with President Saunders
The University of West Florida prides itself on providing high-impact learning opportunities. These experiences set our students apart from the rest when seeking those all important jobs after college. President Martha D. Saunders discusses how these projects are establishing hallmark student learning outcomes.
There was one high-impact project this year that was the ‘mane’ event. Tell us more.
A six-foot mechanical lion took center stage in spring. Made possible by a high-impact practice grant, UWF’s engineering and theatre departments collaborated to bring C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” to life, complete with an engineered puppet version of Aslan the lion. You’ll learn more on page 15.
Explain the importance of multidisciplinary projects like this one.
Our students can discover new ways of seeing the world, making
it better, when they work with different disciplines. This crosscollaboration between science and the arts gave students from different backgrounds an opportunity to share ideas, problem solve and create a spectacular outcome.
How is UWF succeeding at providing high-impact programming to students?
We know our efforts are paying off because we score high on the Board of Governors’ metric relating to the percentage of baccalaureate graduates completing two or more high-impact practices. UWF is laser focused on providing students with these opportunities.
Letter from the Vice President
ALUMNI AND FRIENDS,
Fifty-four years ago, a group of UWF students earned their degrees and became our first alumni class. Since that time, more than 95,000 alumni have graduated from our University. Some threw their mortarboards in the Field House, many walked across the stage at the Pensacola Bay Center, others had virtu al commencement ceremonies in their living rooms, and on one occasion, graduates walked across home plate at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Each graduating class had different experi ences but they all have one thing in common — an unwavering Argo Spirit. Now is the per fect time to come back and visit campus and reconnect with your alma mater. We hope to see you in the stands for our first football season on campus. We also look forward to our Fall Commencement ceremony when new graduates will be honored along with our 1972 Golden Graduates.
Whether you are a graduate or a friend of the University, we invite you to reconnect with the people and place that had such a profound impact on your life.
Thank you for all you do.
News & Notes
Recent news from the University of West FloridaBY LEONOR ROPER ’18
Online programs ranked among best in U.S. News and World Report
UWF ranked among the best in the nation in the prestigious 2022 U.S. News and World Report Best Online College rankings. UWF ranked 59th among 361 institutions for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and 35th for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.Howard J. Reddy Vice President for University Advancement
UWF Dance Marathon raises over $55K for Children’s Miracle Network
The 10th annual UWF Dance Marathon raised $55,694.15 on April 2 in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. During the event, participants stand on their feet and dance for 10 hours in support of children who cannot. The event was held at Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola.
UWF ranks in top five nationally for Military Friendly® Schools
UWF was recognized with a 2022-2023 Top Ten Military Friendly® School designation in the large public category. In the annual rankings, UWF ranked No. 4, jumping to the highest spot on the list in school history and was the only Florida State University System institution to earn recognition from Military Friendly® in the large public Top Ten category.
Record amount raised on fourth annual Day of Giving
$161,407 was raised during the 2022 Day of Giving, setting a new fundraising record for the event. The 24-hour online, social media driven initiative was held on April 14 during UWF’s Founders Week. Donors can make a lasting impact for students by choosing from more than 80 funds to support.
(and got cool socks!)
Psychology professor partners with BIOPAC to develop early Alzheimer’s detection device
Dr. James Arruda, professor in the Department of Psychology, signed a consulting and licensing agreement with California-based company, BIOPAC Systems Inc., to collaborate on the development of a device that could be instrumental in the early detection of Alzheimer’s.
Office of International Affairs celebrates first Peace Corps program graduate
Monica Woodruff, an environmental management major, was awarded the first Peace Corps certificate. The Peace Corps program, established at UWF in Spring 2021, teaches students sector-specific skills, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence and leadership.
No. 1 for Board of Governors’ Metric 1 that measures success of graduates one year after graduation
The University of West Florida is No. 1 in the Florida State University System for Metric 1 of the Florida Board of Governors’ 2021-22 performance-based funding model. More than 72% of UWF bachelor’s graduates are employed or furthering their education one year after graduation. This is the second consecutive year UWF leads the Florida State University System in this metric.
Region’s first Inside-Out Prison Exchange course
11 students were part of the first cohort enrolled in the Spring 2022 InsideOut Exchange course, which addresses the creation of social justice policy and its impacts on society. The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program® is an international initiative that encourages dialogue and education among incarcerated individuals and university students. UWF currently offers the first and only course in the region.
Faculty member combines innovation and sustainability with 3D-printed materials recycling project
UWF’s Department of Mechanical Engineering partnered with the UWF Haas Center Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Lab to give students hands-on experience in additive manufacturing, with an element of sustainability. Dr. Brad Regez, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, spearheaded the “3D-Printed Materials Recycling Projects” to reduce waste and decrease costs associated with printing projects produced at the UWF Sea3D Lab in downtown Pensacola.
AFJROTC Flight Academy
The College of Business hosted the U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy, an eight-week flight training program. Eight high school and two college cadets from across the U.S. experienced an average of 53 flight hours in the school’s Piper PA 28 Warriors and earned six college credits and private pilot certifications.
Human Resources Program
The UWF College of Business offers a new Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Human Resources Management. The program is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management and will prepare graduates to sit for the SHRM Certified Professional exam, an industry-recognized certification.
School of Education
UWF’s new School of Education, housed in the College of Education and Professional Studies, uses action and innovation to shape the future of professional educators. The school is designed to concert and optimize the variety of learning opportunities and career pathways available to students.
UWF and PSC enhance transfer pathway with 2+2 articulation agreement
In an ongoing effort to expand opportunities for transfer students, UWF and PSC launched a new “2+2” articulation which guarantees admission to UWF from PSC with an Associate’s in Arts degree for transfer into a UWF Bachelor of Arts degree or Bachelor of Science degree with degree program maps.
UWF nursing student shadows life flight that saved her lifeBY BRITTANY SWINFORD ’11
August 2020 marked the beginning of a new season for Olivia Swan. The Niceville native was enrolled in the University of West Florida nursing program and had just purchased her first home in Pensacola. The future looked bright and she was ready — until fate intervened.
