Rollins College Announces 2015 Commencement Speakers

Writer, producer, and disabilities advocate Janis Hirsch ’72 will address the Class of 2015 at this year’s commencement ceremony.

Janis Hirsch ’72 will deliver the keynote address at Rollins’ 125th commencement ceremony, which will be held on Sunday, May 10.

Hirsch got her start working for television productions in New York on the National Lampoon show Lemmings, starring John Belushi, Christopher Guest, and Chevy Chase. It wasn’t long before she relocated to Los Angeles to write for Square Pegs, starring a 16-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker. During this time, Hirsch wrote her first television pilot under the tutelage of Norman Lear, and then moved to the iconic It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. She went on to write and produce for Anything But Love, LA Law, The Nanny, Frasier (for which she was nominated for an Emmy in 1993), Bette, My Wife and Kids, Will & Grace, ’Til Death, and Brothers.

In addition to television, Hirsch has contributed to theatrical presentations, including Hairspray and David Lee’s production of Can-Can, as well as Bette Midler’s tours and shows; rewritten several feature films, including Girls Just Want to Have Fun; and contributed to several books of humor and publications like National Lampoon magazine, The New York Times, and its parody, Not The New York Times.

She is currently working on two books (a memoir and a self-help), and she contributes the “No, YOU Shut Up and Drive” column for the award-winning VroomGirls.com.

Having had polio as a child, Hirsch is active in post-polio awareness and devotes much of her time to promoting and supporting the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream television and films. She is particularly proud of her work as a board member of Faith In America, which is dedicated to ending religious-based bigotry in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual communities. 

The commencement ceremony for the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Professional Studies will begin at 10 a.m. in the Alfond Sports Center.

Crummer Graduate School of Business

Sam Hocking ’87 has been named the commencement speaker for the MBA school’s 58th ceremony, which will be held on Saturday, May 2.

Hocking is the founder and CEO of iMatchative Inc., a San Francisco–based technology company whose groundbreaking AltX platform harnesses deep data, behavioral science, and proprietary algorithms to seamlessly match investors and hedge funds. Hocking’s vision for iMatchative was inspired by industries ranging from book selling to movie rentals to online dating—all of which have been transformed by data analytics. Along with iMatchative’s team of top-ranking academics and finance experts, Hocking is leading a revolution in the hedge fund market, bringing Silicon Valley–style creativity and innovation to the venerable institutions of Wall Street.

Hamilton Holt School

Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell will give the keynote address for the evening school’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9.

Three times a week, his column, “Taking Names,” focuses on hot topics and people who make a difference in Central Florida—for better and worse. He particularly enjoys telling readers what the politicians do not. He started his column in 2002, and his work has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Business Writers and Editors, and others. He has also been voted “Best Columnist” by readers of Orlando Magazine, Orlando Weekly, and the Sentinel.


For more information about commencement, visit rollins.edu/commencement.