning,” and other esoteric topics. Probably like most alumni, I turn to the alumni news first to see what any of my former classmates are doing. David E. Sumner ’69 Professor Emeritus of Journalism Ball State University, 1990-2015 Editor: To read more about Sumner’s own alumni news, see Page 62.)

Russian Influence I am writing about the short article in the Spring 2018 issue about the start of Stetson’s Russian program in 1958 (“Russia at Stetson: 1958-2018”). I was a new freshman at Stetson in 1958 and — in that Cold War climate — I decided to meet my foreign-language requirement by studying Russian. Serge Zenkovsky, Ph.D., and his wife Betty taught the two years of Russian that I took. After graduation in 1962, I arrived at an Arizona university to pursue a master’s degree in mathematics. Again, there was a foreign-language requirement that I chose to satisfy by taking a one-semester course in Scientific Russian. The instructor was a native Russian woman who taught a really tough course. … Four years later, I returned to the same university to pursue a doctorate in mathematics, which required two foreign-language certifications. For some reason, I needed the approval of the Russian department chair to accept my Scientific Russian course as meeting one of those requirements. He insisted that he would not grant approval because the instructor of that course didn’t have a Ph.D. … All my arguments fell on deaf ears, but as I was leaving, I turned and remarked, “Dr. Zenkovsky would be very disappointed,” to which he replied “SERGE Zenkovsky? How do you know him?” When I replied that I had taken undergraduate Russian from Dr. Zenkovsky and his wife for two years at Stetson, he said, “Oh, well, in that case, yes, your Russian requirement is satisfied.” Judith (MacKenzie) Gersting ’62 Editor: Go to Page 22 for more about Russian studies at Stetson. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



During Commencement 2018, 648 undergraduate students received degrees at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium near campus.

Awarding Excellence at Commencement “All your hard work, sacrifices and sheer persistence, and the support of the people that love you, have gotten you to this milestone day, to new beginnings. I am so proud of you.” With those words, Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., offered congratulations to the Class of 2018 to open Commencement 2018 on May 12 at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium near the university’s historic campus in DeLand. A total of 648 undergraduate students received degrees. Two days earlier, 180 students were awarded degrees during Graduate Commencement. A week later at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, 268 J.D. students walked across the Plaza Mayor Courtyard on campus. Awards during the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony: • Alexandra Overdijking, Bachelor of Business Administration with double majors in accounting, and business systems and analytics, received the Etter McTeer Turner Award for outstanding academic performance, leadership and community service. • The Hand Award for Community Impact was presented to Pamela CappasToro, Ph.D., assistant professor of world languages and cultures (Spanish). • Terence Farrell, Ph.D., professor of biology, received the Hand Award for Research, Creative and Professional Activity. • The William Hugh McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching — considered Stetson’s most prestigious faculty award — was presented to Megan O’Neill, Ph.D., associate professor of English. On May 11, at the 2018 Undergraduate Awards and Recognition Ceremony, more than 50 awards were given to students and faculty. The event was held at Lee Chapel on campus. Approximately 30 awards also were presented to outstanding academic achievers at other college, school and university program venues. The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, jointly conferred by Stetson and The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to two members of the graduating class 8

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As part of the undergraduate awards, Medorie Petersen-Woodburn was honored as 2017-2018 Social Justice Advocate (standing with Grady Ballenger, Ph.D., professor of English). Petersen-Woodburn majored in social science and minored in gender studies and creative writing. She will attend New York University in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in social work.

(male and female) for “nobility of character,” was presented to Adam Cooper, a chemistry major, and Sarah Coffey, who majored in environmental science and geography. (See Page 48.) The John Hague Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences was presented to Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and director of Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. (See Page 22.)






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Renderings no longer will be needed this fall, when the Commons Dining Hall highlights renovations of the Carlton Union Building.

CUB Roaring Back to Life When the fall semester 2018 begins, students will find the Commons Dining Hall has been expanded, and offices for student groups and other spaces to study and gather have been constructed in the Carlton Union Building. In all, the second phase of the three-year CUB expansion and renovation is scheduled for completion by August, bringing many changes to the hub of campus activity. Hungry? The Commons Dining Hall will offer more food choices, including pizza from a stonehearth oven and meal stations with such features as a Mongolian grill, a larger salad bar, home-style cooking, and foods that avoid gluten and eight top allergens. When students return in August, they will enter the new Commons Dining Hall from the North Lobby, across from the Campus Bookstore. Workers will finish the final phase of the CUB project — renovating the south wing — by early January 2019, with a renovated Coffee Shop, Faculty Lounge and offices on the second floor for Campus Life and Student Success. Upon project completion, the west façade of the CUB will look much the same as when it opened in the late 1950s. But the interior and east façade of the building will be transformed, noted Al Allen, associate vice president of Facilities Management. “The design in ’57 was to make this like someone’s home, which is all individual rooms,” Allen said. “What the architect has done is he’s kept that look on the outside but opened up the building from the inside.” – Cory Lancaster 10

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Academic Wins According to the NCAA’s multiyear Academic Progress Rate report for all Division I athletics teams, announced in late May, the Hatters were winners in the classroom. Among Stetson Athletics’ 17 NCAA sports — men’s rowing is not an NCAA championship sport — nearly all performed well above the minimum threshold (930) on the four-year APR report. Three programs recorded perfect multiyear scores: beach volleyball (1000), men’s cross country (1000) and women’s golf (1000). All were honored with NCAA Public Recognition Awards for posting APR scores in the top 10 percent of their sport. Other programs achieving high multiyear APR scores were women’s rowing (987), men’s golf (986), indoor volleyball (984), lacrosse (982), men’s soccer (980), women’s soccer (979), softball (977), men’s tennis (974), baseball (969), football (965), women’s tennis (958), women’s cross country (954), and women’s basketball (933). In addition, Stetson had five programs achieve perfect 1000 single-year APR scores for the 2016-2017 academic year: beach volleyball, men’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf and women’s tennis. Eleven other programs posted single-year scores of 950 or above. Implemented in 2003 as part of an academic reform effort in Division I, the APR is designed to hold institutions accountable for academic progress among their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term. – Ricky Hazel

DID YOU KNOW? Joanne Harris-Duff began as Stetson’s new director of Diversity and Inclusion in May. Harris-Duff arrived from Bridgewater College, a small private liberal arts college in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where she was the director of the Center for Diversity Education and Advocacy since 2015. Notably, Harris-Duff and her four siblings all were first-generation students, each receiving an advanced degree, with her parents owning a pig farm in Virginia and also working full time to support the family. After she and her four siblings completed college, Harris-Duff’s mother earned a bachelor’s degree and then, at age 58, a master’s degree.

Beach volleyball was among three Hatters programs to receive perfect multiyear scores as part of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate report.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Stetson Law was named the first American Bar Association Competitions Champion. First row from left: Allison Belanger, Julia Alley, Olivia Mejido, Vanessa Denk. Second row from left: Interim Dean Kristen Adams, Sy-Woei Hao, Mark Joseph, Jenna Jordan, Meghan Sullivan, Caroline Garrity, Jahanna Azarian and Professor Erika McArdle. Photo by Brian Vandervliet

Crowning Achievement in Law Stetson University College of Law has been crowned champion — specifically, the first American Bar Association Competitions Champion. Stetson’s Dispute Resolution Board achieved a perfect record of advancing to nationals in all four dispute-resolution competitions sponsored by the ABA — the first school ever to achieve that distinction. This year, more than 1,300 students from 156 law schools participated in one or more of the competitions sponsored by the ABA Law Student Division. Competition areas included arbitration, client counseling, negotiation and appellate advocacy. The Competitions Champion award is presented to the law school that accrues the most points through team achievements and participation. Judges for the competitions include attorneys and sitting judges. – Brandi Palmer


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Fighting Crimes Against Women The global prominence of Stetson Professor of Law Luz Nagle continues to rise. Nagle has been appointed co-chair of the Crimes Against Women Subcommittee of the Professor International Bar Association, serving through Luz Nagle December 2019. The IBA is the largest lawyer association in the world. Nagle is the author of numerous book chapters, articles and the 2017 book “Understanding Human Trafficking, Corruption, and Optics of Misconduct in the Public, Private, and NGO Sectors: Causes, Actors and Solutions.” She specializes in international law, international criminal law and national security law, and has been a visiting professor and lecturer in the United States, Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Mexico, Panama and Spain. Currently, Nagle serves as a trustee of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute Trust after serving on the IBA’s Human Rights Institute Council and holding other significant leadership appointments with the IBA’s Legal Practice Division Council and the Criminal Law Section. Also, she has served on several IBA task forces involving terrorism, corruption, criminal justice reform and combating human trafficking. – Brandi Palmer

All About Ethics When Stetson students made their case for business ethics in late April, they obviously also made an impression. At the International Business Ethics Case Competition in Boston, against fellow undergraduates from 30 institutions representing seven countries, Stetson took home first- and second-place prizes. Stetson’s Megan Christopher ’18 (finance major) and Alex Overdijking ’18 (accounting and business analytics major) won first place in the 10-minute presentation in a division that included Mount Holyoke College, Marist College, the University of Miami, the University of Navarra and Istanbul Commerce University. Stetson won second place in the full presentation (30 minutes) in a division that included Holy Cross, Montgomery College, UMass-Lowell, Loyola Marymount University and Istanbul Commerce University. Teams invited to the IBECC competition select their own case for presentation at the event. The Stetson team prepared a case titled “Allergan Sell Restasis to St. Regis Mohawk Tribe: Creative I.P. Solution or Gaming the System?” Student teams were asked to assume the identity of consultants who are offering advice to a company considering how to deal with an ethical dilemma facing the firm. They were required to deliver a 30-minute presentation, a 10-minute presentation and a 90-second presentation on the financial, legal and ethical implications of the decision facing the company board of directors. Aside from the United States, teams competed from Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Kuwait, China and Australia. – Marie Dinklage

DID YOU KNOW? Sam Friedman has been named Stetson’s first Hillel director, tasked with helping to shape Jewish student life on campus and engaging students in Jewish life, learning and Israel through Stetson’s Office of Spiritual Life. Previously, Friedman worked as director of community relations and assistant director for Central Florida Hillel. In that position, he oversaw all marketing and branding for the organization, which increased student engagement by 20 percent. Earlier, Friedman was an Israel and global initiatives associate for the Jewish Federation

Francisco Ortiz brings four decades of law enforcement to Stetson.

Meet Chief ‘Cisco’ Francisco Ortiz became Stetson’s new director of Public Safety and coordinator of Emergency Management on June 1. Ortiz replaced the popular Bob Matusick, who retired and had been at Stetson since June 2008, following a 30-year career with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Ortiz arrived on campus in DeLand with a 39-year career in law enforcement, beginning in his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. He joined the New Haven Police Department in 1978 and was appointed police chief of New Haven in 2003. After also serving communities in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as Amherst, South Hadley and Northampton, Massachusetts, he transitioned to higher education. He was director of Public Security at Yale University, director of Campus Safety for Trinity College and interim chief of police at Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges. Regarding his own education, Ortiz earned a master’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of New Haven, where he also served as an adjunct professor in criminal justice. He is a graduate of the 170th session of the FBI National Academy, along with the Senior Management Institute for Police through the Police Executive Research Forum and the Management Training Institute of Yale University. Additionally, Ortiz has remained an active member of the National Latino Peace Officers Association. Notably, for those who know Matusick, these words will resonate: “Stetson will always be home. And I’ve told those who care to listen to me that I’ll be back. Who knows, maybe when the students are coming back for the beginning of next year, I might be here volunteering and saying, ‘Can I help you get your stuff in your room?’ … That’s my goal. I don’t want to overstay my welcome, but I do want to help.” – Michael Candelaria and Cory Lancaster

of Palm Beach County. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Centurion Sales winners — front row from left: Joel Hinton; Leo Fernandez (Stetson alumnus and program benefactor); Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.; Marilina Fernandez; Kristen Lipcsey; Carli Legere; Cody Sprague. Back row: Jamieson Craske; Valan Tune; Suzette Watson; Morgan Tarala; John Riggs, D.B.A., Centurion Sales Program director; Dillon Galloway; James Fyles; Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business Administration. The victory occurred at the 20th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition, an invitation-only event.

Centurion Moment Stetson’s Centurion Sales Program, in its first year of existence, earned the title of best 2018 Rookie Sales Program at the 20th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition this spring. The invitation-only event gives students from 73 elite sales programs worldwide an opportunity to exhibit and enhance selling skills in the longest-running university-sales role-play competition. The event was described as the Super Bowl of collegiate sales competitions by John Riggs, D.B.A., executive director of the Centurion Sales Program. Students were tasked with a practical role-play simulation, where their sales skills were observed and evaluated by faculty and sales executives from various industries. During the elimination-style tournament, students are allocated 20 minutes to complete a sales call with fictional customers. Judges included faculty, as well as actual sales managers and sales executives from various industries. With the win, the Centurion Sales Program also secured an automatic invitation to next year’s competition. — Marie Dinklage 14

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DID YOU KNOW? Giovanni Fernandez, Ph.D., has been appointed executive director of Graduate Programs in the School of Business Administration. The appointment, according to Dean Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., is part of Stetson’s ongoing efforts to build on traditional strengths in undergraduate business programs to then create distinctive graduate programs that prepare graduates to meet the challenges of leading business organizations in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Fernandez arrived at Stetson in 2012 from Florida International University in Miami, where he was born and raised. In his new position, Fernandez will oversee the creation of those graduate programs by integrating traditional and technological methods and developing new teaching practices.

New Sustainable Minor What began as food for thought now has become an official academic program. This fall marks the launch of a new minor in Sustainable Food Systems through Stetson’s Department of Environmental Science and Studies. The program was approved this spring by Provost Noel Painter, Ph.D., and can be paired with any undergraduate degree. The minor requires five courses and 20 credit hours. Approval also is expected from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting body. Sustainable Food Systems is an emerging field of study and popular with college students today, with a growing number of universities adding programs, according to Wendy Anderson, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Studies. Stetson’s program will be interdisciplinary, with courses taught by professors of public health, chemistry and other environmental sciences, as well as media and communication. Also, within a year or two, the minor may be expanded into a major, Anderson noted. — Cory Lancaster

This fall, Sarah Cramer, Ph.D., will become a Brown Visiting Teacher-Scholar, teaching two courses in Sustainable Food Systems. She joins the faculty after earning a doctorate in agricultural education from the University of Missouri.

Changes at the Top



This spring, Stetson’s College of Law and the School of Music saw deans depart, although one is remaining on campus. At the College of Law, Christopher Pietruszkiewicz has left to become president of the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana, as announced by Executive Vice President and Provost Noel Painter, Ph.D. On an interim basis, Pietruszkiewicz was replaced by Professor Kristen Adams. In early June, Painter announced that Thomas Masse, Ph.D., elected to step down as dean of the School of Music but will return to the faculty as professor of music. Information about interim leadership was not available at press time. Pietruszkiewicz strengthened the College of Law throughout an “astonishingly challenging period of contraction in the law market,” Painter cited. Most recently, the College of Law earned especially high grades from U.S. News & World Report. (See Page 16.)

Notably, Adams is the previous holder of the Leroy Highbaugh Sr. Chair in faculty research, and has authored or co-authored five books. Her many activities and associations include membership in the American Law Institute, chair of the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Uniform Commercial Code Committee, editor-in-chief of the UCC Law Journal, and the faculty adviser for the Stetson College of Law Dispute Resolution Board. Masse, who prior to Stetson was the associate provost for the arts at Yale University, led the School of Music for the past five years, a time marked by enrollment growth and successful faculty hiring, Painter noted. With two grants funded through the Presser Foundation since 2013, Masse also brought improvements in efficiency, technology and utility to the School’s music spaces while attracting renowned visiting artists and ensuring excellence for both students and ensembles, Painter said. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Top Law Rankings Again Stetson University College of Law is again ranked as the No. 1 law school for Trial Advocacy, according to U.S. News & World Report. Also, Stetson was ranked second in Legal Writing. Previously, Legal Writing had ranked fourth. This marks the 20th time in 24 years that Stetson has ranked as the top law school for Trial Advocacy, while also consistently being named among the top six legal writing programs since the inception of the Legal Writing rankings. In addition, Stetson Law is again listed among the top 100 law schools across the nation. The reasons for the high rankings are simple, according to Charles Rose III, professor of excellence in trial advocacy and director of Stetson’s Center for Excellence in Advocacy: “Stetson empowers students to advocate, speaking truth to power on behalf of clients whenever and wherever they are called to do so. Our advocates are powerful, compassionate and persuasive — keeping the promise of a commitment to excellence in word and deed that is the hallmark of a Stetson education.” — Brandi Palmer 16

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DID YOU KNOW? In May, Stetson took only one boat to the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia, but that was all the Hatters needed to make their mark at collegiate rowing’s most prestigious event. The Men’s Varsity 4+ earned a silver medal, the first in program history. More success appears to be on the horizon. No seniors were in the group, and the Hatters have a strong group of incoming first-year crew members.

