Art in the Palm of Their Hands

Photo By: Courtney Jimenez

Smart phones have never been just a device for calling a loved one or sending a text message to a friend. These computers, encased in slick sheets of metal and glass, connect many people of the modernized world with portable, unlimited internet to the World Wide Web.

Increased usage and demands for faster, more organized access to information and entertainment have resulted in applications to take over the smart phone world. They range from “apps” designed track the exact location of others to those that can transform a picture into a mock-painting.

On Thursday, Sept. 5, Jacksonville University’s John Turnock, associate professor of art, orchestrated an art show showcasing photos taken strictly by iPhones. These photos were then turned into artwork, many of them made to look like real paintings rather than pictures.

It isn’t the type of show that is normally done, Turnock said.

“It’s an unusual show that hasn’t been done very often, so it’s kind of exciting for the artists and us,” Turnock said, in a Sept. 5 Florida Times-Union article. “I invited artists from around the world to participate. Some of the participants are professional photographers, some are amateur artists, but all are intrigued by the possibilities offered by technology.”

The advances in smartphone technology offered these professionals a different artistic medium for their talents.

“The pictures are truly amazing,” said Ashley Simon, JU junior and international business major. “I didn’t know they were pictures until someone told me. A lot of them seem a little morbid and gothic but the way they were transformed to look like a painting it absolutely fascinating. I wish I new how to do something like this.”

All artwork in the exhibition was printed on campus on recycled, acid-free paper.

The show, which is free and open to the public, will be on display weekdays through Oct. 2.

Campus Construction: Aspire in Action

Photo By: Alyssa Stevenson

River House- The donor-raised $1 million construction for the River House began during the middle of August 2013. The house is being completely gutted including the walls and ceilings to leave just its bare frame. The house will have brand new features in order to help “create a sense of community for JU students and the entire JU family” and to “boost pride in JU among students, faculty, staff and alumni,” according to Brad Negaard, who designed the Boat House, has also designed the plans for the River House.

Improvements on the house will include an outdoor event deck, a conference room that can hold about ten people, a conference room that can hold about 30 people, a bar that will serve beer and wine, a screened porch, an outdoor fireplace, storage space for volleyball and a sitting area. The current entrance of the house will be shifted to the right and the house will have 16-foot ceilings straight through the back of the house. The deck will lead down to where the existing bleachers at the volleyball courts are and will consist of steps for people to sit and watch the volleyball games. There will be outdoor bathrooms for games and for use when the house is closed and locked after hours. Cash or credit cards will complete all transactions for beer, wine and food at the bar, not meal plans or flex bucks.

The house will be completed during the spring semester.

Parking Lots- Due to the frequent traffic at JU’s Orthodontics, there was a need for more parking in front of the Howard building. There will be approximately 60 new parking stalls added in Lot A and B. There will be five stalls reserved for admissions visitors, 15 reserved for campus visitors and the remaining will be designated for faculty and staff. The visitor parking that is now located in the Orthodontics area, will become Orthodontics parking only. The addition of new parking allows for other designated parking areas to shift and relieve pressure on Lot C.

Softball Stadium- Construction of the $250,000 improvements to the JU softball stadium began during late spring of 2013. The additions include coach offices, a locker room and team space and coverage of the batting cages. However, there will still not be a visiting team locker room.

This improvement was necessary because the softball team did not have a place of their own; coaches had offices in the baseball stadium and the players didn’t have a locker room to prepare for their games.

The addition helps to bring more recruits and raise the softball program’s status.

Fred Pruitt and Mark Frisch, Board of Trustees members, have been major donors for this project. The dedication and ribbon cutting will be on Oct. 10, 2013.

Veteran Lab/Lounge- There is a population of about two to three hundred military veterans that attend Jacksonville University. Over the summer, moves were made in order to give them their own space to study and relax. There is an unused room in the corner of Founders Building that will be renovated into a lab and a lounge. There will be an entryway that will be added on the outside of Founders Building that goes towards the sidewalk of Council Building. This project will be completed by November 2013.

A New Education Commissioner: JU’s Kent-Willette Recevies a Call From City Hall

Photo Courtesy of: JU Marketing and Communications

On Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 9 a.m., representatives of various programs and departments around Jacksonville and Jacksonville University walked into the Terry Concert Hall to witness the announcement of the city’s new Education Commissioner, Associate Professor of Communications Annemarie Kent-Willette, Ph.D.

Amongst the many domestic changes at JU, this recent event not only rippled through the gates of the campus, but the entire city of Jacksonville.