On Aug. 11, 2020, Swan and her father, Bart, were driving on Interstate 10 be tween Crestview and Pensacola when a semitruck slammed into their vehicle. Both were life-flighted to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center — Swan, with a list of over 15 critical injuries including a brain bleed, ruptured bladder, shattered pelvis and more; her father, with a severe spinal cord injury that made paralysis seem certain. Considering the extent of her injuries, the emergency responders gave Swan a 1 to 3% chance of survival as they wheeled her into the trauma center.
Swan was unconscious for 8 hours and her dad was immediately rushed to a ninehour surgery. At one point, she slipped into a coma. Less than 30 minutes later, she came out of it on her own — something her medical team dubbed a miraculous feat.
“I am amazed and humbled by what the Lord has done,” she said. “My dad likes to say I wasn’t on the brink of death, but the brink of life, because death seemed the only plausible outcome.”
Swan spent less than a month in the ICU before being transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation center in Destin on Aug. 31. Her father was moved to a rehabilitation facility specializing in spinal cord injuries, located in Atlanta, on Sept. 1.
It was during her time in rehab that a chance encounter renewed Swan’s future career dreams. She experienced a complica tion that called for an emergency room visit, and she needed to get there via ambulance.
OLIVIA SWAN fought back from 15 critical injuries and turned tragedy into a career calling.
“When the paramedic walked into my room, he stopped in his tracks,” she said. “He was on my life flight, and he recog nized me almost immediately. He told me he did not expect me to survive when he wheeled me into the trauma center back in August 2020.”
Swan spent the ambulance ride to the ER talking to the paramedic about her plans to attend nursing school when she was physi cally able. He told her that he had no doubt she would recover, she said, and gave her an open-ended invitation to fly with them on the life flight one day when she was better.
After several surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy, Swan recovered and re-enrolled in the UWF nursing pro gram in August 2021, with an anticipated graduation date of December 2022. In December 2021, she joined the same life flight crew that saved her life, as an ob serving student.
“During the flight, we flew over the accident site and I had tears in my eyes, thinking of all they did in that helicopter to keep me alive,” she said. “It was cool to see this part of their normal routine, knowing that every patient they interact with is impacted on their worst day ever.”
Swan’s near-death experience marked a new season and changed her future in ways she never imagined. Now, she’s interested in pursuing a career in emergency care/ trauma, a field she never would have considered without seeing the impact of critical medical care firsthand.
“I’ve developed so much respect for the nurses and paramedics who save lives every day,” she said. “I would love to pursue criti cal care so I can make a difference, too.”
Although she bears the scars of her ac cident, including permanent screws in her pelvis and nerve damage to her leg and foot that make it uncomfortable to stand for long periods of time, Swan said she chooses to use the pain as a reminder to be grateful for her life.
She said her key to processing the trauma has been finding “one thing to be thankful for.” She said she starts by looking down at her chest. At one point, the emergency responders performed a resuscitative
thoracotomy to revive her — spreading her ribs apart and opening her chest cavity to massage her heart into pumping again. It’s a “last ditch effort” that she was told most people don’t recover from — but she did.
“If you look at my chest, you can see my heart beating through the skin because of the way everything healed,” she said.
“It’s my reminder that no matter what I’m facing, I still have a heart that beats.
Too often, we don’t recognize that for the miracle it is, but now, I do.”
“If you look at my chest, you can see my heart beating through the skin because of the way everything healed. It’s my reminder that no matter what I’m facing, I still have a heart that beats. Too often, we don’t recognize that for the miracle it is, but now, I do.”
— Olivia Swan, nursing student
What’s New in ARGO LAND
ARGO LANDBY LEONOR ROPER ’18
Join us for an adventure around all the new campus spots.
Whether it’s been a year or twenty years since your last stroll on campus, UWF has grown and improved to match the talent of our students and faculty. Travel the path and stop along the way to explore new buildings, art sculptures, athletics facilities and more. As you go, don't forget to look for campus wildlife along the way.
See what the big “dill” is about pickleball and take on a game for yourself on UWF's new pickleball courts. You can find one of the first official pickleball courts in the Pensacola area near the Ralph “Skeeter” Carson Tennis Complex, which has received new stadium lights.
Over the indoor Olympic-sized pool, a new jumbotron has been added. Not only will the sign keep score as our swim and dive team makes a splash, but the scoreboard will also be used to stream videos and movies for orientation, homecoming and more.
Health, Leisure and Sports Facility
As community members work out, the HLS building has been working out several enhancements to the facility, including locker room renovations and a new Intramural Hall of Fame for students and alumni dating back to the 1990s.
Darrell Gooden Center
Read more about the center on Page 21.
One of the homes where champions are built, the UWF Field House, is receiving several upgrades. As you walk through the double doors, you'll be greeted with a fresh look of the lobby area, including a hall of fame interactive screen, new floors and more. To keep up with the momentum of our Argo pride, the Field House is also working on expanding the capacity in hopes of doubling in size by 2023.
CEPS Art Sculptures
Three art and design student teams designed and installed a series of five sculptures for the College of Education and Professional Studies courtyard space.
Pen Air Field
Home of the 2019 NCAA DII Football National Champions, Pen Air Field has been updated to keep up with the growing Argo spirit. With a new scoreboard and bleachers, the field is ready to cheer on our Argos for the first home football season on campus.
Rec Plex North
Home to the entrance of the Cross Country Trails and Rec Plex North parkrun, Rec Plex North has added a new concession, water fountain and restroom facility.
The playground at UWF's Educational Research Center for Child Development received a major renovation, replacing the sand and concrete with astroturf. The playground was dedicated to the late Wyatt Mixson, an alumnus of the ERCCD. Wyatt’s favorite part of the playground was the all-red bikes he called the “fast bikes.” The President’s Cabinet donated a few more “fast bikes” to the ERCCD to share some of Wyatt’s favorite things with more children.
Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering
Laboratory Sciences Annex
Perched in the middle of our pretty campus, the Lab Sciences Annex is a new stateof-the-art facility that provides additional space for wet teaching labs and offices for faculty and staff.STEAM Sculptures
Home to the offices of University Commons and Event Services and many other campus resources, the UWF Commons received several improvements to accommodate students, from the meeting rooms to the auditorium. The Argo Galley also welcomed several new dining options, including a Chick-fil-A, WhichWich? and Twisted Taco.
College of Business
Introducing the newest restaurant on the block, Eurasian Bistro in Argonaut Village. The Bistro offers unique Eurasian dishes and a oneof-a-kind robot to serve food!
Nursing Simulation Lab
In 2014, the UWF School of Nursing, then named the Department of Nursing, opened the Nursing Skills and Simulation Learning Center. The center includes a Department of Nursing Informatics, or DONi, Computer Lab, as well as a simulation room, debriefing room and open lab spaces designed to provide nursing students with immersive learning experiences.
“UWF gives me flexibility with funding, trust with programming and support to make transformational experiences happen.”
Dr. Jocelyn Evans
A lifelong scholar, Dr. Jocelyn Evans inspires and transforms students through high-impact experiencesBY ALLISON MORGAN
DR. JOCELYN EVANS
is a professor of government and director of the UWF Kugelman Honors Program.
Congressional Research and Studies Center Graduate Fellow, and graduated with master’s and doctorate degrees in political science. Her first professorship was at the University of WisconsinGreen Bay.
Evans has worn many hats at UWF. She was the chair of the Department of Govern ment at UWF from 2012 to 2014. Evans has been involved in the Kugelman Honors Pro gram for ten years and was recently named the Kugelman Honors Program director.
make dreams come true.”
In addition to guiding and men toring students, she has published several books and scholarly articles that explore con gressional behavior, political culture and political science education.
“I stay busy, but I’m a scholar at heart, so I always find time for research and writing,” Evans said.
Dr. Jocelyn Evans has seen a lot of transformation during her nearly 20-year career at the University of West Florida. Both her students and the University have evolved before her eyes. A professor of government and di rector of the UWF Kugelman Honors Program, Evans has taught at UWF since 2003.
“For almost 20 years, I’ve seen UWF change so much from a small, com muter college,” Evans said. “Back then, I taught students from our area who went to UWF because it was convenient. I taught stu dents who had not traveled much, or had many opportu nities, but were so respectful, kind and open. I had the opportunity to create that intellectual spark, to give them opportunities and to watch them go on to do great things.”
Evans attended Pensacola Junior College before transferring to Berry College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. She then attended the University of Oklahoma, where she was a Carl Albert
“Today, I teach students who choose UWF out of any state university that they could have attended,” Evans said. “They are the top, best and brightest from across the state. They are transformed from who they came to us as to who they become — rockstars.”
She teaches first-year students in the Kugelman Honors Program how to be leaders through service in their communi ty. Her core seminar is an intensive inter disciplinary course that incorporates un dergraduate research under the guidance of faculty mentors across campus.
Evans prides herself on building highimpact experiences for her stu dents and allowing them to decide what experience they want to have. Over the sum mer, she took her honors stu dents to Washington, D.C. to look at the American identity through the lens of art and archi tecture. They visited the National Mall and other monuments to explore new structures and showcase the everevolving nature of American identity.
“UWF gives me flexibility with funding, trust with programming and support to make transformational ex periences happen,” Evans said. “It’s not heavily bureaucratized and we can
Stephanie Rinehart, a senior majoring in psychology, was Evans’ student during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ironically, the shift from in-person to virtual learning during that time helped her get to know Evans more.
“Dr. Evans somehow found a way to make her class interesting and engaging, despite transitioning to virtual learning during my second semester of college,” Rinehart said.
“She started a book club, which was like her office hours, and some of us joined it and would meet weekly. She makes every per son feel important and validated, and has been such a big support to me.”
Her support and guidance have helped many students realize their dreams.
“I am a first-generation college student who was lost and unsure if college was right for me,” said Elizabeth Barrett, a former student and coordinator for the Kugelman Honors Program. “Her class and her support made me feel at home at UWF, and as though I had made the right choice in coming to college. The experi ence ultimately led to my decision to want to pursue a career in higher education.”
In her spare time, Evans enjoys spending time with her family, including her sevenyear-old daughter, crocheting and reading.
Magic Collaboration Magic Collaboration A Culture of to the StageBringsBY STEPHANIE YANCEY ’96
What does an eight-foot lion, high-tech engineering and innovation in the arts have in common? It’s a lot more than you might think.
This past spring, the University of West Florida Department of Theatre presented “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” written by C.S. Lewis and adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette, at the University’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
The story, from the Chronicles of Narnia series, follows four children who find a wardrobe that transports them into a magical world. Once there, they must choose sides and enter the battle between the wise lion Aslan and the evil White Witch.
UWF theatre and mechanical engineering students recreated the magic of Aslan by designing, engineering and fabricating the eight-foot puppet that became the character on stage.UWF Theatre and Mechanical Engineering Students Collaborate for the Production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
When “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was selected for the spring production, Glenn Breed, professor of theatre specializing in costume design and construction, and project/technical lead for the production, knew that they would need something special for the on-stage presence of Aslan.
Thanks to a student grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research as well as a high-impact practice grant, the idea to bring together the UWF theatre and mechanical engineering departments to create Aslan’s puppet became a reality.
“This was a great opportunity for the stu dents to collaborate in a way that usually keeps our departments apart,” Breed said.
Dr. Michael Reynolds, associate professor and chair of the Department of
Mechanical Engineering, said he was approached before the Fall 2021 semester to assist in building a lion equipped with motion and the ability to be controlled by actors inside.
Reynolds said he was eager for his students to experience the collaborative process through the project.
“Collaboration is really critical in the development of students,” Reynolds said.
“Getting our students experience in communicating with those outside of the technical realm prepares them for being able to fulfill customer needs once they enter the engineering industry.”
Under his guidance and that of assistant professor of intelligent systems and robot ics, Dr. Hakki Sevil, five first-year students in the Introduction to Engineering course were recruited to work with theatre stu dents and develop a design plan that would lay the groundwork for the fabrication of the puppet.