New Look for Athletics A return from the past is moving the Hatters into the future. At a special event in May, student-athletes took to the stage in the Rinker Field House on campus for a “fashion show,” wearing new Nike uniforms that sported freshly restyled Athletics logo/brand marks designed to capture both historic Hatters spirit and progressive movement into the future. The show — a culmination of two years of research and development involving all sectors of the Stetson community — was a home run, a slam dunk, a touchdown. The highlight of the logo redesign is a warm embrace of the Stetson “S” in place of “SU.” Also gone is the hat sitting tilted atop the SU. Instead, a new centered, tilted hat is introduced and neatly incorporated into the Stetson “S” to infuse “energy” and “excitement.” The hat comes with a lively accent band. Notably, the lone S is a return to Stetson’s past, when it was the standard-bearer for Hatters Athletics for nearly a century. In the late 1990s, a transition away from the “S” brought “SU.” Lately, however, marketplace confusion had emerged, with people seeing the SU and “thinking Stetson was in Texas,” noted Director of Athletics Jeff Altier. To further strengthen ties to tradition, the existing Stetson Athletics’ Green and the university’s Stetson Green are the only predominant colors, accompanied by white, black and gray — with their use strictly outlined in a Stetson Athletics brand identity book. Along with addressing marketplace confusion, the move to the new looks was prompted by an increasing lack of brand “continuity and consistency” — with many variations among Stetson’s intercollegiate sports. Additionally, the need for great brand unity was heightened by an Athletics expansion initiative that began in 2011. Research for a new Athletics brand commenced in 2016, with preliminary proposals from six agencies being pared to one. The selected agency, Joe Bosack & Co., based in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, was given the mandate to develop a brand mark that “was true to who we are but also distinctive,” said Joel Jones, assistant vice president of University Marketing. Bosack, the agency’s founder and creative director, began his career in the creative-services department of the National Hockey League before becoming the art director for Fila U.S.A., where he helped to launch a successful new addition to the Fila product line. In 1998, Bosack founded his firm, which now is recognized as a leading sports-branding expert with dozens of universities, colleges, leagues and sports associations as clients. The outcome: A new era beckons for Stetson Athletics. — Michael Candelaria

Women’s Basketball in 1910: The women’s basketball team, as featured in the 1910 yearbook with their coach, Fred Botts. Note the Old English varsity “S” on the players’ uniforms. Pictured: Fred Botts, Juno Wright (team captain), Julia Bunch, Bettie Quarterman, Hazel Prugh and Anna Post. Botts, a Stetson graduate and former football captain, coached the women’s basketball team for several years. He also was an active member of the Alumni Association, having earned a Bachelor of Science in 1908 and a law degree in 1909.

Looking Back The varsity “S” was awarded to studentathletes by the Athletic Association, a joint effort between students and the administration that oversaw intercollegiate sports for both men and women. The Old English “S” was used exclusively for basketball, tennis and track, while football and baseball players were awarded block-type letters. As Stetson’s catalog for the 1909-1910 school year boasts, “In the land of blue skies, summer recreations run through winter.” Among the activities available to students were gymnastics, football, baseball, basketball, track and field, golf and tennis. Students also took advantage of Central Florida’s natural environs as well as “the shell roads for miles about DeLand” by going swimming, sailing, fishing, bicycling and horseback riding. A popular sport for college women in 1910, basketball was still relatively new then. Invented in 1891, the game was quickly adapted for play among young ladies, and the first rule book for women was written in 1893. By 1906, women’s basketball had become sufficiently popular as to grace the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, the catalog described. — Kelly Larson, Archivist, Archives & Special Collections, Stetson’s duPont-Ball Library

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Once in a Lifetime

Reflections from study (and adventures) abroad 29 years ago bring fond memories and global perspective. BY M A R K U S B AT E S ’ 91


y junior year abroad, as part of Stetson University’s program in Freiburg, Germany, will always mark one of the most profound years of my life.

In November 1989, I was in Berlin with fellow Stetson classmates, just days before the Berlin Wall fell and German reunification took place. The German national soccer team won the World Cup in 1990, and I attended two of the team’s games in Milan, Italy. Those were special moments in time. However, the highlight was taking a glider plane ride over the majestic Black Forest. That adventure, like the trip itself, provided great perspective. Located in the southwestern corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland and France in the Black Forest, Freiburg boasts something that no other German city has: the most sun days per year in the country. The city’s history, dating back to the 11th century, is evident in its buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and, of course, Münster Cathedral.


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It wasn’t until I arrived in Freiburg that I found that of the roughly 300,000 residents, more than 100,000 were students at “The Uni,” the name students affectionately gave to Albert-LudwigsUniversitaet Freiburg. A fun name. Yet, I believe the advantage Freiburg has over any large university in the United States is its world reach and cultural diversity. Students arrive from 120 nations by virtue of the university’s geographical location, top-notch academics and, generally, its international appeal. In 2012, Freiburg Universitaet was ranked the top German university. Mostly what I learned from Stetson’s Freiburg program was to have real dialogue about culture and politics with Germans, Iranians, Turks, et al., while at the same time being the finest ambassador I could in educating students from other nations about the equality, individualism and private free enterprise that make my own country great. Surprising to me was that my German academic major played more of a role than my political science major in landing my first job with a German company in Manhattan in 1991. With Ruhrkohle Trading, a global commodities corporation, I traveled

Summer 2018 Study Abroad Faculty-led, field-course programs: British History and the Natural Environment Students spend 16 days doing field studies in the United Kingdom, studying the history, landscape, natural ecology, cultural heritage management and land-use management of the Neolithic through medieval periods. — Led by Kimberly Reiter, Ph.D., associate professor of ancient and medieval history

Freiburg, which offers the most sun days annually in Germany, proved to be a bright spot for education, too.

the world and built on the lessons learned at Freiburg Universitaet. Respecting other viewpoints and cultures proved to be a great asset in successfully navigating cultural landscapes and negotiating the trade of seaborne cargoes of natural resources — from Brazil and China to Japan, South Africa and others. For more than 12 years in New York, I worked for three companies, Ruhrkohle Trading, Evolution Markets and Wood Mackenzie, as well as three years for a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal in Baltimore, Maryland. The remainder of my career has been spent in homebased trading or advisory commodities businesses for global financial firms. It is my belief that all students should take advantage of a semester or a year abroad as part of their tertiary education — to gain better linguistic skills and, more importantly, a greater understanding of foreign cultures and how other countries operate. I certainly wouldn’t be the same without that junior year abroad. Markus Bates earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and German from Stetson in 1991. Following graduation, Bates held senior executive positions in the trade of global commodities for 13 years. In 2011, he attained an ongoing education graduate degree in accounting from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Bates lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and runs his own management consulting firm.

Cuba: Justice, Equity and Clash of Ideologies Cuba’s historical landscape goes under the microscope, as the course identifies and critiques competing claims of injustice and fairness. Other areas of study include issues of social justice and equity related to the future of Cuba, as regime change nears and as rapprochement with the United States moves forward. — Led by Lou Paris, Ph.D., assistant professor of practice in management and assistant director of the Prince Entrepreneurship Program Summer Innsbruck Program This program features travel to Austria and offers business courses taught by full-time Stetson faculty and distinguished visitors. The program also offers liberal arts courses for non-business majors. In addition, students have the opportunity to interact with international business leaders who guest lecture in classes and to visit multinational firms as well as World Heritage Sites located in the surrounding area. — Led by Jon Carrick, Ph.D., associate chair of the Department of Management and associate professor of management Scotland Summer Program In collaboration with Jacksonville and Utah Valley universities, students travel to Inverness, Scotland, to learn about marketing, international business and management at The University of The Highlands and Islands-Inverness College. The course also includes student participation in a consulting project with local businesses. — Led by Carol Azab, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing Spanish and Latin American Studies in Ecuador Students focus on immersive experiences such as learning the language and interacting with both the physical and human environments of Ecuador. They participate in homestays, overnight visits in Native American communities and one-on-one language exchanges with Ecuadorean students who are studying English. — Led by Robert Sitler, Ph.D., professor of world languages and cultures, and director of the Latin American Studies Program Source: World: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Transformative and Timely With a “huge sea change” on the way, Stetson now seeks to ride a wave of generosity into a new era of science and health education. BY AMY GIPSON


n April, longtime supporters and trustees Hyatt and Cici Brown made an $18 million “investment” in science and health education at Stetson — the largest single gift in the university’s history, as part of the Beyond Success — Significance comprehensive fundraising campaign. “Hyatt and Cici’s belief in the value of a Stetson education is inspiring,” said Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., at the time. “Neither are Stetson graduates, but they have long taken on volunteer leadership roles at the university. They have supported faculty innovation and excellence, art and music, scholarships and athletics, among various other initiatives.” Perhaps even those encompassing remarks were an understatement. The Browns directed their generosity to help Stetson meet the increasing student demand for health and science majors and employer demands for those graduates in high-paying jobs. Additionally, their investment in Stetson as a generator of thought leadership, economic prosperity and talent enhances faculty and student research capabilities while also contributing to the economic growth and vitality of Central Florida, particularly in West Volusia. In a word, the potential impact is transformative. “We’ve invested in this institution because we believe in it,” Cici Brown commented. “We believe in the future; we believe in this institution in a big way. We find the Stetson program to be very, very exciting. Hyatt and I are absolutely thrilled to be part of it.”


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During the announcement of their history-making gift, Hyatt and Cici Brown emphasized the need for health and science education.

“Hyatt and Cici’s belief in the value of a Stetson education is inspiring. ... They have supported faculty innovation and excellence, art and music, scholarships and athletics, among various other initiatives.” President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.

Between 2016 and 2026, as America ages, health care is projected to be the fastest-growing employment sector (by 18 percent), outpacing all other sectors of the economy nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Florida alone, there are more than 55,000 unfilled STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs, and since 2010 the labor demand in these fields has increased by more than 63 percent, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce. From 2006 to 2016, there was a 100-percent increase in student interest in the biological sciences, cites the College Board. Similarly, there was a 61-percent increase in interest in natural resources and conservation, and a 29-percent increase in interest in health professions/sciences. Those are only three examples of surging interest along science and health lines. “There is a huge sea change coming about in education,” Hyatt Brown affirmed, “and it is a change that is brought on by the economy of the United States and of the world, and it will continue to be more and more intense.” On its own campus, Stetson is seeing those same trajectories, which makes the timing of the Browns’ investment both fortuitous and challenging. In addition to creating a new health and science facility, the investment will allow Stetson to bring together existing synergies from across the university, catalyzing the university’s efforts to align and produce a variety of forward-thinking initiatives well into the future. Over the coming months, Provost and Executive Vice President Noel Painter, Ph.D., will be leading the planning charge with faculty and with the support of an outside consultant. “The Browns’ gift creates pathways to expansion and innovation in the sciences that we have sensed but are not yet visible to us,” Painter said. “We will be actively working with faculty, facility and professional experts to make this investment in Stetson powerful for our community.” Further, new developments in the health and sciences at Stetson are expected to bring more students — in many different majors — to the university’s doorstep, where they can find an array of strong academic programs that suit their interests and aspirations. Indeed, April 9 was a very big day, a transformative day, at Stetson. And only the start. “The Browns, in their deep wisdom and with great generosity,” Libby says, “have given us a rallying point, a point from which to move forward in our mission and in the remainder of our fundraising campaign with great momentum. I know we are up for it.”

Meet the Browns Hyatt Brown, board chair of Brown & Brown Inc., a Daytona Beachbased, NYSE-listed corporation, has been a member of the Stetson University Board of Trustees since 1981. A former chair of the Board of Trustees, he currently is chair of the board’s finance committee. Cici Brown has been on the board since 1999 and spent 13 years on the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors. She chaired the Board of Trustees’ facilities committee for two years. It was during this time that Stetson raised the funding for an expansion of the Sage Science Center, in large part due to her leadership. The Browns are well-known in Florida for their civic philanthropy. In February 2015, they celebrated the opening of the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art in Daytona Beach, which houses more than 2,600 of their paintings of Florida-based art. In 2014, their campaign support led to the creation of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence at Stetson.

DID YOU KNOW? The Beyond Success — Significance Campaign has raised $193 million since the campaign launched its leadership phase in 2012. The campaign launched publicly in October 2015 toward a goal of $150 million in cash and pledges and $50 million in new planned gifts ($200 million goal in all). The campaign is expected to conclude in fall 2019.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


This spring’s “60 Years” exhibit showcased the Stetson student experience with Russia.

SPREES So, what is SPREES?

You might know (perhaps only because its 60th anniversary was highlighted in the spring issue of this magazine): SPREES stands for Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. You might also know that Russia is almost everywhere these days. Ever heard of Vladimir Putin? Yet, the rest of SPREES is likely to be as foreign to you as, well, the Russian language.

THE PROGRAM Did you know that Stetson has been at the forefront of undergraduate education in Russian-related studies since 1958? It used to be “Russian Studies,” but then, like most programs in North America, the name changed to better reflect the diversity of the region. As my students know, neither the Russian Empire nor the Soviet Union was ever more than 50 percent Russian. You can’t understand Russia, if you only study Russia. Also, by the way, you can’t understand the contemporary world without Russia. Stetson’s interdisciplinary program trains students to understand this important and complicated place. Students not only learn Russian, but also explore the history of Russian opera from music historian Daniil Zavlunov, Ph.D.; avant-garde Russian art from art historian Katya Kudryavtseva, Ph.D.; Ukraine and historical memory from me; and Central Asian politics from political scientist Eugene Huskey, Ph.D. 22

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The anatomy of an acronym in plain English — celebrating its 60th anniversary BY M AY H I L L FOW L E R , P H . D . You get the idea: We teach language in cultural and historical perspective. You can find our students reading “War and Peace,” planning Russian Club events, and socializing over Russian homework at the SPREES House on the corner of Michigan and Amelia avenues on Stetson’s historic campus in DeLand, Florida.

LEARNING RUSSIAN Learning Russian is almost impossible. We are lucky to have Michael Denner, Ph.D., also director of the Honors Program, and Snezhana Zheltoukhova, Ph.D., teaching students the intricacies of the millions of ways to say “to go” in Russian. We have student-tutors working almost every day in the SPREES House and the language commons, and a robust Russian Club to make students feel that speaking Russian can be fun. Struggling with Russian gives you skills for facing other tough challenges, and learning Russian leads directly to jobs. The U.S. Government has declared Russian a critical language, and careers in security, policy and linguistic analysis, among others, await our majors. Learning Russian creates a community because that struggle unites us. I first went to Russia in the summer of 1992, dreaming of Russian literary heroines, but I ended up working in an orphanage and teaching crafts (this was the era of friendship bracelets) to kids. I fainted in the local banya, met a priest who wielded a samurai sword and was unable to contact my family for six weeks to even tell them I had arrived safely. It was a shattering experience, and yet one that made me determined to learn Russian and keep returning to this crazy and fabulous place.

What does SPREES mean to students? Let’s ask them. They say it best. STETSON HISTORY When I came to Stetson in 2013, I was surprised to find a robust program in Russian Studies. At this school of more than 3,000 students, many studied Russian, went abroad and knew more about Central Asian politics than I did. My Dr. Serge Zenkovsky, professor of history and director of Russian Studies, presenting colleague in art history, a university lecture class in Russian history. Katya Kudryavtseva, Students are Kennith Lewis and Gail Ph.D., and I were interHayden, both of Miami. (March 17, 1963) ested in the history of the program, and we spent time in Stetson’s archives, reading salary letters, program memoranda, and complaints from faculty to deans and deans to presidents. Former President J. Ollie Edmunds, Ph.D., and former Dean William McEniry, Ph.D., came alive through these documents. Edmunds started the program during a time of “fighting sputniks and communists,” at the height of the Cold War in 1958, and hired Serge Zenkovsky, Ph.D., an ethnic Russian Kyiv native who studied Central Asia in Paris and Prague. His wife, Betty Jean, taught Russian language. They weren’t here for long, actually, but were crucial in starting a Russian Studies program here at Stetson. (See Page 7.) This year, to celebrate our 60 years, we decided to create an exhibit in the SPREES House about the history of the program and about the Stetson student experience with Russia. We included archival materials, student interviews, lots of photos and our own analysis of why the program is important and what it has meant to students. We worked with three students on creating the exhibit, called “60 Years of Russia at Stetson.” (The exhibit opened March 16 and continued until the end of the academic year in May, although much of it will remain available for a visit. Ask us!)

GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Paul Steeves, Ph.D., took students to the Soviet Union on several of the long-lost winter terms in the 1970s and 1980s. We have a wonderful diary from one of those students! And Gene Huskey organized an exchange program with the Preparatory Faculty of Moscow State University just before the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Stetson was one of very few schools to have a direct exchange with Moscow State University, one of the top universities in Russia. Before global citizenship was an official Stetson value, it was our value. Alumna Diane Disney ’63, Ph.D., has endowed a fund — the Diane M. Disney Russian Studies Endowment — to which several alumni already have contributed. Our goal is to make it possible to help every SPREES student go abroad. Stetson is now the school of record for several programs offered by the School for Russian and Asian Studies, SRAS, and we are an exchange partner with the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek. We send students to Poland, Ukraine, Georgia and Russia. SPREES is global.

