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Rebecca Shaffer ’18 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan





STETSON | Spring 2019

LANDMARK ADDITION Stetson University has launched a new era of rowing and research along scenic and historic Lake Beresford, 7 miles from its DeLand campus. Construction of the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center, which began in November 2017, culminated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 14. The two-story, approximately $7 million center, on 10 acres, provides a permanent home for Stetson’s intercollegiate rowing teams, including a housing bay for the crew boats, which can measure up to 58 feet. The second floor accommodates areas for water study/research, mostly activities of Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience. Outside, nature trails and elevated walkways lead to the water’s edge. The center is named after the greatgranddaughter of the university’s namesake, John B. Stetson, and largely was funded by Sandra Stetson’s $6 million donation. Photo: Stetson University/Joel Jones

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON






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

30 Departments


2 BEGINNINGS Landmark Addition

22 ‘Lasting Legacy’

6 WELCOME The Journey of Learning 7

BY THE NUMBERS 2018-2019 Statistical Highlights

8 INTELLIGENTSIA News and Notes About Knowledge 19 THE ARTS AT STETSON Music, Exhibitions, Theater 20 FIRST PERSON Manual Exposure 54 ATHLETICS Hatter Sensations 56 ALUMNI Celebrating Hatters Everywhere 62 THE CLASSES Accolades and Achievements 67 PARTING SHOT Catching Attention


STETSON | Spring 2019

As President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., makes plans for retirement, her 11-year tenure “will benefit Stetson for decades to come.”

24 HONoring History

Lengthy research and a little serendipity brought together two DeLand residents from separate universities and centuries.

26 Club Culture

On the club-sports scene, active participation is the big win.

30 Getting Ahead Behind Bars

Stetson’s Community Education Project is taking the value of study to prison. The lessons are being well-received and raising the value of human spirit among the students.

Editor Michael Candelaria Designers Megan Danna, Michelle Martin, Brittany Strozzo Art and Photography Bobby Fishbough, Faith Jones, Joel Jones, Brittany Strozzo, Matt Adair Writers Sandra Carr, Rick de Yampert Marie Dinklage, Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., Brandi Palmer, Jack Roth, Jared Smith ’14, M.F.A. ’17, Jared Scott Tesler, John Tichenor, Ph.D., 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 universitymagazine@stetson.edu.



Experiential Learning 34 Bishkek and Beyond

48 Heart and Hope in Honduras

38 Highland Adventures

52 ‘Real Life. Right Now’

With a student-exchange program involving Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan — that’s Central Asia — a new world opens for students while two universities grow closer.

From rolling up sleeves with local business owners to visiting Loch Ness, and even growing fond of black pudding and sausage, students “step out of their comfort zones” during Summer Scotland.

42 The Therapy of Play

Graduate students in the Department of Counselor Education are learning very real lessons using make-believe.

46 Word Association

Read how learning about learning can happen without us even knowing.

One alumna, propelled by experiencing the world, offers a friendly embrace along with a scientific study of migration, violence and climate change.

Learning from experience no longer is an option at the School of Business Administration. It’s both necessary and required.

ON THE COVER: Rebecca Shaffer ’18 (Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies) spent her final semester before graduation as the first Stetson student to participate in an exchange program with the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Shaffer is shown on the Tian Shan Mountains that border China.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The Journey of Learning

Higher education is a dynamic and complex field, and our mission is a social and moral imperative. We are in the business of nurturing curiosity in our students, of sparking possibility, of creating lifelong learners. It is an exciting threshold at which to stand with our students.


STETSON | Spring 2019

There’s a great deal of reflection that occurs when you elect to retire, or make a similar big decision to move on to another phase of your life — the next great adventure. My retirement comes in June 2020. It has been a privilege to have served as president of Stetson over the past decade, and I am deeply proud of the work we have all accomplished together. It is gratifying to reflect on how we’ve doubled the university’s endowment, recruited more students into Stetson to meet our capacity and raised more than $200 million in our Beyond Success – Significance fundraising campaign to strengthen Stetson’s future. My route from my undergrad days as a biology student to the college presidency of two remarkable institutions has not been linear, but I would not have wanted it any other way. Each bend in the road has been an adventure. Higher education is a dynamic and complex field, and our mission is a social and moral imperative. We are in the business of nurturing curiosity in our students, of sparking possibility, of creating lifelong learners. It is an exciting threshold at which to stand with our students. Because the world is also dynamic and complex, we do not teach the mindset and skills for the moment or for the task before us, but for a lifetime. Knowing what you don’t know — and setting your sights upward, on a path of learning, however winding it may be — is the first step. This issue of the magazine is devoted to the journey of learning. In its pages, Michael Eskenazi, Ph.D., reminds us that we are learning even when we don’t realize it. Sage words from one of our professors, who also shares fascinating findings about how our brain processes what we read. Our faculty and others in this issue teach us about play therapy, studying in other countries and being immersed in cultures, and also about lessons learned in a classroom of men at the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach. My perspective on incarceration is forever changed due to my own experience guest-teaching there; learning breeds confidence, it gives you value and hope for the future. It’s what I want for all of us, at whatever age and in whatever situation we find ourselves. Spending a career on a college campus surrounded by learners keeps you young and invested in creating a better future — in part because every day we look head-on into the eyes of new generations of students, and we cannot let them down. For we know what they can become — I need only look at Stetson alumni to see the possibilities. I am grateful for every alum I’ve met, for I learn something in these encounters and in your stories. The same is said for the many lecturers, artists, visiting professors and other guests who pass through our campuses over time — there’s always something enriching to discover in conversations with others. Such experiences can have lasting, profound effects. This is what a career in higher education has given me, and why so many of us make our lives here or support financially the university’s mission and its students. The ever-changing dynamic of knowledge and discovery, the constant coming and going of people, all make for an innovative exchange of ideas. It is an experience akin to flinging the door wide open, welcoming whatever the day has in store for you next. Here’s to the next great adventure for us all!

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





Established in


Colleges & Schools

Areas of Study

Undergraduate Students


Undergraduate Majors



Graduate Students

New Faculty Hired in the Past 3 Years (tenure track)

Among Country Living Magazine’s “25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in the South”



Community Service Hours

Total Stetson Alumni

4,341 Total Student Population


Student-Faculty Ratio

Students from 43 States, 3 Territories & 64 Countries

1,020 Degrees Awarded in 2017-2018

95% of Full-Time Faculty Hold Terminal Degree

Giving During 2017-2018

$30,317,707 Endowment at the End of 2018

$242,868,488 Pictured: Stetson’s Palm Court, DeLand, Florida | Source: Just the Facts, 2018-2019, Stetson University

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The Coffee Shop features expanded offerings and remains a popular place to relax.

CUB Transformation Complete On an appropriately sunny day in late January, Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., stood on the steps of the Carlton Union Building and said she had “waited a long time for this day.” “I think my husband Richard and I have been waiting for this day since Sept. 14, 2008, when we first saw this building on a Friday night at 7 o’clock,” she told a crowd of local dignitaries, university trustees, benefactors, alumni, students, faculty and staff. (For a related story, see Page 22.) “There were no students in it because there were no services and everything looked really tired and the bathroom fan hadn’t worked for 20 years,” she said to laughter. “And we looked at each other and we said, ‘We know how to fix this.’ And so, what a treat — what a real treat — to be here for this ribbon-cutting.” A decade after Libby was named Stetson’s new president and two years after its renovations began, the CUB has been transformed.


STETSON | Spring 2019

Built in 1957, the CUB has a new Commons dining room and kitchen, Coffee Shop, Bookstore, student offices and meeting spaces, WHAT Radio station, Stetson Room, Faculty-Staff Lounge and patio seating outdoors. The new amenities and expansion will better serve the needs of Stetson’s student body, which has grown from 2,100 to more than 3,100 undergraduate students in recent years, according to Libby. The expansion and renovation increase the building’s space by approximately 48 percent. Still to come are a new water feature and landscaping to the east of the Commons dining room, visible through its two-story wall of glass. The water feature will have 42 water jets and LED lights. Danny Mejia ’19, president of the Student Government Association, called the CUB a “precious and historical landmark” for the Stetson community and said its renovation is “one of the greatest ways that we can honor the student body.” — Cory Lancaster



DID YOU KNOW? Inside the two-story, 84,320-square-foot Carlton Union Building: • First floor: Commons dining room and kitchen, Coffee Shop and patio, Faculty/Staff Lounge, Bookstore, Post Office, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Johnny Rocket’s, George’s Place (outside patio) • Second floor: Student gathering spaces, lounge, meeting rooms and offices; student media; WHAT Radio; Student Government Association; Lee’s Garage; Stetson Room; offices for Campus Life and Student Success (CLaSS) • Project cost: $32 million • Builder: Williams Company Building Division Inc.




Let There Be Solar Solar panels atop the newly renovated and expanded Carlton Union Building began generating power to the university this winter. A total of 231 solar panels are in place, expected to produce an estimated annual value of 143 MWh, which turned out to be more than originally projected following initial monitoring of the system. The corresponding annual metered cost avoidance is estimated to be almost $10,000, according to Bob Huth, Stetson’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. The approximately $170,000 solar project marks the culmination of another ambitious effort: Stetson’s Revolving Green Fund. In May 2017, following lengthy groundwork by students and administrators, Stetson established the green fund, with all students paying a $5 fee each semester to fund environmental projects. In November 2017, students were asked to submit ideas for projects that would save the university money and decrease environmental impact. Nearly 200 suggestions were received, and the clear winner was solar, conceived on the idea of efficiently generating electricity. Ultimately, the CUB location was chosen as the solar site by virtue of both cost-effectiveness and visibility. The CUB has been a campus focal point since its original construction in 1957. Also, students and university administrators effectively came together to make the solar array happen. The Revolving Green Fund paid $60,000. The Student Government Association and the university each paid $30,000, with the remainder of the funding coming from a loan to be repaid by the energy produced. This isn’t the first time that solar energy has been generated on campus. In 2010, solar thermal collectors were installed to heat the swimming pool at the Hollis Center. In 2016, solar panels were installed on poles to light the parking lot adjacent to the Rinker Welcome Center. — Michael Candelaria

• Architect: Hanbury Architecture • Funding: from a variety of sources for the design, construction and renovation, including an investment by Chartwells Dining Services, Stetson University and gifts. Donors include Geoff and Kay Jollay, Christine E. Lynn and the E.M. Lynn Foundation, and M. Lee McGraw and the Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation, as well as many others. • Building: named for Stetson alumnus Doyle E. Carlton 1909, who served as governor of Florida from 1929 to 1933. Carlton served Stetson as Chair of the Board of Trustees, Overseer of the College of Law and benefactor.

A total of 231 rooftop solar panels are expected to result in an annual cost avoidance of almost $10,000.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Faculty-led classes are a highlight of the Young Scholars program.

Introducing: Stetson Young Scholars As an overarching expansion of the popular HATS (High Achieving Talented Students) program, the Stetson Young Scholars program offers the opportunity for academically accelerated students to seek an environment where their gifts and talents can be recognized and nurtured, according to Lynn Albinson, M.Ed., program director. The new program provides year-round academic enrichment support, including HATS, along with faculty-led academic classes (grades six-12), an academic talent search and early college. As in the past, HATS enables K-12 students to explore academic areas of interest in a college setting, with topics ranging from forensic science and marine biology to Russian language. The faculty-led classes are designed for students who enjoy the breadth and depth of advanced study in areas such as cybersecurity and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Meanwhile, the academic talent search involves a Stetson partnership with the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center to identify students (in fourth-sixth grades and in seventh-ninth grades) who test above standard levels and who need more of an educational challenge to fully realize true academic potential, Albinson said. Further, the Stetson Young Scholars program offers early entrance to college for students who have successfully accelerated through their high-school curriculum. — Michael Candelaria 10

STETSON | Spring 2019

DID YOU KNOW? In late January, Stetson University College of Law presented its Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Public Service Award to Bay Area Legal Services Inc. (Tampa) pioneer Richard C. Woltmann. In 1976, Woltmann established the elder law programs at Bay Area Legal Services, becoming chief executive officer/president of the organization in 1980. Prior to joining Bay Area Legal Services, he served for three years in the Peace Corps in West Africa and for one year as a VISTA lawyer in Washington state. Stetson established the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Award in 1990 to honor outstanding contributions to public service, the justice system and the community. The award is named for the late Wm. Reece Smith Jr., a champion for justice and a national leader in the legal aid movement. Smith is a member of the Stetson Law Hall of Fame and the namesake of Stetson’s Tampa Law Center Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Courtroom, and was a longtime member of both the Stetson Law Board of Overseers and the Stetson University Board of Trustees.

Certified and Desirable Stetson’s School of Business Administration has been approved by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) to offer a financial planning concentration program that allows undergraduate finance majors to meet all the requirements necessary to sit for the Certified Financial Planner™ designation exam upon graduation. Stetson is the only university in Central Florida offering a Bachelor of Business Administration in financial planning that is certified by the CFP Board. The demand for financial planning expertise is increasing, and the CFP certification is seen as the field’s most desired designation. Those with the designation not only generate 40 percent more income for their clients but also earn 26 percent more than other financial planners, according to the CFP Board. Stetson’s nationally recognized finance program has three concentrations: corporate finance, investments and certified financial planning. “This board-registered concentration in financial planning provides a huge competitive advantage to our students, allowing them to earn the CFP certification, which will provide many additional employment opportunities upon graduation,” said Stuart Michelson, Ph.D., Roland & Sarah George Professor of Finance and chair of the Department of Stuart Michelson, Ph.D. Finance. “We are proud to be one of the few universities in Florida that offer a B.B.A. degree in financial planning.” Approximately 900,000 Floridians work at finance, insurance and professional services firms, yet only about 5,000 hold a CFP license. — Marie Dinklage

“Stetson Law is a special place. While her beauty is evident the moment you drive onto campus, it is her people that make her a home for learning and growing as a professional and as a human.” — Tammy Briant, J.D. ’06

True Student Advocacy Tammy Briant, J.D. ’06, has departed from her full-time role at Stetson University College of Law. Yet, she certainly won’t be forgotten. The former Stetson Law assistant dean for student affairs left for a position with The NCHERM Group, LLC (TNG), one of the largest education-specific law and consulting practices nationwide. Before leaving, however, Briant endowed a scholarship to benefit future students in her popular course. In addition, she will continue to teach the Law and the Civil Rights Movement course at Stetson as an adjunct professor. During her decade of service to Stetson as a student-affairs leader, Briant expanded the Office of Student Affairs to include Title IX and mental health counseling services as well as residential life. She spearheaded efforts to implement a food pantry and sexual health resource center and developed new orientation programming to include an introduction to the concept of implicit bias. Also, among other efforts: She served on the part-time-student task force, represented the College of Law on the universitywide Inclusive Implementation Strategy Group, was deputy Title IX coordinator for students, chaired the Student Support and Emergency Team, and was part of a universitywide response to Department of Education guidance for universities on Title IX. Also notably, Briant played a role in bringing legal films to the greater community, including the documentaries “The Loving Story” and “RBG.” And, with Stetson Law’s manager of video production Stan Arthur, Briant and a small group of lawyers produced the documentary “Before the Law Was Equal,” outlining the oral history of local lawyers who broke down the barriers of segregation in the legal profession. “Stetson Law is a special place,” Briant said. “While her beauty is evident the moment you drive onto campus, it is her people that make her a home for learning and growing as a professional and as a human. I’d like to think I helped students find their professional identity in a physical space that cultivated belonging, safety and a sense of being at home.” — Brandi Palmer Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Roger Hughes turned the Hatters program around last season, earning Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year.