Theatre students, with the help of Breed and Marci Duncan, UWF assistant professor of acting and show director, had a series of meetings with the engineering team to share information about the vision for the Aslan puppet as well as specifications for how it needed to physically function on stage.
“Aslan is sort of a god character in the piece so the puppet’s size needed to help convey that,” Breed said. “We also had to make him tall enough for the human actors to stand inside the puppet without crouching over for the duration of the play.”
“The story is about four children and we had college students playing those parts. Giving Aslan more scale and mass would make actors look more like the elementary and middle school students they were supposed to be.”
Becca Hall, a junior costume design technology major, developed beautiful art renderings of what Aslan should look like which gave the engineering students a visual representation of where to start.
“The engineering students were very helpful because they told us the things they could accomplish and together we were able to get a realistic picture of what the lion could be,” Duncan said.
Together, the students decided the best plan would be to develop a design featuring an eight-foot puppet that would house two actors and have the head, mouth, legs and tail as moveable components.
Kevin Gallup, program manager for mechanical engineering, worked with senior engineering student Alex Ardoin to cut the lion’s head and legs from foam with a three axis cutting machine from the art department. Next, they used 3D printers to create the skull and jaws, and paper patterns of cross sections of the body to fabricate the puppet’s frame from welded strips of
THEATRE STUDENTS AND ASLAN PUPPETEERS
Sam Kegley and Kayla LaCerra hold the massive head of Aslan the Lion.
THE TEAM BRAINSTORMS how to bring the frame of the lion together, mindful that the actors inside have to support the puppet with their bodies and control its moveable parts while delivering a memorable performance.
“We were amazed by the technology that was used to fabricate the lion’s components. It opened our eyes to what can be created for the stage through the use of modern mechanical engineering techniques.”
— Marci Duncan, UWF assistant professor of acting and show director
“We had a good understanding of the scale of the lion but we had to make sure that we properly sized the areas inside the lion where the actors would be standing,” Ardoin said. “Since their shoulders would be supporting the weight of the puppet, we had to make sure we had proper measure ments of the width of their shoulders and their heights.”
Hall refined the foam pieces by carving the body parts to look more like those of a lion.
“We were amazed by the technology that was used to fabricate the lion’s components,” Duncan said. “It opened our eyes to what can be created for the stage through the use of modern mechanical engineering techniques.”
Once the frame was in place, theatre stu dents and Aslan puppeteers Sam Kegley and Kayla LaCerra were able to climb in the frame and request adjustments to make the lion more workable from the inside.
“We had to make sure that the different controls the actors needed to move the head, the legs, the tail, were placed in a way that fits with their body shapes and sizes,” Ardoin said. “They were going to be wearing the lion for an extended period of time, so we had to make sure that the structure I used to hold the body together wasn’t going to interfere with their operation of the lion.”
The final step was the delivery of the lion frame to the theatre department so Hall could put her magic touches on the outer aesthetics to bring Aslan to life and the ac tors could begin rehearsals.
In addition to using theatrical paint ing techniques on the lion’s body, Hall secured large resin eyes and crafted fabric for the tongue and golden ribbons for the massive mane.
Kegley, who also voiced Aslan from inside the puppet, said working with LaCerra to synchronize the movements was both exciting and daunting.
“Figuring out the interior mechanics of how to get his head and mouth to move along with his legs is unlike anything I have had to do before,” he said.
“On stage, the process of portraying Aslan was more like voice acting than tradi tional stage acting, as my whole upper body was entirely obscured from the audience by Aslan’s head and mane,” Kegley said. “Learning to develop a character emotion ally and psychologically with only the head movements of a puppet and my voice has been completely unlike anything else I’ve done. There was a lot to figure out in terms of what I could and couldn’t do from inside that puppet,” Kegley said.
The Aslan puppet elicited huge reactions from audiences.
“Every time Aslan entered the stage he got a huge applause,” Breed said. “There is a moment in the play where Aslan said a serious line, ‘Stop!’ and everyone laughed. It was just an insane thing to be coming from this giant lion. He got some laughter that was unexpected, but that’s the joy of doing live theatre.”
The successful collaboration to create Aslan demonstrates the power of bringing great minds together.
“It was a great exercise in developing communication skills with students that might solve problems in a different man ner,” Ardoin said. “It was an opportunity to utilize a different part of my brain and learn from that as well.”
It is this culture of collaboration that helps UWF students reach their full potential.
“Collaboration is not just something that is introduced in the senior year like a lot of programs,” Reynolds said. “It’s infused throughout our entire curriculum which helps our students learn and grow throughout their time at UWF. It’s what makes our students stand apart as graduates.”
SANDY SANSING SPORTS MEDICINE CENTERBY ALLISON MORGAN
As you wind around Campus Drive on UWF’s Pensacola campus next year, you may notice the start of construction on a new state-ofthe-art addition to the Darrell Gooden Center. The $6 million addition includes the Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center which aims to enhance the quality of care for UWF student-athletes and bring experiential learning opportunities for students on UWF’s Pensacola campus. The Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center is becoming a reality through the generosity of Sandy Sansing ’69, CEO of Sandy Sansing Automotive, a partnership with the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and several other donors. The two story addition to the Darrell Gooden Center will boast 10,000-square
feet and be the primary place for studentathletes to rehabilitate.
“Our current sports medicine center is not adequate and we’ve done a lot of things to try to make it work,” said Dave Scott, UWF director of athletics. “This is some thing we have had in mind for a while and now we have the funding and community support to make it happen.”
Designs and renderings for the facil ity are complete with an intended construc tion start date in Spring 2023. The Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center will occu py the first floor and the second floor will be leased space for the Florida State University College of Medicine Pensacola campus. The UWF athletics program staff has worked closely with the Andrews Institute, UWF’s official sports medicine provider, on creat
ing necessary spaces within the facility for student-athletes and coaches. The Andrews Institute provides UWF with team physi cians and athletic trainers.
