- September 3, 2014
When Jana Ricci attended Rollins College in the late ‘70s, a dorm room was special for two reasons.
“You were very cool if you had a dorm fridge, and you were really cool if you had a little TV in your room,” the 1980 graduate said.
Thirty years later, with a son in his sophomore year at the same school, she admits that the definition a cool dorm room has changed slightly. But the high quality of education is intact, she said.
“I think that one could say it was always a very good school, and each president and the faculty have worked over the years to just make it better, and better and better, and more and more visible to the national community,” said the school’s 13th president, Rita Bornstein, who served from 1990 to 2004.
With a steady stream of awards and recognition from national publications, Rollins is making quite a name for itself. In 2008, Rollins received the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an honor that less than 5 percent of colleges and universities have received.
In October 2009, Rollins was named the top producer of Fulbright scholars from master’s institutions for the 2009-2010 school year. The school has also consistently been recognized by the U.S. News and World Report. In August, Rollins was, for the sixth consecutive year, named the No. 1 master’s-level university in the south out of 118 by the Report.
As the school continues to garner attention nationally, Rollins’ reach has simultaneously been growing on an international level.
Omar Rachid, a junior at Rollins, who is double majoring in economics and international relations, is originally from Venezuela and had never lived in the U.S. before moving here for school. Thanks to the Rollins Cornell Scholarship, Rachid was able to make the move, and he said it’s been a blessing.
“There’s lots of liberal arts schools all over the U.S. … but they encourage you to take opportunities at Rollins,” he said.
One sort of opportunity Rollins can boast is its many study abroad programs. Rachid has been to Mexico, the Bahamas and just finished a year in Paris.
“They’re academically enriching experiences that will let you see another culture at the same time,” Rachid said. “It’s like being a first-class tourist.”
They know your name
While not all students have participated in a study abroad program, there is a quality Rollins has that nearly every student has benefitted from — great professors and small classes, students say.
“All of my professors know me by name,” said freshman Erin Sigler, who is planning on majoring in biology. “I’m not just a student in a class. I know if I need to go and talk to a professor about something that they’ll listen. I think that’s big.”
Ricci’s son Austin has also had a great experience regarding professors and class sizes, even if that means he can’t hit the snooze button on his alarm clock and sleep through class.
“Your teachers really get to know you [and] you really get to know them,” the physics major said. “If you miss a day, they know it.”
He said it works out better that way because he stays prepared, and it keeps him on his game.
Austin, who also plays lacrosse, is happy to be attending Rollins as it is now, especially compared to what it was like when his mom attended.
“If you need the PowerPoint from class, you just click on it and pull it up right here in your room, whereas they didn’t even have PowerPoints,” he said.
However, Austin is happy that the school looks the same.
“There’s not much you can say against a school on the lake.”
“The aesthetics of Rollins have not changed — even the new buildings look like Rollins buildings,” Jana said. “I don’t at all feel like a fish out of water.”
The Founder’s Day procession kicks off Rollins’ 125th anniversary celebration Thursday, Nov. 4 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Winter Park City Hall, 401 S. Park Ave. in Winter Park.
The procession will head south on Park
Avenue and end at Alfond Sports Center in Rollins
College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park.