Coach of the Year

Global Achievement

Head football coach Roger Hughes, who led the Hatters to an 8-2 season — their best since 1951 — was named Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year. While little was expected of the team last fall, coming off a 2-9 season in 2017, the Hatters earned a tie for second place in the PFL after being picked to finish ninth in the 10-team league. It was Hughes’ sixth season as the Hatters’ head coach and his 16th year overall as a college head coach. He spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Princeton University from 2000 to 2009, helping the Tigers to a share of the Ivy League title in 2006. In addition to the PFL Coach of the Year honor, Hughes was a finalist for the annual Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award, presented to the top head coach in Stetson’s division of play, the Football Championship Subdivision. (For related news, see Page 67.) — Michael Candelaria

Just before the end of 2018, two Stetson professors from the School of Business Administration — Isabel Botero, Ph.D., and Jennifer Foo, Ph.D. — received recognition from separate international organizations for outstanding achievements. Botero, assistant professor of family enterprise and entrepreneurship, was awarded the Advanced Certificate in Family Wealth Advising and was honored as a Fellow of the Family Firm Institute at the 2018 FFI Global Conference held in London, England. More than 1,800 individuals and organizations across 88 countries are members of the Family Firm Institute. Foo, a finance professor, was honored as a member of the Jewish National Fund’s Winter 2018-2019 Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel. The program strives to link scholars from diverse disciplines with their Israeli counterparts at major universities to initiate collaboration and exchanges, and to give participants an opportunity to explore Israel’s history, politics, culture and economy. Foo is the first Stetson faculty member to receive that fellowship. — Marie Dinklage

STETSON | Spring 2019

Isabel Botero, Ph.D.

Jennifer Foo, Ph.D.

Accelerated Accounting Let’s just say the numbers add up. Stetson is the first university in the state of Florida to sign an agreement with the American Institute of CPAs to provide students an accelerated path to earning their accounting degree while saving on tuition. Incoming first-year students who have completed the AICPA-sponsored high school accounting course and meet an exam requirement now will receive four hours of course credit for financial accounting. The agreement went into effect immediately in December. Among other criteria, students must successfully complete coursework and score at 80 percent or better on the AICPAowned qualifying examination, administered by their high school. “This gives students an opportunity to earn college credit for free while still in high school. It’s a great way for students and parents to make the most of their college dollars,” said Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., associate professor of taxation and accounting and chair of Stetson’s M.E. Rinker, Sr. Institute for Tax and Accountancy. “Taking this class in high school also allows students to get a step ahead before entering Stetson, as this is a core requisite class for all School of Business Administration students,” noted Maria Rickling, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting at Stetson. “We are so pleased to be an early adopter of this program and believe the benefits to students are numerous.” — Marie Dinklage

HIGHLIGHTING GILLESPIE. Appropriately enough, Stetson’s Gillespie Museum — a bedrock facility on campus for the past 60-plus years — is hosting “Florida Calcite: Rare Specimens of a Common Mineral” as its newest exhibit, through May 3. Calcium carbonate is the mineral that makes up most of the limestone formations throughout the Florida Peninsula. The exhibit features 39 specimens collected by geologist Tom Scott, Ph.D., during his decadeslong career with the Florida Geological Survey. On Nov. 14, 1958, the museum opened with a founding collection of 15,000 mineral specimens that were donated by Thomas Byrd and Nellie Parsons Gillespie of Palatka, Florida. Since those earliest days, the museum’s mission has been to educate about mineralogy, geology and the environment.

DID YOU KNOW? The U.S. Air Force is offering Stetson students the opportunity to earn their private pilot’s license at no cost if they enroll in the AFROTC “You Can Fly” program — with no commitment to serve in the military. In exchange, students must enroll in the two courses needed in the first year of ROTC, Air Force 101 and Air Force 102, along with participating in four hours of fitness training and marching per week. The reason: a need for pilots, with the Air Force being approximately 5,000 pilots short, according to Air Force Capt. Daniel Speir, assistant professor of Aerospace Studies, Detachment 157, Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, which also includes Stetson. Last August, Stetson welcomed the Air Force ROTC program to campus.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The Jeffrey and Diane Ginsburg Hillel House opens its doors this fall.

Hillel House on the Way In December, Stetson and the Ginsburg Family Foundation announced the establishment of the Jeffrey and Diane Ginsburg Hillel House, as well as a $2 million gift to renovate, update and furnish an existing university property. The Tudor-style house is expected to be ready by the start of classes for Fall 2019. In 2017, the university made a commitment to become a “school of choice for Jewish families.” When opened, the house will become the “hub for Jewish life on campus and will serve as a home away from home for students by providing a place to connect, unplug and create their best Jewish lives and memories,” said Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D. Hillel started at Stetson in the 1980s, but its cultural presence really started to take off last May when it hired its first full-time Hillel director, Sam Friedman. More history: The house, built in 1930, has been a fixture of the DeLand campus since 1999, when the university purchased the home. Yet, as it turns out, the house actually has ties to Stetson dating back decades earlier. Sarah Booker Altier — wife of Stetson Athletic Director Jeff Altier — lived there in the early 1960s and again in the late 1970s. Her greatgrandfather had built the house for her grandparents as a wedding gift. — Cory Lancaster 14

STETSON | Spring 2019

DID YOU KNOW? The Stetson University College of Law team of Elise Engle, LaMark McGreen, Grace Samarkos and Megan Tiralosi won the Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition in late January — making Stetson the winner for the 23rd time in 37 years. A Stetson team won the inaugural Chester Bedell competition in 1983. Notably, Samarkos is the daughter of Charles Samarkos, J.D. ’89, who won the Chester Bedell competition when he was a student at Stetson. The Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar conducts the competition for mock trial teams from across the state annually, and the final round of competition is presided over by distinguished members of the judiciary. Stetson Law 2016 alumni Brandon and Lara Breslow coached the team.

Research and Reform Stetson’s Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform certainly has been busy this academic year. The institute collaborates with local community leaders, district personnel and educational agencies to champion and promote the advancement of teaching and learning by providing seed grants to support innovative research that expands P-12 educational opportunities for children in impoverished areas. The projects selected for 20182019: the Louise S. McInnis Elementary School Garden in DeLeon Springs; Instruments of Healing — with youth from two elementary schools in DeLand participating in The House Next Door’s Homework Club: Creating Music Educational Opportunities for Children; Stetson Ethics Education Development for high school students; Florida School to School Pipeline for preventing teenage foster children from taking a path to prison; and Stetson’s Cyber Security Summer Camp. In addition, the Nina B. Hollis Institute published seven articles addressing many facets of school reform from scholars and practitioners throughout the United States in the inaugural issue of its new journal “Voices of Reform: Educational Research to Inform and Reform.” The institute’s goal with the journal is to spark new ideas vetted by research and give a voice to the underrepresented children in the educational system, with the hope of making a difference. “The type of issues that we are examining are ones that face educators every day and can lead to practical improvements in schools, structural changes in higher education, or just conversations that can help others think about the way that our education system operates,” said journal editor Lou Sabina, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of education at Stetson. “We envision that researchers and practitioners can bring the Lou Sabina, Ph.D. ivory tower to the classroom and effect change and allow for grassroots ideas to flourish. At the end of the day, school improvement is our number-one goal, and our journal offers an avenue to discuss those issues.” — Sandra Carr

Former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy now shares insight at the Lynn Business Center.

Winning Strategies Stan Van Gundy made himself a household name among NBA fans as a master of minds on the basketball sidelines. This spring, he has moved into the classroom — joining Stetson’s Sport Business program as an instructor. Van Gundy — a former head coach and executive for the Orlando Magic (2007-2012) and, most recently, the Detroit Pistons (20142018) — is teaching a special-topics class that examines the ethical, management and leadership aspects of sport business. Sport Business is designed to prepare students to manage, market and monetize sport product by engaging fans via traditional and emerging media for the key revenue streams in sport, such as ticketing, sponsorship, media and licensing. “He brings years of real-world experience in sport management and coaching combined with an appreciation for how analytics are used to inform both coaching and organizational decisions,” said Scott Jones, Ph.D., program director of Sport Business, about Van Gundy, who led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009. Additionally, two other instructors with strong sport management backgrounds joined the program: Rob Neal and Bud Hanson. Neal has extensive experience in the golf industry, serving as the executive director of Tournament Golf Foundation, vice president of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and chairman of LPGA Tournament Owners Association. Hanson is a marketing executive with 25 years of developing and directing strategic sales and event marketing initiatives, including the management of marketing for college teams and minor league baseball. He also spent 15 years at Purina, where he managed brands and sales teams and led the company’s portfolio of experiential properties and events. ­— Marie Dinklage

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



‘The Promise’

Stetson Archives now has the 1893 diploma of the university’s first collegiate graduate.

Legacy Gift Just as the new year began, University Archives at the duPont-Ball Library received a pleasant surprise: the diploma of Leila May Child, Stetson’s first collegiate graduate, dating back to 1893. Siblings Betty Carol Smith and David Mann, Leila May Child’s grandchildren living in California, made the donation. In 1893, Stetson’s graduating class included only Leila May Child from the College Department and several others from the Academic Department. As late as the 1890s, the university consisted of both a “College Department” and an “Academy.” The academy, which was a preparatory program, boasted far more students than the college did in the early years. That program was discontinued in 1927. Smith and Mann first contacted Stetson, a phone call to the library archives department, in November 2017. The diploma had been in storage for about 60 years, unknowingly, in a big “archives” suitcase passed within the family, including through three of Mann’s moves before he finally discovered it. Subsequent searches for information through Stetson and more discovery brought them to campus in April 2018. “Our dad [Harlan Selwyn Mann] had always told us that our grandmother was the first graduate of Stetson University,” said Smith. “I feel almost genetically connected to Stetson.” Both grandparents, Leila May Child and James Stephen Mann, had died before Smith and Mann were 10. They met as students at Stetson; James Stephen Mann graduated in 1897. Child also taught grammar school at Stetson’s Academy, while Mann received a degree in chemistry. They were married in 1900, following a courtship on campus and afterward. With their father named Harlan, the siblings have wondered since the trip to campus whether Leila and James took the name Harlan from the son of Henry DeLand, who founded the university as DeLand Academy in 1883. “It is nowhere in our family history before our dad. We heard that Leila found the name Selwyn,” Smith said. Also, as it turns out, Child wrote a published senior essay, which she read at her graduation, about “exercising democracy for the common man.” Years later, the siblings would hear that same messaging from their father. “I found a precise genetic heritage of how I became a community organizer three generations later — exercising democracy for the common man,” said Mann. — Michael Candelaria 16

STETSON | Spring 2019

Expect to read much more about this, but Stetson has a new promise to students who make the commitment — a four-year plan for graduation and the academic advising they’ll need to get there. Plus, Stetson might even cover some tuition costs. The gist: New undergraduate students who choose to take advantage of The Stetson Promise will receive a Course Advising Plan for the timely completion of their education and the advising to support them in graduating in four years or less. Stetson guarantees that if students are unable to complete their classes in four years, through no fault of their own, Stetson will cover the cost of tuition for the classes required to complete their degree up to one full semester or until they meet graduation requirements for their major, whichever comes first. In addition, Stetson promises that every student will have the opportunity to put “theory into practice” through internships or other high-impact practical learning experiences — experiential learning through study abroad, community engagement, faculty-student research, field research, music performance and internships. — Michael Candelaria

For new undergraduate students, Stetson admission now comes with a formal four-year plan for graduation and possible help with tuition.

Hearing Students’ Voices As an incoming first-year student, Giansy Paul never imagined she would be asking political science majors at Stetson about the changes they’d like to see in their curriculum. Paul signed up for a First Year Seminar (FSEM) last fall called “The Voice of the People,” examining the role of citizens in a democracy and whether they are informed enough to participate effectively in political decision-making. Along the way, she became part of an innovative project to gather opinions from political science majors at Stetson about potential changes in their department’s curriculum. Those suggestions now are under review and could lead to revisions to better educate the students for the 21st century. The project was the idea of Paul’s FSEM professor, David Hill, Ph.D., chair of the Political Science Department. Hill wanted to use a cutting-edge method of gathering opinions to hear from the students. The FSEM students used Deliberative Polling. In contrast to instant public-opinion polls, Deliberative Polling takes the time to educate people on issues, bringing them together to discuss the issues and then asking for their opinions. That’s what Hill’s FSEM class did last semester. A random sample of 38 political science majors gathered in small groups to hash out the proposals, such as whether to begin requiring a political-philosophy class, as many other colleges do. The FSEM students served as moderators, keeping the discussions on track. For the record, the students generally supported the proposals, which also included developing tracks, or areas of concentration, within the major. And, by asking questions of peers, students learned. “I think what my class did was something that I don’t think most colleges do, which sets us apart from other colleges,” said Paul, from Miami, who plans to double major in political science and public management. — Cory Lancaster

DID YOU KNOW? Stetson recently announced a new accelerated path to earning an accounting degree (see Page 13). Also, there’s now a new articulation agreement that will allow Seminole State College students who graduate with an Associate of Arts in accounting to seamlessly complete their Bachelor of Business Administration in Stetson’s accounting program. Students must complete the Seminole State A.A. degree program, submit application materials to Stetson and meet all requirements for admission, including a grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or higher. The agreement takes effect immediately.

All Smoke, No Reality Some studies have suggested watching movie stars smoking on the big screen prompts teens to smoke. Smoking in films also has been targeted and scrutinized by policymakers and scholars as a potential cause of adolescent smoking. Such thinking isn’t based on facts, according to Stetson Professor of Psychology Chris Ferguson, Ph.D., who was part of a research team that authored new findings in the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture. “The correlation between teens watching movies with smoking in them and the actual smoking behaviors is near zero with very little impact,” Ferguson asserted. Ferguson — along with Patrick M. Markey, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Villanova University; and Rune Kristian Lundedal Nielsen, Ph.D., assistant professor of digital design at IT University of Copenhagen — collaborated on “Movie smoking and teen smoking behavior: A critical methodological and meta-analytic review.” The researchers determined the data in previous studies wasn’t used accurately. “We found bad statistics as well as statistics being misused in a way that they are not meant to be used after examining the correlation coefficient,” Ferguson explained. Besides the misappropriated statistics, he noted, teen smoking is down even though smoking in movies may have become more prominent in recent years. According to the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 3.6 million middle and high school students stated they had used a tobacco product in the past 30 days, a decrease from 4.5 million eight years ago. “The evidence of media effects on smoking are much less than what some people have claimed or imagined,” concluded Ferguson, who also is well-known for his research on the effects of video game violence. — Sandra Carr

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



E  1920 | 100% E O | W.


Stetson Chamber Orchestra Anthony Hose, conductor 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID

March WindPassaic River, New Jersey, Watercolor on paper, 1911-1917, by Oscar Bluemner

April 9

Stetson Men, Women’s Chorale Andrew Larson and Sandra Peter, conductors 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID

April 12

Stetson Concert Choir Timothy Peter, conductor 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID

April 13

University Symphonic Band Douglas Phillips, conductor 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID

April 23

Choral Union Concert Sandra Peter, conductor 7:30 p.m., First Baptist Church, DeLand Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID

April 26

University Symphony Orchestra Concert Anthony Hose, conductor 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID

April 27

University Concert Band Douglas Phillips, conductor 7:30 p.m., Lee Chapel, Elizabeth Hall Tickets available at the door: $10 adult, $5 youth (13-plus), free with Stetson ID Information: stetson.edu/music/calendar.


Oscar Bluemner: Beauty of Color Hand Art Center, Stetson University During the past 400 years, color has been the subject of many examinations and proposed

theories. Color theory focuses on the visual effects of color, the harmonious relationships of color and how different colors affect each other. Over time, as Bluemner was developing his color theory, his application of color began to focus on an emotional understanding of the world around him. He bases his color on inner emotional observations, rather than reality. As Bluemner explained, “I work the usual way from Form to Color, reversed-from Color to Form; from our inward experiences to their outer realization, through creative imagination.” This personal application of color became a part of Bluemner’s trademark as an artist. Bluemner recognized that color was his driving force, and he even described it as “the beauty of color, as the primary objective of his works.” This exhibition explores one of the key factors of Bluemner’s works and hopes to provide a greater understanding of the ways that Bluemner considers color.