Serving in the role of Education Commissioner, Kent-Willette, a JU professor since 2001, will guide and instruct Mayor Alvin Brown in subjects involving Jacksonville’s education. Kent-Willette will serve on loan from JU, receiving a ceremonial $1 from the city of Jacksonville. The office of Education Commissioner serves at no cost to the Duval County tax payers.

“I think she is an excellent choice for the job,” said Alvin Brown, Mayor of Jacksonville. “Given her background, her professional and academic experience, having taught here at JU for over a decade, her belief in education, and her sharing of my vision for what Jacksonville could be in terms of education, I think she is an excellent choice.”

Kent-Willette received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications at the University of South Florida. She received her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of North Florida and began her career as a television journalist in Tampa, Fla. She will continue to teach two of her broadcast classes at JU and one practicum course that houses the Dolphin Channel News.

JU President Tim Cost remarked on the impact of Kent-Willette’s appointment for the JU community.

“This is another way we can show the city at-large, and the whole region of North Florida, this incredible role that the university plays in education. We’ve been able to attract some of the best professors in the entire region. Our students know and benefit from that, so we get more, better students every year and they get a tremendous education. I’m glad to make that investment.”

Kent-Willette is also on the board of the Florida Press Broadcasters as a representative, an academic coach for the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership in Duval County, and teaches seminars to K-12 grade teachers as a First Coast Scholar.

Jacksonville’s previous Education Commissioner, Donnie Horner, will now serve as JU’s Chief Government and Community Affairs Officer.

As commissioner, alongside Mayor Brown, Horner upheld the JROTC and middle school football programs, introduced the summer program Learn2Earn to over 200 students, paired about 600 mentors to Duval County students under the Mayor’s Mentors program, and chartered College Student Aid Workshops which provides financial aid for hopeful college students, according to a JU press release.

“Dr. Donnie Horner left a great legacy that directly impacted and enhanced the lives of our citizens and I think that’s a really great benchmark,” Kent-Willette said. “I’d like to leave the office at the end of two years and be able to clearly point to success stories that left the office and the community in a great spot.”

Kent-Willette also shared that she believed that Horner did a great job at crisis management. Kent-Willette plans on supporting programs that are already in place and being prepared for crisis situations.

“At some point during this juncture I’m sure there will be a situation that needs some help. And I plan to be ready to step into action,” Kent-Willette said.

Kent-Willette says she is confident and knows that she is ready for what lies ahead in her new position.

“I don’t think I would say that I’m nervous. I’m excited; I want to do a good job. I expect a lot of myself, and if you read my resume you probably get that real clearly. My expectations of myself are to do an excellent job. I just want to be able to do the job to the best of my capabilities.”

Fine Arts Preview: Expression of a University

Photo Courtesy of: The Wave Weekly

Bursting at the seams this fall 2013 semester is the Jacksonville University Performing Arts schedule which includes a variety of stimulating events to draw in students from all across campus. With the first event beginning Sept. 5, almost every week is jam-packed with an artistic display of the fine arts program.

Phonography, Camera Phone Show (Sept. 5- Oct. 2)

Smart phones and their various applications have changed the way we create and see artwork. At JU’s Camera Phone Show artists from all around the world will have their work on display.These works are not typical forms of art because these artists are using their smart phones to revolutionize image capturing.

Breaking Boundaries (Sept. 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m.)

Jacksonville University Dance will host three professional contemporary dance companies in the Swisher Theater in one weekend: Braided Light, Jacksonville Dance Theatre and Kavin Grant Productions.

Music Faculty Showcase (Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.)

The JU music division faculty are all teaming up to provide a night of memorable and thrilling performances ranging in many forms of music compilations.

Adam Blackstock, Marimba (Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m.)

Troy University’s Adam Blackstock, Ph.D. will perform a guest artist recital featuring musical stylings written for the marimba, which is a musical instrument in the percussion family.

Andrew Cummings, Saxophonist (Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m.)

Cummings will present both a master class in Terry Concert Hall and a program of works from the classical saxophone.

JUMU: Students’ Recital (Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m.)

New to the Performing Arts Series this year are the Music Student Nomination Recital evenings. These special recitals are created to recognize members of the student body selected by the faculty to illustrate individual prowess throughout the academic year.

Tony Steve, Percussion (Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.)

Tony Steve, Assistant Professor of Contemporary & World Music, plays with the exciting new percussion trio, Ground Floor. After placing a performance on hold for a couple years, Steve decided that it was time he teamed up with the music faculty and put on a breathtaking performance for JU.