“SPREES is making hundreds of pelmini with your friends. SPREES is sitting with your Siberian babushka for tea while you watch Putin’s yearly address. SPREES is arguing with your friends over what the best Russian cartoon is (it’s Маша и Медведь). Stetson’s Program for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies is more than just a major to me; it is the essential backbone of my college career and overall life for the past four years. SPREES provided me with a community, a place to explore who I wanted to be, and a wealth of opportunities both inside of and beyond Stetson.” — Andrew Gansler ’18 “When I think of the SPREES program, the classes are not what comes to mind. I think of the professors who encourage me, the friends I have made while we all struggled together, the traveling I got to do and, of course, all the food I’ve gotten to try.” — Linsey Hughes ’19 “The fall of my junior year was the most formative experience of my life so far. I stuffed two giant suitcases unnecessarily and flew to St. Petersburg, Russia. I lived with 200 international students, only six of us American. Within a week, I met my best friend, a Finnish girl named Jenna who I now travel to see once a year. I traveled with new friends to Murmansk to see the Northern Lights and Ekaterinburg to cross the border into Asia. I learned more from navigating and, well, failing to navigate, buses, trains and the metro in my first week than I could have imagined. You’d be surprised how much Russian you manage to get out when you’re seven miles away from home at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night. These study-abroad experiences for me are always characterized by the uncomfortable scenarios that unfold. These are the moments that I grew the most, and I learned more than I’m sure I even realize.” — Ally Ward ’18

COMMUNITY Our alumni (many of you reading this) are successful in numerous and varied careers: teaching, making policy and analyzing intelligence in Washington, D.C., working in law firms, in the foreign service abroad, and in the arts. We had an alumni reception at our opening for “60 Years of Russia at Stetson.” Joyce Miller ’92, Kristen Blalock ’08 and Josh Solomon ’14 joined Disney in speaking on a panel, moderated by Huskey, about how Russian has shaped their lives. They were the best advertisement for studying Russian at Stetson. In short, SPREES is my home as a faculty member at Stetson. Come by the SPREES house for a cup of tea, a tour and a chat any time. Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., is director of Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Editor’s note: In May, Fowler received Stetson’s John Hague Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Hague award celebrates the university’s devotion to scholarship, morality and friendship. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


Armed With Commitment Military leaders look back at their success in service as well as their humbler Hatter beginnings.



or the past several years, Stetson has earned distinction as a “military-friendly” school for its welcoming environment for veterans. Yet, the university has a much longer history of creating them. A military presence on campus, in fact, dates back to the university’s earliest days in the late 1800s. Through the years, countless graduates have gone on from student on campus to leader in service — with some reaching great positions of leadership and influence. Like general, war hero, colonel and collector. Coincidence? Evidently not.


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‘I LEARNED ABOUT PEOPLE’ Like many of his peers, retired Lt. Gen. Jack Woodall ’58 found appreciation for his homeland by serving overseas, including time in Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Through three Army tours and nearly four years, Woodall saw South Korea “go from a very devastated country shortly after the war to 10th in the world in economy.” “Watching the hard work and attitude of the South Korean people was an inspiration,” he describes. Commanding the Berlin Brigade before the Wall fell in 1989, Woodall led the Honor Guard for President Ronald Reagan when Reagan arrived in Berlin to famously challenge the Soviet Union’s leader with the words “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Woodall observed the vast disparities between the parts of the divided city. “It made me realize the difference between a democracy and communism,” he says. “West Berlin was thriving, and East Berlin was dead.” Some memories run even deeper. During the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam, engaging the Viet Cong required a foot-crossing of an open, narrow concrete causeway on the Perfume River. “There was no cover; soldiers were totally exposed to enemy fire,” he remembers. “Subjecting a battalion of soldiers to that mission was challenging.” Military life was “all new to me” when Woodall joined the ROTC at Stetson. Nonetheless, he “enjoyed every assignment” during his initial three-year, active-duty commitment and then “never thought of leaving” until retirement in 1992. Woodall appreciates how Stetson presented “a strong Christian ethic, which prepared young lives for the world.” His time in DeLand, he insists, gave him confidence to help others and share his knowledge. “Having served in foreign countries for many years,” he says, “I learned about people throughout the world.”

‘THE TOUGHEST JOBS’ Accountancy may not seem to be much of a strength for Army life, but retired Brig. Gen. Robert Carr ’80 contends that the rigorous academic course he took while on campus provided a backbone for his 31 years in the military. Overseeing billion-dollar budgets a couple of times during his career, mainly in intelligence, Carr felt well-equipped for dealing with the challenge he says trips up many in military leadership — “they can’t handle money.” Along with the lessons of “integrity and moral values” reinforced in campus life, Stetson’s exacting programs were foundational, he asserts. Early on, a mentor at Stetson advised him to always take the toughest jobs, because “in them you will have the opportunity to learn the most, not only about the business but about yourself, and because you will find the best people,” Carr recalls. Following that counsel, in part, took him to places such as Bosnia

‘DOING WHAT’S RIGHT’ Nearly 60 years after graduating, Lt. Gen. James W. Crysel ’59 still maintains ties with his alma mater through his Sigma Nu fraternity and attending events, including the recent funeral of a fraternity brother. “I had four very good years there,” says Crysel about the university. Crysel arrived at Stetson on a football scholarship with no plans of a military career. “My buddies were being drafted, and I didn’t want to be,” he recalls. But after choosing ROTC and receiving his first commission, he discovered an aptitude and an appetite for leadership, and “one thing led to another.” In 32 years of Army service, during which he was able to wear the prestigious Green Beret, Crysel commanded at every level, eventually becoming commanding general of the 2nd United States Army at Fort Gillem, Georgia. There were plenty of trying times, like when a soldier defected to North Korea while Crysel was commanding troops along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Another arose during combat in Vietnam, when “the challenge was to keep as many [soldiers] alive as possible, reduce the casualties and still accomplish the mission,” Crysel recounts. Crysel followed military service with an executive position at fertilizer giant Pursell before retiring. Through it all, Crysel looks back at Stetson as a place that “taught me how to organize things, how to deal with tough situations,” he says. Also, Stetson was where he learned “how to care about people, and how important it was to accomplish every task that was assigned to you.” Married for 55 years, with two children and four grandchildren, Crysel concludes that Stetson “just directed my life along the lines of doing what’s right and caring about people.”

and Afghanistan. As a senior intelligence expert at the Pentagon, he gave Capitol Hill briefings. One of his final assignments was to head the group tasked with understanding and assessing the impact of 2010’s massive WikiLeaks dump of highly classified data. From challenges, Carr learned that “you are capable of doing more than you realize.” “If you think and take care of people, when the going gets tough they will be there beside you,” he says. “[You learn] that you don’t always need to yell and scream to get things done.” The son of a World War II veteran who grew up overseas as a military child, the brigadier general now teaches a course in military intelligence at Georgetown University, while also applying his strategy skills in a different way. For the past few years, he and his wife, Donna — a lieutenant when they met on assignments to Germany — have been exploring the United States in an RV. Those travels, says Carr, have given him a renewed appreciation for the richness and diversity of the country he served for more than three decades. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


Max Cleland ’64, popular as a student, became a political force upon his return from the Vietnam War. He continues to maintain impressive stature.

‘MASSIVE DISASTER’ TO INSPIRATION Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland ’64 is characteristically direct when he reflects on what Stetson did for him. “Two things: They let me in,” says the storied Vietnam War U.S. Army veteran and public servant with a chuckle and a pause, “and they let me out.” At the end of his four years in DeLand, Cleland achieved his goal of graduating and being commissioned on the same day — although he laughs at the memory of not even being able to buckle his belt correctly before his first ROTC drill. Critically injured by an exploding grenade dropped by one of his troops while serving in Vietnam, Cleland returned home a tripleamputee. Then he went on to great success. After being elected to the Georgia state Senate, serving from 1971 to 1975, Cleland became a consultant to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs before President Jimmy Carter named him administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration (1977-1981). Following 13 years as Georgia secretary of state, in 1996 Cleland, a 26

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Democrat, won a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he served for six years. Featured in personal friend Ken Burns’ recent acclaimed PBS documentary “The Vietnam War,” Cleland says he learned much from the series about the conflict, which had radically altered his life as well as the lives of so many others. “It proved to me it was even more of a massive disaster than I had thought,” Cleland comments. Through tragedy and triumph, Cleland never strayed too far from Stetson. Evidence of the true appreciation for his alma mater can be found in years of tireless work. He was a longtime honorary chair of Leadership Stetson, a group composed of alumni who remain engaged in university and community matters. He also donated a large collection of his personal memorabilia to the university, including items of his Vietnam and Capitol Hill experiences. Those are a mere two examples of many. Perhaps most of all, there is inspiration and a Stetson award named in his honor: appropriately, the Max Cleland Award for Excellence in Public Service.

“The big question is what do we fight for and what do we stand for, what do we believe and what is worth fighting for?” — Gordon “Nick” Mueller ’61 ‘PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL’ During his 30 years of intelligence and military service, Col. Richard Stewart ’72 traveled to Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Kuwait and Somalia, among other places — mostly in a civilian capacity, sometimes as an Army Reservist, but always with purpose. Interviewing those involved in conflict as soon as possible afterward and gathering all available documents provided not only a vital lessons-learned assessment for military leaders, but also offered “an official record, so that the American people will know exactly what their fighting men and women are doing,” he explains. The task was harrowing at times, such as one time quizzing survivors of the renowned “Black Hawk Down” engagement against rebels in Mogadishu in 1993. “You have to be pretty careful when you are talking to people who have just held their buddy in their arms after they have died,” he says. Among his many published works is the revised two-volume “American Military History,” a foundational textbook for ROTC and military students. Rising to acting director and chief historian of the U.S. Army Center of Military History at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., before retirement, Stewart has become “even more profoundly grateful for what we have here in America.” Some of his work still remains classified. Service to country, he describes, was simply part of his DNA, pointing to the fact that his family has been in “every war since the Revolution, except for the War of 1812; somehow we missed that one.” Stewart, however, had to fight the Army to continue that tradition, needing a series of waivers after joining Stetson’s ROTC because of poor vision. “They tried to throw me out on two different occasions,” he remembers. Stetson, Stewart adds, kept him pointing forward and seeing straight. He credits the university for its formative role in aligning his love of history with a desire to serve his country. For the past several years, he has served on Stetson’s College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. The family legacy continues, too. He and his wife, Lynn, a fellow 1972 Hatter graduate, now have two sons in service for their country. “It has always been when the country needs us or we step up, because it is every citizen’s responsibility to serve their country, and we take that seriously,” Stewart concludes.

‘POWERFUL AND POIGNANT’ Gordon “Nick” Mueller ’61 might not have worn a uniform for long himself. He quit ROTC after a year at Stetson for an overseasstudies opportunity that led him to academia. Yet, he has, in fact, performed great military service by ensuring that those who did are honored. As president and CEO of The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, for nearly two decades, Mueller led the development of what has become a highly popular tourist attraction. And a place of reflection. Although the museum boasts state-of-the-art technology, Mueller’s personal favorite of the thousands of artifacts is a simple one: a web belt with five pouches, donated by a medical corpsman. The soldier’s own equipment was ruined when the landing craft he was in was blown up, forcing him to swim to shore. The soldier replaced the pouches with those taken from the bodies of dead comrades, using them to tend to others wounded on the Normandy beaches and then wearing them through the rest of the war. “Powerful and poignant,” Mueller says of the item. With the help of a friend, the late historian Stephen Ambrose, Mueller originally envisaged the museum as a modest center commemorating the D-Day landings (established as the National D-Day Museum in June 2000). During the past nearly two decades, the museum has mushroomed into what will be, when ongoing expansion is eventually completed, a $400 million multimedia experience across 6 acres. Mueller says that it “all started” for him at Stetson. “It set me on the course I have been on ever since, and led me to an excitement and an enthusiasm for history,” he says, adding that, in turn, history reveals “who we are and how we got here.” During Commencement 2018 in May, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. (Mueller, Ph.D., earned a master’s degree and doctorate at the University of North Carolina, and has done postgraduate work at Yale, Harvard and several European universities.) Having recently stepped down to a part-time role at the museum, Mueller plans to resume an academic life. Previously, he had been vice chancellor at the University of New Orleans. At the same time, Mueller believes that as the final veterans of World War II pass away, the nation needs something like his national museum now perhaps more than ever. “In a self-governing democracy, you have to know your history,” Mueller says. “The big question is what do we fight for and what do we stand for, what do we believe and what is worth fighting for?”

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


“I’ve learned what it means to have a servant’s heart, and how to be a part of something that is bigger than myself.” — Capt. Kristi Machado ’00 ‘BETTER PERSON ON EVERY LEVEL’ Col. Raymond Ruhlmann III ’82 considers teaching American and military history, government and law at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, New York, his “final act of service to my country.” He sees that role as bringing him full circle, helping lay the same kind of educational foundations for others that were established for him at Stetson. It follows 32 years of active and reserve service and 14 years as an assistant district attorney. Although he traces military service in his family line through his parents all the way back to the Civil War, Ruhlmann didn’t plan on following in those footsteps. But two years with ROTC at Stetson planted seeds. He chose the Marine Corps for its “high standards, esprit de corps and strong sense of tradition,” and he cites successfully completing its grueling 10-week Quantico candidate school as one of his proudest accomplishments. “You learn a lot about yourself in such a setting,” Ruhlmann reflects, “and if you succeed you gain an invaluable sense of confidence.” Following an initial Cold War-era tour of active duty, Ruhlmann joined the Marine Reserves a year before 9/11 saw him return to uniform for three more years, first as part of the legal staff of the secretary of defense at the Pentagon and then deployment in Iraq. While in Baghdad, he worked closely with Iraqi military officers to improve the capabilities of their army. Married to a family court judge, with two children, Ruhlmann believes that military service “made me a better person on every level: physical, intellectual, social and spiritual, as military culture constantly challenges one to improve in every area.” Returning for Homecoming every few years, which allows him to stay connected to his Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, he credits Stetson for “outstanding” preparation for his career. “In the decades since leaving, I have been in college and law school classrooms at elite institutions on dozens of occasions and have never encountered teaching as consistently excellent as what I experienced at Stetson,” Ruhlmann says.


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‘A SERVANT’S HEART’ The power and precision of the American military is perhaps never more clearly seen than in a fly-past by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. As a photographer with the squadron for 11 years, Capt. Kristi Machado ’00 captured many of those iconic images. From the ground and the back seat of an F-16, Machado caught the aerobatic team in action over landmarks and monuments across the United States and overseas. It required split-second timing and “a lot of trust in my pilot to take me where I needed to be.” Since being commissioned, Machado has put her camera aside, only using it as a hobby. Currently, she is stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona as a support officer, where her human-resource responsibilities include overseeing accommodation, food and mail services. Born in DeLand and later living in nearby Deltona, Machado had a Stetson experience that was different from that of many other students. She worked locally and only lived on campus for one year. But she remembers the time as being formative, especially rowing for the women’s crew team. “That was something,” she says. “I didn’t realize I had that fortitude in me. That was very telling, for me to see what I was capable of, and be a part of a team, which is what the military is all about.” Having family members with military service, Machado always knew that path was a possibility, but after graduating from Stetson she began working as a graphic designer. Then came 9/11. “That was the catalyst for me to take it a bit more seriously,” she says. Machado went to a recruiting center the next month. During her 16 years of service, Machado has completed two overseas assignments, to Central America and Southwest Asia, in addition to multiple temporary-duty assignments. She also served as a photography instructor for all branches of the military at the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland. “The military has made me the person I am today,” Machado says of her Air Force career. “I’ve learned what it means to have a servant’s heart, and how to be a part of something that is bigger than myself.”

DID YOU KNOW? Stetson’s Alumni Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans Remembrance Site was dedicated in November 2015. The site, just north of Griffith Hall on the DeLand campus, is highlighted by benches, native palms and plantings, and a small fountain. That same year, the Stetson Student Veterans Organization and the university dedicated a new campus flagpole, Veterans Memorial Plaque and Brick Path in front of the Carlton Union Building. In Elizabeth Hall, a plaque honors veterans of World War II.

‘HEROES WERE EVERYWHERE’ For Col. Albert John Bowley Jr. ’75, his 30 years with the Air Force were both a following and a calling that didn’t come without determination. Bowley followed his West Point-graduate father and grandfather — “all I ever wanted was to be like them” — and other family members dating back to Gettysburg and the Civil War. The calling came from God, he says, when he was “anointed by the Holy Spirit” during a spiritual encounter while at Stetson. Only after those circumstances, and on his seventh and final opportunity to apply because of his age, was Bowley accepted for Air Force officer training. Bowley served three times as a squadron commander, twice each as deputy base and base commander, and later commanded the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education and its 78,000 students, which he labels “an incredible honor.” Bowley was working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for

Army ROTC Grows at Stetson

Retired Lt. Col. Oakland McCulloch

In his closing message during Stetson’s Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony in May, retired Lt. Col. Oakland McCulloch pointed to his five graduating cadets and warmly stated: “This is a special day for these fine young men. I can tell you that I’m 120 years old [said in jest], and there aren’t many days that I can remember like it was yesterday. But one of them is when I got commissioned.” Quite apparently, young men and women are getting that message loud and clear across the nation from McCulloch, the university’s recruiting operations officer for Army ROTC. In August, a total of 105 cadets are expected to arrive on campus for the fall semester, including 56 first-year students. And during the summer, that tally could increase. Eight years ago, when McCulloch arrived on campus, 15 cadets were in the Army ROTC program. More numbers: Of the 105 students in the program, 63 are male and 42 are females. Similarly, of the 56 newcomers, 25 are female. Perhaps equally notable, 20 of the new students will be on a national Cadet Command scholarship. For perspective, in 2017, there were more than 13,800 applicants nationwide, with 3,000 scholarships awarded. While recruiting for the program, McCulloch seeks bright, ambitious and athletic students who “want to serve their country.” He follows the acronym SAL — Scholar. Athlete. Leader. In turn, McCulloch believes he’s getting them, commenting, “Some of these kids could have competed for West Point.” Graciously, McCulloch added that Stetson also assists with ROTC admissions.