“The main purpose of the center is the prevention of injuries,” said Brett Berg, assistant vice president for development at UWF. “We’ve been working with the Andrews Institute on design plans asking ‘what do we need more of?’ and ‘what do we need less of?’ We would not be able to do this without their support.”
The Sandy Sansing Sports Medicine Center will include areas for studentathletes to warm up and cool down prior to and post practice, and receive physi cal therapy including new top-of-the-line restorative treatments such as hydro therapy. It will also house several offices,
including those for physicians who will be evaluating student-athletes. Students in the movement sciences and health depart ment will be able to get contact hours and lab hours through internships and learning opportunities at the center.
In addition to Sansing’s more than $600,000 gift to the center and studentathlete scholarships, UWF has received $100,000 gifts each from Dr. Judy Bense, UWF President Emeritus, and Eric and Peg Nickelsen, UWF Football Founders. The
University also announced gifts from alum nus Jason Crawford and family to name the football coaching staff lounge, from alumni Stephen and Mona Wright to name the head athletic trainers office and from Rick Fountain, dean of the College of Business and alumnus, to name the offensive line coach’s office. UWF also received a gift from Rodney Sutton, treasurer and audit budget committee chair for the UWF Foundation Board of Directors, alumnus and Sword and Shield Council member, and his family to
name the offensive coordinator’s office.
“We are about 80% there on funding and we are working hard to secure the rest; we expect more support will be coming soon,” Berg said. “We have four or five other spaces available for naming opportunities. This project is huge for athletics and we wouldn’t be able to complete it without the help of our donors. Our athletes will be healthier, safer, better and more prepared to compete.”
The center is expected to take 18 months to complete.
THE UWF ATHLETICS TEAM worked closely with the Andrews Institute to develop spaces to optimize studentathlete wellness and rehabilitation.
“THIS IS SOMETHING WE HAVE HAD IN MIND FOR A WHILE AND NOW WE HAVE THE FUNDING AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
— Dave Scott, UWF director of athletics
The Art of Preserving History through the University Archives
To learn about the University of West Florida Archives, you first have to know about Dean DeBolt. A 41-year fixture at the University, DeBolt’s wealth of knowledge is as vast as the collection housed inside the basement of the John C. Pace Library. He first arrived on campus when the institution was 14 years old and much of the original faculty was still present. He said he’s gotten to know every president, including Dr. Harold Crosby, who returned as a professor and had an office in the library.BY BRITTANY SWINFORD ’11
It was Crosby whom DeBolt quoted when he explained why the archives are an integral part of the University’s mission.
“When the University opened in 1966, the first president said it was not the Uni versity of West Florida, it was the Univer sity for West Florida,” he said.
DeBolt bears the responsibility of help ing people locate information for projects ranging from personal genealogies to cold case investigations.
The University Archives and West Florida History Center currently holds approximately 800 collections, totaling
about 1.8 million items. It’s one of the largest research collections in existence on the history, development and people of West Florida, dating from its earliest settlement to the present. It also serves as the exclusive archives of UWF.
Some of the most notable items include a French Bible dating back to 1554, a signed copy of Charles Lindbergh’s autobiography, a signed copy of Helen Keller’s autobiography and a biography on Albert Einstein, written by his son-inlaw and signed by Einstein. There’s also a leaf from the third book ever printed
“EVERYTHING IN THE ARCHIVES HAS A SPECIALTY AND STORY TO IT.”— Dean DeBolt, University Archivist
on the Gutenberg Press, as well as print collections dating back to 1460 and nonprinted manuscripts from as early as 1420.
“Everything in the archives has a special ty and story to it, as well,” DeBolt said.
The primary mission of the archives is to preserve local history, but its value doesn’t end there. It also provides opportunities for English and history students to gain handson experience in archive and resources management on their path to a career in library science or museum studies.
“Student volunteers or hired assistants learn how to work in an archive, handling items from the collections and helping peo ple find the right resources for their needs,” DeBolt said. “It’s a valuable resume-build ing opportunity, unique to the University.”
DeBolt said his efforts at collecting and preserving important documents have put him in contact with prominent area lead ers, like former Congressman Earl Hutto, who donated his letters and notable papers to the University Archives following his retirement in 1995. He also noted that the library has a standing subscription to more than 20 local newspapers and publications in order to have a copy of every issue on hand, as well as programs from local shows and performances. For DeBolt, history is captured through as many lenses as possi ble, and no document is deemed unimport ant for building the story of West Florida.
He said the digital age has brought a new challenge to his job of gathering ma terials for future research and studies.
“We try very hard to preserve the history of the University, but I know tons of items are thrown away. A lot of them can be digital items –like current photos stored on phones or computers that no one ever thinks to share.”
Others might assume DeBolt’s job keeps him tucked away in the basement of the library, but he said more often than not, he’s out and about on campus and in the community, sharing about the purpose and mission of the University Archives.
To learn more about how to donate pho tos, documents or records to the University Archives, visit uwf.edu/library.
UWF Alumni Opportunities
The UWF Alumni Association has created events, programming opportunities and resources for our alumni to connect, network, learn and explore. Check out some of the new alumni benefits and exciting events that are available to all alumni below. To access these resources and learn more, head to alumni.uwf.edu
Travel with UWF Alumni
The UWF Alumni Association is now offering international travel opportunities for alumni. Get your passports ready and look out for emails and snail mail with more details about our upcoming excursions.
Alumni Learning Consortium & Workshop Owl Professional Development Opportunities
All alumni can access free professional development webinars with renowned experts provided by the Alumni Learning Consortium and Workshop Owl by visiting uwf.edu/alumni/benefits
Alumni Business Directory
Support your fellow Argos by using our alumni business directory when looking for certain products or services. The UWF Alumni Association encourages networking and support of alumni-owned businesses. Learn more by visiting uwf.edu/alumnibusiness
Join us for the first Homecoming football game on the UWF campus! Homecoming week 2022 will be held October 17-22. Participate in campus-wide celebratory events, an alumni tailgate and see our Argos play on Pen Air Field. Visit uwf.edu/homecoming to learn more.
