50th Anniversary Events

50th Anniversary Opening Convocation Remarks

Closing Remarks

Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III, President of Eckerd College | Watch Video

President EastmanWe will celebrate the first 50 years of our College throughout this year not only to honor the past but to gather strength for the future.

Our capital campaign, entitled "Transformations: The Campaign for Eckerd College," is one way we are doing that; and tonight, I want to announce two new appointments as a result of campaign gifts that have been made to the College. These two gifts will help Eckerd College move into the next 50 years stronger in every way:

One of the very first campaign gifts was made by one of Tampa Bay's most generous and accomplished families, Tom and Mary James.

I am pleased to announce tonight the appointment of Professor Naveen Malhotra as the first occupant of the Tom and Mary James Professorship in Finance.

Professor Malhotra joined the Eckerd College faculty as Assistant Professor of Finance and Management in 1985. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Delhi, India; his MBA from the University of Tampa; and his PhD from the University of South Florida. He has risen through the faculty ranks to full professor.

Professor Malhotra is the discipline coordinator for the popular business management major in the Program for Experienced Learners and the key mentor for the seniors that field. He is a popular but demanding teacher whose finance courses draw high ratings from both residential and PEL students.

As coach for Eckerd students participating in financial planning case competitions and Students in Free Enterprise case competitions, his teams have been champions or runners up consistently at both the regional and national level.

Professor Malhotra has published numerous articles, and he is a frequent presenter at national conferences.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Naveen K. Malhotra on his appointment as the Tom and Mary James Professor of Finance and in thanking Tom and Mary James for their wonderful support.

The second appointment is the result of the creation of the Elie Wiesel Endowed Professorship in Humane Letters, created by Trustee Jean Giles Wittner and her beloved, late husband, Ted. Jean has been an Eckerd College trustee for nearly a quarter of a century and a stalwart supporter and wonderful friend.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Carolyn Johnston as the first occupant of the Elie Wiesel Professorship of Humane Letters.

After completing her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor Johnston joined the Eckerd College faculty in 1978, thirty years ago this fall, as Assistant Professor of American Studies and History. She has risen through the faculty ranks to full professor.

During that time she has established herself as one of the College's most dynamic teachers and productive scholars.

Her courses, noted for their intriguing titles, have ranged from Rebels with a Cause: Radicals, Reactionaries and Reformers to Women in Modern America: The Hand that Cradles the Rock. She received the Robert a. Staub Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991. She is a leader in the campus community, serving as Chair of the Letters Collegium for ten years and as Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program since its inception.

She is a productive and distinguished scholar who has published three books: Jack London: An American Radical?, Sexual Power: Feminism and the Family in America, and Cherokee Women in Crisis. She is close to completing a fourth book on the Buffalo Soldiers in World War II.

Dr. Johnston's appointment to this professorship is especially appropriate because she and Dr. Wiesel have taught a seminar together since 1993. The seminar, which focuses on universal human concerns and draws on some of the world's greatest literature, provides students an unforgettable learning experience.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Carolyn Johnston on her appointment as the Elie Wiesel Professor of Humane Letters and in thanking Trustee Jean Wittner for her generous support.

And now in closing, let me extend the deep heartfelt thanks of Eckerd College, founded as Florida Presbyterian College, to the members of the platform party and to Professor Marion Smith and the Eckerd College Concert Choir for all you have done to bring grace to this Convocation.

And my thanks to all of you, and each of you, for your support of Eckerd College.