“This is going to be a night of festive music-making, not some boring ho-hum evening of the same old, same old. Expect the unexpected,” Steve said about the Recital.

Students who attend this event will be sure to see and hear the authenticity from this performance.

“Students can spot when a musician is faking enjoyment. When Boril and I play together, there is no faking, the enjoyment and passion for the music is real and substantive,” Steve said.

JUMU: Students’ Recital (Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.)

This event will follow along the lines of the first JUMU Recital.

Hackers and Painters (Oct. 10 - Nov. 6 )

JU will host the works of Florida State University faculty members Joelle Dietrick and Judy Rushin.

A Grand Night for Singing (Oct. 11, 12 and 13)

Jacksonville University’s Division of Music presents: A Grand Night for Singing. The showcase will include Tony award-winning Rodgers and Hammerstein revue along with pioneering musical pieces from a variety of R&H tunes. The event will also feature JU voice majors and musicians.

Kimberely Beasley, Assistant Professor of Voice, will be the director of this showcase. Beasley decided to bring this event to JU “to expose our singers to this style of music as well as bringing music to our audiences that is well known and loved,” Beasley said.

This event attracts to many students and has a variety of songs which range from romantic sentiments and also upbeat performances that will be sure to get students out their seat.

“It is also fun to watch the instrumentalists play on the stage where you can see them,” Beasley said.

Eurydice (Oct. 25, 26 Nov. 1, 2 at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at 3:00 p.m.)

The JU Theatre Department retells the story of the Orpheus myth.

The play will be under the direction and staging of Deborah Jordan, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts. The production design will be done by Professor Ben Wilson, Professor of Theatre Arts, with original music by Professor Scott Watkins, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Music. The play is by Sarah Ruhl.

The theatre department says they are excited to team up with the music department.

“A collaboration with the music department, both for the music theatre students and the musicians as Professor Scott Watkins (piano) is composing music for the show,” Jordan said.

Chick-Fil-A: Here To Stay

Photo By: Gabi Hickman

At 11:27a.m on a rainy Florida morning, four women walked into a Chick-fil-A decorated with swollen cow balloons, hungry students and a host of “My Pleasures” from Chick-fil-A employees. After the line quickly vanished, juniors Shadaey Campbell, Courtney Walker, Anika Gardner and sophomore Lauren White enjoyed their first Chick-fil-A sandwich on Jacksonville University’s campus. Satisfied with their meal, they took in the lively atmosphere of the grand opening of Chick-fil-A that Monday, August 26.

The women laughed at inside jokes and waved to people they recognized. They were excited that their university now had the option of Chick-fil-A. Disappointed that they could no longer use their meals, the women had little to complain about, and enjoyed the customer service, quick delivery and free meal cards given to them with their meal. The women all nodded their heads in agreement that the “service is much nicer” than Nellie’s last semester.

“I think one of the things we struggled with the most at Nellie’s could have been customer service, and I really trust Chick-fil-A to cover that front.” JUSA President Will Baxley, said. “I think we’re definitely off to a really great start on customer service improvements and I know that people at Sodexo really take that seriously.”

With all of the planning, funding and partnering needed to obtain the Chick-fil-A on campus and renovate the Riverview Cafe, President Tim Cost appreciates the effort Sodexo put into the shifts in JU’s dining experience.

“That’s a corporation who’s mission is to create partnerships with institutions whether it’s businesses or universities,” Cost said. “They put in time and money and I can tell you that there were many times that they were there until 2 in the morning. You have to go back and think about the amount of positive progress created in 100 days. You have to get everyone moving in the same direction, but if you answer the call of what students and faculty think are important, you can get to an important place.”

Though most students at JU seem to be accepting of the new Chick-Fil-A, as Baxley pointed out the “line is going back to the Buck Room,” some students feel unsettled by the idea of having a Chick-Fil-A on campus due to the company’s stance on gay marriage.

The company, culture and service tradition of Chick-fil-A “is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” according to a September 2012 statement by Chick-Fil-A.

However, on Sep 21, 2012, Mike Huckabee on his Fox News website submitted a statement from Dan Cathy, Chick-Fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer, stating that “there continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-Fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.”

The University of North Florida, which also recently added a Chick-Fil-A to its campus, received a slew of backlash from the students, according to a Sep 28, 2012 article in First Coast News. Some students wanted healthier meal options, but most students felt offended that people would be in support of the company on campus due to the recent controversy.