Connect with the UWF Alumni Association, your fellow classmates and Argo employers who are looking for new talent in their professional network by joining our new LinkedIn Group. Scan the QR code to join.
Christian Dinh, a secondgeneration Asian American, uses art to tell his story about the cultural triumph of Vietnamese Americans. This story is deeply personal to Dinh, whose mom was seven and dad was 14 in 1975, when they escaped the war in Vietnam and eventually settled with their families in Florida. Drawing from his own experiences as a Vietnamese American, Dinh recently created the exhibition, Nail Salon, at the Ogden Museum of South ern Art in New Orleans, curated by Bradley Sumrall. The exhibition was open to the public from June 2021 to January 2022.
“Vietnamese nail salons are often stigmatized, due to the association with lower-class minority work,” Dinh said. “However, I believe the Vietnamese nail salon to be one of the great success sto ries of the Vietnamese American com munity. It represents a beacon for the Vietnamese people; a place where they can find work and security here in the U.S. My series, Nail Salon, redirected this stigma and highlighted the success of the Vietnamese nail salon industry.”
Dinh received his B.A. in 2016. While studying at UWF, he was nominated for the International Sculpture Center’s
Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.
Dinh is currently attending the M.F.A. program at Tulane University in New Orleans. His ceramic and sculptural work has been in numerous exhibitions throughout the Gulf Coast, including And Now For Something New Vol. 2 at LeMieux Gallery in New Orleans and PHILIC / PHOBIC at the Pensacola Museum of Art.
Teaching has always come naturally for Briana McCreary. Many of her peers have taken notice of her innovation and intellect in the classroom. In 2019, McCreary was named Escambia County Teacher of the Year, an honor earned after just six years of teaching.
“My greatest reward comes from the connections students make between the content being taught and the real world,” McCreary said. “When the students find the topic, content or skill actually matters and they begin wanting to learn more, I am in my happy place.”
Her passion keeps her busy year round. Her most gratifying experience was when she inspired and educated children at Central Gulf Coast Freedom Schools during the summer. She served as one of the site coordinators. The CDF Freedom Schools program is a free, six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment initiative that serves children in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited, too expensive or non-existent.
In Fall 2022, McCreary took on the role of curriculum coordinator at Montclair
Elementary. She says in 10 years she expects to be in a leadership capacity working with a private school program for underprivileged youth where she will develop a high performing science/STEM program for all students within the school.
McCreary earned an associate degree in early childhood education at Pensacola State College, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Florida A&M University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of West Florida.
Philip Switzer ’10 Jason Switzer ’07
Owners of Constant Coffee and Tea
Constant, coffee and community are three words that are important to the Switzer brothers. Jason and Philip Switzer are owners of Constant Coffee and Tea in Pensacola. The brothers have been working in the coffee business for about 20 years. Both brothers were born in Pensacola with deep family roots on the Gulf Coast.
Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities. Philip earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
“I studied psychology and philosophy with some of the best professors in the country,” said Philip Switzer. “They gave me the tools to evaluate research and market reports. They taught me how to identify what people want and how best to deliver it.”
The Switzers chose the word constant to be included in the
name of their coffee shop to remind themselves to be constantly inspired, not afraid to make mistakes and to constantly make an effort to be forward thinking.
“Coffee is community,” said Philip Switzer. “Throughout history, coffee shops have been gathering places for people to develop and share ideas. Coffee shops provide an anchor for communities to grow and strengthen. More than anything else, I want to provide a space for people to blossom.”
Whether we gather at commencement, a banquet, network event or tailgate, our events provide the perfect opportunity to show our appreciation of your continued support. They are also a wonderful chance for you to socialize with fellow alumni, current students, staff, faculty and friends of the University.
Don’t miss out! We continue to add new events to the mix. For a look at upcoming events, visit alumni.uwf.edu
Founders Week Day of Service
UWF alumni, staff and faculty partnered with local nonprofit Ocean Hour to pick up trash and help beautify Pensacola Beach during the Day of Service, part of Founders Week, on April 12, 2022.
Argos Suit Up
Day of Giving
UWF President Martha D. Saunders gave her gift to the University on the annual Day of Giving, part of Founders Week, on April 14, 2022.
President Saunders received ’90s themed socks in exchange for her gift to UWF.
UWF students expanded their professional wardrobes during the annual Argos Suit Up! event at JCPenney located in the University Town Plaza on March 27, 2022.
Students and alumni purchased discounted professional wear and accessories for interviews and internships with gift cards provided by local donors.
The UWF Center for Asian Studies hosted the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration on May 21, 2002. Guests participated in cultural activities including a Japanese tea ceremony, calligraphy and origami, with Ikebana flower displays.
Askew Downtown Lecture Series
The Reubin O’D. Askew Department of Government hosted special guest speaker Dr. Carla Martinez Machain, professor of political science at Kansas State University, for a discussion of American power projection and implications for the future as part of the annual Askew Downtown Lecture Series on March 24, 2022 in the Museum of Commerce.
CAB After Dark
UWF Campus Activity Board’s biggest event of the year, CAB After Dark, was held on Friday, April 15, 2022 in Parking Lot H. CAB After Dark offers UWF students a night to always remember with chances to play games, enjoy free food and music, and have a great time with other fellow Argos.
Ethics in Business Awards
The University of West Florida College of Business, in partnership with the Combined Rotary Clubs of Pensacola, held the 20th annual Combined Rotary of Pensacola Ethics in Business Awards ceremony at the Pensacola Yacht Club on April 21, 2022.
The newly renovated Connection Deck and brand new Community Chalkboard, sponsored by the 2021-22 LEAD Faculty and Staff, were celebrated during a kickoff social event on April 12, 2022.
Evening with Jad Abumrad
The UWF College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities hosted “An Evening with Jad Abumrad” featuring the creator and former host of Radiolab on April 15, 2022 at the Rex Theatre.
College of Business Gift
Members First Credit Union of Florida donated a gift of $140,000 to the UWF Foundation at the College of Business on May 10, 2022. The gift will support the Louis A. Maygarden Center for Financial Literacy Credit Counseling Program and the Women in Leadership Conference in UWF’s College of Business.
