News | Eckerd College Newsroom at Eckerd College Fri, 23 Feb 2018 19:15:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Eckerd College Among Peace Corps’ 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges & Universities Fri, 23 Feb 2018 19:15:21 +0000

The Peace Corps announced that Eckerd College ranked No. 13 among small size schools on the agency’s 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. There are 12 Tritons currently volunteering worldwide.

This is the second year that Eckerd College has ranked among the top 25 small colleges and universities. In addition, Florida ranked No. 3 among Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing states in 2017. There are 355 volunteers overall from the Sunshine State currently serving worldwide and 8,237 Floridians have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961.

Couple standing in front of hut-like home

Stephanie Burkhardt (Marine Science ’11) and husband Bob Little (Environmental Studies and Marine Science ’11) serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Zambia. Africa.

“Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley. “As Peace Corps Volunteers, recent college and university graduates foster capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world. When they return to the United States, they have new, highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit that further leverages their education and strengthens their communities back home.”

Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961. A total of 164 Eckerd alumni have served in the Peace Corps since the agency was founded.

Robert Little of West Seneca, New York and his wife Stephanie Burkhardt of Cape Elizabeth, Maine both graduated from Eckerd in 2011, and are serving as a rural aquaculture promotion volunteers in the Zambia. “Eckerd College promotes a worldly view among their students and stresses the importance of taking action to be the change you wish to see in the world,” said Little. “My wife, Stephanie Burkhardt, was the driving force behind my service. She herself had always wanted to serve and although I thought it to be an amazing idea I did not foresee it coming to fruition. After many long discussions and countless calculations, she showed me how possible this all could be! Without her persistence I don’t know how likely it would be for me to be here, but I am eternally grateful for her and her endless sense of adventure!”

“Eckerd College puts strong emphasis on development, sustainability, and international relations which aligns with Peace Corps’ goals seamlessly. Therefore I believe that these goals are what inspire Eckerd alumni to serve in Peace Corps,” said Burkhardt of her alma mater.

Eckerd College is also a Peace Corps Prep program partner. The Eckerd Peace Corps Prep program combines targeted coursework with service-oriented field work and professional development training designed to make participants more competitive when applying for postgraduate Peace Corps volunteer positions and other international development and intercultural fieldwork opportunities.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. Below find the top five schools in each category and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. An interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving is available.

New Center for Visual arts named for local trustee, philanthropist Sat, 10 Feb 2018 13:39:36 +0000

Art at Eckerd College finally has a new home in The Helmar and Enole Nielsen Center for Visual Arts, which celebrated its grand opening on February 9, 2018.

The Nielsen Center provides room for art forms from ancient to contemporary to not-yet-invented through its 33,000-square-foot space, blended seamlessly into the campus’s natural beauty courtesy of large glass walls overlooking Fox Pond. Its special features include two galleries, a ceramics wing, digital arts and audio studios, a printmaking workshop, and seven semiprivate student studios.

The new facility was largely funded by gifts from more than 350 Arts Fellows (donors of $5,000 or more)—including Helmar E. Nielsen of St. Petersburg, a member of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees for nearly 25 years and owner of Cardinal Tracking, a public safety and parking management software company. Nielsen committed a gift of $7 million to Eckerd’s Visual Arts discipline, and his generous contribution will endow a professorship in film production—a passion for the Swaledale, Iowa, native.

“These days film is the more prophetic of the art forms, not necessarily as a matter of substance or vision, but in its innate power,” Nielsen explained. “I have confidence that whomever is chosen to be the new professor of film production will have the discipline to teach technical skill, yes, but always couched in the depth of liberal arts learning.”

A champion of liberal arts education, Nielsen, son of a Baptist preacher, chose Missouri’s William Jewell College as his first institution of higher learning before going on to Bucknell University and law school at Boston University. Business brought him to St. Petersburg decades ago and to Eckerd as a staunch supporter and faithful trustee.

“Liberal arts is the cream of education. Eckerd is an exceptional school within that framework,” he said.

The Nielsen Center also bears the name of his daughter, Enole, an English teacher in Italy.

“Helmar is a scholar, a philanthropist and a true advocate for the value of a liberal arts education,” said Eckerd President Donald R. Eastman III. “With the naming of the building, we can honor Helmar’s 25 years as a Board member and the many ways in which Eckerd College is a better place due to his generosity, thoughtful insights and dedication to the student educational experience.”

In his life, Nielsen has been a gallerist and art collector, once co-owning the now-closed Nielsen Gallery on Boston’s posh Newberry Street. The retired but active philanthropist hopes his gift can help produce more well-rounded students at Eckerd through a combination of art education fused with other disciplines.

“I’m interested in the arts and what this building does for the liberal arts,” Nielsen said. “To me, it’s the highest form of education.”

Center for Visual Arts facade

A time lapse of construction of the new $15 million Center for Visual Arts from early August through mid-October.