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, at the Pentagon on 9/11. Rushing to the scene of the attack on the other side of the complex, he helped rescue a fellow officer who had jumped out of a window to escape the choking smoke. “There were so many suffering everywhere I looked,” he recalls, “but heroes were everywhere too, and courage was common.” Sprayed down with water and pressing a T-shirt over his face, he joined others searching for survivors in the debris, noting: “Sadly we didn’t find any.” Since retiring, Bowley has worked in leadership development and as a motivational speaker. A board member of the chaplaincy for Full Gospel Churches for three years, he currently is pursuing his third master’s degree, this one in Biblical Studies, at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado. Stetson is not only remembered fondly for giving him his life’s direction, but also a life partner. This year, he celebrates 40 years of marriage to Cynthia Cameron ’78; they have four children and four grandchildren.

Stetson’s Army ROTC program works under the wing of the Eagle Battalion Army ROTC, headed by Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (the host school) and joined by Bethune-Cookman University and Daytona State College. This fall, the Eagle Battalion is expected to consist of approximately 350 cadets, with Embry-Riddle accounting for most of the remaining two-thirds of students. A little more background on the program: First-year cadets at Stetson are required to take a one-hour ROTC class weekly and a two-hour lab, along with physical training three early mornings per week. As they progress each year, those requirements are raised. Field training also is mandated for all, with a 32-day leadership course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, occurring between the junior and senior years. Upon completion of the program, military-service contracts come with an eight-year commitment, where cadets may select their specific service area. If they choose active duty, at least the first four years must remain in active duty. If Reserve or National Guard duty is selected, cadets must remain in that service for their entire eight-year commitment. McCulloch looks forward to his own challenges on campus. “I love watching all these new freshmen come in every year, and the culmination is that commissioning ceremony,” he said. “So, you get to watch them come in as [first-year students], and you get to watch them walk across that stage (at the commissioning ceremony).” – Michael Candelaria Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


Let’s Turn on the Sun When it comes to the cost of college, educators should be given the chance to collaborate on solutions.


B Y W E N DY B . L I B B Y, P H . D . , P R E S I D E N T, S T E T S O N U N I V E R S I T Y

he cost of college, a daunting concern for many American families, is now the central storyline of a Hollywood movie. In a short-lived release from last summer, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, a middle-class couple, open an illegal casino to cope with their personal gamble: how to pay for their daughter’s college tuition. The movie’s blend of satire, farce and desperation is difficult to watch — especially for those of us in higher education. Here is welcome news for college hopefuls: U.S. college tuition is growing at the slowest pace in decades, U.S. Labor Department figures show. Tuition at colleges and graduate schools — after factoring in scholarships and grants — rose just 1.9 percent in 2017, in line with overall inflation. To put this in perspective, college tuition has been growing at roughly double the rate of inflation for decades. At last, the trend of annual tuition hikes appears to be cresting. As the president of a private university, I am heartened that a small but growing number of colleges are exploring collaborative approaches to keeping college costs down. We all want to make the dream of higher education more attainable, and soon. Too many students and their parents have no idea of the true cost of college. Wary of student loans, they automatically rule out schools based on an artificially high sticker price that masks the real tuition after factoring in scholarships, grants, loans and other types of aid. Families see a published sticker price and say, “The tuition is too high. I couldn’t possibly afford that school.” It’s a self-destructive cycle of misunderstanding feeding missed opportunities. Explaining this high-tuition, high-discount pricing model to families is an ongoing challenge. Headlines like “Tuition Is Too Damn High!” can add to the anxiety about runaway costs, even price gouging. Despite the media’s continued coverage of the “high cost” of higher education, for example, many people aren’t aware private colleges are skating on thin margins, despite cost-cutting and program consolidations and due to increasing financial-aid budgets and declining attendance.


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Net tuition revenue from first-time, full-time students grew a modest 0.4 percent during the 2017-2018 academic year, down from 1.5 percent in 2015-2016 and 2.1 percent the year before, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. In reality, many tuition-dependent institutions find themselves trapped in a financial corner. Simple economics lie at the root of the problem: An abundant supply of educational options is bumping up against reduced demand from a shrinking pool of traditional college-age Americans. To entice students in a competitive market, schools are offering hefty discounts and financial-aid packages. The widespread practice of discounting tuition has hit a historic high, according to the NACUBO. In 2015-2016, the average discount rate for first-time, full-time first-year students reached 48 percent and climbed to an estimated 49.1 percent in 2016-2017, the highest level ever recorded. The discount rate for all undergraduates in 2016-2017 rose to an estimated 44.2 percent, another all-time high.

For every dollar in gross tuition revenue from first-year students, institutions used nearly half for grant-based financial aid, with the bulk of those funds often coming from operating budgets, not earnings on endowments. Many of the chief business officers surveyed by NACUBO warn these discounts are not sustainable, at least not for long. Higher education is battling a perfect storm of market pressures. What’s the appropriate battle plan? If adversity fuels innovation, now is the time for concerted action. As leaders of private colleges and universities, it’s our job to guide our institutions into the future, not live in the shadow of an opaque pricing strategy. Today’s high-tuition, high-discount model is failing us, and it’s failing families. A “tuition reset,” as it’s called, is a move in a promising direction. If only we could talk to each other. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities is petitioning Congress to ease federal antitrust laws that prohibit private colleges from discussing tuition prices and student aid. The current law, dating back decades, aims to prevent collusion across industry sectors to set prices high. In the unusual case of higher education, the goal runs in the reverse direction. We want to keep prices down. The NAICU proposal calls for a five-year relaxation of antitrust restrictions for the purpose of discussing affordability and efficiency. At a time when many are promoting free public education, NAICU contends Congress should not prohibit private colleges from discussing their own pricing and financial-aid practices. Public colleges are exempt from antitrust rules. I’d like to give the NAICU proposal a fighting chance. A free, open and “regulated” discussion among peer institutions could be just what’s needed to right-size a pricing model currently causing more harm than good. Schools have a vested interest in exploring ways to link tuition to the real cost of college, rein in sticker prices and distribute a portion of the savings to financial aid.

On the surface, a tuition-reset strategy seems imminently sensible, even obvious. If few students are paying full price, why not bring the sticker price down to the amount the typical student pays? Part of the problem is managing perceptions. When a college reduces its tuition, it risks signaling to students and their families the school is in financial jeopardy — or worth less as an educational investment. As Richard Detweiler, president of the Great Lakes Colleges Association of 13 private schools, put it, “If everyone got into the boat at the same time, then they could drop their tuition.” Speaking to The Washington Post, he went on to say that, from a consumer and public-policy point of view, collaboration ought to benefit everyone. Thus far, the NAICU proposal is quietly percolating among lobbyists and congressional committees. Exempting any sector from antitrust law, even temporarily, is certain to incite controversy. Years ago, as many as 150 schools belonging to 24 groups convened to compare notes about financial aid and tuition costs, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. Then in 1991 the Justice Department brought charges of price-fixing against the most prominent of them, the Ivy Overlap Group. The group quickly settled, and the practice of comparing notes officially ceased. The subject is still so touchy many higher-ed organizations don’t want to broach it. We could head off controversy by designing a collaborative process that runs on transparency and adherence to a clear goal: a revised pricing system that benefits students and institutions alike. Widespread reform won’t happen unless we commit to studying the issues in depth and from multiple perspectives, ideally learning from the handful of schools that have pioneered tuition resets on their own. The cost of college is a national preoccupation. Many private colleges and universities find themselves in a darkening market position, with no easy way out. To move toward a brighter future, educators should be given the chance to collaborate — not collude on solutions. Let’s turn on the sun. This article was first published April 25, 2018, by University Business Magazine.

The cost of college is a national preoccupation. Many private colleges and universities find themselves in a darkening market position, with no easy way out. To move toward a brighter future, educators should be given the chance to collaborate — not collude on solutions. Let’s turn on the sun.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The Hatters pose for a portrait of success.

Grand Slam The Hatters’ wild ride onto college baseball’s national stage produced great drama and lasting impact for their university.



he scene was memorable, iconic and historic. Jubilant players rushed to the mound at Melching Field in DeLand. The Stetson Hatters had just defeated tradition-rich Oklahoma State University for the second time in two days, with the win catapulting them, the baseball program and the entire university further into the national limelight. Cameras flashed everywhere. On to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Hatters would go, just two more victories away from the College World Series. Alas, they would not make it. Yet, as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s popular saying goes, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And, indeed, this was one wild ride, a journey for the ages.


STETSON | Summer 2018

The record will show the baseball team finished with 48 wins and 13 losses, including an 18-game winning streak en route to claiming the ASUN Conference championship, earning a spot among the nation’s best 64 teams and advancing beyond the NCAA Regionals, held for the first time ever in DeLand, Florida, with Stetson as the host. Those feats were only one part of the ledger. Along the way, awards were handed out to Hatters like hot dogs at a ballpark — seemingly everybody got one. Of course, that wasn’t the case. Still, never had there been such glorious achievement in the university’s history of intercollegiate baseball, dating back to 1901. Talk about discovery? These studentathletes found overwhelming success.

STANDOUT PERFORMERS Where to start? A good place is with perhaps the nation’s best starting pitcher. On June 4, junior pitcher Logan Gilbert was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft, No. 14 overall, by the Seattle Mariners. He also was a first-team selection on several AllAmerican teams. Gilbert amassed an NCAA-best 163 strikeouts in 112.1 innings this season. Senior Brooks Wilson joined Gilbert on numerous All-American teams while also winning the national John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award for pitching and hitting prowess. Wilson was chosen by the Atlanta Braves in the MLB’s seventh round. Wilson led the team in on-base percentage as a hitter and tied for the NCAA lead with 20 saves as a relief pitcher. Those facts would only begin their biographical sketches as players. In addition, four other Hatters were drafted into Major League Baseball: junior pitcher Jack Perkins (Philadelphia Phillies, 11th round); senior pitcher Ben Onyshko (Seattle Mariners, 24th round); senior catcher Austin Hale (Minnesota Twins, 28th round) and junior pitcher Joey Gonzalez (Houston Astros, 28th round). Then, among others, players not yet eligible for the draft, such as pitcher Mitchell Senger, served notice of their rising prominence. In February, Senger, a sophomore, pitched a no-hitter and struck out 16 batters in a win against George Washington University. The hits just kept on coming. That doesn’t even include the drama, oh, the theatrics, of what’s called the NCAA Super Regionals of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The Hatters were mere microfibers of a metal bat away from their ultimate reward. All in front of ESPN’s omnipresent lenses. Pitted against the vaunted University of North Carolina Tar Heels, Stetson had to win two of three games on Carolina’s turf. Game one came down to the final pitch. Losing by three runs, the Hatters fought back, scoring one run in the ninth inning and loading the bases with Wilson, star hitter/pitcher, coming to bat. Representing the potential winning run, Wilson hit a long fly ball to left field that made the home crowd collectively gasp until the ball finally rested in the fielder’s glove. A day later, just about the same occurred. The rallying Hatters were down by two runs in the final inning, with Wilson again at bat representing the winning run. And again, he delivered, almost. As Wilson swung and hit the ball, the Tar Heels’ catcher clutched his head in frightened disbelief. Wilson, he thought, had hit a gamewinning home run. It wasn’t to be, as the ball rested in a glove at the deepest part of center field, only a few feet from leaving the park and bringing what would have resulted in Hatter delirium. Instead, there was disappointment, the emotion of coming so close and falling, literally, just short. In this case, however, there is no sad ending, not by, well, a long shot. In stark contrast, Stetson still is basking in the afterglow of one maddening, marvelous baseball season. Bats and balls, triumphs and tribulations aside, the Hatters hit a grand slam. And the reverberations continue.

Star power. Pitcher Logan Gilbert (above) and pitcher/ hitter Brooks Wilson (left) were named to several All-American teams. Gilbert was drafted No. 14 overall by the Seattle Mariners. Wilson was drafted in the seventh round by the Atlanta Braves. Below: The Hatters typically proved to be thrilling, even for players in the dugout. From left: Ryan Stark, Austin Bogart, Joey Gonzalez (fist in air), Logan Gilbert (in black), Jake Murphy (partially obscured), Baylen Sparks, Ben Onyshko, Nico Torino, Bruce Martin, Mitchell Senger.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Hopeful anticipation. From left: Ryan Stark, Chris Gonzalez, Jeremy Orbik, (in background are Zemp Schwab and Kirk Sidwell). Below: Jorge Arenas (2), Eric Foggo (36) and Jonathan Meola (19) celebrate.

STRIKING INFLUENCE A few highlights of immediate university impact: While Stetson’s Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement typically has held events in a few nearby cities, as the baseball team traveled there, the alumni office hustled to quickly create 15 “watch parties” in 12 cities, cites Woody O’Cain, the office’s assistant vice president. Also, “page views” on the office’s platforms for social media more than doubled in early June, with a June 6 post about upcoming watch parties reaching nearly 7,500 people. “In cities where we didn’t host watch parties, we still saw people post on social media or email us with information about a watch party from Hawaii, Georgia, Chicago, California and even Ecuador,” O’Cain said. (For photos of watch parties, see Page 58.) On the broader social-media platforms of the Office of University Marketing (encompassing alumni as well as other Stetson community sectors), Twitter page views increased 270 percent May 27-June 9 compared to the previous two-week period, while general Twitter engagement during that span rose nearly 63 percent. According to Director of Athletics Jeff Altier, while university impacts from baseball’s success largely were anecdotal in mid-June, without precise data assessments on enrollment and other areas to come later, notable upticks already were being felt in financial donations to the baseball program and merchandise sales. “Our annual gifts to baseball over the last two weeks [in early June] have increased 10 times. It was an incredible two weeks of 34

STETSON | Summer 2018

fundraising, which is continuing,” Altier said. “And it’s reaching outside of just baseball. I can measure it more directly with baseball, knowing what they have done across the board. And it’s with people making multiyear pledges. So, it’s a matter of saying, ‘Hey, we want to be a part of this, what you’re doing with the athletic program.’ “When I look at intercollegiate athletics for an institution, the greater the success, then the greater the exposure for the institution and the greater the value for the institution.” With Stetson Athletics introducing a new logo design in May, merchandise sales boomed, too. “I can tell you that the bookstore received demands that they never thought they would have, from just this run [of baseball success]. They were prepared to deal with it, but I don’t think they were as prepared as they wished they had been,” Altier added. Such phenomena related to athletics aren’t new. In 2013, when Florida Gulf Coast University made a surprise showing in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, advancing all the way to the Sweet 16, annual university donations reportedly doubled. Also, out-of-state applications reportedly increased by 80 percent. Stetson competes in the same conference, ASUN. Similarly, this March, when unheralded University of Maryland - Baltimore County upset the top-ranked University of Virginia in the men’s basketball tournament, a branding consultant firm (Apex Marketing Group) estimated the promotional value of that victory at approximately $33 million, as published in The Baltimore Sun. Despite losses, ultimately there were wins. The same goes at Stetson. “What a wonderfully exciting time for Stetson baseball!” said Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. “I applaud our Hatters team, coaches and trainers for an historic year on the field. I also want to thank them for the memories they created through their inspiring play and for the impacts that our university will feel for months and perhaps years to come.” A season to remember.

Above: The Hatters were dominant at Melching Field throughout the season, and the Regionals proved no different. Middle: Andrew MacNeil “flashes leather” in the outfield. Below: From left are Logan Gilbert, Bruce Martin, Coach Steve Trimper, Brandon Brewer, manager Nick Berroa. In background with mouth covered is trainer John Travnick. In foreground is catcher Austin Hale.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Hatters Against Homelessness


STETSON | Summer 2018

The search for self has, in turn, helped to save others.



efore George Winston became a world-famous pianist known for his mellow, melodic instrumentals, he was a sociology student at Stetson from 1967 to 1970.

Winston was, he confessed, “really studying

music all the time, more than regular school,” and he would “sneak into Elizabeth Hall” at 3 a.m. to play its majestic pipe organ. The musician behind such acclaimed albums as “December” and “Winter Into Spring” also did get some real-world sociology experience during his Hatter days. “The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia was started by Nora Hagman in the late ’60s, and I was one of the volunteers,” Winston said. The center’s mission, according to its website at neighborhoodcenterwv.org, is “to serve the homeless, feed the hungry and prevent homelessness in DeLand and West Volusia County.” “We’d find people out in the sticks and deliver cardboard boxes full of food,” Winston recalled in February prior to his concert on the Stetson campus. Roads, such as they were decades ago, would become impassable “and finally we’d walk half a mile with the boxes. You couldn’t get a car all the way to the houses.” Call it part of Winston’s own personal journey.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Members of the Stetson community helped to establish The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, which serves the area’s homeless. Two center staffers are in black shirts, Doug Wilmot (far left) and Damien Beckton.

BECOMING ‘CONNECTED’ Members of the Stetson community helped to establish The Neighborhood Center, affirmed Amber Finnicum-Simmons ’16, community impact coordinator at Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement. “Not to say that Stetson gets all the credit, but there were faculty and staff who worked hard,” she noted, citing that Gary Maris, Ph.D., former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was among the initial founders. Notably, before joining the Center for Community Engagement, Finnicum-Simmons was a Bonner student who began volunteering at The Neighborhood Center in 2012 and has been “connected to them ever since,” she said. Now, she’s also pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Stetson and recently completed a three-year term on The Neighborhood Center’s board of directors. Homelessness has been part of her journey, too.