Therapy Dogs Paws and Play
UWF students took some time to ease their minds with the help of some furry friends during the Paws and Play event held in the John C. Pace Library on April 19, 2022.
WILC Networking Reception
A reception event prior to the Women in Leadership Conference was held on March 10, 2022 at the Pensacola Museum of Art.
’71 Larry Kellar, B.A. Political Science; Kellar recently recorded an audio story with StoryCorps that will be archived with UWF and the Library of Congress. He tells the story of how he represented Save Pensacola Beach pro bono in their battle to codify continued and perpetual public ownership of Santa Rosa Island.
’76 Martha Giddens, B.S. Health Education; Giddens’ recently published novel, “The Girl Who Swam to Life,” is receiving positive reviews on Amazon. This fictional tale is based on the reality of human trafficking.
’76 Juliette Moore, M.S. Health, Leisure & Sports; Moore presented her success story as a Black woman in recreation to the University of Arizona full-time staff during their March all-team meeting.
’80 Terry Jones, B.A. Theater; Jones is currently working as an actor for the Professional Screen Actors Guild where he is cast for roles in movies, television shows and commercials. His current projects include the Hallmark Movie “True Love Blooms,” the Vince Vaughn CW-TV series “Bad Monkey,” a motion picture titled “The Florida Movie,” and the FOXTV series “Shots Fired.”
’80 Dr. Ronald Thomas, Jr., B.A. Communication Arts; Thomas was named to the board of directors for Pro Education Group and American Heritage College in March 2022.
’85 Mark Z. Chapman, B.S. Systems Science; Chapman and his wife Becky purchased their third restaurant, The Melting Pot, located in Miramar Beach, Florida.
’85 William Douglas Marshall, B.A. Accounting; Marshall was elected to the United Methodist Association’s Health and Welfare Ministries Board of Directors.
’85 Diane Shepherd, B.A. Special Education; Shepherd made her 11th mission trip to Haiti following the September 2021 earthquake and was the only aid worker in Camp Perrine.
’89 Deborah Parsons, M.A. Clinical Teaching; Parsons published her memoir titled “Talking Out of Both Sides of My Mouth,” in March 2022.
’91 Steven T. Kelley, B.S.B.A. Accounting & MBA; Kelley was selected to serve as the inaugural board chair of the Jacksonville Community Land Trust.
’92 Tammy D. Greer (Weeks), B.A. Interdisciplinary Humanities; Greer was chosen as Escambia Children’s Trust executive director.
’93 & ’02 April Leake, B.A. Elementary Education & M.Ed. Educational Leadership; Leake made her final installment on the Smithers Leake NWF2UWF Scholarship Endowment, a scholarship for students in honor of her late mother. Leake’s final installment took place on what would have been her 83rd birthday, January 16, 2022.
’95 Jessica Miller Klodnicki, B.A. Communication Arts; Klodnicki joined Centre Partners private equity group as an operating partner and board member for one of their portfolio companies, Gathr Outdoors. She also joined the board of directors of venture back circular commerce retailer, The Pro’s Closet.
’98 & ’00 Stephanie Lynn Chapman (Brummer), CPA, B.A. Accounting & MAcc; Chapman was named a shareholder of Belfint, Lyons & Shuman, P.A. and director in the International Services Practice Group.
’99 Brent Alan Henry, B.A. Communication Arts; Henry wrote, directed and acted in the horror feature film “Bye, Son,” which will be released in late 2022/early 2023.
’99 The Honorable Brandon John Young, B.A. Legal Administration; Young was named as judge in the 14th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
’01 Sandra Louise Donaldson, B.A. Legal Administration; Donaldson was awarded the Community Service Award at the UWF Trailblazer Awards.
’02 Casey Gent, B.A. International Studies; Gent’s company, Swamp Productions LLC, recently published nine books, including one children’s book in Spanish.
’02 Joseph L. Mayes, B.A. Legal Administration; In 2021, Mayes opened Patchouli Joe’s Books & Indulgences, an independent bookstore, in Denton, Texas.
’02 John Stephens, B.S. Computer Science; Stephens was appointed to the state of Florida’s Boating Advisory Council by Governor Ron DeSantis.
’02 Col. James William Wiggins, B.A. & M.S. Criminal Justice; Wiggins was appointed to the State Emergency Response Commission by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
’03 Derrik Lang, B.A. Communications; Lang was named lifestyle editor at Shondaland in Los Angeles, California.
’04 & ’09 Dr. Samuel Keith Bland, M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction & Ed.S. Educational Leadership; Bland was named principal of Dothan High School in Dothan, Alabama.
’04 Greggory Gray, MBA; Gray was selected as the 2021 company-wide Pilot of the Year for Mercy Flight, Inc based out of Buffalo, New York.
’05 Nora Emling, B.S. Hospitality, Recreation & Resort Management; Emling became the CEO of CleverOgre and vice chair of the board for Autism Pensacola. Emling also graduated from the Leadership Pensacola program in May 2022.
’05 Laniece Renee Tyree, MPA; Tyree was named assistant vice president in the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises at Howard University in March 2022.
’06 The Honorable Devin Deandre’ Collier, B.A. Criminal Justice; Collier was named as judge in the 14th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
’06 Lyndsay Bryar Munro, B.S. Chemistry; Munro received the F. Donald Tibbitts Distinguished Teacher Award at the University of Nevada, Reno. She currently serves as a teaching associate professor and general chemistry coordinator in the College of Science’s Department of Chemistry.
’07 Zachary James Butler, B.S. Health, Leisure & Exercise Science; Butler was named Santa Rosa County, Florida, 2023 Teacher of the Year.
’08 & ’19 George Trice, B.S. Information Technology & M.S. Database Systems; Trice was awarded the Values in Practice Award for Booz Allen in February 2022.
’09 Whitney Cross Lucas, B.A History; Lucas was featured in The Pulse Pensacola’s Women You Should Know in 2022.
’09 Loren Randi Powell, BSBA Marketing; Powell was named Rising Star of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department. She currently serves as the social media coordinator at OWA.
