A Rollins Year in Photos

From the opening of the new Kathleen W. Rollins Hall to the creation of on-the-fly virtual learning environments, the 2019-20 academic year was a testament to the ways Rollins delivers on its mission and always rises to the challenges before us.

Photo by Scott Cook

Helping care for at-risk and injured animals in the Everglades. Interning at one of the largest hospital networks in the country. Learning how to combat a global pandemic in real time. The ways the Rollins community put the liberal arts into action this past year are varied and numerous. As we look toward the start of a fall semester unlike any other, let’s first reflect on some of the defining moments from 2019-20 that epitomize Rollins’ mission to create the next generation of global citizens and responsible leaders.

Photo by Scott Cook

As part of Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, Abbey Glover ’21 teamed up with biology professor Pamela Brannock to study apple snails and the genetic consequences of introducing an organism to an area so as to better understand how to control the invasive populations.

Photo by Scott Cook

Before classes even started, first-year students in the Embark program bonded over chocolate making (and eating!) at nearby Farris and Foster’s Chocolate Factory. Embark is a peer-orientation initiative aimed at helping first-year students from historically disenfranchised and underrepresented populations acclimate to the Rollins environment.

Photo by Scott Cook

First-year students celebrated the beginning of their educational journey at Rollins during Candlewish, a beloved Tars tradition where students vow to share the light of a Rollins education with those who need it most.

Photo by Scott Cook

August 21 was Move-In Day—that annual rite of passage for first-year students and the special turning-point moment parents work toward and then dread when it’s finally here. The Class of 2023 welcomed 656 students from more than 40 states across the U.S. and 40 countries.

Photo by Scott Cook

Another beloved Rollins tradition is the annual pancake flip on Mills Lawn during orientation week when new Tars try their hands—quite literally—at catching more pancakes than their new friends.

Photo by Scott Cook

First-year students helped work the earth at a local Hindu temple on SPARC Day, Rollins’ annual day of service during orientation. In the 14 years since the annual day of service was established, more than 10,000 Tars have contributed more than 40,000 hours of service to an average of 24 community organizations each year.

Photo by Scott Cook

Irish exchange student Happiness Omochere ’20—now a privacy operations specialist at Facebook—worked as a social media intern in Rollins’ Office of Marketing, where she not only created social media content, but also dove into the world of analytics and reporting.

Photo by Scott Cook

Turns out lots of prep goes into putting on an improv play. Through Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, theatre professor David Charles and 14 students spent months developing blueprints for Private Lies: Improvised Film Noir, which premiered on the Annie Russell stage in November.

Photo by Scott Cook

Hamilton Holt School student Nina Steigerwald ’20’s human-resources internship at AdventHealth solidified her plans to pursue a career as an industrial psychologist.

Photo by Scott Cook

The second-story balcony of Ward Hall overlooking Lake Virginia is one of political science major Sydney Brown ’20’s favorite study spots on campus.

Photo by Scott Cook

English professor Matthew Forsythe’s Writing Books for & with Children course pairs students with preschoolers to engage in the process of writing a children’s book. The immersive collaboration proved a transformative experience for the students and kids alike, exploring writing and literature along with psychology and early childhood behavior.

Photo by Scott Cook

On a perfect Florida fall weekend, a group of 13 Tars embarked on four days of outdoor service in the Everglades as part of an Immersion experience focused on environmental issues.

Photo by Scott Cook

Army veteran and business management major Andrew Boyd ’21’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.

Photo by Scott Cook

Kristen Arnett ’12—an English grad from Rollins’ Hamilton Holt School—debuted her first novel, Mostly Dead Things, which landed on the New York Times bestseller list and has since been lauded by everyone from Oprah to Time magazine.

Photo by Scott Cook

Music major Chadonné Whiskey ’20 shared what it was like to perform for an audience of millions as part of the PBS-broadcasted “A Classic Christmas” performance put on by the Bach Festival Society in Rollins’ Knowles Memorial Chapel.

Photo by Scott Cook

At Rollins, political science major Jakobi Bonner ’20 ’21MBA—captain of the men’s basketball team, resident assistant, student in the 3/2 Accelerated Management Program—has discovered he’s a leader both on and off the court.

Photo by Scott Cook

International business major Neny Lairet ’21 got a crash course in e-commerce as an intern with Knoza Consulting, a local firm founded by alum Adam Schwartz ’10 ’12 MBA focused on optimizing client listings and growing revenue on Amazon.

