Highlights from Commencement 2014

On Sunday, Rollins celebrated its 124th commencement and 344 undergraduate students in the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Professional Studies walked across the stage. Photos by Scott Cook.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Julia Maskivker (right) receives an Arthur Vining Davis Award from Provost Carol Bresnahan.

Rollins annually recognizes three faculty members as Arthur Vining Davis Fellows. Students and faculty nominate candidates who demonstrate outstanding teaching and advising, scholarly work and publications, completion of significant research projects, accomplishments in the fine arts, or important contributions to the cultural, economic, and social community of Central Florida.

Maskivker was recognized for her work, in conjunction with one of her classes, on abolishing ex-felon disenfranchisement in Florida. She’s also actively involved with a new initiative—The Republic: Awareness and Activism at Rollins—that aims to educate not only students and the Rollins community, but the community at large, while providing a platform for non-partisan discussions on real world issues.

Diane and Michael Maher Professor of Distinguished Teaching Rachel Newcomb (right) receives an Arthur Vining Davis Award from Provost Carol Bresnahan.

Newcomb was recognized for her work wtih the Rollins community. Students in her senior seminar in applied anthropology conducted research and a service-learning project with former farmworkers from Apopka, Florida, who were exposed to pesticides for more than 40 years before the farms closed in the mid-1990s, resulting in a range of health problems that many are still dealing with today.

Assistant Professor of Biology Susan Walsh (right) receives an Arthur Vining Davis Award from Provost Carol Bresnahan.

Walsh researches proteins within the cell using the zebrafish model system and also studies the cellular nature of Parkinson’s disease. She teaches all levels of biology from introductory to senior thesis and uses her research to get students excited about their own projects.

Associate Professor of History Julian Chambliss receives the Cornell Distinguished Service Award from Provost Carol Bresnahan.

The Cornell Distinguished Service Award was established by the Board of Trustees in honor of the late George and Harriet Cornell, whose generosity made the award possible. This College-wide award recognizes faculty who have distinguished themselves and Rollins through outstanding service.

Chambliss' record of service to Rollins, his discipline, and our community is lengthy. He directs the African and African-American Studies Program at Rollins, serves as Coordinator of the Media, Arts, and Culture Special Interest Section for the Florida Conference of Historians, and has engaged with local residents in the historical preservation of Hannibal Square.

Associate Professor of Art History Kim Dennis receives the Cornell Distinguished Teaching Award from Provost Carol Bresnahan.

This College-wide award recognizes Rollins faculty who have distinguished themselves and the College through outstanding teaching.

Dennis exhibits extraordinary enthusiasm for students and their pursuit of learning. Her teaching specialties include Renaissance and Baroque art and urbanism, with a particular interest in women’s involvement in the art as subjects, patrons, and artists. Students have said that hers is the “most interesting class I’ve ever had,” and “I never realized how this subject could change my outlook on life.”

Zach Baldwin, Annemarie Carlson, Catharine Gill, Melanie Leon, Megan Mascarenhas, and Jordan Rickman receive the General Charles McCormick Reeve Awards from Vice President of Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi (far left).

The General Charles McCormick Reeve Awards for scholarship are awarded annually to the seniors who have maintained the highest scholastic record during their last three years at Rollins.

Erin Brioso (center) receives the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion from Dean of the Chapel Patrick Powers.

Established in 1927, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion is the highest non-academic award the College bestows to an undergraduate student who shows remarkable character and integrity and who demonstrates a commitment to service to others.

During the presentation, Powers said of Brioso:

Life with Erin is often portrayed as hours of kinetic energy combined with tasks of generous service on the line.

Come with me to work on a home for Habitat for Humanity, then we will go downtown to the Coalition for the Homeless and help the kids to read. We will have time to carpool over to New Orleans to help out in their hurricane relief. Then tonight we can fly to Nepal to work with the poor to make their lives better. Adi [Mahara ’12] will be waiting for us.

Her documented life of service is so obviously evident, yet without cheerleading or footnotes, but only a robust and steadfast focus on others.

The Quiet Giant Award for social justice action, the President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion, Rollins Cares About Community Award, president of Making Lives Better, raised over $1000 for Ugandan women through Bead for Life, National Conference for College Women and Student Leaders.

Erin has taught us that the first law of inequality is: there are people who don’t have anything like what I have. That is an unfair advantage. And the first law of empathy is: it’s my responsibility to use that advantage for social justice and to make the world a better place.

Dean of the Chapel Patrick Powers receives the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Citizen’s Medallion.

This year, the circle of Sullivan Scholars chose to recognize someone from outside the student body for an Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion. Such a person must display a personal integrity that radiates unto others, a nobility of character that cannot be ignored, and a caring soul that reaches out without being asked. As with all Sullivan awards, this medallion cannot be won, it can only be bestowed.

During the presentation, Vice President for Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi said of Powers:

You have presided over our College community during joyous occasions and tragic losses, always saying and doing the perfect thing to make us feel uplifted or consoled. For more than two decades, the College has confidently looked to your leadership to provide a spiritual rudder to our vessel of growth. Your noble character enkindles nobility in those around you.   

We honor you as we honor the Sullivan legacy, not just for what you say and do, but also for how your life has inspired others.

This year's valedictorians Zach Baldwin, Melanie Leon, and Megan Mascarenhas take the stage with Vice President for Student Affairs Mamta Accapadi (far left).

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tupperware Brands Corporation Rick Goings ’12H delivers the commencement address.