Saturday, March 31, 2012

Impromptu drum show on Stetson campus!

Stetson Fans check out the 2012 Stetson Crew Video!

Stetson Softball vs. Savannah State Highlights

Hatter softball highlights vs. Savannah State plus team public service announcement for strikeout cancer day

Bringing the Law to Life

Luz Nagle - an inspirational Professor of the Stetson University Law School

Stetson University Events Watch

Students Model the U.S. Senate

StetsonU students, from left, Chloe Hill, Jeremy Rill and Spence Purnell portray U.S. senators as they participate in the 41st annual Floyd M. Riddick United States Model Senate. (Photos by Sam Pineas '13, Stetson University Marketing social media intern)

Business suits, briefcases, bills and legislative rules were the order of the day as 100 students from Stetson University and eight other colleges and universities from across the country convened at Stetson as the Floyd M. Riddick United States Model Senate from March 15-17.

The 41st annual Model Senate sessions were filled with students voting and responding in accordance with the thoughts and views of their respected senators they portrayed during Model Senate. Model Senate is a completely student-led event on Stetson campus. In addition to Stetson, participating students were from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., Bridgewater (Mass.) State University, the University of Florida and Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., and Valdosta (Ga.) State University.

Founded in 1971 by Stetson Political Science Professor T. Wayne Bailey and then-political science student John Fraser, Stetson’s Model U.S. Senate is the nation’s oldest collegiate level Model Senate.

The experience allowed the students “to take an active role in the American legislative process, rather than learn through the traditional classroom model,” said Stetson Associate Professor of Political Science David Hill.

The annual exercise in politics and governance opened with a reception featuring Hill, Stetson alumna Betsey Palmer and Stetson Provost Beth Paul. An analyst with the Congressional Research Service, Palmer has served for seven years as Model Senate’s official parliamentarian. She shared Riddick’s Rules of Procedure, the parliamentary procedure including rules, ethics and customs followed by the U.S. Senate. Stetson student John Kahle, who portrayed Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, said Palmer’s overview was helpful because the rules are different than the Robert’s Rules of Order style normally used by Stetson’s Student Government Association.

Kahle noted that senators should say “I yield my time” after addressing Madame President on the floor. Madame President was portrayed by Stetson student Jill Brownfield, who portrayed U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, D-Del. Stetson student Dudley Joseph, who portrayed Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said the presentation “provided a different perspective and snapshot of an actual senate session” and showed the “real-world procedures and history of Senate.”

Congressional commentator and alumnus Craig Crawford addresses the Model Senate.
Stetson alumnus and current president of the Florida Senate Mike Haridopolos was one of two guest speakers for Model Senate. Haridopolos entered politics in 2000 and was elected to Florida Senate in 2003.

“He was very personable and humble toward us,” said Stetson student Ady Goss, who portrayed Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota. “One thing he said that I really liked was to not run for office for the title, but to run for government because you care.”

Alumnus Craig Crawford was the other guest speaker, on March 15. Crawford is a congressional expert and analyst who has written several books on political issues. His most recent, The Politics of Life, is about Machiavellian outlooks on current political issues. “His talk addressed some of the media’s responsibilities and actions in the political sphere,” said Brownfield.

On March 16, the student-senators gathered in the Stetson Room for a day-long journey in transforming into their chosen senators and political parties. The morning news and briefing began what became a day of intense debate over bill mock-ups the senators voted up or down. Bills included the highly controversial topics in the Senate of oil and immigration.

After morning Party Caucus and party decisions on the various bills, the senators reconvened in the Stetson Room to begin the debate. Information was provided in colored binders distributed by each party’s executive assistant on the floor. Minority Leader Beth Lukas, who portrayed Mitch Connell, R-Kent., and the Assistant Minority Leader, Robbie Jones, who portrayed Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., would address Madame President and vice versa when talking about the bills. Both parties have a leader and an assistant leader. The language used carefully followed Riddick’s Rules of Procedure and was very professional and traditional.

“I would like to thank Dr. Bailey, Dr. Hill, and Dr. (Anne) Hallum for providing a rare experience to take what we learn in a classroom and apply it in an education simulation such as Model Senate,” said Lukas, who said she enjoyed having two roles as director of Model Senate and also participating as a senator. She hopes next year that Jones, her successor, will be able to get a sitting or recent senator to speak and will carry on this student-led tradition at Stetson.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Past meets future at Athletics ceremony

Guests sign a football helmet, soccer ball and lacrosse stick to signify the joint use of the new athletics complex. From left are President Wendy Libby, Women’s Soccer Coach Julie Orlowski, student-athlete Carolyn Boyd, mascot John B. (in back), Board Chair Butch Paul and Football Coach Roger Hughes (front right).

A dozen Stetson University football players from the 1940s and ’50s and a young recruit for next year’s return of Hatter Football were special guests at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Athletics Complex being built on the northeast side of campus.

Under beautiful blue skies with the backdrop of a partly-constructed Athletics Field House and four fields, the future of sports at Stetson – and even the university itself – were celebrated Friday afternoon, March 23, before a crowd of student-athletes, coaches, Athletics and other university staff, faculty, trustees, advisory board members, Hatter alumni and company representatives involved with the project.

“Our Strategic Map says that our central focus is to focus innovation to drive Stetson from success to significance. This is one in a series of choices that enables us to grow and prosper and that makes us a successful and significant university,” President Wendy Libby said in her remarks. “This is a real treat to see our dream come true!”

Other speakers included Director of Athletics Jeff Altier, softball player and Student Athlete Advisory Committee President Carolyn Boyd, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Julie Orlowski, Head Football Coach Roger Hughes, DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Harlan “Butch” Paul.

Since construction is already well under way, and to signify the joint use of the new complex by Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Football and Women’s Lacrosse, attendees were invited to sign a lacrosse stick, a football helmet and a soccer ball that will be displayed in the new Field House.
The most touching moments of the occasion involved recognizing the former football players in attendance and taking a photo of the group with new coaches Hughes and Brian Young and a recruit. Hughes shared stories from the old-timers and said recruiting for the first group of football players has far exceeded initial expectations – with 82 players committed so far, with an average GPA of 3.5.

The $6.7 million athletics complex, to include two practice fields for football, a game-day field and separate practice field for soccer and lacrosse, and a Field House with a strength-and-conditioning center to be used by all Stetson athletes, is being built as Stetson brings back football and adds Women’s Lacrosse and Sand Volleyball as intercollegiate sports. The new facilities, along with the relocation of the Intramural Sports playing fields to the Rinker Field in the center of campus, will benefit all student-athletes, Altier said. The complex will open in August.

“This expansion initiative from the start was planned to be and continues to be a ‘win-win’ for the current and future campus community,” Altier said.

Alumni football players from the 1940s and ‘50s pose with football coaches Brian Young and Roger Hughes, kneeling, from left, and mascot John B. The former players standing from left to right are Ed Mason, Tom Allerton, Jim Dreggors, Keith Shamrock, Vic Muzii, Coach Bill Peck, Pete Brainard, Bill Orr, Bob Peck, Bobby Marks and Nick Triantafellu Jr.

The addition of the three sports is key to increasing vibrancy and boosting school spirit as Stetson increases undergraduate enrollment over the next few years. Orlowski thanked Libby and the Board of Trustees for making the vision a reality and said “Women’s sports at this institution are going to get a lot better.”

Representing the students, Boyd said, “We’re excited for the entire Athletic Department to grow. We hope this will bring more school spirit.”