Photo by Scott Cook

Sustainability Beyond the Classroom—a series of linked courses designed by environmental studies professors Barry Allen and Lee Lines—delivers hands-on learning opportunities for students to apply classroom concepts to 21st-century environmental challenges in the real world.

Photo by Scott Cook

Skillman Dining Hall unveiled its new digs last year, including a new wood-burning pizza oven, dedicated food stations, and an open-concept layout. Look for a slew of new options as we head into fall—from mobile food-ordering apps to chef-prepared to-go meals—designed to ensure that all Tars have access to healthy food while staying safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Scott Cook

Lauren Neldner ’20 conducted research with physics professor Thom Moore each of her four years at Rollins, during which time she published two papers, presented at five professional conferences, landed multiple prestigious internships, and earned a Goldwater Scholarship.

Photo by Scott Cook

January saw the official opening of the much-anticipated Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, a state-of-the-art facility that’s ushering in a new era of applied liberal arts education at Rollins.

Photo by Scott Cook

With conference-style seating, an abundance of natural light, and a suite of the latest technology, the new classrooms in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall are strategically designed to maximize student engagement, relational learning, and community-building collaboration.

Photo by Scott Cook

This past spring, the Center for Career & Life Planning hosted its first Champion-in-Residence, William Moore ’99, co-founder of the popular Doorstep Delivery food-service company. It’s the latest endeavor in a long line of successful initiatives under the umbrella of the Career Champions mentorship program that launched in 2018.

Photo by Scott Cook

Adorning one of the large walls in Kathleen W. Rollins Hall is a mural that depicts Rollins Gateway, the College’s signature brand of liberal arts education in which students are empowered to chart their own course to personal and professional success through our interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and integrated approach to mentorship.

Photo by Scott Cook

Sharing space with the Department of Social Entrepreneurship on the second floor of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, the Social Impact Hub is dedicated to developing creative, sustainable solutions to tackle societal inequities and environmental challenges.

Photo by Scott Cook

From its new digs on the first floor of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, the Office of Business Advising provides guidance for students participating in Rollins’ 3/2 Accelerated Management Program, a dual-degree program that allows students to earn their bachelor’s degree and MBA in five years.

Photo by Scott Cook

As the culmination of their student-faculty research project, Cristina Toppin ’21, Morgan Snoap ’20, and art history professor MacKenzie Moon Ryan curated an original art exhibition of African textiles at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum this past January.

On February 20—Giving Day 2020—the Rollins community came together to show the world the extraordinary difference a day makes. A record-breaking 2,047 Rollins alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends raised nearly $280,000 for The Rollins Annual Fund, an ever-important source of creating transformative opportunities for our students.

Photo by Scott Cook

This past year, the Hamilton Holt School joined forces with Orange County Public Schools to form the Pathways to Teaching program, which provides teaching aides with a clear path to securing classrooms of their own.

Photo by Scott Cook

This past March in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Rollins campus turned quiet as we shifted to the important work of creating a dynamic, engaging virtual experience for our students. We rose to that challenge and continued to deliver a liberal arts education that fostered collaboration and connectedness in a community of people that transcends place.

Without missing a beat, Rollins faculty and staff created remote, real-time learning environments in powerful virtual spaces, where one-on-one attention and discussion-based classes remained at the forefront of the Rollins experience.

From virtual environments near and far, eight faculty teamed up to create a course, Understanding COVID-19, in which students learned in real time about the pandemic across multiple disciplines, from biology and business to anthropology and public health.

Fox Day sure looked different this year but nonetheless held onto its cachet as the best day of the year. From hot-tub dips against winter backdrops to epic bike rides, Rollins students made it a Fox Day to remember.

Photo by Bill Doster

Issac Gorres ’21 was one of just 396 students from a pool of more than 5,000 applicants to earn a 2020 Goldwater Scholarship, the country’s most prestigious undergraduate science award.

English major Gabby Shepherd ’22 lent her voice to the complex fight for racial equality and justice in a debate hosted by the Jamaica Association for Debating and Empowerment that took place weeks after the tragic killing of George Floyd.

For the class of 2020, the long-awaited commencement walk—that crowning moment of their college careers—was thwarted by a global event that will likely define a generation. But it didn’t stop them from celebrating their many achievements during Rollins’ first-ever virtual graduation ceremony, whether it was from an empty beach or a lovingly decorated living room.

Photo by Scott Cook

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