Letter from the President
February 26, 2015
Dear Eckerd College Family,
During this past Winter Term, Christine and I had the pleasure of joining Professor of Chemistry Lisa Bonner and a group of Eckerd students in Italy as they studied the food of Italy's greatest cities. The unique international experience of these students is, in fact, emblematic of the educational experience of all Eckerd students, whether they are studying abroad or on our beautiful campus. Each day in Italy, these students were engaged in various forms of active learning, drawing from interdisciplinary perspectives and exploring the science of food preparation and its nutritional content. And throughout, these students were guided and taught by a professor not only well-versed in her academic discipline, but also passionate about inspiring her students to look beyond the classroom for insight and learning. While only a small group of Eckerd students was able to experience this fascinating course halfway across the world, this type of enriching and transformative learning and teaching occurs in classrooms on our campus every day.
A liberal arts education at Eckerd College challenges students to think critically and creatively as they develop the capacity to be imaginative and effective problem-solvers in an ever-changing global context. As we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide for students the most intellectually and personally enriching educational experience during their time with us, we simultaneously seek new ways to strengthen our academic and student life programs and expand innovative initiatives through careful resource management and through the vision and generosity of our supporters. As an important part of maintaining our commitment to excellence, comprehensive fees, including tuition, room, board and activity fee will increase next year by $1722 which is a 3.5% increase. As always, we stand ready to work closely with our students and their families to assist with individual financial challenges.
I am pleased to announce that we are well on our way in planning and funding a new $12-million-dollar Center for Visual Arts. This approximately 20,000 square-foot building will house our sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing, digital arts, and photography programs--along with gallery space, faculty offices and classrooms. We expect the groundbreaking for this state-of-the-art facility to be in May 2015 with completion by August 2016.
In addition to providing students with the facilities and spaces designed to engage their minds in interactive learning, we strive to provide them with access to a myriad of speakers designed to broaden their knowledge on cultural, scientific, political, and religious issues facing the 21st century. In March, Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, will discuss her work as a prison reform activist. And in April, Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at The University of Chicago Law School, and who has been called, "one of the most remarkable and luminous minds of our time" will discuss, "Anger and Revolutionary Justice."
We continue to demonstrate our primary commitment to providing students with the highest quality undergraduate instruction by
- offering our students the 3+3 Accelerated Law Program which provides qualified Eckerd students with a commitment to academic excellence the opportunity to seamlessly pursue the completion of an Eckerd B.A. or B.S. degree and a Florida State University College of Law (Florida State Law) J.D. degree in six rather than the normal seven years.
- developing a relationship with the University of Havana that will allow marine science faculty and students to study Cuba's marine environment starting this summer.
- creating new outdoor teaching spaces to encourage interdisciplinary learning in our unique environment.
- hiring talented faculty members who have earned international reputations in their fields as well as understand and embrace the value of teaching undergraduate students in a liberal arts setting. This year we have hired full-time tenure track faculty in Environmental Studies, Psychology, Human Development, Management, International Business, and International Relations and Global Affairs (IRGA).
In addition, we continually seek new ways to enhance our campus facilities and staff resources to support student learning within and beyond the classroom.
- As a part of our continuing plan to refurbish the common spaces of the seven legacy houses, one of our lounges will be renovated this summer to create gathering space, which facilitates student learning and invites their engagement with one another.
- Discussions are underway with our food service provider, Bon Appetit, to renovate the dining facilities on campus. The focus within the main cafeteria will be an immersive dining experience where food preparation takes place in the midst of our students. While the main cafeteria will serve as the “Culinary Hub," the various dining services venues throughout campus will complement rather than duplicate one another.
Our students continue to donate thousands of service hours throughout Tampa Bay and abroad.
This spring, our Office of Service Learning is offering Alternative Spring Break Trips throughout the world including Panama, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, the Bahamas, California, and Florida.
I know that you work hard to support your student in his or her educational journey, and I pledge that we will continue to keep faith with the sacrifice that you are making to send your student to Eckerd College through our careful stewardship of the College's resources.
All best wishes,
Donald R. Eastman III