20 Reasons to Give on Giving Day 2020

Join us February 20, 2020, and together we’ll show the world the extraordinary difference a day makes.

How much of a difference can you make in one day? That depends on the day. On February 20, 2020, you have the opportunity to make a difference that lasts far longer than 24 hours and extends far beyond the confines of America’s most beautiful campus. That’s because February 20 is Rollins Giving Day 2020, and on this day your gift supports The Rollins Annual Fund, which provides essential aid for everything from scholarships and student advising to academic and athletic excellence.

There are countless examples of how your participation in Giving Day 2020 will make a difference in the lives of our students and in the communities that our students touch in our backyard and around the world. Here are 20 of our favorites.

1. You’ll amplify your gift’s impact. When 700 members of the Rollins family make a gift on Giving Day, $50,000 will be unlocked for The Rollins Annual Fund. Plus, when 175 donors give to Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business, an extra $10,000 will go to the Crummer Annual Fund. Additionally, when 100 donors give to either the Hamilton Holt School or the Athletics department, another $10,000 will support each of these programs. As a result, your gift—regardless of size—will help unlock $80,000 in essential funding for Rollins students. Join us on February 20 and make your gift go further.

Special thanks to Trustees Susan Whealler Johnston ’75, Campbell Brown ’90, and Jeff Vahle ’94MBA for providing the Rollins Annual Fund challenge, along with John Race ’77 ’84MBA, Kyle Riva ’79MBA, and Trustee Bobby Ourisman ’78 P’12 for the additional challenges!

2. You’ll empower Rollins students like Meghan Oxford ’20 to fight for social change. The double major in Spanish and international relations recently earned a Newman Civic Fellowship, which supports students committed to the long-term work of public problem solving and building equitable communities. From young patients in a local hospital to exchange students from South America to Florida’s LBGTQ population, Oxford is already well on her way to finding solutions to the challenges facing these communities both in our backyard and around the world.

3. You’ll help students like Mikayla Panariello ’21 discover new passions before ever stepping foot on campus. On environmental studies professor Barry Allen’s First Year Field Study to Costa Rica, students tackle issues of sustainability right at the source, observing up close the interrelationship between humans and their natural environment. This opportunity allows them to connect with each other, to spark an interest in global affairs, and to see firsthand how a country’s focus on conservation can define its economy and culture. While trekking high up in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Panariello decided to double major in environmental studies and political science and pursue a career as a global advocate for sustainable development.

4. You’ll provide student-athletes like Jakobi Bonner ’20 ’21MBA the chance to shine on the court and in the classroom. This past year, Bonner—who has served as the captain of the men’s basketball team for two years—was one of just three student-athletes from the more than 4,000 in the Sunshine State Conference to be selected to attend the NCAA’s prestigious Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. A student in Rollins’ 3/2 Accelerated Management Program, which combines a four-year bachelor of arts and a two-year MBA into a five-year program, Bonner is developing the leadership, communication, and business skills to pursue a career in athletics administration.

5. You’ll give students like Nico Khazzam ’18 the foundation to become a Fulbright Scholar. The international relations major was so affected by political science professor Dan Chong’s community-development field study in Tanzania that he decided to go again the following year even though he’d already graduated. A 2019 Fulbright Scholar, he’s now teaching English in Brazil and plans to apply to graduate programs in international law and journalism.

6. You’ll empower students like Lauren Neldner ’20 to earn the country’s top undergraduate science scholarship. During her first year at Rollins, Neldner—who plans to devote her career to improving earthquake warning systems and engineering safer structures—started conducting cutting-edge research alongside physics professor Thomas Moore through Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program. By the end of the summer, she had presented at a pair of national conferences and published a research paper. This early research experience helped the physics major land a coveted seismology internship funded by the National Science Foundation, which then led to a 2019 Goldwater Scholarship, the preeminent undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, engineering, and the natural sciences. 

7. You’ll give students like Cristina Toppin ’21 the opportunity to make academic history at Rollins. After much perseverance and the assistance of Rollins’ Office of External & Competitive Scholarship Advisement, Toppin became the first Tar to attend the Harvard Kennedy School’s Public Policy Leadership Conference. Here she learned about recidivism from former NAACP president Cornell Brooks and got advice from Marshall Ganz, a central figure in the United Farm Workers movement with Cesar Chavez. She’s now more motivated and prepared than ever to pursue a graduate degree in public policy to confront issues of gender-based violence and women’s rights.

8. You’ll inspire students like Carla Daza ’20 to discover how studying computer science can help achieve social justice. In 2019, Daza became the second Rollins student to be selected for the prestigious Junior Summer Institute in Public Policy and International Affairs at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She joined the program’s first-ever Data Analytics track, which is designed specifically to equip students with the skills needed to solve problems at the crossroads of people, policy, and technology—a passion she discovered at Rollins through rigorous coursework, close mentorship, and hands-on internship experiences.