Through May 2

Tim Ludwig Hand Art Center, Stetson University

THEATER April 11-14

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Second Stage Theatre Times: April 11-13, 8 p.m.; April 14, 3 p.m. Jack Worthing has invented an alter ego named Ernest in order to court and win over the lovely Gwendolen. Unbeknownst to Jack, his good friend Algernon has adopted the same disguise so that he might have an opportunity to meet the lovely young Cecily. When all four characters flee to the country, disguises are revealed, and hilarity ensues. Information: stetson.edu/other/academics/ programs/theatre-arts.php.

“Jar with crown imperial” Earthenware and Ceramic Stains, 22x19x8, 2001, by Tim Ludwig

Tim Ludwig’s artistry of ceramic pots are “memories and visions from my experiences living around creative development,” he said, adding that “images are growth patterns taken from time reflecting on my life.” His work primarily is constructed on the potter’s wheel, and each piece is made one at a time by hand. “I use an earthenware red clay body that is brushed with white slip when the pieces are semi-dry,” Ludwig explained. “I mix ceramic stains with white slip to create the painted surfaces and images. The pieces are then fired in an electric kiln to 1910 degrees. The pots are stained in selected areas, and a thin clear glaze is applied.” Information: stetson.edu/hand-art-center.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Manual Exposure

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, experiential learning — such as at the M.F.A. of the Americas — captures even more. B Y J A R E D S M I T H Chazz: Mind-bottling, isn’t it? Jimmy: Did you just say mind-bottling? Chazz: Yeah, mind-bottling. You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle? Chazz Michael Michaels is not the most qualified professional to turn to for a discourse on experiential learning. Michaels, played by Will Ferrell, is a pretentious blowhard falling from figure-skater grace as he watches his would-be replacement (Jon Heder) glide up the ranks to the top of the sport in 2007’s “Blades of Glory.” The early-reel climax of the film arrives in fisticuffs backstage after the two men split a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics; the pair are banned from singles competition for life after their brawl lights the Olympic mascot on fire. The turn comes when they team up to exploit a loophole that allows for competition as a pair, and they go on to complete each other’s mercurial talents and recapture the glory endemic to the movie’s title. The moral is made obvious in the character arcs of both protagonists: that only through experience with others is growth worthy of glory attainable. I knew photography was a collaborative thing when I got started; that’s why I started out collaborating with objects. Cardboard testing partitions for composition, then graffiti on concrete for texture, 20

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then unpeopled foreign architecture for color. None of those things talked back, and the only part of me they set alight was my imagination. Most importantly, they did not look back in anything other than a figurative sense. Photographing others is a different type of compact between the observed and the observer, but the implications of such a parlay cross a far greater number of lines. It’s only a small leap of faith into the idea that many of Georgia O’Keeffe’s most gorgeous flowers are drawn from her beau Alfred Stieglitz’s photographic interrogation into another taboo entirely; that the two artists shared a forbidden muse does not do anything to ameliorate the mystery between them. Many of the prints in that specific collection are still “classified,” with a knowledgeable source slipping only far enough to state that they “play out a darker chapter in the relationship between the photographer and his subject.” American photographer and author Diane Arbus went further, saying that she could “see the suicide” on her subject’s faces, if only in certain cases. These ideas induce in me an irreducible fear, and so I have spent a lot of time avoiding such collaborations. Call it trauma, or lack of practice, or lack of non-traumatic practice, but I am just not much for people. It was a big step for me when I started photographing my cat, figuring as I did that he owed me for feeding him on a consistent basis. Eventually, I think he began to enjoy it.

The first catch in this image is that as collaborators, my cat and I will never quite be equals. In his mind, I will always be a peon, and he will always be the ruler of the known universe. Exposing human beings means both parties are inextricably party to one another’s inherent human weaknesses and inherited human flaws, and that can cause plenty of discomfort for all involved. I was at a loss for how to surmount the obstacle and had resigned myself to documenting ol’ Jebediah’s retirement from the DASHES — Domesticated American Short Hair Event Streetscrapping — circuit when an actual person deposited herself in my inbox: “I need someone to take photos during and between events, and to help pick up/drop off our special guest artists/writers from the airport in Daytona. I’d also love to have a few short video clips with students, guests, faculty, about the program, that can be used in a video promo piece. Is this something you’d be interested in? Based on your Santiago photos, I know you have a great eye. Let me know, and I hope you’re well.” Warmly, Teresa Carmody As in Teresa Carmody, Ph.D., professor and director of the M.F.A. of the Americas program that I was about to graduate from at Stetson. I proceeded to mansplain my amateurism to her over the phone, and she took me on anyway. I didn’t have a choice then: photograph people or face the disappointment of a woman who had traveled across the country to take a job away from her family in the name of advancing the arts. She paid me upfront, so I bought a new camera. No pressure. The second catch in that cat photograph is that it was taken with automatic settings. Sure, I raised the animal, paid rent on the setting, and framed the composition, but the parameters of the exposure were decided upon without me — as were those of all the Santiago photos that Professor Carmody mentioned in her email. I was sitting in the Black Box Theater at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, snapping the inaugural graduate reading in “auto,” when I decided to shut the computer off. “Oh, those look very nice,” Cyriaco Lopes, M.F.A., my urbane visual poetics professor, told me. “Just remember, the little screen on the back of the camera is a liar.” “I shot the whole thing in manual. First time,” I replied. He clapped me on the back and told me to never shoot in grayscale, just change it later in postproduction. I did not tell him that I had done it to more thoroughly understand how light, aperture, the International Organization of Standardization and shutter speed interact in real time, and that I didn’t want color messing up my learning experience. The thought strobing through my skull when I made the decision was, “You will never have a better opportunity to learn this than right now,” and the results that night bore out the intuition. The photographs over the remainder of the residency alternated between “mad decent” and “maddeningly inconsistent.” Uncontrollable oranges and focus flaws that doubled as fireable offenses meant my capture rate (the percentage of snapped photos that might be considered viewable) nose-dived.

Far left: The author’s trusted photography subject: the Honorable Commodore Jebediah Bizzle-Wizzle-Bo (retired). Above: “Nope,” featuring Catherine Hunt Weiss, at The Black Box Theater, Atlantic Center for the Arts, January 2018. Right: Teresa Carmody, Ph.D., professor and director of the MFA of the Americas program at Stetson (shown at AWP 2018 conference).

Fortunately, Professor Carmody’s program at the M.F.A. of the Americas — a two-year, low-residency program — is designed to accommodate the inefficiencies of the learning experience, and there were even a few images where the subjects managed to shine through despite my many methodological mistakes. By the way, along with her and Professor Lopes, Professor Terri Witek, Ph.D., and Mark Powell, M.F.A., a former Stetson professor, deserve to take bows, too. In our postproduction meeting at a sushi restaurant near my mother’s house in Orlando, Teresa was, well, motherly in her appraisal of the works. “These are all so good,” she said. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about the sushi or the pictures. “I learned most of what I know about cooking here,” I replied. “I love this place.” I love that sushi restaurant because the owner let me learn how to make on the job, even as his own job grew, much in the same way that Professor Carmody has. Neither one of us could know that that very same experiential learning at the ACA would lead to this, a half-dozen fortnights later at AWP 2018 (Association of Writers & Writing Programs). That’s straight out of the camera again, this time with my own calculations replacing those of the computer in the device (although I did invoke my old chef skills for a tasteful cut around the edges). Mind-bottling, isn’t it? Jared Alan Smith is a double-Hatter (B.A.’14, M.F.A.’17) who was the inaugural graduate of Stetson’s M.F.A. of the Americas. He currently teaches ESE English Language Arts and freelances in Tampa. His writing has been featured in Burrow Press, Bridge Eight and The Common’s Dispatches series, and a public archive of his photographs is available on Instagram @Oculeye. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


‘Lasting Legacy’ As President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., makes plans for retirement, her 11-year tenure “will benefit Stetson for decades to come.” BY MICHAEL CANDELARIA

Really, who could have known? In June 2008, Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., received a phone call inquiring about her interest in being considered for the presidency of Stetson University. Libby certainly possessed plenty of the requisite credentials. Just to name a few, there was a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Connecticut, along with an M.B.A. from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Her administrative and teaching experience in higher education began in 1980, which led to becoming vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at Furman University and, ultimately, to serving as president of Stephens College in Missouri, the nation’s second-oldest women’s institution. And she once led a delegation of six college presidents to Ewha University in Seoul, South Korea — participating in a presidents’ forum on strategic planning with a global focus. For good measure, her husband, Richard M. Libby, Ph.D., also was a former college president. Yet, who could have known the magnitude? That Wendy B. Libby not only would become Stetson’s ninth president in July 2009 and its first female president since the university was founded in 1883, but also one of the university’s most powerful, influential and dynamic leaders ever. She “has left a lasting legacy that will benefit Stetson for decades to come,” in the words of Nestor de Armas ’73, who was chair of the Stetson University Board of Trustees when Libby was recruited and hired. A decade later, the impact is undeniable, her mark indelible. On Feb. 15, Libby publicly announced her decision to retire as president of Stetson. She will leave office in June 2020. In her own words that day: “It has been a privilege to be president of an institution as fine as Stetson University. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I thank the Board for allowing me the opportunity to contribute to Stetson’s upward trajectory through my presidency. My husband, Richard, and I are looking forward to continuing our lives in DeLand and our support of Stetson.” 22

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With characteristic foresight, Libby made the announcement well beyond the one year required by her contract, enabling Stetson and its Board of Trustees to have the benefit of searching for a 10th president during the most advantageous part of the academic recruitment cycle. Consider the highlights of the university’s accomplishments during her tenure: • Undergraduate enrollment has increased nearly 50 percent to an all-time high of 3,150 students on the DeLand campus and 4,340 across all four of Stetson’s campuses in Fall 2018. • Academic programs have been introduced such as the Centurion Sales Program in the School of Business Administration and the Master of Fine Arts of the Americas in creative writing in the College of Arts and Sciences. • A robust and focused collegewide program of undergraduate research has grown and the Advocacy Center and Veterans Law Institute in the College of Law have been created. • While continuing to recruit the best students for Stetson, academic quality measures have been enhanced and marketing strategies sharpened, which have helped to counter difficult national enrollment trends in higher education. • Academic programs and partnerships have grown, with both the number of faculty and faculty salaries rising. • The university’s endowment has more than doubled to $246plus million, and operating funds spent on faculty salaries in DeLand and Celebration increased by 70 percent, with more than 50 new faculty positions added to keep pace with student enrollment. • The Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center, the Athletic Training Center and the newly dedicated Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center were constructed, and the Carlton Union Building underwent significant renovation, including an increase in size of nearly 50 percent. • Plans are underway to construct a new Health and Science building, following receipt of an $18 million campaign gift in April 2018 from longtime benefactors Hyatt and Cici Brown. It is the largest single gift in Stetson’s history.

A portrait of Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., Stetson’s ninth president, hangs on the wall of the DeLand Hall Boardroom. Photo: Stetson University/ And You Films

• An emphasis on improving campus vibrancy and enhanced student life has led to programming that speaks to the values of students and the institution, and to the importance of student learning and success outside and inside the classroom, courtroom, laboratory and stage. • There has been a focus on social justice and equity, along with continued critical work on campus climate, headlined by the universitywide “Many Voices, One Stetson” initiative. • Stetson reintroduced Hatter Football in 2013 after a 57-year hiatus and added women’s lacrosse and beach volleyball to Stetson’s roster of NCAA Division I sports. Hatter Baseball made history by earning a spot in the NCAA Super Regionals in 2018 as one of only 16 teams nationwide. Today, more than 1,300 undergraduates participate in Stetson’s 17 club sports and intramurals combined. Currently, a golf practice facility is being developed with donor support. The list goes on. And Libby is confident that will continue long into the future. “Our university has a bright and sustainable future,” she said. “We all need to be dedicated to that future as we approach this change of leadership.”

“Dr. Libby has demonstrated unparalleled vision and commitment in establishing Stetson as not only a thriving university known for its academic rigor and excellence, but also an institution with a solid financial foundation,” described Joe Cooper ’79, ’82 M.B.A., current chair of the Board of Trustees. “Her creative and engaged leadership, coupled with her financial savvy, have led to stellar fundraising outcomes and unprecedented growth over the past decade that will ensure a vibrant future for Stetson University.” With Libby’s announcement, the plan now is for the Board of Trustees to conduct a search for the next president during the 20192020 academic year and have a successor in place as she departs. During her announcement, Libby reflected back to Sept. 14, 2008, the day of her preliminary interview for that new position as president (and her wedding anniversary). She and husband Richard had done substantial research in preparation, only to learn more during the visit. “In all candor,” President Libby said, “those of you whom I met [at the interview] and in our little clandestine tour of our four campuses that weekend, convinced me that Stetson was a place I wanted to be, a place where I could make a difference.” What a difference it has turned out to be. Who could have known? Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


Sgt. Paul Levering Hon is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Aisne-Marne Cemetery in Belleau, France, not far from where he died.

Photo: Warrick Page/American Battle Monuments Commission

HONoring History Lengthy research and a little serendipity brought together two DeLand residents from separate universities and centuries.



ou never know what you might find when conducting research about history.

For example, an Orlando university student who happens to live in DeLand and work a stone’s throw from the Stetson campus uncovering the legacy of a Stetson student from a century ago. Some explanation: Last spring, approximately 70 history students from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, working in conjunction with the National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program, researched and wrote biographies of veterans buried or memorialized at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida. Essentially, the biographies formed the basis of an online commemorative and educational resource portal designed to serve the public, using innovative pedagogy developed by a team of university professors, staff, students and K-12 educators. With 2018 being the centennial of the end of the United States’


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involvement in World War I, UCF students were tasked with researching Floridians who served, died and were buried in France. UCF senior and history major Elizabeth Klements moved to DeLand in 2013 after high school, and works at a popular downtown DeLand eatery. So, with only a bit of initial research, Klements chose to study Paul Levering Hon, who entered Stetson as a first-year student in 1916. “I wanted to select a veteran who was a student at Stetson when he decided to join the military,” Klements said, simply. Then came a few surprises. First, Klements learned the Hons were an important family in DeLand. Edmond Hon, a bookkeeper and Paul’s father, arrived in DeLand from Indiana in 1900 and worked for John B. Stetson, the university’s namesake. With the aid of Stetson archives, Klements uncovered that Paul Hon was especially active at Stetson. He served as chair of the freshman class social committee and president of the Stetson Literary

The late C. Paul Johnson points to his namesake, Paul L. Hon. The plaque is located at the old DeLand Hospital, now a museum. Source: Stetson University Archives

Source: Stetson University Yearbook, 1919

Society. He played on the baseball team, while joining the Green Room Club, a theater group, and performing a role in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” For good measure, Hon was president of his sophomore class and a member of the Stetson Choir. Also, his brother, Howard, was a Hatter at the same time. Klements found photos, too, by flipping through the Stetson yearbooks of 1916, 1917 and 1918. Klements recounted, with eyes widened: “When I first saw his name, I was like, ‘yes.’ Then I found his picture in a group, and I was like, ‘Which one is he? Which one is he?’ I couldn’t figure it out.” Eventually, Klements did. A description by business classmates in the 1917 yearbook claimed that Hon’s ambition was to “play,” while his gift was “intelligence” and his favorite pastime was “callin’ at Chaudoin Hall,” a women’sonly residence hall on campus. As for his military story, Paul Hon enlisted as a private in the Army Engineering Corps in May 1917, a month after the United States declared war on Germany. He had just completed his sophomore year. That August, his division shipped out to France, and in May 1918 Hon became a sergeant. Two months later, in July, his division engaged in the Aisne-Marne campaign. There, on July 22, around his 20th birthday, Hon died on a battlefield in Belleau, France. His remains were never recovered or identified. In Stetson’s 1919 yearbook, a memorial page for Hon contained the following passage: “Our hero is dead. He died for liberty — he died for us. … Earth may turn red with other wars — he is at peace.” The Hon family legacy extended long after Paul’s death. His youngest sister married into another prominent family, the Johnsons, and there was a son named Chauncey Paul Johnson, known as C. Paul Johnson. Later, he became a Stetson University benefactor. And so it went.