Today, nearly a half-century since initial involvement, the Stetson community’s efforts to combat homelessness have expanded dramatically. Those efforts range from face-to-face encounters while serving the homeless at The Neighborhood Center — located just one mile south of Stetson’s campus — to face-to-face policy discussions in Washington, D.C., with legislators and staffers at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other Stetson activities include food, furniture and vital-equipment donations to The Neighborhood Center, a book drive for children at shelters, an annual conference on poverty and homelessness, a pending study of how local law enforcement interacts with the homeless and more. Winston, by the way, continues to support The Neighborhood Center through food drives and proceeds from CD and merchandise sales whenever he returns to perform at Stetson. His concerts at the university are “always a benefit” for the center, as well as Stetson’s School of Music Scholarship Fund. His simple words: “It’s great to be able to help out.”


Amber Finnicum-Simmons ’16, community impact coordinator at Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement, began volunteering at The Neighborhood Center as a student in 2012. Photo by Bobby Fishbough


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Current students are sharing much of the same sentiment, embarking on their own journeys and adventures to help combat homelessness. Their involvement was amped up in the mid-2000s with the establishment of two new programs at Stetson: The Center for Community Engagement and the Bonner Program. The Center for Community Engagement was founded by Savannah-Jane Griffin, a 2007 alumna who continues as director. The mission of the center is to enhance “student learning through community impact.” Meanwhile, the Bonner Program is a national initiative that awards scholarships to students who agree to perform eight or more hours of community service per week. Even as years pass and the paths taken by students twist and turn in fickle, fateful, incalculable directions, The Neighborhood Center remains a focal point, with its shelter and food pantry, and hope.

What Causes Homelessness? That’s how Jason Cruz ’17, Bonner scholar, English/philosophy major and former editor-in-chief of The Stetson Reporter (the university’s student newspaper), met Bob. For his junior-year Bonner project, Cruz put his journalism skills to work and wrote a booklet, “Stories From Our Neighbors: Interviews With Clients at The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia County.” “I was interested in storytelling as a therapeutic method, and I was interested also in having the people who were using these services speak directly and not having someone speak for them,” Cruz said by phone from Philadelphia, where he tutors full time at a middle school as a City Year AmeriCorps member dedicated to public service. In his booklet’s introduction, Cruz wrote: “In my time at The Neighborhood Center and other sites working with homeless or impoverished people, I have found that one thing lights up their faces faster than anything else. That spark comes when others take genuine interest in them and treat them as equals. It happens so rarely in their general experience that when it does, they become ecstatic. “A gentleman named Bob and I used to chat for what felt like hours on end, because he loved being able to share his story. One question to Bob would render the next half-hour mostly mute on my part, as his anecdotes and advice swallowed the silence. It is not that he was overbearing; he had been waiting a long time to talk to someone.” After a year-and-a-half absence from the center, Bob returned one day. “I was unsure he recognized me behind the front desk …,” Cruz wrote. “Suddenly, though, I heard his baritone voice tell someone else to watch out for troublemakers like me, and when I looked up Bob was beaming at me. Time had done nothing to diminish the connection he felt existed between us ... .” Copies of “Stories From Our Neighbors” are archived at Stetson’s Bonner Program, and Cruz gave the original files to The Neighborhood Center “in case they want to print more or continue this project in the future,” he said.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE Students’ boots-on-the-ground volunteering at The Neighborhood Center “really impacts our agency in a big way,” asserted Waylan Niece, operations director of the center. Five students contribute a total of 30 volunteer hours weekly. The students work at the front desk and answer phones, bag food for clients, assist clients with paperwork and enter vital data into computer spreadsheets, enabling center staff to pursue other duties. Or, as Niece described, “That’s time that I need to be working with clients, working on grants, operating the facility, going to meetings.”

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, two trends are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20 to 25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty. Poverty and homelessness are tightly linked. People who are unemployed or working for minimum wage often can’t afford to pay rent. Add this to a lack of affordable housing and declining public assistance, and there’s a crisis of homelessness. Homelessness can begin with a lost job or a serious illness that wipes out the family’s finances. While many homeless people want to regain their independence, they may find that jobs are hard to come by when you don’t have a physical address, business clothes or even a cellphone. Other factors contributing to homelessness include: Addiction. People who are poor and addicted to alcohol or drugs are at increased risk for becoming homeless. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. cities report that addiction is their largest cause of homelessness. Mental illness. Although 6 percent of Americans have a mental illness, about 20 to 25 percent of homeless adults are mentally ill. Domestic violence. About half of homeless women and children are fleeing abuse. Foreclosure. The Great Recession (officially December 2007 to June 2009) robbed many working Americans of their homes. The foreclosure rate is slowing but continues to have a devastating effect on families. Post-traumatic stress. As many as 200,000 military veterans sleep on the street. Unable to cope after returning from overseas conflicts, some veterans leave their homes and loved ones. Discrimination in housing. Racial inequalities continue in housing policy and practices, placing more people of color in homelessness and creating barriers to exiting homelessness. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Defining Terms About Homelessness Chronically homeless: homeless individuals with disabilities (or families whose head of household has a disability) who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. Individuals: people who are not part of a family during their episode of homelessness. They are homeless as single adults, unaccompanied youth, or in multiple-adult or multiple-child households. People in families: people who are homeless as part of households that have at least one adult and one child. Sheltered homeless: individuals who are staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs or safe havens. Unsheltered homeless: people who stay in places not meant for human habitation, such as the streets, abandoned buildings, vehicles or parks. Transitional housing: designed to provide housing and appropriate supportive services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living within 24 months or a longer period approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Emergency shelter: any facility with overnight sleeping accommodations, the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of the homeless. Source: Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless


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In March, Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., and undergraduates, including Bonner and Multicultural Student Council student leaders, attended the 2018 IMPACT National Conference in Dayton, Ohio. Shankar-Brown’s presentation and interactive workshop, “A Change Is Gonna Come: Promoting Equity and Advancing Social Justice Through Mindful Campus-Community Partnerships,” was delivered to a standing-room-only crowd of college students, educators, community organizers and professionals from across the nation. Left to right: Ashlee Renich-Malek, Adam Cooper, Ally Terry, Rajni Shankar-Brown, Veronica Faison, Vanessa Petion, Tammi Hanzalik

“There’s a student who’s been coming twice a week to bag up the canned goods for us to give to our clients,” Niece added. “That’s an ongoing task that’s critical to the operation, but we don’t necessarily have time to pull staff away from their other things to do those things.” As part of a research project, John Banks ’20 will collaborate with the center, along with Stetson’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Bonner Program, to examine how law enforcement in Volusia County interacts with the poor and the homeless. Banks seeks to eventually present his findings to the DeLand City Commission and Volusia County Council. “The purpose of this research is to determine the relationship that exists between the two populations, not to prove that there is a positive or negative relationship,” explained Banks, a sociology major (minor in community engagement) and a Bonner Scholar. “Additionally, the information will be analyzed to determine the state of the relationship between the two, and after that is done, I will attempt to present my findings. If there is a negative relationship, hopefully steps can be implemented to end that negative relationship.” Banks wants to build a career in criminology or criminal justice, a pursuit that began in grade school and was nurtured in the Bonner Program. At what’s called the Sweet Spot Workshop, a meeting designed by the Bonner Program to match students’ career goals and academic interests with community needs, Banks learned of the opportunity to engage with The Neighborhood Center and conduct research. A discussion with his academic adviser, Sven Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, along with Niece and FinnicumSimmons, cemented the idea. Such is the beauty of the Bonner Program, Banks and FinnicumSimmons agree. “I do believe that this is a part of my Stetson experience,” Banks said. “I came to Stetson to make a difference, not only in the Stetson community but also the DeLand community. My entire life, I have always tried to help people in any way possible, and that is part of the reason I love volunteering at The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia. Even if a small microscopic amount of positive change comes from this research, I would see it as a success.”

“It is imperative that institutions ADDRESSING ISSUES

of higher education move

The annual Poverty & Homelessness Conference, a collaboration among Stetson, Volusia County Schools and Volusia United Educators, was founded four years ago by Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., the Jessie Ball duPont Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson. The conference aims to address the “devastating effects” of poverty and homelessness on school-age children, ShankarBrown said. The 2018 conference, held at Stetson, was attended by 456 area schoolteachers, education administrators and professionals, and service-organization workers. Attendees participated in 18 workshops and presentations, such as “Understanding and Supporting Homeless Students” and “Brains Can Change! Overcoming the Effects of Poverty and Supporting Student Learning.” The conference included a panel with schools sharing the impact of action plans created at past conferences, like creating food pantries and clothing/hygiene closets, developing educational workshops for families living in poverty, and re-examining curriculum and instruction to meet the diverse needs of low-income students. “I believe that we have a civic responsibility to address poverty and homelessness, and when I say ‘we,’ this includes higher education,” said Shankar-Brown, who is an elected board member of the National Coalition for the Homeless. She frequently travels to Washington, D.C., to discuss homelessness and poverty matters with members of Congress, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and HUD.

beyond the ‘ivory tower’ and prioritize civic engagement. Compassion and empathy are important, but we must also mindfully and vigorously act.” — Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D.

“One of the reasons I decided to join Stetson’s faculty is because of where it is situated. Knowing there are significantly high numbers of children and youth experiencing homelessness in Central Florida is deeply distressing and further motivates my work as a social-justice scholar-educator,” Shankar-Brown added.


Using a point-in-time method, Volusia County Schools identified 2,006 students as homeless as of January 2018, out of a student population of 63,000. Of those students, 191 were considered “unaccompanied homeless youths, meaning they do not live in the custody of a parent or a guardian,” noted Jennifer Watley, the school district’s homeless liaison/foster care contact and a member of the Poverty & Homelessness Conference’s planning committee. At the 2018 conference, Volusia County Schools Superintendent James T. Russell said, “We do know there are students in our district who live in cars. I know of at least two cases of students who live in tents in the woods. We have couch surfers — unaccompanied “I came to Stetson to make youth who spend a week with an aunt, cousin or friends, and they sleep on couch to a difference, not only in the couch to couch.” The homeless student population “is a Stetson community but also changing number,” Watley said. “I think the DeLand community. ... these numbers are under-identified, to be honest with you. The kids in high school Even if a small microscopic tend to not self-disclose that information in fear of having to go into foster care or fear of amount of positive change being returned to an unsafe home situation. comes from this research, I There are a lot of reasons students don’t tell us they are in a homeless situation.” would see it as a success.” “I am determined to help change this painful reality and encourage my students to — John Banks ’20 engage and be ‘solutionaries’ in a world of growing disparities,” Shankar-Brown said. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Throughout Stetson’s Department of Education, future teachers are taught how to recognize signs of homelessness in their classrooms. Homelessness also is a personal issue for Shankar-Brown. Her father immigrated to the United States from India with a full scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., but room and board were not covered. When Shankar-Brown’s mother joined him, they were homeless and lived in cardboard boxes and under bridges. By the time Shankar-Brown and her siblings were born, their parents had established a stable household. “It is imperative that institutions of higher education move beyond the ‘ivory tower’ and prioritize civic engagement,” ShankarBrown concluded. “Compassion and empathy are important, but we must also mindfully and vigorously act.” The Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless conducts a point-in-time count each January by sending volunteers into the community with surveys to be filled out by homeless people encountered. Those surveys are then combined with data taken from the Homeless Management Information System database through HUD.

“At The Neighborhood Center, I got to see so many people from different walks of life who for various reasons had fallen on hard times. ... There was a great sense of community among the clients. They regarded the center as a place where they could get dignified help.” — Jason Cruz ’17 The 2018 count for Volusia and Flagler was not available as of this writing. The 2017 count was 753 homeless people, according to the coalition’s website, vfcontinuum.org. (Note: Regarding any discrepancy between the number of homeless students and the lesser number of homeless people in the general two-county population, gathering statistics is considered an imperfect science. Educators use guidelines established by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, while other agencies use those established by HUD.)

Last November, students and teachers from Starke Elementary School in DeLand participated in the “Dream Big” program on campus — part of Hatters University, an equity-focused mentoring program designed and led by Stetson Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D.


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Youth Homelessness REMAINING COMMITTED Other efforts to address homelessness come from throughout the Stetson community. Last year, Shankar-Brown worked with members of Stetson’s Student Coalition to End Homelessness and the university’s Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women to hold book drives that collected more than 3,500 books for local homeless shelters and high-poverty schools. Stetson’s Dining Services donates leftover food to The Neighborhood Center. Facilities Management donates surplus and used furniture or kitchenware, left over from renovations, to the agency for use in its housing program. Stetson’s Sarah George Trust Fund grants funds to better DeLand’s Spring Hill neighborhood, giving preference to projects that involve Stetson students and result in a lasting community impact. Greenfeather, now a student-driven philanthropy program of the Center for Community Engagement, supports numerous local nonprofit organizations through fundraisers and donation drives. Greenfeather originated in 1952 on campus. In 2015, a Greenfeather grant was awarded to The Neighborhood Center. Through all of this, the Center for Community Engagement has played a chief role, certainly not alone, but as a leader. “By being a member of this community, we have a responsibility to leverage as many resources as we can to reduce poverty and solve some of these big issues that we have the full capacity to be able to support,” Finnicum-Simmons commented, also pointing to Stetson’s Office of Career and Professional Development. For students, it’s a case of helping self by helping others, FinnicumSimmons described. Among the goals of the Center for Community Engagement is to “make sure that every student at Stetson has some kind of community-engagement experience. We’re at about 68 percent right now,” she said. The engagement brings change to students, just as it makes a difference in the community.

LASTING IMPRESSIONS For Cruz, the writer-interviewer behind “Stories From Our Neighbors” as a student, the fruits of those efforts continue to grow after college. “People in poverty, people in issues of housing scarcity are just as kind and generous and loving and resourceful as anyone else,” Cruz reflected. “Oftentimes, we as a society will neglect these people. We’ll leave them off to the wayside, or assume that there’s some sort of moral failing and that’s why they’re in the situation they are. “At The Neighborhood Center, I got to see so many people from different walks of life who for various reasons had fallen on hard times, be it families who had a medical situation that cost them their money, or people who were escaping violent situations. All of them in my time there were kind to me, kind to each other. There was a great sense of community among the clients. They regarded the center as a place where they could get dignified help. They weren’t sneered at or looked at as some sort of parasite, but were treated as people who deserve respect.”

Homeless youth, sometimes referred to as “unaccompanied” youth, are individuals under the age of 18 who lack parental, foster or institutional care. • Between 1 million and 1.7 million homeless youth have run away or been asked to leave their homes, according to the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare. • Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reveals that 61.8 percent of homeless youth reported depression, 71.7 percent reported experiencing major trauma such as physical or sexual abuse, and 79.5 percent experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder for more than a month. • In 2014, as much as 37 percent of former foster youth reported having experienced homelessness and up to 50 percent experienced housing instability of some sort after aging out of the foster-care system, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. • Homeless youth are evenly malefemale, although females are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines. • Between 6 percent and 22 percent of homeless girls are estimated to be pregnant, as cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures. • Seventy-five percent of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school. • Between 20 percent and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual). Source: National Coalition for the Homeless

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Exploration Equals Growth In her quest for true direction, Maria Wrabel ’12 has finally found just the right course to satisfy her appetite for service: helping to feed the world. B Y T R I S H W I E L A N D

Maria Wrabel ’12

“Life’s a journey — not a destination.”

Maria Wrabel’s way of embracing opportunities serves to personify such a statement. Emphasis on serves. Even her path to Stetson wasn’t a straight line. The move turned out to be life-altering for the better, not only for her, but everyone around her. Some might say even better for all those less fortunate around the world, like the hungry — but that would come later along her journey. For starters, getting to DeLand, Florida, from Connecticut, where she was born and raised, was circuitous. “Stetson was, ironically, the last school I applied to,” conceded Wrabel, who graduated in 2012 with a B.A. degree in Global Development Studies. “I found it on a late-night frantic search after realizing that none of the other colleges I’d applied to were a great fit. “When I visited Stetson for the Bonner Scholars’ interview and met the professors and students I could spend the next four years learning from and growing with, I knew it was the place for me.” Savannah-Jane Griffin, director of the Center for Community Engagement at Stetson, vividly remembers when Wrabel arrived on campus. “Even as a first-year student, she would always be the one to start the conversation and would not shy away from difficult dialogue. She worked very hard and was constantly looking for opportunities to learn and grow,” Griffin said. “What was particularly unique about Maria is that she pushed the boundaries of the role of a college student volunteer.”

SPARK OF PASSION That pushing of boundaries actually began earlier. Wrabel recounts the moment her worldview first came into focus. In high school, a fundraiser for an international nonprofit organization involved fasting for 30 hours to raise money for child sponsorships. “We’d started fasting earlier in the day, and by the time our group gathered that evening, our stomachs were rumbling. The group leader led us into a darkened room, lined with flickering candles,” Wrabel described. “He told us to sit in front of the candles, count to three, blow one out and repeat. When all the candles were almost extinguished, he said, ‘The number of candles you’ve blown out represents the number of children that have died from hunger and related causes since you walked in here tonight. What are you going to do about it?’ And here we are, 12 years later, trying to do something about it.” At Stetson, she wanted to work in international development, principally hunger and food insecurity. Wrabel knew that much. Yet, she didn’t quite know how to get there. There was dabbling in several prospective majors for her first two years, shifting from education to sociology to religious studies to political science to English. During the spring semester of her sophomore year, she studied abroad at Oxford University in England and took a course in post-Colonial literature, which allowed her to dive into the subject matter from multiple angles, politically, economically, sociologically and even architecturally. “I realized that to be successful in my chosen field, I needed to understand all of these components. So, when I returned to Stetson in the fall, I designed a major in Global 44

STETSON | Summer 2018

Development Studies [part of the Honors Program] that combined classes from political science, sociology, economics, environmental studies and gender studies.” Exploration brought growth. “After more than a year of soul-searching, and dress-rehearsals with four different majors, she undertook the daunting project of designing of her own major, one that spoke to her curiosity and desire,” explained Michael Denner, Ph.D., director of Stetson’s Honors Program.