“Let me tell you how it feels to have someone go on national TV and say they hate you—to say that not only do they hate you, but it’s part of their values and belief system to hate you,” Alex Tarter, UNF junior told the UNF Student Government Association at a meeting. “When you go through that, you can tell me I’m being unreasonable when I say there shouldn’t be a Chick-Fil-A on campus.”

Though there are students at JU who feel similar to Tarter, the general population at JU has had a positive response due to the friendly service and close community the new dining facility has created.

“I feel like some of the feedback speaks for itself as far as the business and people populating it,” Baxley said.

Chick-fil-A was not the only dining renovation on campus. The Riverview Cafe went through some changes as well. Cost told the student body at the grand opening “we want you to have a student experience and dining experience that is befitting of your time here.”

“I looked at what I thought was a beautiful physical space that was severely underutilized,” Cost said. “The former model of let’s slide a tray down a long line like we did in high school, those days are over. Go into that venue at noon today. Jammed. They’re voting with they’re feet. They’re either showing up for things or they’re not. They’re either excited about things or they’re not.”

Though most students feel that the food in the Riverview Cafe tastes the same, they are very impressed by the aesthetics and layout. They also enjoy the opportunity to have more control over what they are eating, watching the food being cooked and voicing what ingredients they would like in each dish.

“One of the reasons they did all the renovations was so they could cook more dietary restrictive type foods,” Baxley said. “I think that good studying and good health obviously come back to dieting in a lot of ways.”

Cost encourages students to continue to give him feedback on JU’s dining facilities as well as other aspects of the college experience.

Photo B: Gabi Hickman

“The days of a university dictating to their most important constituents how they live are gone,” Cost said. “I’m thrilled that the students are as direct and candid as they are with what they want to see on their campus. I hope they are going to see it all because everything we do here at JU is not just designed to enhance our students’ on campus experience but preparing them for the next step in their lives whether that be graduate school or a full time job.”

Students who have questions about the new dining renovations or the new meal plans can visit the Sodexo office next to the Riverview Cafe.

“I’m glad we made a big deal of this,” Baxley said. “I think it’s something we’re really proud of as a university and I think our service providers are really proud as well.”

St. Johns River Month a Hidden Treasure

Photo By: Makayla Earl

The time for Spring cleaning is here again and Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and the St. Johns River Keeper got in the mood when Mayor Brown proclaimed last month as St. Johns River Month.

The St. Johns River Keeper’s website stated that March is a great time to explore and celebrate the river.

They are encouraging everyone to adopt ‘river friendly practices’ to reduce our negative impact on the St. Johns.

During the river month, the River Keepers partnered with The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Riverside Avondale Preservations and a variety of garden centers to provide workshops to the citizens of Jacksonville on how to be river friendly. Although many of the citizens of Jacksonville knew and celebrated in St. Johns River Month, many of the students at Jacksonville University were unaware of the proclaimed month.

“I’m a marine science major and had no idea that last month was St. Johns River Month,” said junior, Brett Durda. “Living in Jacksonville, this is something the entire school should have been aware of so we could have participated. I know some organizations participate in river cleanups, but we could have done a lot more if we were aware of the month.”

Although river cleanups are a good way to help clean the river, the St. Johns River Keeper’s website states that protecting the river starts in the homes and businesses of  Jacksonville citizens.

Fortunately, according to the website there are many ways to help keep the river clean: planting native and drought-tolerant plants, limiting water usage, using fertilizers and chemicals sparingly and removing litter and debris from the streets and storm drains. The article on the website ended by saying, “It’s time to explore, celebrate and help protect our river.”

For more information on keeping the river clean, visit

Florida Georgia Line ‘Cruises’ through JU


Photo By: Makayla Earl

The roar of the crowd invades their ears as they stand with the rest of the band, linked together, shoulder to shoulder. The words of prayer and encouragement are barely heard over the thumping crowd yelling out their name, but Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard continue to get their band pumped for the performance. With hands all in, one last chant is yelled at the top of their lungs before they take to the stage and the crowd goes wild.

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard thrilled both JU and UNF students Feb. 7, at the Jacksonville University performance at the Larry Strom Amphitheater on the riverfront.

The two met when they were in college and the rest is history.

“We met at Belmont University through a friend,” Kelley said. “We started writing and hanging out and ended up playing some writer’s round at Hotel Indigo. We just started doing our thing and realized we had a good thing going with our voices and the songs we were writing.”

The crowd at the amphitheater definitely agreed, as they cheered for each song and sang along with them.