’11 Doreatha Conwell-Waitman, B.A. Social Work; Conwell-Waitman recently opened a provider agency, Key Fits Solutions. The agency services multiple counties for the disabled, elderly and disadvantaged populations and also offers undergraduate social work internships under an agreement with UWF.
’11 Jessica Head, M.Ed. College Student Personnel Administration; Head was recently named director of residence life at Wingate University.
’12 Amber Kristine Hoefer, B.A. Communication Arts; Hoefer was named the new director of student leadership, involvement and community engagement at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.
’12 Joslyn Rosado, B.A. Communication Arts; Rosado started an art business called UniJosyCreations which offers digital art, portrait commissions, traditional acrylic art and photography.
’13 Megan Rose Crombie, M.Ed. Educational Leadership; Crombie was appointed to the Board of Control for Southern Regional Education by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
’14 & ’20 Mikia Carter, M.Ed. College Student Personnel Administration & Ed.S. Curriculum & Instruction; Carter was the winner of the UWF Alumni Award at the 2022 UWF Trailblazer Awards.
’14 Denisha Merriweather, B.A. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences; Merriweather created the Black Minds Matter organization which focuses on both education entrepreneurship and school choice policies that generate more education opportunities for families, especially families of color. It was featured in Forbes in January 2022.
’14 Adam John Stahura, BSBA Marketing; Stahura was named regional sales director of Christian Shane Properties in New Orleans, Louisiana.
’14 Anthony Justin Young, BSBA Management; Young completed helicopter training at NAS Whiting Field and received his Wings of Gold in April 2022.
’15 Lindsay Ann Keeling (McNally), MBA; Keeling started Art Within, an art subscription box service for children and families.
’15 Bridgette Williams, B.A. Public Relations; Williams was named the Women’s Council of Realtors Top Gun Agent of 2021.
’16 Thenmozhi Elayaperumal, B.S. Computer Engineering & B.S. Electrical Engineering; Elayaperumal was hired at Johnson & Johnson and began working as a senior systems engineer in May 2021.
’16 Andrea Gibson, B.A. Public Relations; Gibson joined the Escambia County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners in August 2021 as the media and public information manager.
’16 Lindsey Steck, B.A. Public Relations; Steck was named to the Destinations International Foundation’s 30 Under 30 class of 2022.
’17 Ebony Cornish, MSA Health Care Administration; Cornish was named “Zeta of the Year” by the Gamma Tau Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority in March 2022. She was also featured in The Pulse Pensacola’s Women You Should Know In 2022.
’17 & ’19 Lauren Ashley McCurdy, B.S. Health Promotion & MPH; McCurdy was hired at the University of Florida as the health promotion specialist for Sorority and Fraternity Life.
’18 & ’20 Tate Aris Lehtio, BSBA Management & MBA; Lehtio opened a franchise of Clean Juice, an organic juice bar in West Palm Beach, Florida.
’19 Jason Powers, BSN; Powers was promoted to charge nurse over Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee in January 2022.
’20 Rodney E. Coates, B.S. Health Care Administration; Coates signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
’20 Rachel Rebecca Hudon, MBA; Hudon was promoted to senior dolphin trainer at the Georgia Aquarium and took over their internship program.
’20 Zenani Davida Johnson, B.A. Psychology; Johnson was named in the Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know 2022.
’21 D’Anthony Jerome Bell, B.A. Communication; Bell signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. ’21 Matthew Gotel, BGS; Gotel signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
In Memoriam Alumni
’69 Martin E. Wall
’70 & ’77 Barbara R. Crooke (Nutt)
Curtis G. Myhree
’70 Charles A. Rushing
Jean T. Blanchard (Taylor)
& ’79 Dale Brewer
’73 Merle F. Jones (Stiller)
Marilyn A. Tuttle (Johnson)
Patricia N. Whitfield (Johnson)
Cmdr. Bill E. Runyon
& ’77 Edgar A. Crawford
& ’79 Ronnie E. Gulledge
Lucille Foley (Eliasoff) ’78 Tony L. Gilchrist
’78 William G. Minton ’81 Joan R. Hickey (Petitt) ’81 Laura J. Pollock (Deyampert) ’82 & ’05 Dr. Jennifer A. Ruhl
’84 Stanley P. Harper ’86 Arthur L. Flagg ’86 Davis R. Terry ’90 Linda C. Sullivan
’07 Zachary James Butler ’21 Emily Sperry Gilberto
Mr. Karl W. Boyles - Friend of the University
Mrs. Nancy Burnham Brefka - Pensacola Museum of Art Guild President
Ms. Karyn Adele Cooper - Former Employee
Ms. Kathy R. Denkler - Former Employee
Mr. Art Detonnancourt - Friend of the University
Dr. Clarence C. Couch Elebash - Former Employee
Dr. David R. Eppright - Former Faculty Member in the College of Business
Mr. Neil Hoskins - Friend of the University
Mrs. Dominica A. Limburg (Sgro), Ph.D. - Former Faculty Member
Ms. Teresa Lucas - Friend of the University
Mr. Ashley DeWitte “Dick” Pace Jr.Friend of the University
Dr. James M. Potter - Friend of the University
Dr. Martha Nell Wiggins “Nell” PotterFriend of the University
Find a full list of UWF alumni news, accomplishments and obituaries by visiting uwf.edu/classnotes.
James Terryl “T. Bubba” Bechtol Sr., Pensacola comedian and celebrated humorist, passed away in December 2021. Bechtol performed close to 300 country routines and comic performances on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville during his 20-year career.
T. Bubba was an avid supporter of the University of West Florida, donating more than $50,000 in his lifetime. He created the J. Terryl “T. Bubba” Bechtol Women’s Basketball Scholarship Endowment as well as the Robert Clayton Carter Bechtol Theatre Endowment in honor of his son.
We are a spirited community of enterprising business leaders and pioneers with an intrepid passion to realize the most ambitious and audacious ideas.
We’re rising to the challenge to fill a need in our communities, moving boldly into the future, undaunted and unafraid.