Outstanding Young Alumni Award
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to up to two alumni of Stetson University who are 35 years of age or younger. The award recognizes contributions to society, to a profession or to Stetson University. Recipients must demonstrate significant accomplishment or promise in their fields; leadership; or civic, cultural or charitable involvement.
Select the dates below to view award recipients and their bios.
Brian Rodriguez '15, MBA '16
Brian is a proud second-generation Cuban-American was born and raised in Miami, Florida, is the eldest of three brothers – Manuel Rodriguez (BF '16) and Michael Rodriguez (BM '18) – and is a double Hatter Grad (BM '15 & MBA '16). While at Stetson, Brian was heavily involved in both the School of Music and School of Business Administration and participated in extracurricular activities both on and off campus – Phi Mu Alpha, Alpha Kappa Psi and various community church choirs to name a few. Upon graduation, Brian was determined to make his dreams a reality and thus, took to the seas with Viking Cruises.
Having studied voice performance with Dr. Craig Maddox, Brian performed on onboard Viking ships as a lead male vocalist in a variety of musical styles from classical to pop rock, celebrating the music of the Rat Pack, ABBA, The Beatles and more. His fascination with cruise line entertainment inspired him to pursue and serve in the role of Asst. Cruise Director, where he gained more administrative insights into the behind-the-scenes operations. Soon after, the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, his dream job… Brian was promoted to the senior management role of Cruise Director. He became the youngest Cruise Director for the world’s leading premium ocean cruise line, headlined his very own solo cabarets (Bel Canto & Il Sogno) and was beloved by both guests and fellow crew members.
In his five-year tenure, Brian visited 82 countries and helped create fond memories for thousands of guests from around the world. Most recently, Brian has taken a leave from sailing and will further his career in New York City where he now serves as a Manager of Production Operations (Sea) with RWS Entertainment Group, a world-renowned, international entertainment and experience provider for cruise lines, theme parks, resorts and events. Brian prides himself on leading with kindness, influencing positive change and helping those around him to feel seen, valued and appreciated. Humbled and honored to be the recipient of Stetson’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award for 2022, Brian is eternally grateful to his family, friends and loved ones for their incessant support and unconditional love in all things.
Bartholomew "Bart" Sheard '09
Bart is a 2009 graduate of Stetson University with a BA in Communications. While at Stetson, Bart served in multiple capacities with the student newspaper, The Reporter, including as a staff writer, Sports Editor, and Editor-in-Chief. He was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.
After graduating, Bart moved to Washington D.C. to serve in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, a national service program designed to alleviate poverty. Bart's service year took place at a non-profit organization called Sasha Bruce Youthwork which provides emergency shelter and counseling programs to homeless and at-risk youth in our nation's capital. When his service year ended, the organization hired Bart full-time as a Development Associate, raising much-needed program funds through state and federal grant opportunities.
In 2012, Bart returned to school, attending the George Washington University Law School (GW Law) in Washington D.C. There, he focused on labor and employment law while contributing to the school's Public Contracts Law Journal and serving on the Moot Court Board. Over the course of his three years at GW, Bart clerked at the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, the General Counsel's office of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the General Counsel's Office of the AFL-CIO. While practicing with GW Law's Prisoner and Reentry Clinic, Mr. Sheard's team successfully petitioned President Obama for the release of Mr. Rudolf Norris, a D.C. native who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for low-level, non-violent drug offenses.
After law school, Bart served as Labor Counsel in the United States Senate to U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. He then worked at the union-side law firm Sherman Dunn in Washington, D.C. representing unions and workers before the National Labor Relations Board and federal courts. Currently, Bart serves as a policy advisor to the AFL-CIO, where he advocates for workers and their unions on Capitol Hill, and as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School.
Mr. Sheard remains active in his community through pro bono legal work, as a volunteer for Sasha Bruce Youthwork, and the Chair of his town's Tree Commission. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with his wife Caitlin Sheard and one-year old son Rowan.
Past Award Recipients
- 2021 - Brittany Green Gloersen '08, JD '11
- 2021 - Elizabeth Triece '19
- 2020 - Courtney Williams Edgcomb '12
- 2020 - Derek Jansante '11
- 2019 - Peter Urscheler '06
- 2018 - Camiel M. Canters '10
- 2017 - Kristina Tsipouras Miller '07
- 2016 - Corey S. Kluber '09
- 2015 - Heather R. Grove '11
- 2014 - Isa Marie Adney '09
- 2013 - Lauren L. Hill '08
- 2012 - Avantika Hari Agrawal '02
- 2012 - Amber DeChambeau Bragg '02
- 2011 - J. Tyler Herbert '06
- 2011 - Kelly Robbins White '03
- 2010 - Wesley L. Whatley '02
- 2009 - Sara E. Dodson '02
- 2009 - Matthew H. Morton '06
- 2008 - Katherine L. Rhorer '98
- 2007 - Sara E. Cotner '99
- 2006 - Bryan C. Hains '95
- 2006 - Laura Dunifon Kicklighter '95
- 2005 - Andy A. Dehnart '99
- 2005 - Jane Fleming Kleeb '95
- 2004 - Gerard K. Marino '98
- 2004 - Stephanie L. Todd '92
- 2003 - Jeffery P. Fay '98
- 2003 - Brian D. Ray '91