“The research made this sort of vague fact from World War I really personal, because you’re researching the life of someone who died in it,” Klements said, this time with sadness in her voice. “And it makes you realize that every single one of those soldiers has a story.” “Because this work is done by college students, there’s something really profound in the experience of learning about and connecting to an American veteran who lived a hundred years ago,” affirmed Amelia Lyons, Ph.D., an associate professor and director of Graduate Programs in UCF’s Department of History. “The stories of individual veterans help us to teach students about American history through the personal narratives of veterans. So, on some level, their service continues, because now they’re servicing K-12 students and they’re serving our students, who come away from the program with so many skill sets.” Lyons shared her own bit of Stetson serendipity. Last summer, July 2018, Lyons was in France as an invited guest and the lone U.S. representative for a 100th-anniversary commemoration of the battle that took Hon’s life. Lyons happens to know a descendant of French Gen. Charles Mangin, who had led the Americans into that fateful, ultimately victorious battle. Lyons attended as part of the Mangin family. The ceremony included the dedication of a reconstructed tower, one that Gen. Mangin had used as he led the assault, along with a monument to the victory in Aisne. Sgt. Paul Levering Hon is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Aisne-Marne Cemetery in Belleau, not far from where he died. “To know that Paul was out there and he’s never been recovered,” Lyons said, “that was incredibly moving.”

“The research made this sort of vague fact from World War I really personal, because you’re researching the life of someone who died in it. And it makes you realize that every single one of those soldiers has a story.” — Elizabeth Klements

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


CLUB CULTURE On the club-sports scene, active participation is the big win. BY TRISH WIELAND

Passion. Culture. Leadership. Friendship. Those are only a handful of the benefits that Stetson students are gaining through the university’s vibrant club-sports programs. Nearly 400 students are actively involved in 17 club sports — where they can find a “manageable balance” of competition with “less responsibility for conditioning, practicing and travel obligations,” according to Travis Potter, Stetson’s assistant director of wellness and recreation. Winning and losing are just a small part of the game.

Ultimate Frisbee is one of 17 club sports at Stetson, which attracts nearly 400 students.


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Emma Logue ’21

A focus on fun and friends is widely evident with each club, such as equestrian (on left), surf (below) and cycling (lower left). Students can find a “manageable balance” of competition with “less responsibility for conditioning, practicing and travel obligations,” said Travis Potter, Stetson’s assistant director of wellness and recreation.

While some clubs may be more competitive than others, there are no tryouts. A minimum GPA of 2.0 or 2.5, depending on the sport, generally is required. “Our club-sport participants are able to be more involved with multiple engagements that a campus provides,” Potter continued. “That involvement can extend from being involved with Travis Potter Greek Life, having an on-campus job, being a member of student organizations and having more time to manage academic requirements. They are able to enjoy those endeavors while still having the opportunity to play their sport that they love and to compete against other institutions.”

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS (AND RÉSUMÉS) Take Emma Logue ’21, for example. Not only is the marketing major the president and founder of the Surf Club, she’s also on the Club Sports Council, the governing body on campus. In that sense, Logue is riding a wave toward leadership. “Building a club sport from the ground up has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. It has helped me grow as a leader, as it has allowed me to build upon my skills in public speaking, management, teamwork, flexibility, organization and communication,” Logue said. “Additionally, it has been rewarding to watch Surf Club’s group of officers grow both individually and as a team. I can’t wait to see our surfers progress into, hopefully, the competitive level next year, and to see the leadership of Surf Club be passed down into the hands of the next generation of Stetson University students.” Further, Logue and the Surf Club are actively engaged with the Stetson community, providing cultural-credit opportunities to students (which are counted toward academic progress) that introduce surfing while also raising awareness of environmental concerns. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


Club Aikido (below) features a Japanese modern art, and Club Soccer (below, right) is the most diverse club on campus. Club Softball (on right), meanwhile, showcases personality.

Catherine Rogers ’19

A focus on fun and friends was an especially important part of rebuilding Club Aikido (a modern Japanese martial art). Senior Catherine Rogers’ dedication to recruitment, improved communication and interest in the well-being of others inspired a group of students to join in sustaining the oldest club sport on campus, in its 16th year. “We brought Club Aikido back from the brink by getting our members more committed and bringing everyone together as friends. Without that, I don’t think the club would have survived,” explained Rogers, a double management and psychology major. “… What I did learn is that passion and perseverance are essential for any undertaking, and that’s what I’ll take with me into the working world. Some projects need elbow grease, and if that’s what it takes to get things done, then that’s what you do.” 28

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Hunter Brown ’19, an aquatic and marine biology major with a minor in environmental studies, has been affiliated with men’s Club Soccer since his first year at Stetson. There, according to Potter, Brown has helped strengthen the program tremendously in the past two years. In addition, Brown serves Hunter Brown ’19 on the Club Sports Council. “Hunter knows firsthand how the skills that club officers gain can transfer into post-graduation skills,” Potter said. “Through being on the council, I’ve become a leader that I never really anticipated,” Brown said. “You get the opportunity to move up the ranks and possibly hold executive positions in your club that translate to real things you can put on your résumé.” Notably, men’s Club Soccer is the most diverse club on campus, with membership that’s consistently composed of 50 percent international students.

Amber Hunter-Henley ’19

Flag football, anyone? All are welcome on campus. Club Top Hats (below) happily meets its financial needs solely through fundraising initiatives.

THE 17 CLUB SPORTS AT STETSON: Aikido • Baseball (men) Bass Fishing • Cycling Equestrian • Golf • Flag Football Running • Scuba Diving Skeet & Trap • Soccer (men) Soccer (women) • Softball (women) Surfing • Top Hats Ultimate Frisbee • Volleyball (women)

“We get [students] who are only here for a semester studying abroad, who barely speak English; all they know is they want to come out and play soccer as many times a week as possible,” Brown noted. “I’ve made friends with people from across Europe, Pakistan, Colombia and Brazil, just to name a couple places off the top of my head. I’m being 100 percent honest when I tell you that if there are 30 people at a practice, there are more people from outside the U.S. than in. It’s really cool to learn about their different cultures through soccer and hear about the different ways they were brought up learning the game.”

NO BREAKING THE BANK Being a member of a club sport doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive. One club even has no membership fees, plus it volunteers time to help others. Amber Hunter-Henley ’19, a health science major and psychology minor, has been a co-captain for Club Top Hats for the past two years while also being a Stetson Cheerleader. The dance club meets its financial needs solely through fundraising initiatives. Also, club members volunteer at the Ocean Center Beachside Convention Center in nearby Daytona Beach, working at the concession stands on weekends. “This gives students on campus who don’t have the financial ability to still be a member of a great team and to not worry about money being a deciding factor in whether they get to continue dancing when coming to college,” Hunter-Henley said. In the end, Hunter-Henley echoed a familiar refrain among students about club sports: They’re a win all the way around. “I love the community and friendships I’ve been fortunate enough to make,” she said. “Having that one thing that you love to do while adjusting to college life, or even just having as a stress reliever, is amazing. And after that, I would greatly encourage stepping out of your comfort zone and trying others, as well. You never know what you might be good at or grow to love.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


Last fall, Stetson’s Community Education Project offered its first creditbearing course at the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach.


STETSON | Spring 2019

GETTING AHEAD BEHIND BARS Stetson’s Community Education Project is taking the value of study to prison. The lessons are being well-received and raising the value of human spirit among the students. BY RICK DE YAMPERT


ndrew Eisen, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of history, noticed that a particular class taking his American History Since 1877 course was breeding overachievers. Students in that class consistently earned A’s, and no sooner would those students hand in papers than they eagerly pushed Eisen to grade and return them. For those students, their classroom, study hall, textbooks and homework space all reside behind bars: They are incarcerated men at the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach, approximately 14 miles from Stetson’s main campus. The students are part of Stetson’s Community Education Project, which has offered full courses, workshops and lectures in the prison since 2015 with a mission of providing incarcerated people a high-quality liberal arts education. In fall 2018, CEP offered a credit-bearing course — Eisen’s U.S. History 152 — for the first time. Many of his CEP students “don’t have the same training that many of our Stetson undergraduate students have had,” Eisen said, adding: “Most of them didn’t go to college or prep high schools, and they weren’t being funneled into the college

system. But they’ve worked really hard to prepare themselves. They’re producing college-level work.” Stetson is the only four-year institution in Florida offering college credits to people in prison, according to Eisen. Only one other credit-bearing program exists statewide, offered through a community college. Roughly 230 higher-education institutions across the country have some sort of prisoneducation program. Eisen and Pamela Cappas-Toro, Ph.D., assistant professor of Spanish & Latin American/Latino Studies, were involved in

a similar prison-education program as graduate students at the University of Illinois. (Cappas-Toro also is director of La Casa Cultural Latina at Stetson.) After arriving at Stetson, they started the program at Tomoka Correctional Institution four years ago with Jelena Petrovic, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication and media studies. Melinda Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, joined the program in 2016. Currently, the four professors co-direct the project. More than 30 other Stetson professors and staff, including Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., have taught or lectured on such subjects as trans-Atlantic slavery, U.S. imperialism, critical studies in mass media, philosophy of law, beekeeping, climate change, introductory Spanish, Latin American music, cultural analysis, public speaking, American short stories and more. Subjects are taught as full courses, workshops composed of two to six sessions and single lectures. Three professors from other area universities and a local high school math teacher also have participated. In addition, four interns from Stetson help with the program. Estefany Arenas, a Stetson.edu/today | STETSON


“What do the men get out of it? What do Stetson students get out of an education? They get selfesteem. They potentially get better jobs that are more fulfilling. All of the reasons why students come to Stetson, I think that’s why the men at Tomoka come to our classroom.” — Andrew Eisen, Ph.D. senior majoring in international studies, works as CEP’s community-outreach person. Matt Brogan, a 2018 philosophy graduate, is in charge of the CEP library and solicits book donations from publishers and other sources. Colin Barnes, a junior majoring in communication and media studies, was in charge of marketing and fundraising strategies for CEP. And Mirret Saad, a senior majoring in political science, is a writing tutor for the program. “We also do Values Day there. We replicate it with a book read,” Petrovic said, citing a special day on campus each September that celebrates the university’s commitment to its core values — personal growth, intellectual development and global citizenship. The CEP has been supported in part by the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational 32

STETSON | Spring 2019

During the Fall 2018 semester, participation was limited to 18 students, who applied for admission. With grant funding, the program could be expanded to 30 students this fall.

Reform and its Research Impact Award. The program received its original seed funding through the Hollis Renaissance Fund. A grant from the Laughing Gull Foundation, awarded in June 2018 at $70,000 annually for three years, will provide textbooks and school supplies, support students’ emerging scholarship and creative course projects, plus fund the addition of a computer lab. The grant also will enable Eisen to take on the official role of project coordinator and increase his presence at the prison, where along with teaching he tutors incarcerated students and serves as a liaison with the state Department of Corrections. With resources limited, helping hands are almost everywhere. Notably, the current lack of computers didn’t deter Joshua Eckroth, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, from devising a “super ingenious way of teaching coding through the use of cards,” Hall noted, adding, “It was awesome seeing how that worked.” During the fall semester, the CEP was capped at 18 students, with application and review steps closely resembling Stetson’s admissions process on campus. The Laughing Gull grant will help with plans to expand the program to 30 students in the coming year.

REAL EDUCATION Petrovic “wanted to do something more with my teaching, but I wasn’t thinking much about it” until she encountered the passion of Eisen and Cappas-Toro to establish the prison program. “That reaction of people — ‘Oh, I never thought about going there’ — that’s purposeful, to never see people who are incarcerated as members of our communities,” Petrovic said. “What you see in the media shapes how you feel, the language we use to talk about people who are incarcerated. We refer to them as inmates, prisoners, felons; all of these things that mark them as outsiders from our communities. “Hopefully, the work we are doing and the work of the students who are incarcerated will change that, so that we start seeing them as members not just of our communities but as members of this campus. We’re treating these people as Stetson students.” That attitude informs the coursework, where lessons aren’t “dumbed down” or altered for presentation at the prison. “I’m teaching the same class at Tomoka that I am here on campus. Same writing expectations, same midterm, same final exam,” Eisen said.

“Teaching at the Tomoka Correctional Institution fits squarely into our mission. That our faculty have been so enormously supportive underscores how clearly this work aligns with Stetson’s values.” — President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D.

Top: Students in the project produce “college-level work” despite life circumstances that typically are different from those found on campus, according to Stetson’s Andrew Eisen, Ph.D. Above: Project leaders meet at Elizabeth Hall. From left, Jelena Petrovic, Ph.D.; Melinda Hall, Ph.D.; Eisen; and Pamela Cappas-Toro, Ph.D. Photo: Stetson University/Bobby Fishbough

The message to his incarcerated students: “It’s not just us [professors] telling you this. It’s the institution that is accrediting us. It’s telling you these are the grades you’re earning, and there’s no room for me to fudge on that. I’m a professor — I have professional obligations.” “As an educator,” said Cappas-Toro, “it’s very important that I give the same highquality education to my CEP students that I give to my Stetson students.” Indeed, the incarcerated students insist on that rigor, Hall noted. “They hold us accountable to that,” she said. “They continually say things like ‘Is this the same [as on campus]?’” Not coincidentally, the introduction in the fall of credit-bearing courses was “huge” for the students at Tomoka. “Ever since I’ve been a part of it, they articulated having

credits as being really, really significant for them,” Hall commented. Ultimately, all of this is, in fact, about higher education. “There is a value in bringing critical thinking skills to them — not only for the students who will be released but for the people who might not be able to get out in a while,” Cappas-Toro asserted. “What do the men get out of it?” Eisen asked. “What do Stetson students get out of an education? They get self-esteem. They potentially get better jobs that are more fulfilling. All of the reasons why students come to Stetson, I think that’s why the men at Tomoka come to our classroom. “On a very basic level, education is a human right. We as educators have an obligation to work within our communities,

and this is a tremendously underserved population. We have found a way to begin to serve a group of folks who otherwise may not have had these opportunities. We find it to be very meaningful work.” The benefits of the Community Education Project flow both ways. “Teaching at the Tomoka Correctional Institution fits squarely into our mission,” President Libby said. “That our faculty have been so enormously supportive underscores how clearly this work aligns with Stetson’s values.” Hall has been working on a new research project, with an incarcerated student as her research assistant. “The most significant thing for me has been a professional relationship I forged with one of the students, David,” Hall said. “My specialty is bioethics in philosophy. It’s a sub-field of philosophy, and the center of my research is related to disability and emerging technology. “[David] told me this was the first time he felt like he was valued in a program. I don’t know if he meant an educational program or programs in general. That made me feel like I was doing something that mattered, because he felt valued.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Rebecca Shaffer ’18

Bishkek and Beyond With a student-exchange program involving Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan — that’s Central Asia — a new world opens for students while two universities grow closer.



ebecca Shaffer graduated from Stetson in 2018 with a degree in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. A rewarding college experience, assuredly. Yet not your typical course of study. Then there was spring 2018. A studentexchange program, one that few other universities offer, gave her a semester of a lifetime — at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


STETSON | Spring 2019

“I took a course on Central Asian politics [with Professor Gene Huskey, Ph.D.] and found out about the Bishkek student-exchange program in 2017,” Shaffer said. “I needed a senior research project, and I wanted to take advantage of my last semester. But nobody from Stetson had gone to Bishkek [on the program] yet, and I was a little nervous about it because I had never been anywhere like Kyrgyzstan before. But I decided to go for it.” Little-known Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic) is a landlocked country with mountainous terrain bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest, and China to the east. Its recorded history spans more than 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires. Kyrgyzstan has been at the crossroads of several great civilizations, as part of the Silk Road and other commercial and cultural routes. It attained sovereignty as a nation-state after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Often referred to as

one of the world’s “coolest unknown cities,” Bishkek is the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Upon arrival on the other side of the world, initial trepidation turned into education triumph. “When I got there, I was really nervous,” Shaffer continued. “It just seemed so remote. But once I saw the mountains, which are breathtaking and really close to the city, and realized how nice the people were, I knew I was in for a wonderful adventure.” Shaffer, who rented a bedroom from a local Kyrgyz family, was able to immerse herself in the culture, especially because, outside of the classroom, she had to speak Russian and Kyrgyz (a Turkic language that uses the Cyrillic alphabet). As part of the exchange program, she attended the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, working on her Russian language skills, taking classes in its program in Central Asian studies and pursuing her senior research project, which entailed comparing the use of social media in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the 2010 Kyrgyzstan revolution. “I looked at movement-building, the ‘movement as the leader’ concept and effective communication strategies in this kind of environment,” Shaffer explained. “I took a comparative politics approach on how social media affected each of these revolutions.”