Eckerd ranks near the top among institutions for students who study abroad Fri, 08 Dec 2017 18:35:24 +0000
Students pose on edge of cliff

Eckerd students visiting the mountain community of Gallion, overlooking the southwestern coastline of Dominica. Photo: Kristen Malia ’17

Eckerd ranks fourth in the nation for number of students participating in short-term study abroad

In a ranking of baccalaureate colleges, the Institute for International Education (IIE) 2017 Open Doors Report for the 2015–2016 academic year showed Eckerd College as No. 4 in the U.S. for students participating in short-term study abroad and No. 10 in the U.S. for total participation in study abroad.

“We appreciate IIE’s recognition of our efforts to give all students at Eckerd College an opportunity to study abroad, which provides experience and perspective we feel are essential to their education,” said Diane Ferris ’86, director of international education. “With more than 70 percent of our students participating at some point during their four years already, we feel confident we will meet our goal of 100 percent participation by 2021.”

Eckerd students explored 23 countries during Winter Term 2017 alone.

The news from IIE came just weeks before about 415 Eckerd students led by Eckerd faculty will depart in January to nearly 30 international destinations for Winter Term study.

Students will again participate in the College’s annual Winter Term Photo Contest and Video Contest, which provide an annual gallery of their adventures.

Fully Operational Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:17:21 +0000 Eckerd College is fully operational at this time. In case of an emergency, an alert will be issued and information will be posted here.

Tropical Storm Nate 10/5/17 Thu, 05 Oct 2017 23:57:41 +0000 The Emergency Management Executive Team continues to follow the tropical weather system in the Caribbean, which has now been named Tropical Storm Nate. Overnight and throughout today, areas of high pressure have altered meteorologists’ predictions of the storm’s path, moving it more westward; this takes the Tampa Bay area well out of the five-day cone of uncertainty. We will continue to watch the storm as it develops, but at this time we do not consider this storm a threat to Eckerd College. Depending on the size and intensity of the storm, we are preparing for strong winds and heavy rains.

College operations remain normal.

This will be our last communication on Tropical Storm Nate unless there are significant changes. Any such messages will be distributed via email, posted on and and tweeted from the @eckerdcs account on Twitter. Please bookmark these sites in your browsers.

Tropical Depression 16 – 10/4/17 Wed, 04 Oct 2017 22:30:52 +0000 The Emergency Management Executive Team is closely following the tropical weather system, Tropical Depression 16, developing in the southwest Caribbean. Areas of high pressure and uncertainty about the formation of the eye of the storm make it difficult for meteorologists to predict the storm’s path or intensity. Models show the storm moving across the Yucatan Peninsula and into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. At this time, Eckerd College is not within the five-day cone of uncertainty.  


Currently, direct impacts are not predicted for west central or southwest Florida. We are preparing for strong winds, heavy rains and minor storm surge. We will continue to send daily updates as appropriate and will communicate more frequently if needed. For now, college operations remain normal.

Alumni laundry startup welcomes Eckerd interns to New York City Thu, 28 Sep 2017 19:35:18 +0000

Wanting to use her marketing minor, Madison Lewis ’18 reached out to Eckerd College Career Services during the Spring Semester to get leads on a good internship. That office helped her contact an Eckerd alum based in New York who knew of a new business being launched by fellow alumni Zev Sohne ’10 and Joseph Dabah ’10.

Folded, an app-based laundry service that serves Manhattan, jumped at the chance to bring a fellow Triton onboard.

“Eckerd was a very special place for me and I want to give back,” said Sohne. “Some of my best friendships were made at Eckerd, and I had so many great professors.”

Madison said she spent the monthlong placement learning media relations by reaching out to bloggers and commercial sales by visiting local gyms and spas to get them interested in using Folded’s services. “The experience was very well-rounded. It was sort of ‘How to Start Your Own Business 101,’” said Madison, a senior psychology major from Sugar Land, Texas.

Fully Operational Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:00:13 +0000 Eckerd College is fully operational at this time. In case of an emergency, an alert will be issued and information will be posted here.

Post Hurricane Irma Update 9/15/2017 1200 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:01:47 +0000 Eckerd Community:

We will begin to welcome students back to campus today, and classes will resume Monday. Please be careful as you move around as debris removal on walkways and roads is ongoing; avoid areas with caution tape or otherwise marked as hazards. Those students and faculty who are having difficulty returning before classes resume should email

Damage Reports
If faculty and staff have additional reports of damage in their workspaces, they should take photos, and report any damages to If students find any damages in rooms, please report the issue to your Resident Advisor, where available, or email

Mail Services
Mail Services re-opens today. Staff is expecting extreme volumes of mail and packages to be delivered into early next week. Students, faculty and staff are asked not to contact Mail Services to verify if a package has been received. People with processed deliveries will receive an email confirming the package is ready for pickup. The service window hours will be extended to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.

The Bookstore will be open today until 4 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Service Opportunities
For those interested in service opportunities to help those affected by Hurricane Irma, ECOS has provided a list of suggestions.

Support Services
Those who would like support from the Eckerd College Counseling Center, Outreach Services and the Center for Spiritual Life can learn more about accessing services.

Students will have until 5 p.m. Monday to add/drop courses. Courses can only be added with permission from the professors.

Internet Outage 9/15/17 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:09:40 +0000 ITS is working to resolve an internet issue with Charter, our internet provider.  At this time, all internet is down across campus.