A CROSSROADS Embracing all that Stetson has to offer those who are willing to take calculated risks, Wrabel thrived during her remaining years as an undergraduate, earning top-notch grades as a Bonner Scholar in the Honors Program while serving in the Oxfam Club and the Student-Homeless Coalition, plus volunteering at The Neighborhood Center in DeLand. (See Page 36.)

As part of her internship with Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization, Wrabel traveled to Yobe State, Nigeria, to assist on a community-led sanitation project.

By her senior year, however, Wrabel began to struggle with what was “next.” Multiple opportunities existed abroad, as she sought to “put what I had studied into practice.” The decision about which opportunity didn’t come easily. She consulted with Denner, whose words were metaphorical and moving. “He said, ‘Life can be like standing at the train station. Trains are coming; you may want to go on one of the trains, or you may not know if you want to go where the train is going. But just get on a train. You can always get off; you can always change course. But if you’ve gotten on the train, at least you’ve gone somewhere.’ And that’s how I’d like to live my life.” So, Wrabel headed to Vietnam. After applying to several volunteer-abroad programs, two separate programs placed her in Vietnam. She took that as a sign. Wrabel divided time in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam between teaching English to postgraduate students who would be sponsored to study abroad and volunteering at an agricultural development center. She called the experience “incredibly enriching.” Returning to Florida, she then completed a two-year fellowship with the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, where she learned what it was like to be on the donor side of nonprofit work, travel around the United States and engage with different communities. Then, following that fellowship, her what to do in life and how to get there began to merge. At the London School of Economics,

Wrabel began her first master’s degree in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, and she proceeded to earn a second master’s degree this May in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts. While at Tufts, Wrabel worked with research teams on projects related to food aid, nutrition and famine. Also, she interned with Action Against Hunger in Nigeria last summer. The result: Wrabel now is pursuing a career in international humanitarian nutrition — “looking at how we can combine food, health, water, sanitation and livelihoods programs to maximize impact, as well as which interventions and policies facilitate more effective, accountable and culturally appropriate humanitarian action,” she explained. In essence, Wrabel wants to help feed the world.

BEACON OF LIGHT Back at Stetson, in the eyes of Denner, her mentor a short time ago but seemingly long in the distance, Wrabel has come full circle — again, growth through exploration — and now truly is ready to achieve with purpose. “I know from our many conversations that, during her first years here at Stetson, Ms. Wrabel had her cherished worldviews damaged and sometimes destroyed, that the systems that have arisen in their place are far more nuanced, shadowed and modest in

scope,” Denner said. “I think, though, that Ms. Wrabel’s conversion — from clarity to chiaroscuro — is the real mark of a successful education and a thoughtful learner. I think in another age we would have called Ms. Wrabel sincere. For Ms. Wrabel, community service happens; it is a natural outgrowth of who she is. She is, in brief, the kind of person we all want working on our behalf. Energetic. Sincere. Devoted. Intellectually brilliant. Moreover, she’s genuine, sincere, modest, kind and caring.” Reflecting on her journey, Wrabel does what is characteristic: She deflects, quick to credit others. “Attending Stetson was an unforgettable, transformative college experience,” Wrabel said, simply. “The professors engage and challenge you, and the students will support and encourage you. You’ll be pushed to explore new ideas and new places and have opportunities to discover who you are and what you want to get out of your life.” Her parting message: The journey itself — twisting, uncertain and sometimes confusing — has meaning. “It has all been purposeful and extremely carefully chosen, and has contributed to me getting to where I am today,” Wrabel concluded. “And that’s actually something I feel quite strongly about, that students shouldn’t feel as though exploration or uncertainty is wrong or that they’ll make a mistake. It’s all part of the learning process; even if you have a direction like I did, I still think exploration is valuable.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Yellow Brick Road For Elijah McCoy ’19, “home” is maximizing time and opportunities on campus, even if the final destination isn’t yet known. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


he composition of character begins with the deep, hearty laugh. No, maybe it’s the broad, pearly smile. Likely, Elijah McCoy ’19, jovial, embracing and sincere, will have you at “hello.” Across the Stetson campus, you’re also likely to see him almost everywhere. Some students get involved. Others stretch limits. Still others do so with an enduring smile. That’s Elijah McCoy.

“I’m a pretty outgoing person,” McCoy said after completing his junior year in May. “Sometimes my friends think I’m a little too social. I don’t view it as being too social. I view it as making connections.” It just happens in such seemingly effortless fashion. Fact is, McCoy describes his university experience as a yellow brick road, harkening back to 1939 Hollywood and famed “The Wizard of Oz.” Only, Judy Garland’s “Dorothy” never had to navigate a course load encompassing majors in business administration and theater arts with a minor in marketing, along with serving as president of Stetson’s Rotaract Club and being a FOCUS Orientation leader. Oh, and add in some normal student involvement, such as membership in the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Theta Alpha Phi Honors Fraternity, African Student Alliance, Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honor society) and Black Student Association. There are acting, directing and managing in stage productions, too, among other endeavors. “I think it’s just in my nature to stay busy,” McCoy said with one of those laughs. “It does come down to just managing a good calendar. … But at the end of the day, it’s also very rewarding that you can be a part of something.” From age 4, that “something” meant becoming a CEO. Who plays with phones and looks at credit card applications before starting kindergarten? McCoy did. 46

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Fast-forward to Howard High School in Macon, Georgia, and he was a chorus singer and head pep band drum major. He also was vice president of his class and held similar leadership roles in organizations encompassing career training (SkillsUSA) and youth leadership preparation (DECA Inc.), plus he carried around a handy knowledge of graphic design and information technology to go with an impressive GPA. Not coincidentally, McCoy did the same at Stetson. He entered as a business major — “I thought about my initial goal when I was younger” — then he asked himself, what more? Three years later, he’s still asking that question. Or, like Dorothy, he continues in search of a direction to follow. Indeed, this isn’t a story about adventure, discovery, direction and success. Title this “TBD.” And, as a subplot, blend in some misfortune. One early hurdle: First year, first semester, McCoy had to leave campus when his grandmother was badly injured in a dog attack. It was only a few days, but he already had left behind an especially tightknit family. “Not everything that I planned was perfect; there were times when things didn’t go the way they were supposed to. My biggest thing has been learning how to be more flexible,” he noted.

Photo by Bobby Fishbough

McCoy had an open mind when Professor of Education Patrick Coggins, Ph.D., approached him about resurrecting the Rotaract Club on campus. Rotaract is the collegiate sector of Rotary International, a global network of approximately 1.2 million members. McCoy was a first-year student, who as a high-school senior had attended a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference at South Georgia State College. McCoy, in characteristic style, said, “yes.” “At that time, I wasn’t thinking about starting a club. I was just trying to figure out what I was going to do [as a student],” he remembered before adding, “I said I’ll put my heart into it.” McCoy is relinquishing the top spot this fall, but not before Rotaract has successfully returned following a 2008 dissolution at Stetson. Primary activities have ranged from leadership training and polio education to volunteer opportunities and communityservice events. Eradicating polio is among Rotary International’s main missions. Coggins gives him high marks, pointing out that Stetson received “Rotaract Club of 2016/2017” at the International Convention held last June in Atlanta. Also, the Rotaract Club received Stetson’s Community Impact Award at the Top Hatter Ceremony for 2017-2018. “Elijah is a bright and dynamic student who

has the special ability to bring people together to achieve a greater good for Stetson and the community as a whole,” Coggins commented. Even through that experience, McCoy was taking a step in another direction, on stage. During that first year, McCoy also heard about auditions for a play at Stetson’s Second Stage Theatre. “Not expecting anything,” he auditioned and won a role, prompting him to add theater arts as a minor. He then took a theater class in his second semester and performed in a second production. After his sophomore year, he added theater arts as a major. “If I put my name on something, I definitely like to see it executed,” he said, simply. Now, as McCoy returns for his senior year, other paths have emerged. There’s the thought of a career in arts administration as a way to merge his pending business and arts degrees. Or, he can pursue a technical theater position. While acting, he assisted with lighting, staging and production management. In spring 2017, for example, he was assistant stage manager for Othello. Last fall, he was assistant director for Bedroom Farce. Higher education also is appealing. McCoy, who carried a 3.46 GPA into the summer, is certain he will seek a master’s degree, somewhere. “In what” and “for what” remain unanswered. His words: “I am definitely keeping my options open.”

“I knew I would be involved in college, but to the extent, I didn’t think it would be this busy,” he explained. “But with all the experiences and all the opportunities that have been provided to me coming to Stetson, it’s definitely been an amazing experience.” And so, McCoy forges ahead toward his Emerald City, uncertain but undaunted. “I always had a goal of being the CEO of something, so that’s always still going to be my goal. How I’ll get there, we’ll see. Those ideas are still in planning,” he said. Somewhat paradoxically, McCoy stresses the importance of staying focused — keeping an eye on an end goal without getting sidetracked. For Dorothy, that meant making it back home to Kansas. For McCoy, it has meant maximizing both time and opportunity, even if the final destination isn’t yet known. “I see this yellow brick road,” he concluded about his time thus far at Stetson. “I see the goals I’ve set for myself and these things I want to accomplish. And, as I go down this road, there have been obstacles, things that might have stopped me from time to time. But I just remained diligent; I kept going. “Granted, that yellow brick road is not always just a straight line, but you end up coming back to where you are, and then you keep going.”

“I see this yellow brick road. I see the goals I’ve set for myself and these things I want to accomplish. And, as I go down this road, there have been obstacles, things that might have stopped me from time to time. But I just remained diligent; I kept going.” — Elijah McCoy ’19 Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The Science of Self-Study Sarah Coffey ’18, Stetson’s first Environmental Values Fellow, departs with degree in hand and a new perspective of the horizon. B Y M I C H A E L C A N D E L A R I A


t didn’t take long for Sarah Coffey ’18 to fall in love with Stetson. After beginning to think about Stetson during her junior year at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, Florida, Coffey took a tour of the university. “I had the best impression right away,” she remembered. An excellent student, Coffey clearly had other college choices. But they didn’t measure up, because “none of them felt like Stetson to me.” Stetson, in turn, soon fell in love with her.

Coffey became the university’s first Environmental Values Fellow as a first-year student, a 2016 Udall Scholar for her environmental initiatives and engagement with the Stetson community, and a 2017 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow by virtue of her socialjustice activism. For good measure, Coffey, an Honors student, tallied all straight A’s in the classroom as an environmental science and geography major. Ultimately, for the totality of accomplishments and impacts, at Stetson’s 2018 Undergraduate Awards and Recognition Ceremony in May, Coffey was presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, jointly conferred by Stetson and The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to two members of the graduating class, male and female. (Adam Cooper, a chemistry major, was the male recipient.) The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award was created nearly 100 years ago to recognize “nobility of character” and service to others. Unlike in the classroom and throughout campus, however, Coffey’s time at Stetson wasn’t all about success. There was indecision, too, requiring redirection and introspection. Self-study. Coffey grew up living in New Mexico, Oregon, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia and Florida. Her parents always stressed the importance of the environment, to conserve, recycle and generally value natural surroundings. An internship at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium during her senior year of high school strengthened those beliefs. 48

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There, she learned about such topics as climate change and ocean acidification. Before even arriving on campus, Coffey applied to become that first Environmental Values Fellow, a role in collaboration with the Environmental Science and Studies Department and Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement. Yet, her father, a dentist, was a biology major in college, and Coffey also had inclinations toward science. So, what to do at Stetson? Coffey planted seeds of learning everywhere. During years one and two, while continuing to think “environment,” she voraciously consumed courses in the hard sciences, with emphases on calculus and chemistry. “I just got a little bit of everything.” Coffey described. And, for a time, she leaned in that direction: hard science. Then as a junior, she took “Gender and the Environment” and “Cultural and Political Ecology,” among others, courses encompassing issues of social justice. At the same time, Coffey was making a name for herself as an Environmental Fellow by working to “impact as many people as possible and get them to think about how they can make a difference,” she said. Couple those experiences with her Udall appointment prior to her junior year and Coffey became sure of her true devotion.

“The best thing I can do is impact as many people as possible and get them to think about how they can make a difference.” — Sarah Coffey ’18

Photo by Bobby Fishbough

Finally. But with an asterisk. “It’s more like a change of focus within the environment, going from more science to more social justice,” Coffey explained, pointing out that her degree in environmental science and geography is, proudly, a Bachelor of Science. “I really love to be interdisciplinary with a strong science background. But I want to be in the community, working directly with people.” Two examples at Stetson: Coffey was especially passionate about engaging children in gardening and in teaching the importance of growing their own food. She headed the campus garden club, Hatter Harvest, and volunteered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Also, she strove to halt the abuse of migrant labor in Florida’s agricultural industry, working with local members of the Farmworker Association of Florida, a group dedicated to equity and justice. That devotion prompted her to learn Spanish. Further, the Udall scholarship provided the chance to explore fields related to health care and tribal public policy for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The Newman Civic Fellows Award, another national distinction, honored Coffey as a member of the “next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders.” In April just before graduation, Coffey was part of 2018 Posters on the Hill in Washington, D.C. Each year, 60 top student

research projects are selected from hundreds of applications, with students and their faculty mentors presenting research on Capitol Hill. Coffey’s research centered on the fire history of the San Juan Islands in Washington state. Wendy Anderson, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Environmental Science and Studies Department, gushed about one of her prized pupils: “She is a superstar student, of course. But, I would add [that] Sarah has a heart of gold and a compassionate and humble spirit. She is genuinely thoughtful and caring to both those she loves and those whom she feels called to serve. Motivated by an overwhelming empathy for all people and creatures — the very living earth itself — Sarah wakes each day striving to make a difference in every moment of the day.” Tony Abbott, Ph.D., professor of environmental science (now on sabbatical), shared that sentiment. “Being the inaugural Environmental Fellow came with the opportunity and responsibility to establish the community norms for the Values Fellows. Sarah herself became a mentor to those joining the program after her, creating a culture of excellence and high achievement for all fellows,” Abbott commented. “The best thing I can do is impact as many people as possible and get them to think about how they can make a difference,” Coffey said in reflection. “Then, if we all start

thinking like that, we can get a lot closer to saving the world. So, I guess what I want to do is just change people’s way of thinking.” Also, Coffey worked to change her own thinking. Academic studies aside, she acknowledged a need for her own shift, to grow as a person. As a result, Coffey plans to relax, just a bit, moving forward — same conviction but with more self-awareness. Coffey now is heading to the Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), where she will continue her education with an emphasis on community food forests. Not surprisingly, she has a paid assistantship waiting for her, and research already is planned for this summer. Yet, she will arrive there with greater understanding, Coffey insisted — additional lessons learned at Stetson. “With all the things going on in the world, it gets really heavy. I feel such a weight to make the world a better place,” she concluded. “I had to realize that it’s not just me. And if I put that much pressure on myself, I’m actually going to limit the amount of good I can do in the world. So, I still want to help other people as much as possible, but I think the most fundamental change that happened for me was realizing that I have to give back to myself, too.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



‘Moments of Discomfort’ Maxwell Droznin ’16 went from medical-school rejection to assessing community needs and prescribing public-health remedies. Along the way, he fixed himself, too. BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA


dventure and discovery? Not in the least. Maxwell Droznin ’16 had a definite plan and a clear path. “I had a full four years planned out by semester, exactly what classes I was going to take,” Droznin said about his arrival on the Stetson campus in fall 2012 from Spruce Creek High School in nearby Port Orange, adding the words “tunnel-visioned pre-med.” Today, Droznin is an adjunct professor of public health and a community-engagement coordinator for the Center for Community Engagement at Stetson. That’s a long way from M.D., Droznin would acknowledge. Yet, ironically, because of the detours, Droznin still might get there. And he’s growing all the wiser — while along the way making significant impacts on both communities and students. On himself, too. “Those moments of discomfort are where we grow the most and where we develop the skills to persevere and overcome those hardships, and then realize what we actually want to do,” he reflected. That statement couldn’t be much truer than for Droznin, who actually graduated as a Russian Studies major in the Honors Program while also taking all the requisite pre-med courses. In this case, though, four years of academic excellence netted zero acceptance letters to medical school. None. There were 36 applications and 36 rejections. The response from medical schools: You need professional experience. “It’s necessary to be able to effectively communicate and interact with people [in an office setting] who are different from you,” he said, also noting that medical schools often seek older students with gap years encouraged. That wasn’t Maxwell Droznin. Droznin, however, hadn’t lived a life of classroom isolation at Stetson. He had experienced. Following his first year, there was a summer in a research lab at Stanford University. He had taken spring breaks as part of Global Medical Brigades, working at rural clinics in Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. Also, among other activities, he started a beekeeping club on campus and participated in Stetson’s chapter of the national pre-health honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta. In addition, by virtue of the Honors Program’s emphasis on academic self-exploration, he had been challenged to “experience new things and broaden my worldview and where I saw myself in 10 years.” Similarly, his “terrible but also incredible” summer at Stanford was an eye-opener. When a potentially exciting research job turned into a disappointing desk job,


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his work angst brought personal exploration, especially trips to Yosemite National Park, where he began to discover the “broadness of the universe and my place in it.” That all helped him. Nonetheless, simply, when it came to medical school, Droznin was deemed not quite ready. So, Droznin went in a new direction, albeit without a compass. “I had no plan B. I was totally expecting to get in [medical school],” he recounted. “I was a senior in the middle of my final semester with no place to go. It was a very scary moment.” Then fortune intervened, which brought him back to Stetson and, just maybe, will put him back on course to become a doctor. Droznin had worked on his senior research project with Asal Johnson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Public Health, looking at multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Eastern Europe — aligning his interests in Russia, medicine and public health. Johnson’s husband happened to be director of a public-health program at Rollins College. Droznin took that opportunity to pursue a master’s in public health, partly so he could “tell people I was doing something” after graduation. Also, he was looking for a job. That job emerged at Stetson, at the Center for Community Engagement, in a role with AmeriCorps VISTA focused on creating opportunities for student learning through community impact. AmeriCorps VISTA workers, in essence, are federal volunteers who operate on a limited project basis. In turn, Droznin found a new calling, one that ultimately could return him to his old passion.