MUTUAL ADMIRATION A few years ago, Michael Denner, Ph.D., professor of Russian Studies at Stetson and director of the University Honors Program, began talking about the possibility of an exchange program with his former adviser in graduate school, Andrew Wachtel, Ph.D., who just so happened to be the president of AUCA at the time. Typically, AUCA has partnered with Bard College in New York, but Stetson steadily has forged a relationship with AUCA by virtue of its School of Business Administration; many of AUCA’s students are business majors. A reciprocal agreement now has been in place for two years. “Two Bishkek students came here in the fall, and two others were here last year, but Rebecca was the first Stetson student to go there,” Denner said. “We have a lot of opportunities for study abroad, and Bishkek isn’t a place people are usually familiar with, but more and more students are finding out about it, and we expect more of them to take advantage of the program in the coming years.” According to Paula Hentz, director of international learning at WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker

Last summer, Stetson traveled to share ideas about education with the American University of Central Asia. Stetson participants, from left: Paula Hentz; Michael Denner, Ph.D.; and Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D. To the right of Fowler is Asel Umetalieva, head of the International Students Office at AUCA. The building behind them is the AUCA dormitory.

Center for International Learning at Stetson, the exchange program represents budding mutual admiration. “We want to ensure every student is having an international experience in one way or another,” Hentz said. “We have a strong Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies program here and wanted to start a proper student-exchange program in that part of the world. Also, it’s great to have foreign students come to us because it helps internationalize our campus. The Bishkek students have really fun, great attitudes when they come here. They’re outgoing and friendly, and our students are learning about their culture.” Denner and Hentz spent last summer in Bishkek, along with Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and director of Stetson’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (known on campus as SPREES). There were four days of meeting with AUCA faculty, administrators and students. AUCA is known as the best institution of higher learning in Central Asia, with a diverse faculty and students, complemented by top-notch facilities and a faculty wellrespected for research. “We didn’t know what to expect, and we were blown away,” Denner commented. “Plus, the city is beautiful with these majestic mountains towering in the background, communities are really nice, and people are friendly and happy-golucky. Few Westerners go there, so they totally embraced us.” Fowler, a veteran traveler to these parts, points to Bishkek’s globally important location, near both China and Russia. “This was part of the Silk Road, the crossroads of empires,” Fowler said. “They have a non-Western-centered understanding of the world, and for Stetson students, it’s about getting out of their comfort zone and becoming global citizens.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The summer visit to Bishkek brought a mix of business and pleasure — including marketplace shopping, meetings and a bit of downtime for the Stetson group. Few universities offer such a student-exchange similar to the Stetson/AUCA program. Directly above: Neri Ordaz ’16 and Callie Rades ’16 are alumni who had been teaching English in Bishkek. Ordaz now is in a fully funded graduate program at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Rades is teaching at the Silk Road School in Bishkek and planning to pursue graduate studies in library information sciences.


STETSON | Spring 2019

Ala-Too, Kyrgyzstan’s main square in Bishkek, offers a scenic setting.


‘THESE INCREDIBLE PLACES’ While acknowledging the difficulty of study abroad in such an unknown place, Fowler believes the experience can set students apart. “We want to position Stetson for the future as having student-exchange programs in places not necessarily well-known in study-abroad circles. We have students in Warsaw in Poland, Kyiv in Ukraine, etc., and this entire region is an important part of the world. So, we want to be able to offer different but key places like Bishkek as study-abroad locations,” she said. “The world is a complex place, and I want Stetson students to learn about and experience this world in all its complexity.” Denner agrees that for students, it is all about broadening horizons, both figuratively and literally. “In life, you’re limited by your network, so you broaden this network by studying abroad,” he explained. “You simply meet more people, and it’s because of the people you know that makes life interesting.” The main goal now is to expand the program. “Can we attract students to Stetson from these incredible places?” Denner asked, rhetorically. “They need to be daring and intrepid to come here, and the same goes for our students going there. Think about what two students from Bishkek can teach students just by meeting and talking to them.” “It’s about your ability to see other points of view,” Hentz said. “This creates a better understanding of the world around us, our place in the world and how we can make it better.” Shaffer, currently living in Pittsburgh and working for the nonprofit PennEnvironment, a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, is interested in going back to Bishkek to do policy development, specifically as it applies to infrastructure and transportation. Her first trip there, fittingly, helped to provide a bridge. “Going to Bishkek was such a rewarding experience for me; it opened me up to another part of the world,” Shaffer concluded. “I met amazing people whom I’m still in contact with and who have changed my perspective on the rest of the world. I’m better for the experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Stetson Professor Eugene Huskey, Ph.D., began visiting Kyrgyzstan right after the collapse of the Soviet Union and now is widely considered an expert on the region, knowing many of the movers and shakers in Kyrgyz politics personally. His new book, “Encounters at the Edge of the Muslim World,” published in September 2018, not only is a political science exploration of democratic transition, but also a thoughtful narrative about what it means to learn a new culture, language and place in a time of change, according to reviews. The book even includes a personal note of support written by the former Kyrgyzstan President Roza Otunbayeva, whom Huskey knew before she was president, and includes the story of famous Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov’s visit to Stetson University in 1991.

Stetson Professor Eugene Huskey, Ph.D.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



HIGHLAND ADVENTURES From rolling up sleeves with local business owners to visiting Loch Ness, and even growing fond of black pudding and sausage, students “step out of their comfort zones” during Summer Scotland. BY JACK ROTH


STETSON | Spring 2019


s Robert Burns, regarded as the national poet of Scotland, so eloquently wrote: “Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, the hills of the Highlands forever I love.”

The endearing qualities of Scotland have inspired many a writer and poet over the years. Travelers from every corner of the globe also have been enchanted by Scotland’s beauty, typically describing it as “mystical” and “awe-inspiring.” For Stetson students, a study-abroad program, now going into its fourth year, is providing them with the opportunity to experience that splendor firsthand in Inverness, a city in the Scottish Highlands and the northernmost city of the United Kingdom. “I had never traveled outside the country before, so it was suggested that Scotland would be a good first study-abroad experience. It was a life-changing experience, and I caught the travel bug after that,” said Caylyn Gunby ’19, an international-studies major who participated in the program in the summer of 2016. Gunby added she since has participated in two additional study-abroad programs in Austria and Thailand, plus an internship in France. (Also see Page 65.) Such a trip has that kind of impact. The Inverness program, called Summer Scotland, is a multi-university, faculty-led consortium including professors from Stetson, Jacksonville University and Utah

As part of case-study projects, students work with local companies on real-world business issues.

Valley University, all congregating at The University of the Highlands and Islands Inverness College to teach students management and marketing as they relate to the international community. With approximately 8,500 students, Inverness College is the main campus for The University of the Highlands and Islands. The program occurs three or four weeks over summers. Summer Scotland 2019 is set for May 28-June 27. “Five years ago, we got together with Jacksonville University and suggested Scotland as a great place for a study-abroad program,” cited Paula Hentz, director of international learning at WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning at Stetson. “We wanted to build something that included best practices and incorporated case-study projects with local Scottish businesses. Utah Valley University and Inverness College joined the consortium, and it has turned out to be really beneficial for students.” As part of these case-study projects, students are paired with local businesses (five students per company) and work on real-world business issues. They apply their

coursework and offer solutions to actual problems to help the businesses, presenting a final report at the end of the project. Group projects vary based on the current business needs. In the past, companies have included WOW Scotland (a travel company); a fashion designer who has designed items for the Queen; Robertson Construction; Walker (an international shortbread company); local craft breweries; a Highland bakery that provided baked goods for the 2012 London Olympics; local social enterprises that support youth; and Cobb (a hotel company). “This represents an incredible opportunity for students to not only get real-world experience but also real-world international business experience — learning how to do business in another country with another culture. It’s a great challenge for them,” Hentz added. In 2016, Gunby and her team worked with Café Artysans, a social-enterprise café in Inverness that uses some of its profits to help homeless Scottish youth. “We helped with advertising, met with the director and talked about growth and international outreach,” Gundy said. “We focused on social-media coverage and how to better reach out to Americans.”

Inverness serves as the launch point for summertime exploration in Scotland. Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Students who participate in the program are offered a choice between two courses — Global Marketing: Business Without Borders and Principles of Management — and earn four credits upon completion. The course counts as an elective for nonbusiness students. “These study-abroad programs teach students about international business and how countries operate and do business differently because of cultural nuances,” said Carol Azab, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing in the School of Business Administration, who teaches, lectures and represents Stetson on the trips. “In Scotland, people are more laid-back than we are when it comes to their business culture. And it’s important for students to be able to adapt to whatever company they’re working for, wherever that may be. “When I see students presenting at the end of the program, I feel so proud. Their marketing proposals and plans get praise from these companies, and they’ve resulted in direct changes and improvements made in many of the businesses. It’s a life-changing experience for these students, who come back more enlightened and also improve academically.” Students start some coursework online prior to their arrival in Inverness. Once there, they have regular class time, Monday through Friday, and also interact with advisers to work on their case studies. Additionally, they hear local guest lecturers talk about topics such as the effects of Brexit (the U.K. leaving the European Union), the general business environment and business practices in Scotland. Students have the option to stay in the dormitories at Inverness College or with a Scottish host family. Further, there is cultural immersion. Among the highlights is a guided tour of the Isle of Skye, the largest and most northerly large island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. “It was stunning,” Gunby recalled. “We actually went to Fairy Pools [on the River Brittle in the Isle of Skye].” Other excursions include visits to Loch Ness, the deepest lake in the United Kingdom and where students can take a boat tour and hear stories about the Loch Ness Monster; Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland’s most iconic castles on the banks of Loch Ness; the Quiraing, a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on the Isle of Skye; and Edinburgh, the ancient capital city of Scotland. Also, this past summer students participated in mini-Highland Games, so they could try some of the activities. Previously, they had watched the actual Highland Games. “We learned about Scottish food, music, sports, folklore and even got to hear Gaelic from the local Highlanders,” noted Gunby. 40

STETSON | Spring 2019

Above: Summer Scotland is centered at The University of the Highlands and Islands - Inverness College. Left: Students pause for a portrait of fellowship at the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye. Below: Ample camaraderie is evident among students and faculty, with the Urquhart Castle in the background. Students who participate in the summer program earn four credits upon completion.

Above: Students investigate the legend of Loch Ness, the deepest lake in the United Kingdom. Right: Here’s a literal sign of Stetson’s impact at the Quiraing. Second from the left (standing) is Paula Hentz, director, WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning at Stetson. Third from the right is Carol Azab, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing. Far right is Neal Mero, Ph.D., dean and professor of management, School of Business Administration. The others are students.

“We want students to step out of their comfort zones,” Azab said, simply. “It’s a chance to build intentional opportunities for students to meet local people,” Hentz affirmed. “Everything we do there is geared toward giving our students the most immersive cultural experience possible.” For Gunby, who missed not having black pudding and sausage when she got back to the States, her Scotland experience opened many doors and widened her eyes. And she will never forget the Scottish people, while she also became close with other Stetson students who participated in the program. “They’re so friendly and much more laid-back then we are,” she said about the Scottish. “People understand how to enjoy life there, and that taught me something about how to live my life.” When Gunby graduates this spring, she plans on teaching English abroad, as a gap year, then attending grad school to get a master’s degree in international affairs or global development. The study-abroad effect is transformative. “I believe in student learning and stepping out into the world as a life-changing experience,” Azab concluded. “Helping students realize this is very rewarding to me. In the end, we’re celebrating differences, and this is a beautiful thing and a great lesson for these students to learn.”

“When I see students presenting at the end of the program, I feel so proud. ... It’s a life-changing experience for these students, who come back more enlightened and also improve academically.” — Carol Azab, Ph.D.

UPCOMING CLASSROOMS ABROAD Destinations for official faculty-led study this summer: • • • • • • • • •

Austria, Switzerland and Germany (same program) Burgundy, France Cairns, Australia Cuenca, Ecuador Dominican Republic Georgian Foodways Geneva, Switzerland Hong Kong Innsbruck, Austria

• Inverness, Scotland • London, England • Moldova • Novi Sad, Serbia • Paris and London • Portugal (Executive M.B.A. program) • Singapore • South Africa • South Korea

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



The Therapy of Play Graduate students in the Department of Counselor Education are learning very real lessons using make-believe.



art Simpson, Scooby-Doo, the Powerpuff Girls, SpongeBob SquarePants, Bugs Bunny and other cartoon characters are teaching Stetson graduate students the power of play.

“Play is the first language children learn,” said Gloria Lopez, a Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate student who also is earning certificates in play therapy and school counseling. “A lot of people outside the clinical realm might see therapy as just sitting down in that empty chair and saying, ‘Tell me how you feel’ to a client. Play therapy is working with your unconscious and expressing yourself through more than just talking.” That’s where those cartoon characters — or, rather, miniature plastic figures of them and many others — come into play. Venture into the Department of Counselor Education’s play-therapy room at Flagler Hall and you step into a child’s paradise stuffed with Buzz Lightyear, Clifford the Big Red Dog, My Little Pony, Mr. Potato Head and Hot Wheels, along with teddy bears, a sand tray (tabletop sandbox), plastic toy people, soldiers, dogs, horses, dinosaurs and more. Some spooky stuff lurks in the play-therapy room, too: plastic skulls, skeletons, snakes, a creepy witch and even a miniature black casket with the white block letters RIP. Lopez and the 11 other students in the play-therapy program are getting real-world, hands-on experience bringing characters to life for children in need through service learning. Meanwhile, the Counselor Education graduate program is very real — with the blessing of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, which accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties offered by colleges and universities in the United States and throughout the world. Stetson’s Counselor Education graduate students can specialize in either Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling. Regardless of program choice, students are guaranteed a highly experiential-learning environment. The Play Therapy Certificate Program service learning lab is a prime example. Under faculty supervision, the Stetson play-therapy students work at various locations of Head Start in Volusia County. A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Head Start provides early-childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.


STETSON | Spring 2019

“Play is the child’s first language. They communicate, learn and grow by doing. So, you can communicate with them through that play and learn about their inner worlds and the workings of their minds by understanding their play.” — Page Thanasiu, Ph.D.

