News | Eckerd College Newsroom at Eckerd College Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:50:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Eckerd College produces six new NOAA Hollings Scholars, Total Climbs to 80 Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:49:56 +0000

Eckerd College remained the nation’s top producer of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Scholars this year with six students from the Class of 2020 joining the ranks as award recipients.

Clockwise from top left: Eliza Mills, Herbert Leavitt, Justin Chandler-Holtz,  Brianna Matthews, Rosemary Burkhalter-Castro and Tristan Shonat will represent the Eckerd College Class of 2020 as NOAA Hollings Scholars.

The College has now produced 80 Hollings winners since the award was established in 2005.

Marine science majors Rosemary Burkhalter-Castro, Justin Chandler-Holtz, Herbert Leavitt, Brianna Matthews, Eliza Mills and Tristan Shonat will receive up to $9,500 in scholarship funding and a summer internship at a NOAA facility.

“I applied for the Hollings to learn more about research and get a chance to work toward my dream of working in conservation,” said Leavitt, of Avery Island, La.

The Hollings Scholarship—awarded to college sophomores—was named after a retired U.S. senator from South Carolina who served 38 years and spearheaded “practical conservationism” laws to protect America’s coastlines and oceans.

Shonat of Kensington, Md., first heard of the Hollings Scholarship while touring Eckerd as a high school student. “It seemed like an amazing opportunity that I could not give up,” she said. “I want to look into the intersections between conservation and genetic research, but I am open to the opportunities that the Hollings will present.”

Being at Eckerd afforded these six students a better-than-average chance of receiving the scholarship, and many prospective students name it as a reason why they chose Eckerd over other institutions with respected Marine Science programs.

“Eckerd was one of the top-ranked marine science schools in the country, and it gave me the best scholarship opportunities,” said Burkhalter-Castro of Littleton, Colo.

Each Hollings Scholar will get a chance to expand his or her research experience by spending a summer in a laboratory with real NOAA scientists. “I applied for the Hollings because I have greatly enjoyed previous marine research projects and would like to do more,” said Chandler-Holtz of Brunswick, Ohio.

Both Mills of San Antonio, Texas, and Matthews of Ashburn, Va., are hoping the scholarship will be a launching pad into future careers in research and conservation.

“I hope to change the way the world views the ocean and to promote the conservation of marine species. I want to work in coral rehabilitation or general research surrounding the effects of climate change,” Matthews explained.

Alum, successful tech investor to speak at Eckerd College Commencement Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:50:05 +0000

Twenty-nine years ago, Mark Tluszcz ’89 couldn’t have known he would one day stand behind the same podium from which he’d heard the final speech of his college career.

On May 20, 2018, the Eckerd College alumnus, co-founder and CEO of Mangrove Capital Partners, and chairman of Wix will give his alma mater’s 2018 Commencement address.

It’s been a long road back to Eckerd for Tluszcz, a former international student who grew up in Africa and settled his postgraduate business in Luxemburg. He majored in international business and history but found his place as an influential tech investor—most notably as the original investor in Skype, the video-calling software that was sold to eBay for $3 billion in 2005. He also took on the chairmanship of the website generator and management service Wix, which currently is trading on the NASDAQ for nearly $3.5 billion. Mangrove Capital Partners has also invested in more than 100 companies and counts among its portfolio such rising stars as FreedomPop, letgo, Lesara, WalkMe, Red Points, StoreKing, JobToday, K Health, Badi and Proov. Mangrove manages nearly $1 billion across five funds.

Outside of the office, Tluszcz is a known proponent of workplace diversity and helping fledgling tech investors tell the real “unicorns” from the “fakies” (overvalued, unproven properties). He was named to the Forbes Magazine Midas List in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as one of the top 100 global dealmakers in technology. Tluszcz has also appeared on Bloomberg TV and CNBC; been quoted in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe; and has published in the Financial Times.

“Mark Tluszcz is a visionary, a global entrepreneur and a proud Eckerd College graduate of the History program,” said President Donald R. Eastman III. “An inaugural Ford Scholar, Mark spoke at the 25th Anniversary celebrations for the program, has continued to foster relationships with mentors from his undergraduate days, and through his business practices and principles continues to espouse the values fostered at Eckerd. We are honored to have him back with us at Commencement.”

Commencement will begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, on Eckerd’s South Beach Field.

Mark Tluszcz ’89 head shot

Mark Tluszcz ’89

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.