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Spring 2013

Dear Parents,


As the academic year winds down, we have lots of exciting news to share with you!



Celebrate Your Senior  

Parents of seniors, graduation is just around the corner! As a way to celebrate your son's or daughter's experience at Eckerd, the Parent Council asks you to join its members in making a gift to the Parent Fund. Your gift will help your child's soon-to-be alma mater continue to flourish and increase the value of an Eckerd education. Thank you for considering a gift to the Parent Fund in honor of your Eckerd graduate. With your contribution, you also will have the opportunity to write a note that will be hand-delivered to your student. Be on the lookout for a letter from the Parent Council, or make a gift online now and use the comment box for a message to your graduate.  



Commencement Weekend

View more photos from Commencement 2012 here.


Commencement will take place Sunday, May 19, at 8 a.m. on South Beach Field. For a complete schedule of Commencement Weekend events, please click here.  


Be sure to attend the Dean of Students' After Party following Baccalaureate on Saturday evening, May 18! The festivities begin at 6 p.m. in Hough Quad, and include a spectacular fireworks display at 9 p.m.  


Information for Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Parents

Students must vacate residence halls within 24 hours after their last exam. Residence halls will be closed to all but graduating seniors on Friday, May 17, at 12 p.m.


How to Store Belongings Over the Summer

Many students choose to rent a portable storage unit for summer storage. Empty units are delivered to campus; filled units are stored in a temperature-controlled facility and delivered to campus when students return in the fall. One mobile storage unit can be shared by roommates. For more information about how to store belongings, please visit the Eckerd College Housing page. If you have questions about the process for vacating a residence hall or storing belongings, email Justin Long, director of campus housing, at



Tips from Parents for a Successful Commencement Weekend   

To help parents of graduates prepare, we asked Parent Council members for their advice: What do you wish you would have known before your student graduated? What are you glad you knew before your student graduated? Here's what they had to say!


Commencement Day

"Weather can be hot and humid. Cotton and linen sundresses and slacks will be most comfortable. The site is on a field, so flat shoes or dressy sandals work well."


"There are coolers with bottles of water available; be sure to grab a bottle for the ceremony."


"Arrive at least one hour before the Commencement ceremony. There are shuttles between the parking areas and field, but you may still need to walk some distance, so leave yourself plenty of time."


"Bring an extra memory card and batteries for cameras. There will be an Eckerd banner strung between two palm trees on the beach; it's a great place to take photos."


"There is plenty of seating under the tents. And at the end of many aisles, there are portable fans on the ground to keep you cool."


"If you sit on the left side of the graduates, you will be able to see them walking down the steps of the stage after shaking President Eastman's hand. Then they'll have their photo taken by the photographer. If you sit on the right side of the graduates, you'll see them lining up to receive their diplomas. All of the seats offer good vantage points."


"The local dollar stores offer lots of decorations and balloons."


"If you plan to have a celebratory lunch after Commencement, make reservations ahead of time."



Life After Eckerd

"As a parent, I wish I had known the effect of losing the "Eckerd Bubble" following graduation. One of the first things we noticed about Eckerd was the focus on the student as a person, not a number. The students developed ways of taking care of each other; they looked out for each other; there were the typical "friend groups," but each group had a support structure. As parents, we knew most of the students in our daughter's friend group, and we trusted them to take care of each other. The emotional shock of losing this friend group was very difficult. Also, the societal norm at Eckerd is not present everywhere, and many workplaces are not yet team-based, so it can take some time to adapt."


"Eckerd is truly a place that changes lives and creates future leaders and individuals ready to work and live in a diversified environment. The entire culture of Eckerd is like that. Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn't there yet, so Eckerd graduates get a clear dose of reality when they enter the workforce, and can get frustrated [with situations] they know are not right or fair."


"Our daughter understood, after leaving Eckerd, almost as much about team functioning, the benefits of team involvement, and the differences between leadership and management as most experienced managers and MBAs."



Spring Break Service-Learning Scholarships 


This year, 220 Eckerd students participated in Spring Break service-learning in locations as varied as the national parks of Iceland, an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian jungle, a state park in Virginia and an amusement park for disabled children in Orlando. 


A group of 11 students traveled with Jessica Wright, residence life coordinator, to Panama City, Panama, to work at the San Jose de Malambo orphanage. Students assisted the seven nuns there, who care for 170 orphans, by lending a helping hand and interacting with the children. Many of the orphans have physical limitations. Eckerd students lived onsite, and following a full day of work, they held discussions about service projects in the evening. Eckerd students sacrificed their Spring Break to participate and paid only $472 (inclusive of airfare, other transportation, food and lodging), thanks to the support of the President's Associates Endowed Scholarship for Service-Learning Abroad.


Other scholarships that support service-learning trips include the Samuel L. Westerman Endowed Scholarship for Service-Learning Abroad, the Gelber Family Endowed Scholarship for Service-Learning, and the ASPEC Travel Award for Study and Service in Memory of Stanford M. Brown.

An Eckerd student (right) interacts with a group of children at the orphanage during last year's Spring Break service-learning trip to Panama.
An Eckerd student (right) interacts with a group
of children at the orphanage during last year's
Spring Break service-learning trip to Panama


New Parent Council Members    


The following three families were welcomed to the Parent Council at our spring meeting during Family Weekend. We are excited to have these great new members on board! 


Bill and Stephanie Kurz (P '16), from Sunnyvale, Calif., are the parents of Eddie Kurz, a freshman majoring in marine science. Bill and Stephanie serve on the Parent Council's Marketing and Communications Committee.


Mark and Kathy Mandula (P '14) are the parents of Jessica Mandula, a junior majoring in biochemistry. They reside in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serve on the Career Services and Internships Committee.


Mark and Susan Zink (P '16), from Lincoln, Neb., are the parents of Connor Zink, a freshman majoring in marine science. Mark and Susan serve on the Advancement Committee.

Interested in volunteering for Eckerd College? Please contact to learn more about ways you can get involved. 

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Important Dates and Deadlines 


Last Day of Classes

May 10


Spring Semester Ends

May 17



May 18



May 19

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