Mr. Potato Head Photos: Stetson University/ Bobby Fishbough

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Graduate student Gloria Lopez ’19 and 11 other students receive realworld experience bringing characters to life for children in need.

The goal of the students’ work, simply, is to create positive mental, social and/or behavioral change. “We create a treatment plan that is solely based on the child’s individual needs,” Lopez explained. “Children will present their needs, wants, wishes and fears, but we sometimes have to listen in unconventional ways to truly understand them. Through playful interactions, we are allowing the child to process their situation and learn new ways of coping.” And, yes, the strategies work. “The first time I bring in miniatures to new students, they’ll look at them and say, ‘They’re toys,’” laughed Page Thanasiu, Ph.D., assistant professor of counselor education and a Registered Play TherapistSupervisor. “Or, they’ll look at me skeptically and say, ‘Really?’ “We have students in our program up through their 60s, so they’re thinking, ‘Hmmm, that’s not for me.’ And I say, ‘Give it a try,’ and we do an experiential activity. Usually from that point on, the majority of students say, ‘I don’t know what just happened, but I want to learn how to do that.’” Students in the program learn “that there are numerous ways we communicate that aren’t verbal,” added Thanasiu, noting 44

STETSON | Spring 2019

Buzz Lightyear

that the program also teaches another nonverbal method known as expressive arts interventions. “These can be incredibly powerful ways to communicate things that are meaningful to a person. Our students learn not just how to do it but the why behind it, and it’s important that they personally experience the interventions, too.” “With adults, you can sit down and find some resolution by talking things through,” Thanasiu continued. “Because of their stage of brain development, children don’t heal by talking about their problems; it’s not how the brain works early on. Play is the child’s first language. They communicate, learn and grow by doing. So, you can communicate with them through that play and learn about their inner worlds and the workings of their minds by understanding their play.”

FOR GROWN-UPS, TOO “Play therapy isn’t just for kids,” asserted Melissa Basso, a graduate student in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling. “When I tell people that I’m working on the play-therapy certificate, the first thing they immediately say is, ‘Oh, you want to work with kids.’ I say, ‘Well, not necessarily.’ All of us have a kid

inside of us, and accessing it through some of the play-therapy techniques and interventions sort of accesses the kid in everyone.” Thanasiu taught and supervised the hands-on lab at Head Start for the first two years after founding the play therapy program at Stetson in 2014. Soni McCarty, a Longwood-based licensed clinician, currently heads the lab. McCarty meets with two Head Start behavioral specialists to identify children in need and the severity of the need. Stetson students are introduced into the process incrementally. “When I was supervising the lab, we had a child who had been severely sexually traumatized. So, I took that client as my own because of my levels of training and experience,” Thanasiu stated as an example. “I would not have had one of the students who was just starting to practice do that, even though they have a very strong basic set of skills at that point.” Students work with children who may be facing “a lack of structure at home or a variety of adverse experiences that have left them struggling with some very intense emotions,” Thanasiu said. Essentially, for the graduate students it’s all about learning by doing.

Page Thanasiu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of counselor education at Stetson and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor.

“All of us have a kid inside of us, and accessing it through some of the playtherapy techniques and interventions sort of accesses the kid in everyone.” — Melissa Basso ‘19, graduate student

“We’ll cover the theoretical aspect in class, and students have textbook reading to complete. I show videos of myself working with children to demonstrate what the process looks like,” Thanasiu said. “Before they get a chance to work with children, I pair students up, provide them with toys and say, ‘You’re the child, and you’re the therapist.’ They practice that modality for at least five weeks prior to working directly with children.” Students’ sessions with the Head Start children are videoed for later study, with McCarty watching from a separate room along with the other students. The students are believers. “I saw a small quiet introverted child come out of her shell in her own way, and in her own time,” Basso said. “I saw a vivacious outgoing powerful little girl find a way to be strong without intimidating others. I saw a little boy dealing with the arrival of a new baby in his home learn to adapt to the changes that were happening.” Said Lopez: “Using the play-therapy modality and having that child trust in me while we’re playing and actually listen was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this works! I’m really doing it!’”

In the Department of Counselor Education’s play-therapy room, toys help to “reach” both children and adults, with the hope of accessing thought processes that impact behaviors.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Word Association Read how learning about learning can happen without us even knowing.


alk about experiential learning at its very core.

“We know about 20,000 to 30,000 words, and the vast majority of them we learn just through reading,” says Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Eskenazi, Ph.D. “And we don’t even realize we’re creating a memory for that word when we read. “Cognitive processing is involved in literally everything we do, all day every day. Thus, everything I teach has some application to everything we do.” Lessons even encompass what you’re doing now — reading this article. “As you read these words on the page, you use visual perception to detect the letters, you use attentional processing to focus on each word, you use psycholinguistic processing to decode the visual symbols to extract meaning from each word, you use discourse processing to put it all together to understand the writing, and you use memory processing to


store this information and hopefully use it later,” continues Eskenazi, also director of Stetson’s Reading, Eye-Tracking and Individual Differences (REAiD) Lab. In other words, this is a study of how we learn and, in turn, how we live with focuses on attention, language, memory and perception, and how they “can be applied to everyday life.” Those words come from Bailey Nix ’19, a REAiD Lab research assistant and, now as a senior, an integral part of the teaching. From the very beginning throughout Stetson’s Department of Psychology, firstand second-year students participate in research conducted by professors as well as juniors and seniors, with a wide range of experimental methods and topics that include eye-tracking, transcranial direct-current stimulation and video games. In Eskenazi’s cognitive psychology course, students engage in a series of experiments that pinpoint how their own mind processes

information versus their classmates and thousands of other participants worldwide. “Some students find out that they are more susceptible to optical illusions, are less affected by framing effects in decision-making, have exceptional immediate-memory capacities or are unaffected by distractors in a visual search task,” Eskenazi says. “These experiences take us beyond basic class content and show us how cognitive processing works in the real world and for each student individually.” Students enrolled in electives delve deeper. In Eskenazi’s Memory in Everyday Life course, for instance, they spend 30 days training themselves on a Digit Span Task that combines various strategies to improve memory capacity. The work culminates in a research paper, an oral presentation and a memory competition. Research assistants — upper-class students — run experiments using eye-tracking, reaction-time paradigms and spelling assessments. To cap off their undergraduate study,

“As you read these words on the page, you use visual perception to detect the letters, you use attentional processing to focus on each word, you use psycholinguistic processing to decode the visual symbols to extract meaning from each word, you use discourse processing to put it all together to understand the writing, and you use memory processing to store this information and hopefully use it later.” — Michael Eskenazi, Ph.D. Photos: Stetson University/Bobby Fishbough


STETSON | Spring 2019

seniors design, propose and conduct their own research projects, with Eskenazi and other professors providing mentorship. “Through these research experiences, students learn how to use data to answer questions, how to develop new questions from previous findings, how to create clever manipulations to answer questions, how to stay organized and motivated to complete a complicated task, how to treat people ethically and respectfully, how to work in teams to collectively get a job done, and how to present findings in writing and speech,” Eskenazi describes. With the help of more than 200 participants and five research assistants, Eskenazi recently completed his own research study, “Incidental and Intentional Word Learning in Uninformative Contexts,” which earned him the Southeastern Psychological Association’s Early Career Research Award. The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition and presented at the association’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. In terms of learning novel words, the study found uninformative contexts — those without cues to meaning — to be just as beneficial as informative contexts among high-skill spellers, who often possess larger vocabularies and who “are able to reactivate a previous experience with a word, which can make a meaningless sentence meaningful,” Eskenazi notes. Even the smallest words are a big deal. “These findings catalyzed my own research interests,” comments former lab manager Paige Kemp ’18, who was responsible for creating the non-word stimuli, along with the informative and uninformative sentences, and spent hundreds of hours collecting, cleaning, analyzing and interpreting data. “I want to use cognitive testing to advance our understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie memory deficits and effective learning.” Since arriving at Stetson in 2016, Eskenazi has received a slew of accolades, including two Top Hatter Leadership Awards (First Year Advocate and Adviser of the Year), a Brown Innovation Fellowship, and Scholarly Writing Circle and Teaching Inquiry Circle mini-

In a demonstration, Bailey Nix ’19, a REAiD Lab research assistant, is tracking the eyes of fellow research assistant Marissa Weis, ’20. Below is an example of a single-line experiment that can measure participants’ ability to learn novel words (in this case, the word “otiose”).

grants from the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, among others. Eskenazi got his start in psycholinguistic research as a first-year student at Quinnipiac University, where he worked in a psychology professor’s lab, initially putting participants through the instructor’s experiments and eventually designing his own. Like many of his current students, he presented his original research at professional conferences alongside his professors and was a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. “I came to love the process of asking a question and letting the data tell the story,” Eskenazi recalls, pointing to the striking similarities between his past and present. “My entire research career began from a simple request from a professor to apply to work in his lab. Now, every semester, I make that same request in my classes so that students can have the same opportunities that I did. I try to take on as many students as I can, including those who have no research experience, just like the undergraduate version of me.” Under his mentorship, Ashtan Madsen ’18 earned a Psi Chi Regional Research Award, a Maris Prize at Stetson Showcase and a

Council on Undergraduate Research Travel Award for her senior research project, “Academic Satisfaction is More Closely Associated with Anxiety than Social Support.” Madsen currently is working toward a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Argosy University in Tampa, and plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Madsen grew to understand the “scientific method as an active process” and more. “At Stetson,” she says, “I learned how to handle problems independently and toiled through different solutions to find the one that works the best, which helped with my organizational and time-management skills.” Kemp, who graduated summa cum laude, went on to reprise her role as lab manager at University College London. Kemp has been accepted into two doctoral programs in cognitive psychology, with hopes of one day becoming a psychology professor and the director of a cognition lab. Nix, too, will pursue a graduate degree, hers in quantitative psychology. Students are learning about learning — even sometimes without actually knowing it. “Most of the words we know,” says Eskenazi, “we learn them without realizing that we learn them.” Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Heart and Hope in Honduras One alumna, propelled by experiencing the world, offers a friendly embrace along with a scientific study of migration, violence and climate change. BY CORY LANCAS TER


or Rebecca Williams ’01, the migrant caravan at the U.S. border tells a story that she has witnessed firsthand as a research scientist in Honduras.

The caravan is made up of mostly women and children, reflecting the increasing desperation at home due to gang violence, domestic violence, poverty and a corrupt government that does not protect its citizens, said Williams, Ph.D., an assistant research scientist at the University of Florida’s Office for Global Research Engagement. And now Williams is working to identify an even larger force behind the migration — climate change. In January, she began a $200,000 study in Honduras for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that will examine whether climate change is fueling the country’s escalating violence and mass migrations. Her findings will help set the agency’s policies in that country for the next five years. The USAID study is “relevant to what we’re seeing in the news right now,” she said. Honduras is ranked third in the world among countries most affected by climate change, she explained, pointing out that extreme drought has destroyed crops, like corn and beans, which feed rural farmers and their families. And the country’s cash crop — coffee — has been plagued by a fungus, called coffee rust. Going to Honduras with the Peace Corps “changed everything for me,” said research scientist Rebecca Williams, who traveled there again as a graduate student at the University of Florida to work on a USAID project.


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“We already have a pretty good understanding that issues of violence are connected directly to the lack of safety and the poverty,” said Williams, who earned a B.S. in music education from Stetson. “What we were not able to show yet, which is why we’re going back and doing a larger study, is if climate change is specifically one of the drivers as to why rural livelihoods are failing. And we suspect very strongly that is the case.”

FINDING HER WAY AT STETSON Williams first went to Honduras in 2009. At age 29, she joined the Peace Corps and became an environmental educator for two years, teaching about basic sanitation in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, where about 65 percent of people live below a national poverty line of $3.10 a day. It may seem like a long way from studying music education as an undergraduate, but Williams said her career as a research scientist and Honduran expert is inextricably tied to her time at Stetson. “I always talk very glowingly of Stetson,” she said by phone from Gainesville in January, just back from Nepal where she and a research team are working on another USAID project focused on six countries in Africa and Asia. “It was such an incredibly formative experience for me in so many ways.” Williams grew up in DeLand, and her father attended Stetson as a nontraditional student who earned a music degree while she was in middle school. Ronald J. Williams ’93 was a choral student, played

Honduras is ranked third worldwide among countries most affected by climate change, according to Williams, who earned a doctorate in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida.

piano and organ, and was selected for the Presser Scholarship Award, given to the outstanding rising senior in the School of Music each year. He also started his daughter in clarinet lessons at age 11 with Stetson Professor of Clarinet Lynn Musco, D.M. And those lessons continued until Williams was 15 and the family moved to Colorado. “I finished high school out in Colorado, but to be honest, I kind of slacked my last years of high school,” Williams recalled. “I was kind of lost and unmotivated, and the only thing I was really good at and felt confident about was music.” At 17, she called her former music teacher and said she’d like to attend Stetson. Williams flew in for an audition, was accepted and received a partial scholarship. And, she added with a laugh, she was placed on academic probation for a year until she pulled up her grades, which she did, making the Dean’s List. Musco said she knew her former music student could handle college coursework.

Migrant caravans are a common sight across Central America, including this one, made up of mostly Hondurans. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

“I do want to be sure that whoever reads this article will understand that Honduras is a really wonderful place. It’s a beautiful country, and it has so much potential, but right now they are really struggling. … I can promise everybody that Hondurans don’t want to leave Honduras. They love their country. This is a move of desperation.” — Rebecca Williams ’01

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



“The one thing about a liberal arts school that I think is just so valuable is the relationships you have with the faculty, which you just don’t get at a big school. ... If it hadn’t been for my relationships there, there’s no way that I’d be where I am now, and I really attribute that to the way the university is run and the size of it and the teacher-student relationships.” — Williams

Williams has grown close to Hondurans, even helping a family through financial hardship.

“From the very beginning with those lessons as a young middle school student, she was vibrant, inquisitive, smart and had a great work ethic, especially when she was challenged. … Although her record didn’t show it, I knew her. I knew what she was capable of, and so it was an easy decision to ‘take a chance’ and admit her,” Musco commented. Williams’ undergraduate years at Stetson were shaped by close relationships — with professors, like Musco, with her roommate and with fellow members of Stetson’s Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra. And these relationships ultimately saved her. “The one thing about a liberal arts school that I think is just so valuable is the relationships you have with the faculty, which you just don’t get at a big school,” Williams explained. “And I will tell you that my time at Stetson literally saved my life because my professors and my roommate and best friend, and some of my other friends noticed toward the end of my junior year that I was really, really struggling. “My college professor intervened and helped me, and nobody at a big school like this would have noticed something like that. If it hadn’t been for my relationships there, there’s no way that I’d be where I am now, and I really attribute that to the way the university is run and the size of it and the teacher-student relationships.” 50

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CHANGING CAREERS By her junior year at Stetson, Williams knew she was interested in environmental work, but she loved music and working with children, too. So, she graduated with a music education degree and began working as an elementary school music teacher. Along the way, she earned a master’s degree from Florida State University in Instructional Systems Design and then took a job in curriculum development at UF. But, Williams said, “I just felt like I wasn’t making the impact that I wanted to make.” So, she volunteered for the Peace Corps, learned to speak Spanish and went to Honduras. “Honestly, that experience is what changed everything for me. It just completely changed my perspective on where I fit in the world and what I want my life to be and what I felt like I needed to do,” she continued. “And my experience as a woman in Honduras was really challenging, and so I decided I really wanted to focus on gender and how gender affects people’s ability to get out of poverty, especially in developing countries, and so that’s what I went on to study in my Ph.D. program.” While a graduate student at UF, Williams worked on a USAID project in Honduras and volunteered to help build a library. Through GoFundMe and social media, she raised more than $8,000 in a couple of weeks for a library and about 1,000 books. Williams earned a doctorate from UF in Interdisciplinary Ecology with concentrations in tropical conservation, gender and development. In her dissertation, she thanked Musco “for everything that she did for me.” “She wasn’t just my teacher. She was like a family and like a therapist,” Williams said. “I still so much value her and everything that she’s done for me. She’s an exceptional person.”

