Rollins Announces 2023 Alumni Award Winners
December 08, 2022
By Audrey St. Clair ’03
Meet the recipients of the 2023 Fred Rogers Global Citizenship Award, Distinguished Alumni Award, Recent Alumni Achievement Award, and Alumni Service Award.
Each year, Rollins faculty, staff, alumni, and community members are asked to nominate outstanding graduates for the Alumni Awards, an annual celebration recognizing the impact our grads have had on society. From these nominations, the Alumni Board selects recipients who serve as role models in their community and personify the values and mission of the College. Once the top Tars are chosen, they’re recognized by their peers during Alumni Weekend.
This year’s Alumni Weekend event—to be held March 23-26, 2023—will be the largest in the history of the College, and this year’s lineup of honorees is just as impressive. This year’s award winners include graduates who have made significant contributions in everything from higher-education philanthropy and environmental protection to nonprofit support for mental health services. Here’s a closer look at this year’s Alumni Award recipients and their extraordinary efforts to lead meaningful lives and productive careers.
Fred Rogers Global Citizenship Award
In honor of beloved alumnus Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H, this award recognizes prominent alumni who exemplify the Rollins mission of global citizenship and responsible leadership through their extraordinary achievements and impact on society.
Bryce Pittenger ’87
CEO, Behavioral Health Collaborative, State of New Mexico
A licensed mental health counselor, Bryce Pittenger believes in the power of collaboration to create a trauma-responsive system of care for those in need of mental health support. She studied psychology at Rollins before going on to earn a master’s in counseling from Southwestern College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Since 1997, she has worked in private practice and community mental health in a variety of settings. In 2020, Pittenger was appointed CEO of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative, a cabinet-level group representing 17 state agencies involved in behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery. Pittenger draws on her previous experience in the Behavioral Health Division of the Children, Youth, and Families Department, where she pulled together stakeholders across executive departments, local municipalities, tribes, health-care providers, and consumers to align initiatives for the well-being and support of all New Mexicans.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Recognizes alumni who have demonstrated outstanding success and achieved remarkable distinction through their professional accomplishments
Jeannie Infante Sager ’94
Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Philanthropy maven Jeannie Infante Sager devotes each day to creating a world where women donors understand and use their growing power and influence to support causes they care about. Infante Sager, who studied international relations at Rollins and earned a master’s in philanthropic studies from Indiana University, leads the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s efforts to translate research to practice, most recently serving on the leadership team that created the Indiana University Health Foundation. An active speaker on a range of topics related to women’s philanthropy, she has presented to national and international audiences and has been featured everywhere from Fortune to The New York Times. Additionally, she parlays her more than 25 years of nonprofit executive experience into serving on the advisory council for Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy and on the board of directors for Women for Change Indiana.
Recent Alumni Achievement Award
Recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of alumni who graduated within the past 10 years
Tori Linder ’14
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Path of the Panther
Tori Linder has built a career as a campaign strategist and award-winning storyteller, scaling unique conservation and sustainable development initiatives in North America and sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by the National Geographic Society, her Path of the Panther project is an effort to protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a statewide connected network of private and public lands spanning 18 million acres for the benefit of people and wildlife. In May 2021, a campaign led by Path of the Panther and partners resulted in the bipartisan, unanimous passage of The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act, which has since spurred a nearly $1 billion investment in land conservation. Linder credits a Rollins field study focused on sustainable development in Costa Rica for showing her how a healthy environment underpins a healthy society, an experience that also inspired her to help launch Rollins’ Social Enterprise and Sustainability Initiative, now the Social Impact Hub. Highly regarded as an expert in her field, Linder regularly speaks at universities and institutions, such as Earth X and The Explorers Club, and has been featured in The Guardian, National Geographic, and on NPR.
Alumni Service Award
Ann Francis ’01
Former Program Coordinator, Department of Environmental Studies, Sustainability Program, Rollins College
After serving Rollins for 25 years, Ann Francis—who earned an environmental studies degree from Rollins’ Hamilton Holt School—recently retired from her role in the Department of Environmental Studies, leaving behind a major legacy as head of the Sustainability Program and as a relentless champion of our planet earth. She began advising the recycling program on campus in 1999, ushering in a new era of environmental awareness at Rollins. Under her leadership, the Sustainability Program implemented multiple initiatives—from becoming Florida’s first designated Fair Trade campus and launching a bike-share program to overseeing the urban farm and installing hydration stations across campus that have saved over 2 million plastic water bottles since 2012. During her Rollins tenure, Francis co-founded the Florida Chapter of the Green Chamber of Commerce and served as the co-chair of the Colleges and University Steering Committee for Fair Trade Campaigns.
January 26, 2023
The appointment will enable philosophy professor Eric Smaw to serve as Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), where he will oversee ongoing diversity initiatives for the College.
January 25, 2023
Marketing professor Tracy Kizer will work with stakeholders around campus to coordinate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts across the board.
January 23, 2023
Studio art professors Lisa Cody-Rapport and Rachel Simmons and alumna Kelly Berry ’13 each contributed a piece of original artwork to be displayed on billboards around the Orlando metropolitan area.