Mayor Apgar commented on the additional staff Stetson will hire to support the programs and the partnership between the city of DeLand and the university to play football games at Spec Martin Stadium. Home games will attract alumni and other people to DeLand. “It’s a huge economic addition to our community,” he said.

“The excitement here on campus is nice to see. But it’s not just on campus – it’s in the community and with our alumni,” added Board Chairman Paul.

The ceremonial groundbreaking brought some light moments, too. President Libby noted that it will be nice to have real bathrooms – rather than portable ones – for soccer games now. And Paul reminded the audience of last fall’s various “Tailgating 101” classes at alumni events across the country. He attended one in Miami.

“We are prepared to tailgate,” Paul said. “We’ve learned how to do it, and we’re looking forward to doing it here in DeLand!”

The Climb: Copeland sets incredible goal

Stetson Business Professor Rick Copeland and
his daughter, Dr. Beth Ann Sastre '96,
on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Enduring subzero temperatures, rain and heavy winds, relentless fatigue and decreasing oxygen levels, Business Professor Rick Copeland and his daughter reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro as dawn broke on New Year’s morning.

“The sunrise was gorgeous. You could see the roof of Africa and the curvature of the Earth,” recalled Copeland. “I was so tired, but relieved and euphoric.”

“To watch that sun come up on a new year and realize what I had done, I realized I could do anything,” said Copeland’s daughter, Dr. Beth Ann Sastre, a 1996 Stetson alumna who is now a general internist and professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

A year before their amazing journey, Copeland, 64, thought it was too late to fulfill his lifelong dream of climbing Kilimanjaro. He’d had three knee operations and a heart stent procedure. For Christmas 2010, his daughter gave him a book about a man who climbed the famed mountain at age 70. He read it cover to cover that day. Shortly after, he said to his daughter, “We’re going.”

Copeland started training Feb. 1, 2010, after getting the all-clear from his doctors. He jogged the stairs of the six-story Lynn Business Center 28 times, up and down, several times a week – the equivalent of 140 flights of stairs or nearly double the Empire State Building. And he climbed a mountain near his second home in southwest Virginia. Sastre also got into great physical shape – stair-climbing, strength-training and biking.

Copeland training inside
 Lynn Business Center stairwell
The pair had hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail together every summer, and both had climbed smaller mountains. They called on every bit of that training and experience for their ascent and descent of the 19,000-plus-foot Kilimanjaro.

“You can do more than you think you can,” Copeland said, “but in anything you do in life you’ve got to decide if you’re committed.”

Traveling with a group of nine other climbers and six guides, they embarked Dec. 27.

“For the first three days, it rained on us steadily,” said Copeland, the oldest in the group by 24 years. “The higher we climbed, it got colder and harder as you experienced the lack of oxygen. Then, there was the relentless wind and fatigue — it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

“And I hope it will always be the hardest thing I ever have to do,” added Sastre, 37, who majored in Biology and Spanish as a Stetson undergraduate. Most in the group were dizzy and nauseated, and some were vomiting from altitude sickness as they climbed the final six-hour leg. “Every step was a mental decision,” Sastre said. She and her dad stuck together for the last 20 feet. When they reached the top, “it was spectacular,” she said. “To be able to watch him accomplish this lifelong dream – it was just really inspiring.”

At Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro’s highest point, Copeland stands wearing a T-shirt for Stetson student Jared Penney, who has been paralyzed since 2010 from a spinal cord injury.
There were many other payoffs for the hard climb, as well. Copeland continued beyond the first summit to the highest summit, named Uhuru Peak. He was inspired to press on for Stetson student Jared Penney, who has been paralyzed since 2010 due to transverse myelitis (a spinal cord injury) and is still recovering, but is back in school this semester. A photo was snapped of Copeland wearing a T-shirt with Penney’s name at Uhuru.

Also on the climb up, the group walked past lava fields and massive boulders where Kili had once blown its top – which Copeland likened to walking on the face of the moon. And on New Year’s Eve in the dark, he was awestruck by the view. “All the stars in the sky were knockout explosive bright. And then from one end of the horizon to the other, you saw the Milky Way. There were thousands of stars,” he said. “It was just unbelievable.”

God was with him every step of the journey, Copeland said. “I spent a lot of that last day in prayer. I believe I got part way up the mountain, but God got me all the way up the mountain.” Now back to campus following sabbatical in the fall and then the trip, Copeland said he has many lessons to pass along to his students and colleagues. An attorney and professor, he’s in his 36th year teaching business law and tax at Stetson University.

“You can do more than you think you can,” Copeland said. “But in anything you do in life you’ve got to decide if you’re committed. If I had not done every bit of preparation I did – every bit – I would not have made it to the top… When you set a goal, and you believe in it, and you put your heart and soul into it and you accomplish it – or do as much as you could – nobody can take that away from you.”

Sunrise at Gilman's Point
Penney, the student who inspired Copeland’s push to make it to the highest summit of Kilimanjaro, was “caught completely off-guard” when he received a letter and matching T-shirt from his former professor at Christmas. Adjusting to paralysis has been a daily struggle, Penney said, but he’s happy to be back at school in pursuit of his own professional and personal goals and is looking forward to seeing his former professor in the Lynn Business Center. “It’s very cool,” he said of Copeland’s climb. “I guess I inspired him some, and he in turn reciprocated that with his success.”

Copeland in front of glaciers at Uhuru Peak
Another Copeland student, senior Matt Gold, was excited to hear his professor’s story in class at the start of the semester. “The training was mind-blowing,” said Gold, a Business Management major and Business Law minor from Boca Raton. “I’m young, and I can’t imagine it. He said he was 64 years old and that the next oldest climber was 40. I think that’s amazing. It also teaches us a lesson. When he commits to something, he goes at it 110 percent. My grandfather is 89 and still works. It’s great to know there are certain people who won’t allow anything to get in the way and slow them down.”

Civil Rights Travel Course-Summer 2012

Interested in a Civil Rights Travel Course over the summer? 

For students and staff: Interested in traveling to cities such as Nashville, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Selma? Interested in visiting civil rights museums and speaking with Movement leaders?

Come to the information session on Thursday, March 29, at 4 p.m. in Allen Hall 103.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Greg Sapp

Mayan week, April 3rd to the 5th

With so much focus on the Mayan calendar and 2012 this year, Stetson University’s Latin American studies program and Artists and Lecturers Committee have planned a Mayan Week, April 3 through 5, featuring a lecture by a Maya cultural activist, a demonstration by a Maya weaver and showing of a film. All programs are free and open to the public.

Details of Mayan Week include:
Tuesday, April 3, 7 p.m. – “The Mayan World at the Close of the 13th B’ak’tun,” a presentation by “Kaxhin” Gaspar González, in the Rinker Auditorium of the Lynn Business Center, 345 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. Guatemalan Maya (Q’anjob’al language) cultural activist Gaspar González is the most prolific of all contemporary Maya writers and is widely considered to be the first Maya novelist. “Kaxhin” is his Guatemalan name. In addition to his published scholarly works, poetry and painting, González has written the only book about the year 2012 by a Maya author: 13 Bak’tun: Mayan Visions of 2012 and Beyond. The book was published in 2011 and was translated into English by Stetson Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Dr. Robert Sitler.
Wednesday, April 4, 7 p.m. – A showing of the film “What do the Maya say about 2012?” in the duPont-Ball Library, lower level, Room 25, accessed from the Nemec Courtyard on the north side of the library, 134 E. Minnesota Ave., DeLand.
Thursday, April 5, 7 p.m. – “A Mayan Life: An Evening with Nicolasa Jerónimo” (Maya weaver) in the duPont-Ball Library, lower level, Room 25, accessed from the Nemec Courtyard on the north side of the library, 134 E. Minnesota Ave., DeLand.

