Alumni Stories

Charles Bryant

Class of 2005

Charles Bryant carves his own path, a fact made obvious just by the name of the financial advising firm he started, Lone Star Wealth Management.

Ashley Campanella '01

Ashley Campanella

Class of 2001

When Ashley (Meredith) Campanella attended Eckerd College, she dreamed of using her education to embark on a career providing dolphin assisted therapy to autistic children.

Larry Greenwood in a boat on a river

Larry Greenwood

Class of 1974

The last thing that Larry Greenwood expected when he first stepped onto the Florida Presbyterian College campus in the summer of 1970, as demonstrations against the war and racism raged across the country, was to emerge four years later as a conservative.

Closeup of man in sunglasses with the leaning tower of Pisa in background

Andy Haines

Class of 1986

In a lifetime of living abroad and traveling the world (63 countries and counting), Andy Haines is always thrilled to return to the place he thinks of as home: Eckerd College.

Dr. D. Ashley Hill ’86

Ashley Hill

Class of 1986

As a college student in Oregon looking to attend school closer to family in Florida, Dr. D. Ashley Hill sent away for a brochure about Eckerd College. The waterfront and sunny campus looked good to him after 44 straight days of rain.

Tessa Hill

Class of 1999

When Dr. Tessa Hill ’99 teaches freshman-level large lecture classes in marine science—courses where she knows not every student will end up a scientist, or even in the science field—she says she tries to imbue each person with an understanding of why the subject material matters to them.

Chrissy Jackson

Class of 2016

After retiring to St. Petersburg, Chrissy Jackson had a long career behind her, four grown children, several successful business ventures, and an exciting retirement stretched out ahead.

Fern Johnson

Class of 2005

In 2003, recently divorced and parenting a young son, Fern Johnson ’05 knew she wanted to expand her opportunities.

The Johnsons standing close

Rob and Carolyn Kitchings Johnson

Class of 1971

When Rob Johnson and Carolyn Kitchings Johnson met at Eckerd (then Florida Presbyterian College), they bonded over a mutual interest in social justice.

Stephanie Kadel Taras

Class of 1989

When Eckerd’s future unofficial college historian Stephanie Kadel Taras set foot on campus as a first-year student in 1985, she knew her grandfather William H. Kadel had been Florida Presbyterian/Eckerd College’s founding president and that her parents, Dick and Karen Kadel, had both been in the Founding Freshman class. Beyond that, though, she had little knowledge of the College or its history.

Matt Kilgroe

Class of 1987

For Eckerd Trustee Matt Kilgroe, the path to running an investment firm that manages $1.3 billion in client assets resembled Eckerd’s broad liberal arts approach applied to the real world.

Thomas Leonard '12

Thomas Leonard

Class of 2012

Thomas Leonard credits his Eckerd education with giving him the practical skills—project management, trimming a bloated budget, communication, and more—that he needed to succeed in his professional career.

Mark Lewis

Class of 1992

Mark Lewis ’92 recalls the moment during his first graduate school experience in engineering when, frustrated with the narrow scope of his program, he called David Kerr, an Eckerd mathematics professor and one of his mentors.

Man standing at podium

Ernie Mahaffey

Class of 1968

Ernie Mahaffey remembers his time at Eckerd (then Florida Presbyterian) College fondly —despite his undergraduate journey ending without a degree.

Eileen McCarron

Class of 1973

When Eileen (Bielanski) McCarron reflects on what brings her joy and peace, she names some of life’s simple pleasures: singing, taking piano lessons, and working in her garden.

Photo of a smiling man in a suit and tie

John Meiners

Class of 1984

John Meiners ’84 arrived at Eckerd College in the fall of 1980 and quickly found his way to the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team (EC-SAR), the only college maritime rescue program in the country.

Couple wearing hats with mountain in the background

Sam Moulthrop and Joyce Samson Moulthrop

Class of 1973

It was 1969. Two Americans became the first humans to walk on the moon, more than 400,000 people showed up at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, and in St. Petersburg, Florida, students at Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd College), a small, 11-year-old liberal arts college, were settling into the school’s permanent location on 54th Ave. S.

Karin Musier-Forsyth in sunglasses

Karin Musier-Forsyth

Class of 1984

Sometimes what you’re looking for really is right under your nose. Or in this case, just a 20-minute drive away.

Tristram Norman

Class of 2012

Taking Intro to Computer Science and Advanced Computer Science at the same time may not be the easiest way to learn to code, but for Tristram Norman, his late-blooming interest in programming during his senior year at Eckerd College made the challenge appealing.

Lova Patterson holding a "Keep Eckerd Weird" mug

Lova Patterson

Class of 2000

For students who have attended Eckerd after the turn of the millennium, Director of Student Activities Lova Patterson is a constant presence.

Jane Petro

Class of 1968

Dr. Jane Arbuckle Petro spent most of her four years at what was then Florida Presbyterian College preparing to be a “philosopher scientist.”

Keith Rivinius

Class of 1992

To Keith Rivinius, a Marine Corps veteran who served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the course Visual Problem Solving, taught by founding faculty member Jim Crane, would be unforgettable.

Jim and Patti Rogers

Class of 1971 and Class of 1973

While the road to marriage for Jim Rogers and Patti Raper Rogers took a winding route, their mutual respect and shared values were formed at Florida Presbyterian College.

Terri Lipsey Scott

Class of 2004

In 1980, Terri Lipsey Scott left Savannah State University one year short of graduation to marry Clarence Scott III, the love of her life whom she had met on her first day of freshman year three and a half years prior.

Melissa Seixas

Class of 1992

When Melissa Seixas was choosing her major at Eckerd College, she thought her decision to study history was in conflict with her lifelong dream of becoming an engineer.

Couple wearing hats including one that says Santa On Vacation

Jack and Trisha Senterfitt

Class of 1968

Throughout the over 50 years of Jack Senterfitt and Trisha (Lyons) Senterfitt’s shared life together, they see the imprint of Florida Presbyterian / Eckerd College.

Pratichi Shah

Class of 1991

Looking back, Pratichi Shah says the seeds of the businesswoman she would become were already in the soil at Eckerd College.

Sarah Sieloff smiling

Sarah Sieloff

Class of 2006

Sarah Sieloff has spent her 15 years post-Eckerd College creating a career that defies neat categorization. If the multiple choices were a) urban planner, b) writer/researcher, c) public servant, and d) nonprofit leader, the answer would be e) all of the above.

Jonathan Tennis

Class of 2009

At 19 years old, with a 0.97 GPA, Jonathan Tennis ’09 failed out of college. Thirteen years later, following a stint in the Army, he finished his degree at Eckerd.

Kaiya Waddell

Class of 2006

The daughter of a university professor, Kaiya Waddell ’06 had grown up thinking of higher education as a somewhat formal experience: brick walls, academic professors, and learning in classrooms.

Susan Russ Walker

Class of 1977

As an Eckerd student studying abroad in London, the Honorable Susan Russ Walker remembers many formative experiences: encountering a new country and culture; immersion in Shakespeare and theatre; and, in a moment that would take on great significance, taking a field trip to the University of Oxford.