With nearly 3,000 people in attendance, JU is not the biggest crowd they’ve played for, but Hubbard and Kelley said they still get nervous before going on stage no matter how big or small the crowd is.

“Hearing the crowd like that is just unbelievable,” Kelley said. “I don’t think we’ll ever get used to it.”

“It’s like hearing your song on the radio for the first time,” Hubbard chimed in. “At first you don’t realize it’s you and then you have this indescribable feeling like you’re on top of the world, but the feeling never goes away and you never get used to it.”

Although the two said they were a little nervous, their nerves did not show while performing on stage. The band owned the performance as they rocked back and forth, pumping up the crowd and even inviting some girls on stage to dance during one of their songs.

“We always like to invite someone up on stage with us,” Hubbard said. “I mean, we’re normal people too and we like to show people that. We’re young and like having fun especially with our fans. They are the only reason we’re standing where we are today so we want to give back to them in some way.”

Hubbard and Kelley said they are excited to see where things are headed for them next, but right now they are just having fun.

“I don’t think we ever expected it to be this fast, but we have big dreams and big goals and we’ve worked hard to get here,” Kelley said. “We had our fingers crossed and still do for bigger and better things. We’re just working hard and doing our thing.”

Great White Shark Caught off the Coast of Jacksonville

Photo Courtesy of: OCEARCH

One of the many traits that make Jacksonville University unique and attractive is its sheer proximity to the beach. Students come from all around the world to receive their education in sunny Florida, while spending their free time splashing in the blue waves of the sugared sand beaches.

As many students in the marine science program here can tell you, those blue waves hold all kinds of mysteries yet to be solved, and danger lurks in the depths. On March 3, Ocearch, a socially active marine science research crew, pulled up a 2,000 pound great white shark from waters just off the coast of Jacksonville. Known as Lydia, the great white shark topped the chart measuring 14 feet 6 inches long. Lydia marks the first great white shark successfully tagged and released off the coast of Jacksonville.

It was a full week that the crew was out at sea, and they were starting to become discouraged having not seen a shark yet. The weather started to become in-climate that Sunday morning, so Captain Brett McBride navigated to the south side of the St. John’s River, trying to seek some rest from the storm. It was only an hour from this point that Lydia would show up under The Contender, Ocearch’s scouting boat.

The crew quickly bated and hooked the shark, then headed back towards the mother ship. They got Lydia out of the water on the first go, flipped her over on her back and began to take parasite and blood samples, an ultrasound and surgically inserted an acoustic tracker into her midsection.

The team slowly rolled the great white back onto its belly, where scientists attached a blue SPOT (Smart Position and Temperature) tag to her dorsal fin as well as an accelerometer to track instantaneous speed. Finally, researchers attached a PSAT (Pop-off Satellite Archival Tag) and named her Lydia Moss Bradley after the founder of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

Ocearch is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented research on the ocean’s giants, mainly sharks. They seek to attain groundbreaking data on shark health and biology while obtaining basic shark data such as migration patterns, feeding habits and life history.

The researchers work aboard the MV Ocearch, a 126-foot vessel equipped with a 75,000 pound hydraulic lift as well as an at-sea laboratory. The seven-member crew goes out on expeditions to attract, catch, tag and bio sample sharks before releasing them back into the ocean. They use the hydraulic lift to remove the shark from the water and maintain it on a platform by passing water over its gills.

The organization sets itself apart by preforming “unprecedented research” on shark populations. Thirty percent of shark and ray populations are threatened or near-threatened with extinction. Ocearch’s data offers a look into shark ecology and they believe that this new data can help efforts in ocean conservation as well as human safety.

Ocearch is all about social media and getting their work out there. If you would like to know more about the team as well as their environmental goals, you can visit or follow their expeditions on twitter @ocearch.

Nellie Turns 60, Maybe

Photo Courtesy of:

She met Van Gogh at the end of his life. He was ugly. He was an alcoholic. At 119 years old, Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) spoke in French to an interviewer from ‘Provence’ that she had seen everything. She outlived her parents and grandparents and stayed strong until she was 122. To the nations, Calment was a miracle. It was not every day that populations could marvel at a woman living to be more than 120 years old.

Like the shock of Jeanne Calment in 1997, Nellie, Jacksonville University’s mascot since 1970, made headlines when she reached her 60 birthday on Feb. 27, which would make her the oldest dolphin in the world under human care.

According to the Oceanic Preservation Society, dolphins will live for approximately 40 to 50 years in the wild, but in parks “their survival rates are staggeringly low.” At SeaWorld in San Antonio, the average lifespan of a captive-bred dolphin is four years.