Jerónimo is a master weaver from the Mam-speaking Mayan community of Todos Santos Cucumatan. This will be an intimate evening to listen to her life story while she demonstrates the fine art of textile creation.

Maya weaver Nicolasa Jeronimo will share her life story while she demonstrates the fine art of textile creation at StetsonU Thursday, April 5.
Sitler, director of Stetson’s Latin American studies program and author of The Living Maya: Ancient Wisdom in the Era of 2012, is an expert on the Maya and 2012. After earning his Ph.D. at The University of Texas atAustin, where he studied under the famous Mayanist Linda Schele, Sitler has spent the past 35 years experiencing life with the people of Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. He has spent time in 13 language groups of the 30 Maya languages.
Sitler is perhaps the only scholar who’s interviewed the Maya people about 2012 and the cultural misperceptions over the Maya and the 2012 calendar. He is part of a global movement to educate people about the truth related to the Maya and 2012: that the calendar will not end (a large cycle will come to an end, but a new cycle starts the next day); that the Maya have never said the world is going to end; and that the Maya people are still alive and well. His website, Maya Perspectives on 2012, can be found at:

For more information about Mayan Week at Stetson, contact Robert Sitler at (386) 822-7281 or

IMPACT Conference starts tomorrow

Stetson University will host the 28th annual IMPACT Conference, a national conference focusing on service, civic engagement and advocacy, Thursday, March 29, through Sunday, April 1. About 600 college students, faculty and staff members from all over theUnited States are planning to attend, including 150 Stetson students.

Registration is still open; information: The cost is $190 for students; $200 non-students.

Participants attend workshops on a wide variety of subjects, seeking common ground across issues, ideology, geography and philosophy of social change for the annual conference. Conservative, moderate and liberal students attend, addressing issues such as hunger and homelessness, climate change, community economic development, health and global topics.

“Stetson has had representatives at the Impact Conference for at least six years, and our participation has strengthened our commitment to the community, the natural environment, diversity and efforts toward social justice,” said Savannah-Jane Griffin, associate director of Community Engagement at Stetson. “We’re looking forward to welcoming others who share our values and want to learn how to make an impact on the world.”

The conference will feature internationally known speakers and 80 workshops. Speakers include master teacher and enthusiastic communicator Dr. Adolph Brown, aka “The World’s Greatest Edu-tainer,” recognized as one ofAmerica’s leading authorities on Educational Excellence and Leadership Development and a panel of speakers focusing on immigration and farm workers’ rights.

Stetson will present seven of the workshops, including a modern-day slavery panel discussion featuring students, faculty, and human services organizations; Politics 101: How to elect the change you want; “Education Under Fire” addressing the right to education in Iran; and “Heroes are Made: The Motivation Within” focusing on building leadership skills and motivation in difficult situations.

An Opportunities Fair will give national nonprofit organizations a chance to promote internships, job and volunteer opportunities.

As a kick-off to the conference, a group of conference attendees will take a trip to Lake Woodruff and Deleon Springs to participate in a service project where they will learn about the invasive species that are affecting our local ecosystem.

“The different programs offer ways to get more involved in specific issues and to make an impact on your community and explain how to get other students involved and how to mobilize,”Griffin said. “It’s also a great networking opportunity for students because they’re around people who are passionate about the same things they are.”

Stetson has a strong commitment to service-learning and civic engagement through its academic courses, and many student organizations provide service to the community through extracurricular activities. The university has hosted a number of conferences, including the 2011 IMPACT Conference and the Bonner Summer Leadership Institute in 2009. Through a partnership with the philanthropic Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J., Stetson supports an active Bonner Scholars program that involves undergraduates in service learning, community engagement and leadership training. Stetson is the only Bonner school in Florida.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Accepted Student Day 2010: Stetson University

Zoologist Peter May shares passion

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) at coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) in May's backyard. “My motivations come from an inborn exuberance at encountering the novel and the neat in nature. A childlike wonder, if you will.” - Excerpt from Emeralda Mornings – A Year in the Wetlands, 2000, by Dr. Peter May

It was a cool spring morning in northern Virginia and 9-year-old Peter was absorbing the early sun as he meandered down the country road near his home in historic Manassas. He peeled and poked his stick into the new spring ground, curious to what the cold winter had left behind. Raised in a military family, Peter Gregory May was taught to appreciate the smallest of things that living free offered him. Continuing his stroll, he looked up at the tiny buds on the apple trees that lined the road. The attractive pink blossoms weren’t the only things that pleased his young wide-eyed glance; there was a delightful yellow he hadn’t before seen.

Hundreds of warblers had blanketed the trees. Young Peter had encountered a large bright gold migration wave feeding on the blossoms after their long northern flight home. It would be a cherished memory that would influence him on a lifelong journey to discover more of nature’s charming creatures. That memory from Prince William County, Va., along with others collected in North Carolina and Hawaii – places where Peter’s Marine father would move his family while answering to the call of duty – would be as strong today as the impression it made almost 45 years ago.

“I really never considered myself a ‘science nerd’ growing up,” said May, “but I did like school, and like most kids, loved the outdoors and fishing with my dad. I was also fascinated with butterflies and flowers. I think I was about 14 when I first held a set of binoculars. They were a neighbor’s. Seeing the detail of birds and other animals changed things for me.” Not realizing it at the time, May always tried to find an excuse to be outside. Studying ecology was just a means to the end. “It wasn’t like I intentionally set out to go into this field. It just happened. It wasn’t until grad school, and having opportunities like taking a class with Archie Carr (the extraordinary father of sea turtle conservation), when I actually knew this was what I wanted to do for a living. I was fortunate to go on several field trips with Dr. Carr in his later years and witnessed him jumping onto a rather long, Coachwhip snake while much younger students and assistants looked on.” May described Carr as humble, down-to-earth and very sharp, similar qualities May himself shares.

A Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) taken at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge.
After completing his freshman and sophomore years at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C., May graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., with a Bachelor’s in Biology (1977) and a Master’s in Biology (1979). His thesis was on the “Secondary succession and breeding bird community structure in the eastern deciduous forest formation.” He then earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in ’85 in Zoology. His dissertation was “Foraging selectivity in adult butterflies: Morphological, physiological, and ecological factors affecting flower choice.”

Professor May has conducted field research and published, or co-authored, numerous papers on herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles), ornithology (the study of birds) and entomology (the study of insects). Over the years, he has also appeared in popular publications such as Reptile and Amphibian Magazine with Dr. Terry Farrell and on the National Geographic Channel. This is because May spends many days in the field with his students, or his camera, indulging in the wildlife at any one of a dozen favorite spots he frequents. (In addition to locations stated in the photo captions, May and his students frequent Lake Woodruff, Lake Monroe Park, Beresford County Park, Paisley Road, Lake Dias and any of the springs and wetland areas of the St. Johns River Water Management District.) And when he’s not busy with classes or research, he may just be holding, in place of his D7000 Nikon, a copy of anything written by one of his preferred writers: Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates or William Styron.