Those kinds of relationships at Stetson “put me on the pathway to be where I am now. … I may not have stayed in music specifically, but they put me on the track to understanding who I am and what I wanted out of life,” Williams added. Musco said she “suspected early on” that Williams might not stay in a musical field. But the skills required to become an accomplished musician are the same ones that help people succeed in other professions — things like “self-discipline, determination, critical thinking, teamwork, verbal and nonverbal communication,” Musco said. “These four years for students at Stetson is the best time in their lives to figure out who they are and begin to pave the path to where they want to be. Sometimes all it takes is reassurance and someone believing in them to propel them to do significant things. It’s not about completing a major – it’s about beginning to define who you are and what you stand for and believe in as a person,” Musco said. “Becky personifies everything we do well here at Stetson.”

Last October, a few hundred Hondurans set out on foot for the United States, hoping to gain entry. Along the way, the migrant caravan swelled to thousands of people as it headed for Tijuana, Mexico, touching off a political firestorm that shut down the U.S. government over funding for a border wall. “I do want to be sure that whoever reads this article will understand that Honduras is a really wonderful place,” Williams said. “It’s a beautiful country, and it has so much potential, but right now they are really struggling. … I can promise everybody that Hondurans don’t want to leave Honduras. They love their country. This is a move of desperation.” For her USAID study in Honduras, Williams will begin collecting data in May and expects to present her findings there this October. She also would like to raise awareness in America about climate change, social disruption, violence and migration. “Right now, we’re so busy fighting about whether or not it’s driven by humans and who’s responsible and who’s at fault that we’re just letting people around the world suffer the consequences while we in the United States have the luxury of things like running water and air conditioning, so that we don’t notice it on a daily basis like other people do,” she explained. Researchers have predicted catastrophic consequences for the planet unless drastic steps are taken in just over a decade to reduce the carbon emissions that cause global warming and climate change. “Mass migration, increases in violence, especially over natural resources, First World countries putting up walls and barriers, isolating and preventing migrants from entering: All of these things have been predicted to occur with increases in climate change,” Williams said. “So, I’m trying to look at how these things are happening, and if and what we can do about it.”

‘A MOVE OF DESPERATION’ As a Peace Corps volunteer from 2009 to 2011 in Honduras and now as a research scientist, Williams has watched the increasingly desperate conditions unfold and begin to drive people from their homeland. She is close with a family in Honduras who grows their own food. Dependent on rainfall for their crops, the family has watched once productive agricultural land turn into dry, cracked earth. In such extreme drought, their crops have failed for the past three years. “When those crops fail, then people starve,” Williams said, noting that she has helped the family financially through the hardship. “It’s a really dire situation.”

The sign over the door reads, “Biblioteca Rebecca J. Williams.” While a graduate student at UF, Williams volunteered to build a library for one community in Honduras, raising the funds in just a few weeks through social media and GoFundMe.

“These four years for students at Stetson is the best time in their lives to figure out who they are and begin to pave the path to where they want to be. Sometimes all it takes is reassurance and someone believing in them to propel them to do significant things.” — Stetson Professor of Clarinet Lynn Musco, D.M.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



John Tichenor, Ph.D.: “Experiential learning isn’t new at Stetson, and it’s certainly not new in higher education. But we needed formality and consistency in SOBA. Now, we have it … .” Photo: Stetson University/ Joel Jones

‘Real Life. Right Now.’ Learning from experience no longer is an option at the School of Business Administration. It’s both necessary and required. BY JOHN TICHENOR, PH.D.


t was spring 2016, less than two weeks before the semester’s end, when a student who had been in my first-year seminar four years earlier came by my office and said, “Hi, Dr. Tichenor. I’m getting ready to graduate and wanted to stop by to see you.” I was happily surprised about the visit, proud that someone who had taken a course with me years ago wanted to see me before he departed Stetson for bigger and better things. As it turned out, the student really stopped by because he needed some serious advice. The conversation went something like this: I asked, “So, what are you going to be doing after you graduate?” He responded: “Well, that’s why I’m here. I need some advice. I don’t really have anything lined up.” Hesitating for a moment, I said, “OK … tell me about the internships or internship you completed.” There were crickets, nothing. He hadn’t done an internship. “OK, well, did you study abroad?” Again nothing. And the same when I inquired about his involvement in any business organizations or volunteer activities on campus.


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I had remembered him as a good student from my first-year seminar four years earlier, and although I really hadn’t seen him much since his first semester and didn’t know him as well as some of my other students, he had been a good student with a solid GPA. He had checked off all of his course requirements, but he really hadn’t done anything more. Honestly, I felt pretty disappointed in him. So, I talked to him about the immediate steps he needed to take, such as getting an internship right after graduation. Or volunteering. Or both. He needed experience he could use to market himself to prospective employers. He wanted to get a good job after graduation, but he was not fully prepared. After the student left my office, I thought for a while. And I remember my feeling of disappointment in him switching to a disappointment in myself and a disappointment in us as educators at the School of Business Administration. Here was a good student who had done the assignments I had given him in my first-year seminar and had done everything he needed to do to graduate. If I had told him in his first year that “you have to start getting real-life experience right now; this is part of your requirement for graduation and not an optional thing,”

he surely would have gained at least some of the experience he needed. I realized I could be disappointed in him, but I also needed to share some of that disappointment. This was something that, as educators, we had within our control, and we had to fix. Today, in the School of Business Administration, SOBA, we have such a fix in our Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR). Simply stated, all undergraduate business students must complete two significant experiential learning activities as a requirement for graduation. The ELR can be met through internships, study abroad or other significant learning experiences outside the classroom. In fact, throughout Stetson University, across all disciplines, experiential-learning requirements are infused into the curriculum. For example, I think of experiential learning for teachers in our Department of Education as “internships on steroids,” which is great. I should know. My wife, Mercedes Tichenor, Ph.D., has led the education internship program for many years. When education majors graduate and leave the program, they are completely prepared to enter the field as professional educators. Another example of experiential learning is the mandatory senior research requirement across the entire College of Arts and Sciences. Experiential learning isn’t new at Stetson, and it’s certainly not new in higher education. But we needed formality and consistency in SOBA. Now, we have it in the ELR, which will fall under the newly created JJ Master Center. (See sidebar box.) In Fall 2016, the semester following that fateful visit from the student and just before I went on sabbatical, I spoke with Dean Neal Mero, Ph.D., and told him that I would head up the ELR program when I returned from sabbatical — a program we had long discussed within SOBA. There were some logistics to be addressed and details to be worked out, but this wasn’t rocket science. It simply required communication and teamwork across the departments within the School of Business Administration and offices on campus such as Career and Professional Development, Admissions, WORLD, Financial Aid and the Registrar.

The ELR Program went into effect at the beginning of Fall Semester 2017, and is all about gaining active experience beyond the traditional classroom and transferring learned course material to a real-world setting — with the end goal of a fulfilling future career. The ELR Program tagline is “Real life. Right now.” We want students to know that real life doesn’t begin after they graduate. By then, it’s far too late! The gate opens when students step onto campus. From the outset, the courses they begin to take prepare them for internships or study abroad, which, in turn, later help them get a job. While students may satisfy the ELR in a number of ways, “the gold standard” for me is a paid internship that leads to a job offer. But it doesn’t happen by accident. Much groundwork must occur beforehand. By the student. We will certainly be there to help. We just won’t do the work! Who gets the student an internship? The student does! This is about preparing them to get that real life, right now. Stetson provides a multitude of resources and assistance for students, both at SOBA and at the Career and Professional Development office. At SOBA, “experiential” has become a key component of the faculty-advising process. Our advising isn’t only about courses, but also about careers. For decades, our best students have completed internships at great accounting firms, finance offices, marketing agencies, and other businesses leading to job offers and fulfilling careers. That’s quite a rewarding achievement — for the student and the professors. Many students even start their senior years with job offers firmly in hand, because they’ve demonstrated knowledge and professionalism all along the way — in how they speak and present themselves in class, in organizations, during mock interviews, in preparing their résumé, and in their internships. Again, this is nothing new. What is new is that the process is now more formalized AND required of ALL business students. Will all business students respond to these new requirements? Absolutely. If not, they do not graduate. However, our goal is for students to see the ELR as much more than simply another box that must be checked to graduate.

I recently visited one of our foundational courses, SOBA 205 – Professional Communications, designed for first- and second-year students as a gateway course into our business school curriculum. I was visiting the course to introduce the new ELR, and there happened to be a graduating senior in the class who does not need to meet the new graduation requirement. He came up to me after class and said, “I wish I had had that [experientiallearning] requirement!” It’s a reality at universities everywhere that some students will not take the extra step to get an internship or to study abroad or to seek a significant experiential learning activity without a mandate. As a result, we’ve raised the bar. And our students will jump over it. Real life. Right now. John Tichenor, Ph.D., is an associate professor of management and chair of the Department of Management within Stetson’s School of Business Administration.

The JJ Master Center In the quest to produce the most professionally prepared business graduates globally, Stetson’s School of Business Administration has established The JJ Master Center, beginning this fall. Named in honor of the late Joe Master, a beloved professor of accounting, the center will coordinate all student professional and career development activities within SOBA, including the Experiential Learning Requirement; expanding the set of study-abroad opportunities for students to travel and study with faculty; and, among other initiatives, raising an additional $15,000 in scholarships to help students participate in international programs through the generosity of alumni and friends.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON






Chris Williard As a first-year Hatter in spring 2017, Williard was named to the ASUN All-Freshman team. More success on the links followed last year. Now a junior, Williard is expected to rise to new heights by posting such low scores as the 66 he shot last year.

Justine Lauer

Mitchell Senger How to achieve even more than the Hatters’ championship run of a year ago, which also included big success in the Major League Baseball player draft? The performance of Senger, a junior pitcher, will go a long way in answering that question. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the oldest media outlet dedicated to the coverage of college baseball, named the southpaw to its preseason All-America Second Team. Also, last summer Senger pitched for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. The Hatters host the ASUN Conference Tournament May 22-25.

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


STETSON | Spring 2019

Big things in women’s golf are expected from Lauer, a native of L’Étang-la-Ville, France, and a junior-transfer from Utah Valley State University. In her 10 tournaments last season, Lauer showed trademark consistency, recording five top-20 finishes and seven top-30 finishes.

Lucie Renault Now a junior, Renault led the team with 14 singles victories in 2018 and was selected to the ASUN All-Freshman Team in 2017. During the ASUN Tournament last spring, Renault, from France, won twice in singles play and once in doubles. The Hatters host the ASUN Conference Tournament April 18-20.

Ashly Smith One of the top hitters in Hatter women’s softball history, Smith returns in 2019 for her senior season. The left-handed-hitting first baseman batted .385 last season and earned second-team all-conference honors. Entering the spring, Smith ranked 12th in school history in home runs (15) and seventh in stolen bases (60).

Tim Gennes A trio of first-year players offer great promise for the future of men’s tennis. Among them is Gennes, from Germany, who arrived at Stetson ranked No. 15 in Germany for his age group. Fellow newcomers Josh Laka of Australia and Christian Mills have similarly impressive tennis résumés. The Hatters host the ASUN Conference Tournament April 18-20.

Katie Thurstin Thurstin appears to be building something special in her second season as the head coach of men’s and women’s rowing. Thurstin arrived at Stetson after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Drake University in Iowa. The current women’s roster includes only two seniors among its 31 members, while the men’s 17-member team has three seniors.

Rachel Noble Noble, a senior, enters the 2019 season needing only 20 wins to break the school-record for dual victories, as the Hatters seek a fourth consecutive ASUN title in beach volleyball. They won a schoolrecord 30 dual matches in 2018 and ranked 16th nationally in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll. Stetson hosts the ASUN Conference Tournament April 18-20.

Riley Reagan Reagan entered the spring as a preseason all-conference selection in women’s lacrosse. As a freshman last year, she earned second-team all-conference and ASUN All-Freshman Team honors. Reagan ended the regular season leading the ASUN with 35 assists, and her 53 total points were a Stetson record.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Starting New


Meet some of our future alumni who have publicly proclaimed (@ #newhatter) that they are Stetsonbound! Have a student you would like to recommend for Stetson? Contact admissions@stetson.edu.














STETSON | Spring 2019


Hatter Family Affairs


Katie DeRienzo Ivy ’96, Prosper, Texas, Karen Roberts DeRienzo ’65, Haworth, New Jersey

Katie DeRienzo Ivy ’96, Derien Ivy ’23, Prosper, Texas

Isabella DeRienzo ’23, Richard DeRienzo ’89, Madrid, Spain

Andy Cappar ’94, Maeve Cappar ’23, Angel Cappar ’93, Sarasota Florida

I decided to come to Stetson because I felt that it would suit me better than any other college. The business school has a great reputation, which is good for my major in finance. It is a beautiful campus and, not to mention, very close to home! -Liam Sheffield ’23 Emma Buckley ’21 and Victoria Buckley ’21, daughters of LeaAnn Buckley and Marcus Buckley ’92, Ormond Beach, Florida

Lori Rogers Sassa ’92, Roman Sassa ’23, Sarasota, Florida

Liam Sheffield ’23, Mia Sheffield ’18, Lake Helen, Florida

New legacy Hatter Kaitlyn “Katie” Ford ’23 (pictured far right) with sister Jessica (Ford) Tolin ’13, J.D. ’16 and brother-in-law Brian Tolin ’11, Fort Myers, Florida

Anne Koch, Carolyn Koch ’23, Christian Koch ’92, Atlanta, Georgia

Kaley Wilson Pappalardo ’16, Tony Wilson ’89, Kyle Wilson ’18, Amy Dunham Wilson ’89, Kyndall Wilson ’23, Lake Mary and DeBary, Florida. (Not shown, but part of family: Jim Pappalardo ’13, M.B.A. ’15.)

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Social Hatters Stetson alumni spotted throughout the world on social media.


Christian Barker ’09, J.D. ’12

Brian Rodriguez ’15, M.B.A. ’16

Lauren Hill ’08

Amanda Kluber ’07, Corey Kluber ’08

Carol Ann Edwards-Nasser ’83, Chase Nasser ’20

Greg Hauenstein ’10, M.B.A. ’15, Madison Hauenstein ’10

Joe McNeal ’04

Jannett Ramos Roberts ’94

Patrick Mazeika ’14, Jordann Dierickx Mazeika ’14

Hatter trip to Belize! L-R: Jeff Schroeder ’72, M.Acc. ’93, Mike Smollon ’74, Lynn Clark ’71, Cathy Roy, Remington “Biff” Clark ’71, Steve Roy ’75

Nada Guirgis Manley ’92, Woody O’Cain, Nelly Guirgis Haddad ’95

Jessie TenBroeck ’17, M.Acc. ’18, Patrick Brundage ’17

STETSON | Spring 2019

Alpha Xi Delta Reunion in Nashville! L-R: Amanda Keiper Buel ’91, Stacy Megica Lewis ’92, Jennifer Macam Crovatto ’91, Gabrielle Gunter Patterson ’91, Pearl Ashcraft Scozzafava ’93, Lisa Bregitzer ’92, Quinn Fazio Goodchild ’91 Tyler Johansson ’10

Simone Magee ’13, Cori Hinterleiter ’15

Woody O’Cain, Dyman Miller ’18

Shoshana Resnick ’92, Rina Tovar Arroyo

Lupita Nyong’o, Junior Nyong’o ’17

Scott Uguccioni ’89, chief sales and marketing officer at Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co.; and Maggie Pringle ’21, daughter of Doug Pringle ’91 and current intern at Barnie’s, attend the ribbon-cutting at the CUB, which now proudly serves Barnie’s coffee.