Photo by Bobby Fishbough

“This experience has helped me realize my true passion, where my strengths are, and where and how I can make the biggest impact on society.” — Maxwell Droznin ’16

Droznin was back at Stetson in November 2016. A month later, the impoverished neighborhood of Spring Hill, not far from the DeLand campus, was under the microscope. Already, a Spring Hill public-health and community-needs assessment has resulted in the Spring Hill Community Garden as well as offshoot projects, improving access to fresh produce. The garden opened last fall, with plots made available to local residents. On Saturdays during the academic year, a dozen or so students can be seen working alongside community members, master gardeners and organizations such as the Greater Union Life Center, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Over the past year and a half, [Droznin] has built a coalition of partners including local government, nonprofits, civic groups and churches to eliminate food insecurities and reduce poverty,” said Kevin Winchell, Stetson’s associate director of Community

Engagement. “Thanks to Maxwell’s drive for project sustainability, students get hands-on learning about food systems, organization management and economic development, while people in DeLand build community and get access to fresh produce that directly supports local farmers and reduces food waste.” At present, Droznin and others are working on a walkability assessment of Spring Hill in partnership with the Rollins College Master of Public Health program and the Florida Department of Health. Only one street in Spring Hill had a bike path, and nearly half of the streets didn’t have sidewalks. “If you don’t feel safe, why would residents walk 60 minutes as part of their daily exercise?” Droznin asked, rhetorically. Droznin’s work continues, although he isn’t certain for how long. Droznin has his eye on medical school once again. He is applying literally now, with the hope of starting in August 2019.

VISTAs operate on three-year projects, with each term lasting one year. So, usually three different VISTAs work on the same project, one following the other. After his first term expired in November 2017, Droznin stayed another term to ensure the sustainability of his projects. That second term ends this November, and a replacement already has been hired to finish year three of the VISTA project. In reality, medical school is more than a hope, he asserted, believing that his own needs assessment has yielded a bumper crop of new knowledge, inspiration and focus. “I didn’t see myself beyond being a medical school student,” Droznin said, looking back and peering ahead. “I didn’t see what I could be as a physician. I honestly did not know. This experience has helped me realize my true passion, where my strengths are, and where and how I can make the biggest impact on society.” That impact, he added, “would be a hybrid of clinical medicine and what I do right now.” One idea is to have a clinic and treat patients one on one, but also proactively record and analyze patient data to identify primary health needs — and address large communitywide issues. A career with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a possibility. “I’m incredibly confident,” Droznin said. “I think the last time there was a lot of fear and apprehension about what the results would be, and I was really writing my application in a way that I thought medical schools wanted to hear. Now there’s just a lot of excitement about the possibilities, and I can write and be authentic.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



ARRAY OF OPTIONS Beams of inspiration from unlikely sources led students Alexa Fortuna ’18 and Jimmy Dean ’20 to a potential landmark project for the university.



uch changed for Alexa Fortuna ’18 during her time at Stetson. That’s like saying the sun heats the Earth — only a nanosecond is needed for the obvious to emerge. The same goes for Jimmy Dean ’20, who returns this fall to continue his transformation. Arriving from Wellington High School in Palm Beach County, Fortuna recalls that “arguing was something I really liked,” and she wanted to be a criminal lawyer. During her sophomore year on campus, a class with Clay Henderson, J.D., a professor and executive director of the Institute of Water and Environmental Resilience, “changed everything,” causing her to realize the importance of environmental awareness and “how there’s really a call for action, which led me to realizing I’m really interested in public policy.” Fortuna became determined to “be a voice for Mother Nature.” Jimmy Dean ’20 initially was attracted to the Roland George Investments Program within the School of Business Administration. In broader context, he merely wanted to make an impact on campus.


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“Involvement” at Pine View School in Sarasota County had meant entertainment. He often was the voice of events. “I basically wanted to see the impact I could have around here. But I was foreseeing MC-ing student events; that’s what I did in high school,” he explained. This spring, Fortuna, who graduated in May in political science and was vice president of the Student Government Association, and Dean, majoring in economics and finance and SGA policy/finance chair, found themselves making a difference in ways they couldn’t have imagined only a few years ago. Their array of options as first-year students had become an array of solar — a potential landmark project for Stetson. In basic terms, Stetson’s first solar farm is being established to harness the sun’s rays and turn them into electricity that will help power the university. Fenced off near the intersection of Ohio and Amelia avenues in DeLand, small rows of solar panels will be linked to a generator that will provide electricity to the campus. Fortuna and Dean, among other students, helped to turn the project’s lights on. How’s that as a call for action and involvement? Actually, Stetson’s entire student body contributed. In May 2017, following expansive groundwork to garner student and administration support, the university’s first revolving “green fund” became reality. Essentially, the plan calls for all students to pay a $5 green fee each semester to fund projects — selected by students — that will save money and decrease the university’s environmental impact. A year later, significant progress was being made on the first project. There is plenty of work to be done — everything from permitting and continual cost calculations to farming of the rays themselves. Yet, if all goes as outlined, the initial rows of panels could be in place on campus by the start of the fall semester in August. “This could be very big. And it’s giving the university the opportunity to really be an anchor in the community for solar energy,” said Dean, who first got involved during the academic year to help with SGA finances.

Alexa Fortuna ’18 and Jimmy Dean ’20 helped bring Stetson’s first revolving “green fund” to life with a project powered by solar energy. Photo by Bobby Fishbough

The fund is designed to raise $30,000 annually, and early in the academic year students were asked to submit ideas for environmental projects. Nearly 200 suggestions were received. Although most of the suggestions encompassed traditional recycling and conservation, one even involved a sky-bridge near campus to reduce exhaust emissions from idling cars, Fortuna noted. All were given due diligence, but the clear winner was solar. Three solar proposals gained serious consideration, with the solar panels — the array — winning out. Solar-powered water heaters and solar-powered lights for parking areas were the other two proposals. “All of [the proposals] looked like awesome ideas that we would be comfortable using the green fund for, but considering the size of investment and how much money we would save from the investment, solar array pretty much blew the two others out of the water,” said Dean. Project financing isn’t finalized, but the current plan is to start small and eventually expand. Aside from the $30,000 raised through the 2017-2018 green fund, SGA and the university each has agreed to match that amount. Also, next year’s green-fund dollars have been committed to the project. The first phase of the solar array will be paid upfront with those $120,000. In the future, other sources of funding could include grants and donors. Additionally, as part of the revolving nature of the green fund, any savings realized in electricity costs will be used to keep the project moving forward. The return on investment is “potentially huge,” Dean noted, pointing to a possible savings of $17,000 in electric costs in one annual projection. Solar-Fit, a provider of diverse solar solutions, is working with the university as the primary vendor. The company is headquartered in Holly Hill, approximately 25 miles from Stetson. While several other variables are yet to be determined, Wendy Anderson, Ph.D., professor and chair of Environmental Science and Studies, already deems the project a success.

“When students voted to contribute their own money to campus sustainability projects that they would have the authority to choose, the first thing they chose to allocate their money to was solar photovoltaics. We understand the university has made steady and impressive progress to fund campus infrastructure improvements that reduce energy consumption. But the students are eager to see renewables on campus as an obvious, visible demonstration of the Stetson community’s commitment to current and future generations,” Anderson commented. Anderson added a special salute to Fortuna and Dean, describing them as “tenacious in educating themselves and their peers about the technical details of both the array and the funding mechanisms.” Fortuna and Dean learned about themselves, too. “It was an incredible opportunity to see the inner workings of the environmental background of the university,” Fortuna said about the project. “The opportunities that I have received coming here in that close community of Stetson, it’s unparalleled.” Shortly after graduation, Fortuna headed work with FEMA Corps in California for a year before law school. FEMA Corps is a teambased service program that gives 18- to 24-year-olds the opportunity to serve communities impacted by disaster while gaining professional development experience. “You don’t realize how much involvement does shape your experience,” Fortuna added. Dean is spending the summer at an investments firm in Pennsylvania, with an eye both on remaining with the project and entering the Roland George Investments Program. Meanwhile, he believes his own investments in education are paying off. “Coming here and being able to see these larger-scale projects, I guess the difference is what students can accomplish here at Stetson,” Dean said. “It defies my expectations, honestly. I kind of came to Stetson with a lot of the worries that a lot of the students have — did I make the right choice? … Going into the community and making connections with all of these student organizations and the faculty on campus, I’m very sure of my decision.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Net Gains

Yang Deng has traveled far and wide, within the sport of volleyball and across the globe, to now “build a connection” at Stetson. BY JAMIE BATAILLE


efore Yang Deng ever stepped foot on a volleyball court in the United States, she was one of the brightest young stars in her homeland of China.

In elementary school, an early growth spurt helped Deng stand out from her classmates. Literally. As a fifth-grader, her height and athletic ability led to an invitation to play on a local volleyball team in Changzhou, a city on the southern bank of the Yangtze River in the highly developed Yangtze Delta region of China. For Deng at the time, the volleyball court meant a welcome break from the long hours of rigorous studying that Chinese students were accustomed to in the classroom. And it didn’t take long for coaches to take notice. In sixth grade, a sports-affiliated boarding school offered Deng an opportunity to play on a youth province team. If she chose to attend the government-run school, her tuition would be covered (unlike at public school), but she would have to move to the capital city of Nanjing and live on her own at age 13. Deng made the leap. “I remember my dad telling me, ‘It is your choice, but if you want to do that, then you have to do it the best you can.’ I liked playing volleyball, so I decided to go,” she recounted.


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Quickly, Deng climbed the ranks of the province team from youth and junior to the national level. From there, she was selected to play for the youth national team and then the Chinese junior national team. Deng was only 19 years old and getting to travel around the globe — staying at five-star resorts and receiving police escorts along with extra security. Her memory: “It was pretty fun, actually.” In 1995, Deng’s fast rise brought her to the highest level, an opportunity to train and compete with the Chinese National Team. At age 21, she was one of the youngest players on the squad. Then her journey took a turn. After one season with the national team, a back injury derailed Deng’s playing career. So, she enrolled at a university in Beijing and began working on a college degree. A return to the court, however, wasn’t far behind. It just turned out to be far away.

Deng (bottom row, far right) began her ascension in volleyball as a fifth-grader in China, eventually playing on the Chinese National team at the age of 22 (pictured here).

Deng was named the 1999 NAIA National Player of the Year as a setter at Columbia College.

“Age 18 to 21 is an important time, and as a coach you are so connected to the players. How you value things, how you judge things, how you think about what is important definitely has a direct effect on the players’ experience and their growth.”— Yang Deng, head indoor volleyball coach

During her first semester in Beijing, Deng received a call from an old friend, a junior-national teammate who was playing for Columbia College in Missouri. A scholarship had become available if Deng was interested. Although Deng didn’t speak any English, she again jumped at the chance. And volleyball dominance once again followed. It wasn’t big-time Division I, but at 24, Deng was named National Player of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, as a setter, and twice led Columbia College to national championships. That success then prompted another unexpected move, into coaching. When the coach at Columbia took the head job at the University of Missouri, she gave Deng the opportunity to join her staff. Deng, in typical style, didn’t hesitate, despite language remaining a challenge and without having completed her undergraduate work. She had never coached, either. Deng spent her first three years at Missouri as a full-time coach and part-time student. Just as her players studied on flights to and from matches, she did the same. “Even at night at the hotel, we were studying at the same time,” Deng recalled. Also, Deng learned about herself. At first, while

watching her team play, she fought the urge to step on the court herself and compete. Eventually, though, a deeper sense of purpose took over. Deng had learned how to teach, with much of the instruction and inspiration occurring off the court. “Teaching people what they are supposed to be doing is much more challenging than just doing it yourself. I got a much bigger sense of fulfillment when a player finally got it and understood how successful they could be,” Deng explained. “I was recruiting players and helping develop them into All-Americans and national team players. Those things meant a lot. Coaching seemed like something I wanted to do. “Age 18 to 21 is an important time, and as a coach you are so connected to the players. How you value things, how you judge things, how you think about what is important definitely has a direct effect on the players’ experience and their growth.” Ultimately, in 2017, Stetson became the big winner. After 17 years as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri, Deng decided it was time to pursue a volleyball program of her own. The Hatters, among others, came calling. This fall, as Deng enters her second season looking to build her team into a contender in the ASUN Conference, her commitment to nurturing relationships and impacting young adults remains a core value, a true tipping point regardless of any score. “I know the bottom line is I have to have a good connection with my players,” Deng concluded. “When I build a connection, then I can be honest with them, and it won’t get their feelings hurt. It won’t be that they think I don’t love them or care about them. That’s one of the biggest things for me as a coach. I make sure they know I care about them.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Celebrating Stetson


atters everywhere enjoyed a season in the sun this spring. Nowhere was that more evident than during alumni events surrounding baseball. Friendships were born and relationships strengthened through common bonds — just like back on campus. To be part of an event near you, contact the Stetson University Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement at 386-822-7480 or alumni@stetson.edu.

Charles Bartlett ’18 celebrates his graduation from Stetson with his mother, Holly Johnson Bartlett (pictured far right), and grandparents Charles B. Johnson and Dr. Ann Johnson. Native New Yorkers Ashley Gamba ’18 and Christopher Kelly ’18 enjoy time at the Senior Celebration. Spring 2018 Alumni Board of Directors Meeting Front row: Amanda Sharkey Ross ’99, Tony Guzzetta ’85, Annemarie Boss ’13, Debbie Monaco ’88, Abby Loreto Hamilton ’94 Second row: Timothy Ballesteros ’88, Scott Uguccioni ’89, Billy Wieland ’07, J.D. ’10, Allison Jean Foster ’04, Brooke Thompson ’15, Jennifer Bellomy Bonenfant ’93, M.B.A. ’94 Third row: Ranell Tinsley Mason ’00, Blane McCarthy ’92, J.D. ’95, Dawn Proffitt ’03, Lillian Vargas ’08, Elizabeth Harper Kilgore ’90, Mallory Manning Sosinski ’11, Debbie Lamb Magruder ’89, Ray Holley ’91, J.D. ’97 Back row: Sonja James-Gaitor ’14, Dennis Martin ’83, JJ Payette ’06, Harold G. Kilgore Jr. ’94, Derrick Smith ’13, Scott Boore ’76, Ned Skiff ’75, Steve Roy ’75, Michele Shepherd ’85


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Daytona Beach

Bill Voges ’77, J.D. ’81, head football coach Roger Hughes, Ph.D., Robert Voges Sonja James-Gaitor ’14 and Gwen Azama-Edwards ’71, M.A. ’83 Sarah Brown McAskill ’88, Emma McAskill, Dr. Stephen McAskill Staci Baird ’97 and Mike Leonard ’83


Kristi Baetzman Tyrrell ’84; Debbie Monaco ’88, Alumni Board, Tampa Chapter chair; Sylvia Collins ’58, mother of Candace Preston, J.D. ’93 Greg and Sonia Moore, parents of Greg Moore ’21; June Reynolds, mother of Justin Reynolds ’16; Brittni Reynolds

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



NCAA Super Regional Watch Parties

Greenville, South Carolina: Lauren ’06 and Garrett ’07 Hyer, Eli ’26 and Bob Powell ’92

New Smyrna Beach: Alumni Board member Debbie Lamb Magruder ’89, New Smyrna Beach Chapter chair, with local Hatters for the Super Regional Watch Party

Atlanta, Georgia: Steve Alexander ’85, Board of Trustees member and Orlando resident, joins his wife, Lee (front, far left), and other Hatters. Winter Park: Hatters gather for the Super Regional Watch Party. Alumni Board member Dawn E. Proffitt ’03 and Summer Essick Simmons ’01

Tampa: Debbie Monaco ’88, Alumni Board member and Tampa Chapter chair, cheers with fellow Hatters.