9. You’ll help professors like Dan Myers connect with students through both computer science and music. After discovering a mutual love of the guitar, Myers and computer science major Carmen Cheng ’18 embarked on a research project that investigated what acoustical features of a song make it a hit. As a result, Cheng fell in love with research, which further bolstered her interest in data science and analytics. The music-loving techie is now working as a site reliability engineer at Apple, a position she credits Myers for making possible.

10. You’ll empower Hamilton Holt School students like Shannon Burrows ’19 to realize lifelong dreams. Growing up in Orlando, Burrows says she considered Rollins “the unattainable pot of gold at the end of the Park Avenue rainbow.” She never dreamed she’d be able to attend—let alone as a 40-something mother of two. Burrows thrived as a nontraditional student majoring in psychology, co-founded a collaborative online writing studio, and graduated at the top of her class as the 2019 Outstanding Graduating Senior.

11. You’ll enable students like Chadonné Whiskey ’20 to hone their craft in front of an audience of millions. In 2018, Whiskey had the opportunity to perform at Rollins in the Bach Festival Choir’s “A Classic Christmas,” which aired this past Christmas on PBS stations nationwide. This is just one example of the unparalleled opportunities your gifts provide to Rollins students to gain real-world experience, connect with communities, and learn from experts in their field.

12. You’ll help international doctoral students like Vera Alves continue to receive a global, immersive education. Alves, an executive doctorate in business administration student, commutes to the Crummer Graduate School of Business once a month from Brazil, where she oversees operations for one of the country’s most esteemed English language schools. The high-level classroom experience she receives at Crummer continues to make her a stronger global leader abroad.

13. You’ll allow students like Greg Taicher ’19 and Lizzie Berry ’19 to become the Sunshine State Conference’s Athletes of the Year. With these wins, Rollins has swept both SSC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for the second time in the award’s history. Both Taicher, the men’s lacrosse team captain, and Berry, a four-year member of the women’s rowing team, were recognized for their contributions to our campus and community in academics, leadership, inclusion, and service.

14. You’ll help students like Marissa Cobuzio ’19 turn their passion for people and animals into a career path. Cobuzio spent the last year and a half of her time at Rollins raising a black-lab-golden-retriever mix named Ari for Canine Companions for Independence. She also worked with the nonprofit to get Rollins approved as a service-dog-raising campus and developed alongside campus administration the infrastructure needed to continue the program for future Rollins students. The biology and sociology double major is now at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and plans to specialize in animal reproduction and service-dog breeding.

15. You’ll provide the opportunity for students like Ari Schubot ’19 to debut their own museum exhibitions. Senior art majors have the chance to gain the kind of real-world experience they need to make an immediate impact in the art world by developing their own works for exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. This past year’s crop of exceptional student-artists explored everything from social injustice and sexual assault to the realities of our changing environment.

16. You’ll help increase the value and prestige of a Rollins degree. Alumni participation is a critical component of college rankings like U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of the nation’s best colleges. As a result, your gift on Giving Day 2020 not only supports current and future Tars, but it also helps enhance the prestige of your Rollins degree. Want to say you earned your degree from the South’s top college? Join us on Giving Day 2020.

17. You’ll make it possible for students like Army veteran Andrew Boyd ’21 to re-enter civilian life with meaning and purpose. The business management major’s internship experience in supply chain operations at local nonprofit Feeding Children Everywhere enabled him to hone skills in task management, problem solving, and system analysis that will give him an edge when applying to grad programs in applied intelligence.

18. You’ll help the Crummer Graduate School of Business retain its prestigious ranking as the No. 1 MBA in Florida. The Crummer Graduate School of Business has been named the top MBA program in Florida two times in a row, including 10 times overall. The Forbes MBA rankings are based on in-depth research that prioritizes a student’s return on investment five years after graduation.

19. You’ll empower students like Karina Barbesino ’19 to land a research position at Harvard. At Rollins, Barbesino fused interests in language, technology, and international affairs to forge her own unique path, which included earning several prestigious scholarships, completing four academic programs at Chinese universities, and writing her thesis on how cyber security relates to human rights. The accomplished scholar just landed a full-time research assistant position at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where she’ll be working with renowned American political scientist and Harvard professor Graham Allison.

20. You’ll help ensure that Rollins continues to rank among the nation’s best in blending academic and athletic success. In 2019, Rollins earned its ninth consecutive Division II Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence, which honors schools where student-athletes achieve an academic success rate of 90 percent or higher. Rollins’ 96 percent academic success rate was the highest in the Sunshine State Conference and the fourth highest in the nation.

How much impact can you create in one day? Let’s find out. Join us February 20, 2020, on Rollins Giving Day 2020, and we’ll show the world the extraordinary difference a day makes.

Get ready for Giving Day 2020.