Naming the Four Houses of Iota Complex

Byars House

Jon Chapman
Resident Advisor

Good afternoon. I am Jon Chapman, the Resident Advisor of Iota House A. I am pleased to now live in the Byars House named to honor Frank and Jo Byars.

The Byars name is a familiar one to many students at Eckerd College. The Byars traveled widely, collecting artifacts from the South Pacific. Among the treasures they found was a remarkable collection of rare seashells, which they gave to Eckerd College and is now on display in the Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory. Their contribution to the College helped lay the foundation for the College's marine sciences program.

Mr. and Mrs. Byars tragically lost their only child to cancer at age 16. To honor her memory, they established the Sherry Jo Byars Endowed Scholarship Fund at Eckerd College. Mrs. Byars passed away in 1994 and Mr. Byars a year later. The legacy from their estate was the College's largest bequest at the time.

We will remember the Byars for their respect for other cultures through the world, their love of learning, their generosity to Eckerd College, their foresight in the development of the College's marine sciences major, and their deep and abiding commitment to helping young people pursue their own dreams through education.


Lukens House

Rachel Robbins
Rachel Robbins Resident Advisor

Good afternoon. I am Rachel Robbins, the resident advisor of Iota House D. I am especially pleased to know that I am now a resident of the Lukens House named in honor of alumnus Jay Phelps Lukens because I am a Lukens Scholar.

Dr. Lukens once said that the happiest day of his life was the day he received his letter letting him know he was admitted to Eckerd College. In 2005, when the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Lukens to join the Board, he said that was the greatest honor he had ever received.

Dr. Lukens graduated from Eckerd College in 1977 and went on to a distinguished career in energy. He became an internationally recognized expert in natural gas markets and eventually founded the Lukens Energy Group.

Dr. Lukens established the Lukens Family Endowed Scholarship at Eckerd College for top economics students with an interest in energy and environmental issues. He established the scholarship because he wanted future students to have the opportunities that he enjoyed as a student.

Dr. Lukens' life was tragically cut short when he died from cancer last October.

The Lukens House will remind Eckerd College students and alumni that it is a privilege to be admitted to Eckerd College and that the way we live our lives brings honor not only to ourselves and our families but to our alma mater.


Wittner House

Mellie Montano
Mellie Montano Resident Advisor

Good afternoon. I am Mellie Montano, the resident advisor for Iota House C. I am pleased to learn that my housemates and I now live in the Wittner House.

Mr. and Mrs. Wittner have a long and treasured friendship with Eckerd College. In fact, Mrs. Wittner is currently the longest serving voting member of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees.

Mr. and Mrs. Wittner are role models for all of us. Mrs. Wittner blazed the trail for women in business in Pinellas County. She was the first woman elected president of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and she was in the inaugural group of women recognized as members of the Pinellas County Business Women's Hall of Fame.

Together, Mr. and Mrs. Wittner established the Wittner Endowed Scholarship to provide scholarships for women who are majoring in business or intend to pursue business careers.

And I am especially thrilled to announce in this public forum that Mr. and Mrs. Wittner have generously funded the Elie Wiesel Endowed Professorship of Humane Letters at Eckerd College.

The Wittner House will remind us of the value Eckerd College places on educational opportunity, social justice and humanity for all.


Wrenn House

Amanda Sciarrotta
Grover and Suzie Wrenn Resident Advisor

Good afternoon. I am Amanda Sciarrotta, the first resident advisor of Iota House B. Although I no longer live in House B, I am privileged to participate in this ceremony naming the Wrenn House in honor of Grover and Suzie Wrenn, who are here with us this afternoon.

"The First." "Number One." "At the top of the list." Those are attributes that describe Grover Wrenn. Mr. Wrenn was a member of the College's founding class. He was the first chief justice of the honor court. He was one of two students who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for this campus. And, through major gifts given by Mr. and Mrs. Wrenn to Eckerd College over the years, Mr. Wrenn has become the College's number one alumnus donor.

More importantly, Mr. Wrenn is the College's number one cheerleader. As a successful entrepreneur who could work anywhere in this country, Mr. Wrenn moved his former company, Accent Health, to the Tampa Bay area to be closer to Eckerd College. He has served on the Board of Trustees since 1990.

And I have been told Mr. Wrenn will tell you that much of who he is today has been shaped by his faith, by his wife Suzie and his family, and by this College.

I think all students will be proud to say he or she is a resident of Wrenn House. Mr. and Mrs. Wrenn, please come forward.