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Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Jorge Arenas, father of Jorge Arenas ’20; Kevin Wasilewski ’86, Dennis Hale, father of Austin Hale ’18; Mike Wilson, father of Brooks Wilson ’18; Deanna Hale, mother of Austin Hale; Jack Billingham, grandfather of Zemp Schwab ’21 Mike Sempeles ’91, Tom Knutson ’90, Elizabeth Kosar, Victor Ramos ’87

Lake Mary: Elizabeth Kilgore ’90 (holding the Stetson banner) and Harold Kilgore ’94 (behind her, slightly left) gather with fellow Hatters.

Fort Lauderdale: Ned Skiff ’75, Alumni Board member and Fort Lauderdale Chapter chair (No. 83), and Jennifer Long ’92 (Stetson hat in back) celebrate with area Hatters.

Tony Awards

Alumni Board member Janette Nesheiwat ’98 and Dina Nesheiwat ’03, New York City Chapter chair, attending the 2018 Tony Awards in support of Michael Yeargan ’68, nominee for Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



A Lifelong Sport For Fred Ridley, Augusta National Golf Club chairman, golf and law go together. BY T R E S SA G I L L FA N O E , J . D . ’ 07


red Ridley, J.D. ’77, a Tampa-based partner at Foley & Lardner, became the seventh chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters on Oct. 16, 2017, not too long ago. Ridley’s history with golf, however, is long-standing. He noted, simply: “I tie the significant relationships in my life to golf.” Ridley spent his childhood golfing with his father. A member of his University of Florida golf team introduced him to his wife, Betsy. He met all the previous Augusta National chairmen, and many became his friends. Augusta National, of which he has been a member since 2000, has itself been a great source of friendship for Ridley. Thanks to the help of Jack Grout, Jack Nicklaus’ lifelong teacher, Ridley’s golf game peaked just as he was graduating from college, but he kept his commitment to attend Stetson Law. In the summer of 1975, after his first year of law school at Stetson, he played in a number of tournaments and won the U.S. Amateur event. “It set into motion a series of events that had an impact on the rest of my life, but it did not change my decision to go to law school,” he recalled. Ridley was back in class at Stetson a week later. In 1976, Ridley took an eight-month sabbatical from law school to play in more tournaments, including as an amateur at the Masters, in which he was paired with the 1975 winner Jack Nicklaus. Ridley played in both the Masters and the Walker Cup in 1977, the year he graduated. In 1978, he again played as an amateur in the Masters. Then he took a nine-year break from golf to focus on his career. In 1987 and 1989, he returned to golf as the non-playing captain of the Walker Cup. Since that time, he has served as the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) president in 2004, a captain of the 2010 World Amateur Team, and a member of both the rules and competition committees of Augusta National. Like Ridley, Bobby Jones, one of the founders of Augusta National and the Masters, was an amateur golfer who retired early from golf to practice law. Jones believed that amateurs should be showcased at the Masters, and that tradition has remained. As chairman, Ridley said he is continuing with the founders’ mission to promote the sport, increase participation and give back to the game of golf. Together with the USGA and The R&A, the domestic and international golf governing bodies, respectively, Augusta National and the Masters have created amateur events in Asia and Latin


STETSON | Summer 2018

Fred Ridley, J.D. ’77 has gone from top amateur golfer (shown with Jack Nicklaus on the 14th fairway during the 1976 Masters Tournament) to chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club.

America. (The R&A is the ruling authority of golf throughout the world, with the exception of the United States and Mexico, where the USGA is responsible.) The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is an annual tournament that started in 2009 with 43 participating countries. The winner competes as an amateur in the Masters. Three years ago, The R&A replicated that event by creating the Latin America Amateur Championship. Now, more than 50 percent of the players are competitive, causing governments to fund programs, national teams and school teams. “[The tournaments] bring people together,” Ridley said. “In a way, our motivation is not just to create more competitive golfers, but to promote friendships. I always emphasize that whether they turn professional or whatever they do, they are making friends.” Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Stetson Lawyer magazine.



Visit Stetson.edu/homecoming for more information. Reunion classes include: 1968, 1973. 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013.

Contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement to get involved! alumni@stetson.edu • 800-688-HATS

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Send Us Your Class Note STETSON UNIVERSITY is proud of its alumni and their accomplishments. We would love to hear about your achievements. If you are a graduate from the DeLand or Celebration campus, please send your class note to Stetson University, Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement,

1960s Harry Allen ’60, Palm Desert, California, was published by Pearson Publishing, along with Edward Latessa and Bruce Ponder, in “Corrections in America / 15th Edition” — the longest continuously published textbook in the area of corrections (1975-2019). F. Witcher McCullough ’67, Austin, Texas, was presented the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by “Marquis Who’s Who,” in recognition of many years of achievement.

421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8257, DeLand, FL 32723, or email your news to alumni@ stetson.edu. 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 email your class note to alumni@law.stetson. edu. College of Law graduates also can fill out the online form at Stetson.edu/ lawalumninews. We can only use photos that are high-resolution, and because of space limitations, we cannot guarantee use of all

David Sumner ’69, Anderson, Indiana, has published his seventh book, “Fumbled Call: The Bear Bryant-Wally Butts Football Scandal That Split the Supreme Court and Changed American Libel Law” (McFarland Books). Also, he received a Platzman Fellowship from the University of Chicago Archives and Special Collections Center to spend time there researching his next book about legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg.



STETSON | Summer 2018


2000s Temple Terrace to serve as its city attorney. Cichon handled tort, employment and land-use litigation for the City of Saint Petersburg for 23 years and is certified as a civil circuit court mediator by the Florida Supreme Court.

Mary Bennett, M.Ed. ’76, Daytona Beach, was named the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce 2018 Lou Fuchs Award recipient. The award “is presented to an individual whose contributions to the Daytona Beach region personify integrity, dedication and hard work, and who has made significant contributions for the betterment of the community.” Kenneth Persson ’77, Leonia, New Jersey, vice president, sales and marketing at Maywood Furniture, was interviewed by Hotel F & B about Maywood’s 100 years in business. When asked where he sees Maywood in the next century: “To keep being successful, we must constantly be looking at developing new products and new markets for the next generation and century.”

Pamela Cichon, J.D. ’79, Saint Petersburg, was appointed by the City Council of the City of

1990s Brian Ray ’91, Gainesville, received the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year Award for the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. Christi Trejo Burton ’93, Wilmington, North Carolina, won the 2018 MADE Award in the Arts category. The MADE Award was created by The Greater Wilmington Business Journal to spotlight makers, manufacturers, artisans, designers, small businesses and the business that supports them.

Amanda Sharkey Ross ’99, Fort Myers, has joined Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., in the firm’s Tort & Insurance Litigation Division. Ross focuses on the areas of automobile and trucking liability, premises liability, construction defect, professional liability, insurance coverage defense, products liability, negligent security and wrongful death.

Joshua Black ’00, Memphis, Tennessee, a Certified Financial Planner, is celebrating his first anniversary as the president and founder of Memphis Planning and Wealth.

Melanie Mucario, M.B.A./J.D. ’01, Casselberry, joined Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP as Of Counsel in the firm’s Jacksonville-area office. Mucario focuses her practice on residential and commercial propertymanagement litigation. Her practice also includes lease drafting, Fair Housing compliance issues, property management best practices, security disputes, evictions and unlawful detainer actions.

RECAPTURING YOUTH Lambda Chi Alpha alumni returned last fall during Homecoming to re-create a graduation photo from 1982.

Jason Lambert ’02, J.D. ’12, Tampa, was named vice president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry Tampa Bay Chapter. He is an associate for Broad and Cassel LLP in the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group. Ryan Benson ’03, Fort Myers, a principal with A. Vernon Allen Builder, was named president-elect of the Collier Building Industry Association, a not-for-profit professional organization. Caroline DuCoin ’04, Cockeysville, Maryland, is the founder and CEO of the Center for Family and Behavioral Health. DuCoin is a clinical psychologist who has devoted her training and career to psychology, mental health treatment and the highest standards of care for children, adolescents and their families. Lauren Leffler ’06, Greenville, South Carolina, is the Shriners’ first female orthopedic pediatric surgeon. Leffler was the first female orthopedic pediatric surgeon in South Carolina.

J. Davis Mallory ’06, Nashville, Tennessee, released his newest single “Dance With Me,” an electro dance-pop track. It was released under French record label Sidekick Music. Laura Rose ’09, J.D. ’12, Tampa, has accepted a position of Teaching Fellow in Advocacy at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law.

2010s Zach Whiting ’10, Spirit Lake, Iowa, won the Republican nomination for Iowa Senate District 1 (five counties in northwest Iowa). Whiting graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in political science. He was a Bonner Scholar and a member of the Floyd M. Riddick Model U.S. Senate. The general election will be held in November. Brian Trout, MAcc ’13, Strasburg, Pennsylvania, was published in the Journal of Education for Business for “The effect of class session length on student performance, homework, and instructor evaluations in an introductory accounting course.” Gerri Bauer ’14, DeLand, had her article, “Piety’s Quilts: Stitching Family and Fabric in ‘South Moon Under,’” published in The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Journal of Florida Literature.

Graduation 1982 (from left): Gino Santos, Chuck Kandt, Howard Butler, Robert Rast, Bobby Martin, Phil Gauntlett, Ray Ruhlmann (related story on Page 24)

Homecoming 2017: Gino Santos, Arch Martin ‘82 (stand-in for Chuck Kandt), Howard Butler, Steve Miskew ‘83 (stand-in for Robert Rast), Bobby Martin, Phil Gauntlett, Ray Ruhlmann

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Marriages 1 Kathryn Arblaster ’10 to Thomas Watkins, June 24, 2017. 2 Michelle Metz ’11 to Greg Rizzo ’11, Sept. 23, 2017.

2 4

3 Jillian Masucci ’12 to Brian Curtis, March 31, 2018. 4 Aaron Bibbee ’16 to Alyssa Stevenson, July 1, 2017. 5 Marissa Vanover ’16 to Thomas Ecker ’16, Oct. 1, 2017.


6 Brittany Haggard ’17 to Gage Kasbeer ’17, May 19, 2018. 7 Morgan Resnick ’14 to John Kahle ’14, Oct. 22, 2017.

5 7

From left: Erin Hendryx ’15, Elizabeth Bludworth ’13, Ashley White ’14 (formerly Holloway), Christopher Goolsby ’15, Paul Carey ’14 and Derek Jansante ‘11. Bride/groom: Morgan Resnick ’14 and John Kahle ’14.


STETSON | Summer 2018



Pedraja Named College President

Births 8 Ryan Benson ’03 and wife Jessica, twins, Beckham Lee and Ellie Brynn, in January 2018.

Congratulations to Luis Pedraja, Ph.D., who in mid-April joined the ranks of Stetson alumni who have become college presidents. Pedraja ’84 is the new leader of Quinsigamond Community College in Worchester, Massachusetts. Pedraja graduated from Stetson with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies after emigrating from Cuba as a child and growing up in a low-income Miami neighborhood. Pedraja, who became the first in his family to attend college, earned his doctorate from the University of Virginia in philosophical theology and religious studies. Quinsigamond Community College was established in 1963, and now has an enrollment of more than 13,000 full- and part-time day and evening students. —Michael Candelaria

9 Sarah Petty Dent ’06, M.B.A. ’08 and husband Jeff, a daughter, Everly Mae, in January 2018.

10 Jessica Seagle Thomas ’08, M.B.A. ’09 and husband David ’07, M.B.A. ’09, a daughter, Emily Grace, in December 2017. Diane Erickson ’74 is the proud grandmother.


Amanda Steele Hancock ’10 and husband Gary, a daughter, London, in October 2017.

11 Melissa Kaika Knight ’10 and husband James, a daughter, Emma Katherine, in February 2018.

In Memoriam

12 Alyssa Thompson Lindsley ’12, MAcc ’13 and husband John ’09, M.B.A. ’10, a daughter, Caroline Ann, in December 2017.



Edna Houghton ’42 Janice Douglas Arinson ’47

Philip J. Chanfrau ’70 Michael E. Fabrikant, J.D. ’73 Arthur N. Morris ’73 Michael E. Allen, J.D. ’75

1950s John W. Edwards ’53 Ruth Goodwin Perry ’53 James P. Rodgers ’55 Roger D. Ericson ’56 Wilson E. Sheridan ’58 Ray J. Boynton ’59 J. Ralph Miller ’59, M.Ed. ’70


1980s Cameron H. Linton, J.D. ’80 William J. Nock, J.D. ’84 Abraham W. Gibron, J.D. ’86 Kevin H. Bridges ’88





Jack W. Jones (Johnny William Jones Jr.) ’62 Clarence D. Fouse ’63 Ray E. Ulmer ’63 Randolph C. Fernon ’64, J.D. ’71 Richard C. McFarlain ’64 Walter Meriwether ’66 Kenneth E. Easley, J.D. ’68 Elsa Caskey ’69

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Two Men and a Tree Two Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity brothers are offering Florida sunshine for offices, patios and living spaces — from their headquarters in New York City. Danny Trejo ’11 and Charley Todd ’11 are founders of Via Citrus, which in January began distributing Florida Calamondin, Key Lime and Meyer Lemon trees. The company partners with leading Florida citrus farmers to provide trees at differing stages of plant growth, depending on the time of year ordered, and if put in ideal conditions, new bud growth should start within two weeks. One of the farms, for example, isn’t far from the Stetson DeLand campus, Record Buck Farms, located in Howey-in-the-Hills. Notably, lessons learned at Stetson play a role. “Via Citrus is committed to paying fair and competitive prices to local farmers, so they can continue to invest in the highest levels of sustainable environmental standards,” Todd commented. “We are also passionate about raising awareness of the challenges family-run citrus farms face in today’s ever-changing business climate.” Trejo grew up in the business, with his father selling citrus trees wholesale. Todd’s father established an Allstate insurance agency, now reportedly the largest in the country. Those backgrounds in entrepreneurship would, let’s say, later be harvested. The NYC connection came by virtue of a 2011 spring break trip there, which led to Trejo working at the Todd insurance business.

Class of 2011’s Charley Todd, left, and Danny Trejo

Previously, the two friends also were on a summer study-abroad trip to Innsbruck, Austria. Today, Trejo, who was a finance and family business major, remains as chief financial officer of the insurance company, with Todd, a business management major, now at the helm. Meanwhile, Via Citrus is starting to sprout. Early promotional campaigns involved sending trees to influencers (users with large, dedicated followings) on Instagram. Things took off when Eva Chen, the youngest-ever editor at Vogue magazine and currently heading Instagram’s fashion initiatives, promoted Via Citrus to her 900,000-plus followers. Approximately 30 trees were sold that one day, and Via Citrus had begun to bloom. — Michael Candelaria with reporting from FraternityMan.com

Changing Trajectories

Alison Evans ’86, M.B.A. ’88


STETSON | Summer 2018

The May 11 article began with “A mother gives her children roots … then wings. It’s like that for Alison Evans, only in a different way.” Author Ed Grisamore then proceeded to describe how Evans ’86, M.B.A. ’88 has been a “mother figure to thousands of young people” while also noting that June 2018 marked her fifth anniversary as president and CEO of The Methodist Home for Children and Youth in Macon, Georgia, following 28 years at the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch in Live Oak, Florida. (The Methodist Home for Children and Youth is a $15 million organization, and Evans partly credits her “exceptional” Stetson education for enabling her to run it.) As written in The Telegraph article (Macon’s newspaper), Evans planned to become an attorney or a stockbroker when she arrived at Stetson. After her junior year, she took a summer job as a lifeguard at the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch. The experience changed her life. “I was thinking it would be like a camp sunshine,’’ she said. “I had no idea I would be working with abused and neglected kids. … “All of a sudden, I realized I could do something that would change the trajectory of the life of a child forever. And that had more meaning and value than any paycheck I could put in my back pocket.’’ Decades later, Evans continues changing trajectories. —Michael Candelaria


Juris Doctors On May 19, a total of 268 J.D. students walked the Plaza Mayor Courtyard at the Stetson University College of Law commencement in Gulfport. The graduates were accompanied by hundreds of friends and family.

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

STETSON is printed on FSCcertified paper.


Friends of Music Celebration 2018-2019 Season Premiere Concert 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel

Sept. 7

Chamber Orchestra Anthony Hose, conductor Jesus Alfonzo, viola 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel $10 adult, $5 youth/student, free with Stetson ID

Sept. 21

Great Guitarists at Stetson Series Berta Rojas Paraguayan classical guitarist, thrice nominated for the Latin Grammys 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel

Sept. 23

Great Pianists at Stetson Series Wenbin Jin Associate Director of the Performing Arts Centre at Beijing’s Keystone Academy 3 p.m., Lee Chapel

Sept. 28

Great Organists at Stetson Series Craig Cramer Professor of Organ and Artist in Residence at the University of Notre Dame 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel

2018 Christmas Candlelight Concerts DeLand concerts (Lee Chapel): Nov. 28-30, 7:30 p.m. Orlando concert (First United Methodist Church, 142 E. Jackson St.): Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets Oct. 1: Christmas Candlelight tickets on sale (online sales only at stetson.edu/music-tickets); $30 adult, $15 youth (4-21), $15 Stetson ID with one ticket per ID Aug. 1: Concert season passes (that include Christmas Candlelight tickets) on sale Purchase concert tickets and season passes at stetson.edu/music-tickets.

Complimentary admission unless otherwise specified. For a complete list of concerts, go to stetson.edu/music/calendar.

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Stetson Magazine  

Summer 2018

Stetson Magazine  

Summer 2018

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