May’s love for photography runs deep and is a natural counterpart to Biology research and teaching, which started for May at UF in 1979 where he taught evolution, vertebrate anatomy, general biology, pollination ecology, cells and organisms, and genetics. “It’s difficult to pinpoint what my favorite subject is to photograph,” said May, “but birds are pretty much near the top because, aesthetically, they are unsurpassed by any other life form.” May reported that even with a 500 mm lens at a shutter speed set at 1/500 – 1/1000 and an ISO set at 1600, one can rarely capture a perfect shot in natural light of the impressive fast-twitch movers. And his favorite bird species? Corvus brachyrhynchos, the American Crow. “Despite being viewed by most people as a pest species,” said May, “their behaviors are so complex. Crows are extremely aware, highly social, and their vocalization is quite varied with caws and rattles. I’ve heard sounds I didn’t know crows were capable of making. They never cease to amaze me.”


Naturalist Peter May views slides of his favorite subject.
Stetson University was supposed to be a one-year appointment for May. He was hired in ’88 to temporarily fill the position of Dr. Keith Hansen ’49 following his retirement. Twenty-four years later, May leads lectures and laboratory instruction that have impacted Stetson’s Biology program and the many students who have been fortunate to take one of his classes or have him as an advisor.

“Dr. May taught me how to think critically, write scientifically, research independently and reject mediocrity,” said Biology graduate John Rand ’07. “He was my faculty advisor, and has continued to be an invaluable source of information, and friend, as I complete my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from UF this May. I appreciate good professors very much and can’t adequately articulate how thankful I am for Dr. May’s guidance, not only in Biology, but in all things.” Rand, who admits using May’s photography to assist in identifying species of orphaned and injured local wildlife in a clinical setting, and for his desktop wallpaper, plans to return to DeLand following graduation to work at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital.

“Professor May instills an appreciation for experiencing the great outdoors,” said Biology and Religious Studies double major Rachel Burnett ’12, for whom Dr. May served as academic advisor and senior research advisor to her wading-bird and hydrology study. “Both in the classroom and in the field, Dr. May has an unparalleled enthusiasm for his work and the natural world. As I continue my studies in plant and forest biology at graduate school, I take with me a better understanding of the various interactions between plants, birds and natural resources.”

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) captured at George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia. “I waited for over 30 years to get decent photo ops with this beautiful canopy species.The best part of the experience was that my father was with me when I finally got my shots.”
“Dr. May helped me out when I ran into problems,” said Biology and Environmental Science graduate Sam Rabin ’09, “but he knew and trusted me enough as my primary mentor for my senior thesis project to let me handle most everything on my own. This independence really boosted my confidence as a researcher, and prepared me for my current position.” Rabin is in his second year of his Ph.D. in Princeton’s department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (studying global fire modeling). Rabin added, “Dr. May’s expertise and enthusiasm in Ornithology pushed me to consider myself a ‘birder.’ I continue the hobby today in a great birding location, and interact with professional avian ecologists.”

Nature is May’s church. “I have magnificent feelings of awe when I’m outdoors,” said May, “and I just love introducing students and others to the environment and its abundant species.” May explains his love for soaking up nature’s beauty as one of life’s inexhaustible pleasures in his 300-page manuscript titled Emeralda Mornings that was completed on a nature sabbatical in 2002.

Not many things in life are certain; however, for this Stetson professor, whether he is enjoying the elegance of the Ruby- crowned Kinglet or Golden Phoebis butterflies from his own backyard in DeLand or hearing the singing of a Bobolink flock at a distance buried in thick vegetation completely obscured from sight at Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area in Eustis, Fla., what is certain for Peter May, he is never bored with nature and forever impressed.

Green Symposium registration

Note: This release is from Volusia County Government

The fourth annual Green Symposium, The Green Edge: Innovation and Sustainability, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 13, at Stetson University’s Lynn Business Center. The symposium is hosted by the Volusia County Office of Sustainability and Energy Management, Lake County, Stetson University and the City ofDeLand.

Sessions will focus on new opportunities in sustainability, energy use and conservation, and natural resource management. The event will offer continuing education credits and will include an exhibition of products and services. A student-focused component is designed to prepare students for internships and job opportunities and to build networking skills.

Keynote speaker Cynthia Barnett is a long-time journalist who has reported on freshwater issues from the Suwannee River to Singapore. She is the author of “Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis,” which was named one of the best science books of 2011 by the Boston Globe. Another of Barnett’s books, “Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.,” won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was named one of the top 10 books every Floridian should read.

Symposium topics include Implementing Autogas as a Zero Compromise Energy Fuel; Sustainable Return on Investment: A Triple Bottom Line Decision Making Framework; Developing a Strategic Plan for Energy Savings; A Florida Case Study of Land Development, Energy and Water; Developing and Implementing a Successful Internship Program; Designing and Managing Urban Developments for Biodiversity; Producing bio-fuel from organic material using a portable thermochemical processing unit ; Renewable Energy; and Energy Conservation Technologies.

The event is sponsored by Progress Energy, HDR Engineering, Florida Green Building Coalition, Florida Propane Gas Safety, Education and Research Council, Florida Power & Light Co. the Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition and Florida Department of Transportation reThink program.

Registration is $70 per person and includes breakfast and lunch. Continuing education credits are available. Space is limited. For more information and to register, contact Stetson University’s Office of Continuing Education at or 386-822-7500, or visit

National recognition for community service

Stetson students and staff glean orange groves
in Apopka, Fla., in January.
The oranges were donated to Central Florida homeless shelters.

Stetson University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the sixth consecutive year for its commitment to bettering the world through community service and service learning.

Stetson is one of 642 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the honor given by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). It has been named to the honor roll every year since the program began in 2006.

“We are so honored to be included on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll again this year,” said Savannah-Jane Griffin, associate director of Community Engagement. “Community service and outreach have long been a part of Stetson’s mission, and in 2011, we took that commitment further by making ‘fostering civic and community engagement’ a top priority in our new three-year strategic plan.”

In the 2010-11 academic year, 2,421 Stetson students provided 90,942 hours of community service –mentoring and tutoring at-risk youth, providing pro bono legal service, removing invasive plant species from a national wildlife refuge and state parks, teaching English to migrant farm workers and advocating for social justice and human rights. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program students provided 104 mid- to low-income residents with tax-return assistance. Stetson embraced the New Horizons Service Dogs Program, in which 20 students, faculty, staff and alumni raised service puppies for training and partnering with disabled individuals. Students raised more than $53,000 for disaster relief, cancer research, scholarships and nonprofit organizations.

The university also has a major commitment to service-learning through its academic courses; faculty members involve their students in the community to address real-world problems. Service is infused into the life of the university under multiple academic and co-curricular programs and offices including the Center for Community Engagement, the Community Engagement Council, the Bonner Scholars program and the Marchman Program for Civic and Social Responsibility, along with partnerships with organizations including Florida Campus Compact and AmeriCorps.

“Beyond community service, students donated blood; hosted professional development workshops for community partners; recycled 234,000 pounds of paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic; circulated petitions; and marched, walked, danced, ran and fasted for causes,”Griffin said. “Students made a difference on campus, in the community and around the globe.”

CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with theU.S.departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen on factors such as the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

“Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community,” said Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS. “We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities.”

“Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap,” said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education. “The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact – both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we’ll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead.”

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community

An inspiring MBA

MBA grad Julie Shi, second from left, and her family. Husband Craig is beside her. In back are Justin and Racheal, both 16. In front are Hunter, 10, left, and Breanna, 11, on the end. The oldest, Kayla, 21, is not pictured. 