“I just love this photo of my dear friend and mentor Linda Davis (’73). It embodies her joy and love for Stetson University.” -Rina Tovar Arroyo, Assistant vice president for Development and Alumni Engagement

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Leadership Stetson Class of 2019

Seated, left to right: Beth Fogle-Miller ’79, Christian Koch ’92, Jessica Walton Hike ’08, Madison Orr Hauenstein ’10, Gian Brackin ’93, Christi Burton ’93, Viviana Vasiu ’15, J.D. ’18, Laura Armand (parent of Bobby Armand ’19), Angela Seracini (parent of Angelica Seracini ’22), Kelly Carter Curington ’94, Lori Craven ’76, Renee Lawless ’83 Standing, left to right: Roger Hughes (Stetson football head coach), Bill True (parent of Adam True ’21), Lila Jaber ’88, J.D. ’90, Pete Scott ’87, Jon Solomon ’90, Greg Sapp ’88 (Stetson associate professor of religious studies), Kenny Bohannon ’03, J.D. ’06, Darash Desai ’08, Greg Hauenstein ’10, M.B.A. ’15, Kevin Kang ’13, Bill Brady ’12, Aaron Crittenden ’10, Mark Stiles ’04, M.Acc. ’08, W. Raymond Holley ’91, J.D. ’97 (Alumni Board president), Andrew Lewis ’83, Woody O’Cain (associate vice president, Stetson Alumni and Parent Engagement), Boz Tchividjian ’90, John Monk ’73, M.B.A. ’75, Bart Bishop ’86, Dianne Newman ’91, M.B.A. ’96, Kim Van Gundy (Stetson Board of Trustees, parent of Ali Van Gundy ’19)

Renee Lawless ’82


STETSON | Spring 2019

Mark Stiles ’04, M.Acc. ’08

Sarah Sarver ’22, Kim Van Gundy

Aram Tchividjian, Boz Tchividjian ’90

NOVEMBER 8-10, 2019 STETSON.EDU/HOMECOMING Class reunions will include: 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019! Special festivities will take place to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Beyond Success — Significance fundraising campaign.

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, 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

William Breyer ’64, Indian Harbour Beach, retired in 2009 after 40 years, remains busy as a volunteer. He was first employed by the Boeing Co. during the Apollo program at Kennedy Space Center, followed by O.S.H.A. in Washington, D.C., and then the Air Force Space Command/Eastern Range at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County. Upon retirement, Breyer joined the National Veterans Homeless Support and the Space Coast Honor Flight organization. Since 2012, he has been a volunteer guide at Launch Complex 26, the “Explorer Satellite Launch Site” for the Air Force Space and Missile Museum at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Ned B. Ricks ’68, Gurnee, Illinois, was named an “Honor 200” veteran recipient during the Illinois Bicentennial. The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Bicentennial Office announced the winners, honoring the work of 200 veterans who continue to make extraordinary contributions to the people of Illinois.

graduates also can


fill out the online

Douglas M. Lanier ’77, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, specializing in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. He is a research fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., for the 2018-2019 academic year. His research project concerns contemporary uses of Shakespeare to

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 photographs.



STETSON | Spring 2019

address the traumas and alienation of various marginalized social groups — prisoners, refugees, the elderly, those suffering from cognitive disabilities, gay youth and the socially disenfranchised.

1980s Lori Harrell Hershey ’87, Jacksonville, has been elected as Duval County’s new School Board chairwoman. Hershey represents District 7, encompassing Jacksonville’s Southside neighborhoods.

H. James Kaighin ’88, M.B.A. ’90, Lake Park (shown on right), won his third RC Laser National Title, making him the 2019 National Champion. He won by a one-point margin with the lead changing three times during the race, which was hosted by the Sarasota Model Yacht Club. The RC Laser is a recognized class of the American Model Yachting Association.

Simone Marstiller ’88, J.D. ’96, Tallahassee, has

been appointed to the Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Management Council. Marstiller is with the Gunster law firm’s appellate and government affairs teams, Tallahassee and Tampa offices. The council serves as high-level management consultants to the Supreme Court and is responsible for assisting the chief justice in identifying trends, potential crisis situations and the means to address them.


Bryan D. Ray ’91, Gainesville, graduated from the National Defense University’s Joint and Combined Warfighting School. The school’s curriculum is designed to educate national-security professionals to plan and execute joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational operations. At the graduation ceremony, Ray received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Writing for his co-authored paper “Harnessing Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems Across the Seven Joint Functions.”

Jennifer Meier McCarthy ’92, Jacksonville, was among the authors selected for 2018’s Christmas installment of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her poem “Full House” appears on Page 299 of “The Wonders of Christmas.”

Lori Keeton ’95, Charlotte, North Carolina, was selected to the 2018 North Carolina Super Lawyers list in the field of litigation. Keeton, who formed her own firm in February 2017, also has been named to Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” and The Best Lawyers in America. She is president-elect of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation for 2018-2019 and will serve as president in 2019-2020.

Christine Stile ’98, M.B.A. ’99, Mount Dora, has been elected to the Mount Dora City Council as a councilmember at-large. She has been a part of the downtown Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee, hosts a monthly book club and has helped to bring numerous New York Times’ best-selling authors to Mount Dora.

2000s Monica Spirig Smith ’02, Lake Mary, was named among the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Smith manages the operations of one of the Southeast’s fastest-growing PR agencies, Poston Communications.

Jessica Parker Nugent ’05, Brooksville, moved their family to rural Kenya to serve at Tenwek Hospital. Following his residency in 2015, Dylan became the director of an orthopedic surgery residency program in Kenya, where he trained African orthopedic surgeons. Christopher M. Schroeder ’07, Boston, Massachusetts, has been appointed to serve as executive director of the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program in Boston. Schroeder also serves as music director of the Cape Youth Orchestra, and he is a guest conductor throughout the United States, Europe and South America. He was recognized as a quarterfinalist for the 2019 Grammy Music Educator Award.

attorney with Marshall, Conway & Bradley, an insurance defense law firm in New York.

Jennifer D’Aquisto, M.Ed. ’14, Longwood, has been named the 2019 Florida Virtual School Principal of the Year. She has been instrumental in the growth of videoconferencing instruction across the organization, which offers technologybased education.


Ryan G. Benson ’03, Fort Myers, has been elected as vice chair of the Florida Home Builders Association’s Local President’s Council. Also, Benson was named as a 40 Under 40 by the Business Observer (Fort Myers) in 2018.

Dylan Nugent ’04 and

Gabriel A. Arevalo ’14, East Elmhurst, New York, has joined the New York City office of Rawle & Henderson LLP as an associate. Arevalo specializes in insurance coverage, casualty, premises liability, product liability, construction accidents and commercial motor-vehicle defense. Prior to joining Rawle & Henderson LLP, he was an

Alexa Fortuna ’18, Wellington, is in the midst of a 10-month term of service with AmeriCorps NCCC-FEMA Corps. Fortuna is based in Sacramento, California. The program focuses on disaster preparedness and response and “unites individuals who share a passion for service and provides the ultimate professional development experience.”

Portrait of Child Advocacy Rachel (Hitchcock) Davidson ’06, J.D. and M.B.A, literally has lived a life of child advocacy in one form or another. When she was an undergraduate business student at the University of Florida, her parents became the guardians of a young girl they Rachel Davidson ’06, J.D. knew through church. and M.B.A. It was Davidson’s first exposure to foster care. Then in 2005, while attending Stetson University College of Law, her parents adopted two children, giving Davidson new siblings ages 6 and 10 in the same year she got married. By that time, Davidson already had centered her focus on child advocacy (along with the M.B.A.), which also included doing work for the Guardian Ad Litem office in Pinellas County and the Pinellas County School Board, near the law campus in Gulfport. So, it wasn’t a surprise when in February Georgia’s new governor, Brian Kemp, appointed her as the new director of the state’s Office of the Child Advocate. Davidson actually completed her studies at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta as a visiting student, following her marriage and her husband’s subsequent relocation to Atlanta. There, she quickly moved up the ranks. At the time of the appointment, she was the interim director of the Office of the Child Advocate. “I’ve just kind of always had a heart for [child advocacy],” said Davidson, who lives in Dunwoody, outside Atlanta, with her husband and two children. “I had an ideal childhood filled with love and support from parents who listened to me and counseled me. I think all kids should have a childhood where they have the opportunity to be a kid and to feel the love and support I have. So, that’s what I work hard to strive for.” – Michael Candelaria

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Marriages 1 Jennifer Fish ’10 to Matthew Bloom, Sept. 14, 2018. 2 Hayden Staley ’12 to Joshua Menendez ’12, Oct. 13, 2018. 3 Taylor GabrieleGoodwin ’14 to Christopher Mills, Aug. 2018.


4 Christina Canalizo ’16 to Christian Decker ’15, Aug. 4, 2018. 5 Raisa Santiesteban ’16 to Christopher MacLeod ’16, Nov. 4, 2018



Success by the Numbers Darleen Opfer ’89 made her way to Stetson as a firstgeneration college student all the way from Spruce Creek High School, about 23 miles from campus. The short trip has taken her a long way. Opfer arrived hoping to become a teacher in special education. She remembers taking small classes, getting to know the faculty, gaining valuable classroom experience and, ultimately, receiving academic-adviser encouragement that led her to a doctorate at the University of Virginia in education policy studies. Today, Opfer has gone from special-education teacher and researcher to become a main cog in decisions about global education policy. All at seemingly lightning speed. From 2005 to 2011, she served as director of research and a senior lecturer in research methods and school improvement at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education in England. From there, she landed at the RAND Corp., where she was director of RAND Education from 2011 to 2018. Additionally, through the years Opfer served as an adviser to the National Council of Educational Research and Training in India, and as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development in South Africa, among others.



Now, with a recent promotion, Opfer is vice president and director of RAND Education and Labor while also holding RAND’s Distinguished Chair in Education Policy. By virtue of its research, RAND has a global reputation for developing solutions to public-policy challenges — and Opfer sits squarely at the head. Her focus is on both education and employment — more specifically, helping people ascend from lower socioeconomic rungs to the middle class. To move ahead, just like she did. “What we’re trying to do is figure out how we get the education system to prepare people for jobs of the future, so that people can advance. … And I want to make it not be a matter of luck,” asserted Opfer, adding that she feels especially lucky herself to have traveled this far. Darleen Opfer ’89, holder of RAND's — Michael Candelaria Distinguished Chair in Education Policy


STETSON | Spring 2019

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Births 6 Katheryn Wright ’02 and Clinton Bryant ’01, a son, Wesley James Bryant-Wright, Sept. 2018. 7 Annie Cline ’05 and Andrew Parr ’06, a daughter, Ansleigh Catherine, Oct. 2018. 8 Alyssa Payne ’17 and Zachary Prather ’17, a daughter, Valentina Tess, Jan. 2018.




Hatter Romance They aren’t alumni quite yet, but Nathan Michael Bodger ’19 and Caylyn Gunby ’19 could receive "most influential couple" at graduation in May, if such an honor existed. Bodger, an Environmental Fellow, has plans

for law school. Gunby, an international-studies major, participated in multiple studyabroad programs while at Stetson and has eventual plans for graduate school. (See Page 38.) They were married on Oct. 28, 2017.

Stetson.edu/today | STETSON



Blanket Commitment Chuck Hammett ’91 doesn’t know how or why it happened, but he remembers where and when. His aha moment came 25 years ago; he was living in Tallahassee as a young single golf professional. “I woke up chilly in bed, and the blankets weren’t on me. I pulled for them, but I couldn’t reach them,” Hammett recounted. A man of faith, Hammett said he was struck by a message that even years afterward he couldn’t shake: “to make blankets for kids with huge, strong angel characters on them.” “That’s how it all began,” Hammett said. Today, the Stetson graduate in chemistry, who arrived on campus from Venice High School in southwest Florida on a golf scholarship, lives in Nashville, Tennessee, as head of The Angel Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides fleece blankets, free of charge, to inner-city people in need, children’s hospitals, and U.S. military veterans and their families. The blankets measure 7 feet long and more than 4 feet wide, and feature large angel characters. Among other groups, The Angel Foundation has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, to give away blankets. Hammett estimated the foundation has donated some 1,200 comforters through the years to children battling nightmares or fear issues. “Unfortunately, a lot of these kids don’t even have a bed to sit in, let alone a blanket,” he noted. Hammett calls his work with the military “one of the greatest honors of my life.”

Chuck Hammet ’91 provides fleece blankets, free of charge, to children's hospitals as part of The Angel Foundation.

The Angel Foundation (www.angelfoundation.me) isn’t quite a full-time endeavor for Hammett. He continues to teach golf and is involved in the financial arena with several businesses. Yet, he said, his passion for helping people in need reigns supreme, as he builds his foundation through “word of mouth and connecting with people.” “The goal is that I would like to give away a million blankets in my lifetime,” Hammett concluded. — Michael Candelaria

In Memoriam 1940s Jane Wente Fairchild ’40 Elizabeth McGinnes Thompson ’41 Martha Perkins Jones ’48 Rabel Moremen Parson ’48 R. W. Register ’49

1950s Nita Turner Hansen ’50 James M. Shine ’50 Margaret Johnson ’53 Laurence M. Willard ’55 Rosalind Fordham Willard ’55 Arthur B. Bleecher, LL.B. ’57 Henry L. Hardin ’58


STETSON | Spring 2019

Samuel K. Rogers ’58 Walter P. Bobbitt, LL.B. ’59 George F. Hyde ’59 John M. Potter, LL.B. ’59 Paul T. Thomas ’59

1960s Stephen D. Thomas, LL.B. ’62 Jeffrey A. Dease ’64 Judith Hamilton Masters ’64 Helen Hobbs, LL.B. ’64 Barbara Carroll ’65 Charles V. Day ’65 Nancy Crable Kirk ’65 Frederick J. Beste ’68

William R. Hamilton ’68 Robert C. Coker, J.D. ’69 Thomas N. Fulton ’69 Walter L. Mingledorff, J.D. ’69

1970s Maureen Jarrell ’70 John H. Pecarek, J.D. ’71 Janet Lower Brown, M.Ed. ’72 William J. Singbush ’73 Theodore W. Weeks, J.D. ’73 Mary Lambert, M.A. ’75 Robert W. Frazier, J.D. ’77 Carol Murphy, J.D. ’78 Anthony J. Panella ’79, J.D. ’82

1980s Clyde E. Wolfe, J.D. ’80 Zonia Clemens, M.Ed. ’82 Olin L. Jones. ’84 Richard E. Kramer, J.D. ’86 Ruth Neary Thropp, M.Ed. ’86

2000s Rhonda Moorefield ’02 James E. Royal ’02 William C. Kelly ’05 Chris McMurray, M.Acc. ’16


Catching Attention Could Donald Parham ’19 follow in the footsteps of another famous Hatter named Donald P.? Just maybe. Donald Payne ’16 made it to the National Football League in 2017, earning a spot on the Jacksonville Jaguars as a linebacker. Now, Parham — selected this winter on numerous All-America teams as a tight end — has the same NFL chance. Parham, who measures 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, finished the 2018 season as the top receiving tight end in all of college football, leading in both receptions per game (9.4) and receiving yards per game (146.6), and scored 13 touchdowns. Parham won’t know his NFL Draft fate until after its final day on April 27. There also are tryout opportunities, where Payne ultimately made his mark. Stay tuned. Photo: Stetson University/Simoneau Photography

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Stetson Magazine  

Spring 2019

Stetson Magazine  

Spring 2019

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