Editor’s note: The full length of this article will appear in the Summer 2024 issue of Stetson University Magazine, heading to mailboxes and online later this summer.

At Stetson’s 138th Commencement ceremony in May, President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD, took a moment during his open­ing address and prompted the new graduates to look around and acknowledge. 

His words that day: “Please take a moment to look over to someone who has made a difference in your Stetson journey and in your life.”

Roellke followed with a message about kindness. Arriving on campus July 1, 2020, almost the same time many of the new graduates were beginning their Stetson journey, Roellke had immediately emphasized kindness and urged its belief as a core university principle. 

Also, on the stage at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, Roellke spoke of empathy and collaboration, congratulating the new graduates on their accomplishments in those areas — referring to them as the “Kind, Empathic and Collaborative Stetson University Class of 2024.” 

A similar message was delivered a day earlier at a ceremony held for the School of Business Administration, the School of Music and master’s-degree graduates. All totaled, more than 860 students received Stetson diplomas that weekend. 

Indeed, Roellke’s Commencement remarks were all about the need, and the result, of creating a nurturing environment — one that is undeniably relationship-rich, distinctly Stetson and, quite apparently, working well. 

How well? Below is a brief sampling of the evidence, person­ified by students from the graduating Class of 2024 who have achieved greatness at Stetson and, in reflection, because of Stetson.

The full length of this article will appear in the Summer 2024 issue of Stetson University Magazine.