The instant Julie Shi earned her MBA in December, she already had a great job – being mom to five children – the same job she had when she earned her BBA in 2010.

“It doesn’t allow me to make lots of money, but it does pay great dividends,” said Shi, of Kissimmee, Fla.

Unlike most business students’ career plans, Shi isn’t climbing corporate ladders or entrepreneuring her way to success. Instead, she wants to inspire her family.

“I have a goal that all five of my children graduate from college and end the poverty cycle and lack of education in my family,” she said. “Even though my kids grew up in a trailer park, they don’t have to be the trailer park.”

Money was a problem when, at 32, Shi began the Degree Completion Program at Stetson’s Center at Celebration. Stetson’s financial aid staff helped her work out a realistic plan.

“My first day at Stetson, I left my five children at our trailer home with my husband, a corrections officer who supported us all on his salary. I knew we had no extra money to spend, yet I felt compelled to complete my education.”

Adopted at birth by South Florida parents who divorced a few years later, Shi entered adulthood as a ward of the state, and her education was patchy after the sixth grade. There were times she “lived on the street,” she said. In bits and pieces, she earned a GED and began her quest for higher education despite the challenges of being an at-risk teen.

“I had nothing, really nothing, to lose and everything to gain,” she said. “Education is something that can never be taken away. I think that’s what motivated me.”

Moving from one low-paying job to another, she took community college classes until, twice-divorced and a single mom at 26, she finally found stability in her marriage to Craig Shi, a single father.

“The addition of two more children to care for did not end my desire to complete my degree, but it never seemed the right time,” said Shi. Her priorities shifted when her biological mother, whom she had met two years before, died at age 50.

“It made me realize how short and precious life really is,” said Shi. She stopped procrastinating and enrolled.

Despite the financial challenges, her family, she said, has been 100 percent supportive.

“My husband is fabulous. He thinks I am superwoman,” Shi said. “He would stop at nothing to assist me in completing my goals.”

And those goals are right on track.

Craig Shi and their oldest daughter are working on bachelor’s degrees. Their oldest son is a dual-enrolled high school senior nearing completion of an associate degree. Shi has applied to two doctoral programs. Her efforts to inspire her family and be an at-home mother are enough for now, but she is interested in teaching or working with at-risk teens.

“My education has allowed me to dream,” she said. “Stetson has completely transformed my life.”

About 75 BBA degrees have been earned in the Degree Completion Program since it began in 2005, and some 20 students are now enrolled. About half a dozen graduates of the program have gone on to earn Stetson MBAs.

After earning her MBA, Shi wrote a long thank you letter to Stetson President Wendy B. Libby and copied almost half the faculty of the School of Business Administration who had helped her succeed.

“Thank you for pouring yourselves into me in every class in order that I could be successful at my goal of becoming an educated individual,” she wrote. “Please remember what a valuable asset you are to society and how you have so much ability to effect change in people’s lives.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stetson Law No.1 for trial advocacy

Charles Rose, professor of excellence in trial advocacy, prepares alumni Peterson St.Philippe and Rachel Ledet to be professional advocates.
Gulfport, Fla. –U.S. News & World Report has again ranked Stetson University College of Law as the top law school in the nation for trial advocacy and No. 3 for legal writing in its 2013 “Best Graduate Schools” issue.
Stetson Law has been ranked the top school in the United States for advocacy 14 times and has consistently ranked among the top programs for legal writing by U.S. News.
“Stetson has again been recognized as a leader in creating exceptional advocates and communicators,” said Stetson President Wendy B. Libby. “We take great pride in preparing our students to make significant contributions, both to their communities and to their professions.”
“At Stetson, we live, work and play in an environment that nurtures excellence,” said Charles H. Rose III, professor of excellence in trial advocacy at Stetson. “Our students, faculty and staff are committed to achieving excellence by working ethically, studying hard and doing the right thing even when no one is watching. This bedrock belief is the core of the Stetson advocacy experience.”
“The legal writing curriculum and faculty scholarship at Stetson addresses head-on the communication challenges facing new lawyers in an increasingly complex practice environment,” said Professor Kirsten K. Davis, Stetson’s director of legal research and writing. “Being recognized by our peers for this dedication to legal communication is a great honor.”
To read more about the graduate school rankings, visit To learn more about Stetson’s advocacy program, visit Stetson’s website at

Bringing the Law to Life

This video highlights the teaching style and legal expertise of Stetson Law Professor Luz Nagle. Professor Nagle specializes in international law and international criminal law. Her unique career prior to teaching includes confronting drug lords as a judge in Medellí­n, Colombia, working as an undercover private investigator in Southern California, clerking for the Supreme Court of Virginia, and pursuing software pirates in Latin America for Microsoft Corporation.

NSF Grants Strengthen Foundation

Jessica Larrabee '12 manipulates a crayfish tail
on a dissecting microscope.
 Over the past few years, Stetson faculty members, including Dr. John T. York, Dr. Michael King and Dr. Tandy Grubbs, have been hard at work writing and securing much-needed grants through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to benefit the science departments. Most recently, the NSF has awarded the university a $200,000 grant to purchase a state-of-the-art 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, which will better allow Stetson’s science professors to develop a new chemistry and biochemistry curriculum centered around hands-on labs and research. Through the NSF’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES), and its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs, Stetson will develop new ways to use NMR instrumentation in a broad range of chemistry courses.
“We’re very thrilled,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. John York, the Co-Principal Investigator for the grant. “With this piece of equipment, our goal is to expose students to world-class instrumentation and give ourstudents hands-on access and exposure to a cutting-edge research tool.”
Jacob Geri, a senior majoring in Chemistry, also expressed excitement about the update to the department, saying “I’m very excited to be able to work with this vital piece of equipment. We’ll be able to go beyond mere simulation and see and use our results. There’s really no limit.” The instrument, which has been installed, was also made possible thanks to the Marshall E. Rinker, Sr. Foundation, Inc. of West Palm Beach, which contributed $100,000 toward the purchase.
The NSF is also currently funding a $610,000 renovation of five science research labs in Sage Hall – three for Chemistry and two for Biology. Funded by a NSF grant made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the renovations started about one year ago this fall and are now almost completely finished.
Dr. Michael King, Professor of Biology, has worked as the Principal Investigator overseeing the grant writing and working with fellow faculty members including Dr. Grubbs, Dr. Melissa Gibbs, Dr. York and Dr. Camille King. “The rooms were outdated and almost unusable, so it was time for some changes,” said Dr. King. “It’s all about having safe and modern spaces within which teachers and students can collaborate.”
In 2012, the university will complete a five-year program in which the NSF is providing scholarships for students majoring in Chemistry or Physics. Grubbs composed the grant with the assistance of Co-Principal Investigators Drs. George S. Glander III and Michael King. Currently, about 300 students per year are enrolled in Chemistry and Biochemistry from at least 12 different majors.
“President Obama is depending on the NSF to help lead the nation to a new era of discovery and innovation,” said NSF Director Arden L. Bement, Jr.,“ Investments in research and education build a stronger economic foundation for the country.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama in 2009, and is an unprecedented effort to jump-start our economy, create or save millions of jobs and address long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The U.S. Department of Education states that the Recovery Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis and includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.

