The Hatter Gallery

Paige Lynn Driza ’14: Proud and Passing the Torch

Paige Lynn Driza ’14

“I am so grateful for [Stetson’s] kindness. I was able to take time to discuss my love of Stetson University, scholarship opportunities, our academic programs and answer questions my students had about Stetson. I was able to talk about being a first-generation college graduate that achieved Summa Cum Laudeand that everything I did was possible because of the support of my amazing professors at Stetson.”

Stetson recently received that message and photos from Driza, who teaches sixth- and seventh-graders in gifted and advanced language arts in Sarasota, Florida. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in education.

Adding Artistic Flair to COVID-19

Sophomore Bella Steiert and her library mural

After leaving campus last spring along with her fellow students, Bella Steiert had every intention of returning in August for the Fall Semester. Yet, having contracted Lyme disease as a teenager, which weakened her body’s immune system, she thought it was best to remain at home. During the summer, the family had moved as planned from Harmony, Florida, to Mississippi. There, she found herself in a new town and without her familiar Stetson life. And she decided to make the most of it.

“I was bummed because I wanted to go back [to campus],” said Steiert, a sophomore majoring in digital arts. “So, I was thinking, ‘What can I do to maximize me staying home?’” 

A chance meeting provided the answer. In the small town of Ripley, Mississippi, while taking three online courses, she became a graphic-design intern through Stetson’s program at the Ripley Main Street Association, a nonprofit organization that focuses on enhancing the culture and quality of life in Ripley. 

Then came an unexpected opportunity. A few weeks into the internship, the local library needed promotional artwork. One thing led to another, and Steiert was asked to create a mural that would be wrapped around the library’s building. And, following almost two months of work, Steiert completed the task — in a hand-painted style and done all digitally. The mural, printed in hard plastic for the exterior, was unveiled in early December. The mural measures 20 feet wide and 10 feet high.

Lauren Gay, Steiert’s mother, also is a Hatter.

“It was such a cool experience to have and to get the Stetson internship credits, as well. It was just great,” she described.

Steiert will be back at Stetson soon, too, for the Spring Semester. 

 “I miss being on campus and having that experience, even though it’s going to be very different,” she said. “It really is like a home environment for me.” 

By the way, her mother, Lauren Gay, also is a Hatter, having been part of the first leadership education graduate cohort (2003) at Stetson’s former campus in Celebration.

All in the Alumni Family

At left: Pam Epting ’86 and Billy Epting ’86 with son Scott Epting ’2020). At right: Bruce Dahlgren ’83, MBA ’85, a member of the Stetson Board of Trustees, with wife Allison ’85 and son Mikael ’20 (and friend).

See the DeLand commencement coverage.

That First Alumni Holiday

Dalton Bobay ’19 and Kristen Bobay ’18 with dog, Eliza, are celebrating their first holiday season in their new home together in DeBary, Florida, not far from the campus.