A Risk Worth Taking

Michael Denner poses next to a portrait
 of Russian author Tolstoy.
Stetson University Russian Studies Professor Michael Denner has always encouraged his students to take risks. Teaching by example, in June 2011, he decided to take a risk of his own and trekked across the Russian countryside with his friend and academic colleague, Thomas Newlin, a professor at Oberlin College. The two men walked 100 miles in five days from Moscow to Tula walking in the footsteps of renowned Russian author, Leo Tolstoy.
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy lived from 1828-1910, and is most famously known for his historical novel, War and Peace. He was also known as a profound religious thinker who even influenced the philosophy of Gandhi.
Because he despised spending his winters in Moscow, Tolstoy decided to take the first of many journeys in the spring of 1886, and walked 125 miles from Moscow to his estate, Yasnaya Polyana, in Tula. As soon as weather permitted and without any planning, he grabbed his boots, bag, and began walking home. Along the way, the author slept in the fields, was welcomed into strangers’ homes and took refuge in inns and the homes of his friends.
Professor Denner was inspired to duplicate Tolstoy’s trek not only to get a better understanding of the author, who has fascinated him throughout his life, but to also get a deeper understanding of the Russian people themselves.
During a recent faculty presentation in Flagler Hall, Denner constantly emphasized how welcoming the Russian people were to him. Despite being warned that he might be robbed or harassed or even hit by a car, Denner encountered only kindness coming from the Russian people. He even stated, “The tradition of Russian hospitality has not changed a bit… even the dogs were nice to us. Everybody we met loved Tolstoy.”
"Dacha for sale" is posted in front of a building in rural Russia.
At a pace of 30 miles per day, the two professors traveled through Chekhov, Serpukhov, Pushchino, and Yasnogorsk. Fighting through the aches, pains…and blisters, Denner and Newlin were determined to reach their goal.
Their walk was filled with acts of kindness by the Russian people. A closed bridge would have taken them a dozen miles out of their way if not for a stationed ambulance crew that, without hesitation, used their boat and ferried the two professors across the Oka River.
One night, the director of the Audrey Bolotov Estate (Bolotov was known as “the Thomas Jefferson of Russia”) allowed them to stay in a “shalash,” a type of grass hut. The estate director then surprised them with ‘a true Russian night.’ They stayed up until 3 a.m. eating, drinking and singing old Russian songs.
Feeling the risk was well worth it, Denner said, “Here at Stetson, I am often called upon to be something of a translator of culture and to talk about what life is like in Russia. Previously, I had only spent time in the major cities of Russia. I had a very urban understanding of Russia. And now, having seen it first hand, I have a much more complex and richer understanding of contemporary Russian life.
“I feel like a better mentor and better advisor because of this experience.”

Embrace diversity

Yvonne Chang’s Disney corporate executive portrait
 shows a familiar shadow over her shoulder.
 Cultural diversity has defined a distinctive philosophy for the success of alumna Yvonne Chang, a woman who traces her roots to Cuba and her greatest inspiration no further than her Caribbean/Chinese parents.
“All that I am and will ever be, I owe to my parents,” said Chang, MBA ’09, director of Operations Integration for Disney Vacation Development Inc.
Their values led her to believe in true love, following her dreams against all odds and giving 150 percent to achieve her goals, she said. Add loyalty, faith and deep love of family to the powerful mix and the sum is an extraordinary business and community figure who advises the School of Business and is helping select its next dean.
Chang’s formula for her success is simple: Embrace diversity.
“Diversity isn’t optional if you want to be successful. It’s essential,” Chang says of her philosophy. A basic life lesson she has learned is that humans tend to view the world through the infinite perspectives of their personal experiences.
“A successful person simply cannot let bias get in the way,” she said. “If we do not push ourselves to be open and accepting, we will sadly miss many opportunities in this world. My personal and professional successes have come from my willingness to be open to all possibilities.”
The philosophy springs from Chang’s own experience growing up in a home where three cultures were “equally celebrated” – Hispanic, Chinese and American. Her Cantonese father, SuTai Chang, met her mother, Rosa, in Havana where they married and started a family. But after losing their business to the Communist revolution, they fled the oppressive environment to seek a better life for their children in America.
That flight’s aftermath forged the shy child’s character and her values as she grew up in Washington,D.C., to become more and more aware of the deep sacrifice and purpose of her parents’ lives.
“They left Cuba and came to the United States with essentially no resources and very limited English fluency with the hope and dream of creating a better future for their children,” Chang said. “When I think of their unimaginable sacrifices, and the extraordinary challenges they overcame when they first arrived, working nearly seven days a week, it makes my heart swell.”
Yvonne Chang after her induction into the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, with husband Bill Wahl, left, and parents Rosa and SuTai Chang.
Without significant material wealth, her parents focused on a legacy that could not be lost, a key to a bright future – a good education, high integrity, strong work ethic, commitment to excellence and community. As eldest child, Chang shouldered uncommon family duties, helping handle family business, translating for her parents, helping care for younger siblings and feeling a “tremendous sense of responsibility” to be a strong role model who embodied the values of her parents.
From a very early age, she said, she began to understand that her parents’ sacrifice and hard work was all so their children could have a better life with greater opportunities.
“I became obsessed with supporting them in this goal,” she said. “It drove me and defined me.”
She was determined to give her parents the best possible “return on their investment” and to leverage to the fullest her education and opportunities. In recent years, her parents lived a few minutes away from Chang and her husband, Bill Wahl, but her mother passed away in 2011.
“I try my best to honor her each and every day by being the best human being I can possibly be,” said Chang. “Everything my parents did, and everything they stood for, has led me to this very moment in my life.”
From missiles to magic: Chang’s career
Yvonne Chang’s engineering degree from George Mason University helped her land a job with a Department of Defense engineering contractor in 1986, which included work on missile guidance systems. She went on to hold a variety of posts, from research and development to public relations, during 11 years at AT&T/Lucent Technologies.
In 1998, she took a job at Disney, a move that led to a number of roles in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including Communications and in the Multi-market Business Development division. She directed critical initiatives involving multicultural and multilingual products and services, strategic partnerships with women and minority business and civic organizations, diversity and inclusion strategies for workforce, workplace, products and services and corporate citizenship.
Chang now serves as the director of operations integration for Disney Vacation Club, which offers timeshare experiences to nearly 500,000 individual members in 50 states and nearly 100 countries. She leads a variety of operations and business areas to support the organization’s global growth.
“One of my personal passions is community involvement,” said Chang, who has in the last decade helped lead many Metro Orlando organizations, including the National Entrepreneur Center, the Hispanic Chamber, the International Affairs Commission, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, African American Chamber, Hispanic Business Initiatives Fund, Leadership Orlando and Women Unlimited.
Chang is a member of the School of Business Board of Advisors and the Business Dean Search Committee.

This weeks Events Watch Episode

Monday, March 19, 2012

YouTube executive to give talk March 22

Lucas Watson, vice president of global sales and industry marketing for Google’s Video business, which includes YouTube and Google TV Ads, will discuss the future of YouTube in business and sports business at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22.

The presentation will be held in the Rinker Auditorium inside the Lynn Business Center, 345 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand. It is free and open to the public.

Watson leads the commercial go-to-market strategy for YouTube and Google TV Ads, which include the integration of sales, industry marketing, content commercialization, and product management.

Prior to his current role, Lucas spent 17 years at Procter & Gamble, most recently as the global leader for the Digital Business & eCommerce team. Under his leadership, P&G greatly expanded its sales in the eCommerce channel, and many P&G brands such as Old Spice, Gillette, Pampers, and Tide achieved breakthrough business results because of the digital efforts.

Lucas holds a Masters in Business Administration with a major in marketing from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and a B.A. in economics and math from Hamilton College.

For more information, contact Dr. Matthew Wilson at (386) 822-8105 or

Finance in the Big Apple

Nothing beats knowing pros. Picking their brains. Staying in touch.


That’s one reason the annual trip to New York City’s financial district is so important for students in the Roland George Investment Program, says Justin Hunter, BBA ’10, an analyst for one of the world’s largest banks, the French giant BNP Paribas.

The George Program alumnus who took the trip in 2010 now is one of the growing network of NYC pros with roots in the Lynn Business Center. He was one of several finance alumni who met with students in New York in December.

“While RGIP is the premiere program for hands-on experience, nothing beats picking the brains of industry professionals,” said Hunter, whose advice to students includes three basics for success: “Network. Network. Network.

“It’s clichéd, but it’s true.”

Greg Serrago, BBA ’09, agrees. A wealth manager at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and another NYC-based George Program alum, Serrago also met with current students in December in New York. Another old piece of wisdom, he said, has been meaningful to him.

“It isn’t always what you know, rather who you know,” he said. It’s particularly applicable to George students because they know so much about finance that they’re experts before graduating. “I think the networking opportunities that exist during the NY trip are perfect ways to start a student’s professional career.”

“The New York City trip definitely boosted my professional network,” said senior Finance major Thomas Angley of DeBary. His classmate Stephen Swofford, a Finance major from Chicago, said professionals they met informally and at finance firms were congenial, helpful and “totally open” to answering questions in subsequent contacts.

Some 20 students took the four-day trip led by Dr. K.C. Ma, Roland George Investment Program director and the George Professor of Finance. They visited Harbinger Capital, Bank of New York Mellon, Merrill Lynch Prime Brokerage, the NASDAQ Stock Market, the New York Mercantile Exchange, Bank of America Securities and other financial hot spots.

The purpose of the trip, said Ma, is for students to see how the principles they study in class are practiced in the real world. Every year, numerous George Program graduates step into meaningful financial career work, proving the curriculum’s sound bearing. Many find key connections through New York contacts.

Landing a job in finance can be hard for recent graduates, said Carlos Betancourt, BBA ’08, MBA ’09. The commodities trader who specializes in metals advised students to take full advantage of networking opportunities during the trip. Ask good questions relating to the current state of the market and future investment opportunities to show the “deep understanding of investment knowledge” for which RGIP members are known.

Networking is a process that takes time to show benefits, said Hunter, who advises persistence. “Emailing the guy you had dinner with last night is great; staying in touch over time is far more important to gaining the edge with jobs or interviews,” he said.

“Stay hungry” even after landing a job, said Hunter, who mentors younger analysts and interns in his current job.

“I always tell them to ask questions and take notes. It’s incredibly important to show that you’re taking an active roll in the company. Question processes. Question the rationales behind these processes,” and take notes, too, because “sometimes one slip can create an adverse result.”

Schwarz to join Business School in June

Stetson University has selected Dr. Thomas V. Schwarz, professor and the Rick Muth Family Endowed Chair in Family Business at California State University Fullerton, as the new dean of Stetson’s School of Business Administration, effective in June.

Schwarz has extensive professional experience in both higher education and business. He has held an endowed professorship in Family Business at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business Administration since 2009. Before that he was director for nine years of the Family Owned Business Institute (FOBI) and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Since 2002, he has also served as a visiting professor of entrepreneurship at the Athens University of Economics and Business, Decision Sciences Graduate Program, in Athens, Greece.

“Dr. Schwarz will focus on advancing excellence and defining distinction in our business programs,” said Dr. Elizabeth “Beth” Paul, Stetson provost and vice president for academic affairs. ”Tom brings national and international knowledge, experience, and reputation, as well as strong strategic leadership skills and compelling vision for 21st century business education. We are thrilled to have him join our dynamic learning community.”

Schwarz earned a Doctorate of Business Administration in finance from Florida State University and also attended FSU for his MBA and undergraduate degrees. He completed post-doctoral studies in international business at the University of South Carolina and in family business advising at the Family Firm Institute.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join such a prestigious institution both for its outstanding history and its bright future,” Schwarz said. “Stetson lies at the center of growth and opportunity, and along with its staunch alumni, students, staff and faculty, its future is very bright indeed. It’s clear that these people care, and their desire is for excellence.”

Prior to joining Grand Valley in 2000, Schwarz worked in senior management and as treasurer for a family-owned manufacturing business and as an entrepreneur/owner of several other family firms. He taught finance at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and also held positions with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and in the futures industry in Chicago.

Schwarz is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the fields of family business and entrepreneurship. His excellence and regard in the field resulted in the prestigious award of Fellow Status from the Family Firm Institute in 2010. He previously served on the Body of Knowledge Committee of the Family Firm Institute and was the Research Program Co-Director for the Boston 2004 and the Chicago 2005 conferences. He is also a founding co-editor of the organization’s publication, the Family Firm Practitioner. He has been a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Family Firm Institute since 2009. He has served with the Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) since 2007 and was 2011 Conference co-host. Schwarz also received the Teaching Excellence Award 2003, 2004, 2006 from Athens University of Economics and Business; and an Honorable Mention Award from the 2007 Family Enterprise Research Conference.

His research interests include international family business, entrepreneurship and finance.His publications have appeared in the Journal of Finance, Family Business Review, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Journal of Banking and Finance, The International Small Business Journal, Journal of Asian Business, as well as others. He is co-editor of the recent release of an 11-volume set titled, “Culturally-Sensitive Models of Family Business: A Compendium using the GLOBE Paradigm.”

Schwarz will succeed Dr.Stuart Michelson, who plans to return to the Stetson classroom in his position as the Sarah and Roland George Professor of Finance.

Law wins second national moot court competition

2nd Stetson team wins regional round of ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition

Stetson’s College of Law won the National Professional Responsibility Moot Court Competition this weekend in Indianapolis.

The championship team of Chad Burgess, Darcie Mulay and May Smith also won the Best Respondent Brief Award and two oralist awards at the competition. Burgess was named the best oralist overall and Smith was named the third best oralist. Professors Brooke Bowman and Roberta Flowers coached the team.

(L-R) Professor Brooke Bowman, Darcie Mulay, Chad Burgess, May Smith and Professor Roberta Flowers

“We could not be prouder of our students,” said Professor Brooke Bowman, moot court advisor. “This has been an extraordinary year for the Moot Court Board thus far—we have won six competitions, five best brief awards, and six best oralist awards, and our students are not done competing yet. We expect to be sharing more news in the next two months.”

Stetson also advanced to the National Finals of the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition after winning their final round at a regional qualifier in Boston, which attracted 40 law school teams from around the U.S. The co-champion team of Jason Lambert, Scott Stevenson and Jamie Combee was one of five teams to advance to the National Finals in Chicago in April. Stevenson won the best oralist award, and the team was coached by Professor Michael Allen and Stetson graduate Jason Stearns.

Athletics Groundbreaking set for March 23

Stetson University will celebrate the return of Hatter Football, introduction of Women’s Lacrosse, Stetson’s outstanding Men’s and Women’s Soccer programs and the new on-campus facilities being constructed at an Athletics Expansion Groundbreaking Celebration at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 23.

The celebration will be held at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center, 402 E. University Ave., DeLand. It is open to the public.
Remarks will be made by Director of Athletics Jeff Altier, softball player and Student Athlete Advisory Committee President Carolyn Boyd, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Julie Orlowski, Head Football Coach Roger Hughes, DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Harlan “Butch” Paul and President Wendy B. Libby.

A special signing ceremony will be held with guests having the opportunity to sign a lacrosse stick, a football helmet and a soccer ball – representing the joint use of the new athletics complex.

“Through these athletic initiatives, the university is taking significant steps toward enhancing the vibrancy of campus and growing the student population by adding a Club Sports program, and three intercollegiate athletic teams – Sand Volleyball, Women’s Lacrosse and Football,” Altier said. “The engagement of students surrounding these initiatives has proven to be successful and will continue to be significant as the number of students involved in intercollegiate and club sports will grow to more than 650 students by 2013.”

Construction is already under way on the $6.7 million worth of athletics facilities that will benefit the new programs and enhance existing sports at Stetson. Hatter Football will return and Women’s Lacrosse will start in 2013. The complex is scheduled to open in August.

The project includes an Athletics Field House, a game-day field to be shared by Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Women’s Lacrosse, a practice field for soccer and lacrosse and two practice fields for football, complete with lights and bleacher seating for the game-day field. Within the 25,000-square-foot Field House will be a strength-and-conditioning center to be used by all Stetson athletes, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, athletics training facilities and meeting rooms.

The complex was designed in consultation with the coaches and Athletics staff and is being built by BACE Construction, DeLand. The architect is Carter Architecture, DeLand. The fields were designed by Brown and Cullen, Gainesville.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stetson Showcase 2011 - Courtney Gardner

Courtney was a Biochemistry and Psychology double major at Stetson, and presented her senior research at the Stetson Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium. The topic, "The suitability of microsatellite loci for paternity analysis in Passiflora incarnata" examins DNA segments on genomes of the Passion Flower.
She discusses the research process, the implications of the research, and the importance of applying for a SURE (Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience) grant.
Courtney also provides a simpler version of the summary of her research at the end of the video.

Medieval England Program

Every other year in May, Dr. Kimberly Reiter and other professors lead a short course to England and other parts of the British Isles, with a focus on early history, from bronze-age sites to medieval castles. Students experience history in place, and see parts of England that the English rarely see.

Silent Steps 2012

Stetson University to host Silent Steps to raise awareness of social injustices

DeLand, Fla. -- Five Stetson University student organizations and the university's Cross Cultural Center will hold a free public event -- named "Silent Steps" -- designed to raise awareness of social injustices experienced by people around the world.

The event will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, beginning in the Quad/Palm Court and progressing into Elizabeth Hall, 421 N. Woodland Blvd.

Silent Steps is a collaboration between five student organizations on campus -- the Oxfam Club, the Wesley House, Greek Intervarsity, Invisible Children and C.A.U.S.E. (Campaign for Adolescent and University Student Empowerment) -- along with the Cross Cultural Center.

Intended to raise awareness of social injustices, Silent Steps is a "walk-through museum" comprised of five rooms, each representing a different issue. This year, the event will focus on HIV/AIDS, hunger, religious persecution, youth issues (foster care) and lack of education.

As viewers arrive in the Quad/Palm Court, they will be led into Elizabeth Hall in groups of 10 where their senses will be engaged. Each room will allow the viewer an opportunity to step into the shoes of others for 30-45 minutes, experience the result of injustices and ultimately encourage the observer to become active in positive solutions.

This video was made possible by Andrew Moenning.

Steps against social injustice event March 15

Five Stetson University student organizations and the university’s Cross Cultural Center will hold a free public event – named “Silent Steps” – designed to raise awareness of social injustices experienced by people around the world.
The event will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Hollis Center, 602 N. Bert Fish Drive, DeLand.
Silent Steps is a collaboration between five student organizations on campus – the Oxfam Club, the Wesley House, Greek Intervarsity, Invisible Children and C.A.U.S.E. (Campaign for Adolescent and University Student Empowerment) – along with the Cross Cultural Center.
Intended to raise awareness of social injustices, Silent Steps is a “walk-through museum” comprised of five rooms, each representing a different issue.This year, the event will focus on HIV/AIDS, hunger, religious persecution, youth issues (foster care) and lack of education.
As viewers arrive in the Quad/Palm Court, they will be led into Elizabeth Hall in groups of 10 where their senses will be engaged. Each room will allow the viewer an opportunity to step into the shoes of others for 30-45 minutes, experience the result of injustices and ultimately encourage the observer to become active in positive solutions.
“To move outside your comfort zone and relieve yourself from inexperience is the first motion to bettering the world you are surrounded by,” said the event’s coordinator, student Carolina Brazelton. “This motion is made possible at Silent Steps.”
To gain more understanding of this event, view the inspirational promotional video at
For more information about the event, contact Brazelton at (904) 716-6901 or

Hosting the FL Undergrad Research Conference

Stetson University will host more than 200 students and faculty members from 23 colleges and universities for the second annual Florida Undergraduate Research Conference on Friday evening, March 16, and all day Saturday, March 17.
The conference is designed to celebrate excellence in student research and creativity and to foster an appreciation for undergraduate academic achievements in Florida. Put on by the Council of Florida Undergraduate Research Program Directors, the conference debuted in 2011 at the University of North Florida.
“The student presenters have a wonderful opportunity to share their research and projects with the greater academic community of the state and be exposed to various ways in which they can further their research, in graduate school and beyond. Faculty presenters also offer new ideas for undergraduate research programs in a variety of fields,” said Dr. Kimberly Reiter, Stetson associate professor of history and the Stetson representative for the Florida Undergraduate Research Council, the sponsoring agency for the conference. “Stetson University is proud to host the conference.”
The public is invited to attend poster presentations and faculty lectures on a broad range of research topics and academic subjects. Viewing/lecture times for the public are from 9-11:45 a.m. and 1:15-4 p.m. Saturday, March 17.
About 160 undergraduate students – including 17 from Stetson – were selected to present posters detailing their academic research. Posters will be presented in the Rinker Field House inside the Hollis Center, 602 N. Bert Fish Drive, and in the Edmunds Center,143 E. Pennsylvania Ave., DeLand.
Nine faculty lectures will be given by professors from Stetson, University of Central Florida, Bethune-Cookman University, University of North Florida, Florida A&M University and Barry University. Reiter will moderate a panel discussion on transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school, and Dr. John Schorr, senior professor of sociology, will give a lecture on using community outreach for undergraduate research.
The faculty presentations will begin at 9:30 and 10:45 a.m. and again at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at two campus locations: in the duPont-Ball Library, lower level, Room 25, accessed from the Nemec Courtyard on the north side of the library,134 E. Minnesota Ave., and in the Science Center, 136 E. Minnesota Ave., DeLand.
Stetson has a strong focus on academic rigor and undergraduate research. Students in the College of Arts & Sciences at Stetson are required to do an intensive research project, and students in the School of Music perform recitals. Many students in the School of Business Administration also conduct research in their fields. The projects give Stetson students an advantage for graduate school admission and can be cited on students’ resumes.
“Undergraduate research is a tradition at Stetson,” Reiter said. “The level of research being done here is equal to what is normally done in graduate school. This enriches the undergraduate academic experience and prepares Stetson students for the type of research they will do in grad school.”
For more information about the second annual Florida Undergraduate Research Conference, visit or contact Reiter at