“It’s truly astonishing how long she has lived,” said junior marine science major and president of Rho Rho Rho, a marine science honors society, Brett Durda. “She has lived easily 20 years longer than any other dolphin in captivity. Usually dolphins do not live very long in captivity due to space requirements, exercise and food. She has probably lived this long due to great care of her caretakers at Marineland mixed with a good diet and exercise.”

Because of Nellie’s astonishing lifespan, Marineland celebrated Nellie’s 60 birthday with the community with cake and card signings. However visitors were unable to visit Nellie due to “ongoing construction” according to an article in The St. Augustine Record. Others say Nellie’s health can also attribute to the visitor restrictions.

“Lately within the last three or so years, Marineland has made it relatively difficult to see her,” Durda said. “This is probably because she has been sick lately and fragile and Marineland has been worried about her health and longevity.”

The visitor restrictions added with the outlandish age of Nellie have started rumors that Nellie is actually dead and Marineland is trying to replace her before anyone finds out. Some students on campus have heard these rumors and are reacting to them differently. There are two main reactions. The first is an appalled reaction with a sentiment of hope.

“It’s sad. I thought we had the oldest dolphin in the world, and then someone told me she was dead and I’m like ‘no, she’s alive,’” freshman musical theater major, Adda Laplaceliere, said. “They haven’t changed the napkin holders at Nellie’s, so she’s alive. Nellie’s fit. I would think if Nellie was dead they would change that. I would feel so sad because I actually want to meet her some day.”

The second is a more complacent response.

“Shamoo is the mascot for SeaWorld and there has probably been a lot of Shamoos,” freshman animations major Lexy Plummer said. “If Nellie dies, we’ll get a new dolphin and name it Nellie.”

Dead or alive, Nellie has served JU since just a year after the US landed on the moon, and will continue to serve JU in the future. Since the 1950s, Nellie starred in several television shows and quickly became a fan favorite performing her famous “hula hoop trick” and other charming personality connections with the guests. Now, Nellie is “paving the way for other dolphins that may reach her age and is helping to provide a baseline of data or information for the zoological community as a whole,” according to Marineland.

“She has been a great mascot,” Durda said. “Since JU is on the river and almost everyone has experienced a dolphin in the river, she was the perfect fit. She has also given us a mascot to support as well as a real physical representation of JU and its longevity as a university, much like her life.”

On May 31, Nellie will receive her honorary doctorate degree from Jacksonville University, and through June 2, Marineland Dolphin Adventure will host further activities and events. Those who were unable to make it to the celebration Wednesday can still sign Nellie’s birthday card on display at the facility or visit and share stories, photos and videos as well as view Nellie memories as far back as 1953.

Center Stage! JU Orchestra Concert

Photo By: Gabriele Hickman

On the evening of March 5, Terry Concert Hall was filled with patrons waiting to hear JU’s own symphony orchestra perform a variety of pieces that featured soloists being supported by the wall of sound that is created by symphonic music.
The evening began with Anthony Anurca, JSO bassoonist and JU faculty member, playing Concerto for Bassoon in E minor by Antonio Vivaldi. The first movement, allegro poco, immediately featured the facility of the bassoon with fast moving arpeggios and lines that imitated the sounds of a string section. The second movement contrasted with a slower tempo with haunting melodic lines that invoked a nostalgic remorse due to the foundation bassoon has in the older styles of music such as the Renaissance. The final section increased the pace even more than the first movement making it the perfect finish for the piece and showcase of professor Anurca’s talent.
Following was professor Kimberly Beasley, soprano, singing Bella Mia Fiamma; Resta o Cara, by W.A. Mozart. The entire work was an intimate example of the communication one can have through sheer emotional context even with the text being in another language. Beasley makes an almost effortless communication with the large ensemble behind her, as her and Dr. Marguerite Richardson, conductor, work together to blend the sounds presented before them to tell a story of grief over the loss of a loved one and the separation of death between them.
The end to the first half of the concert featured Joseph Engel, JU senior composition major, playing Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. The piece opened with a powerful and somber atmosphere that gave birth to the melancholy drama that is common to cello music. As the music gained intensity so did the power of the instrument as it built to a point of anguish and defiance that resolves to peaceful tranquility.
“It was exhilarating, inspiring and enjoyable” Engel said.
When the audience returned to their seats for the final half of the concert it was to the energetic and rhythmic sound of Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra and Piano Obbligato. The prelude featured powerful hits in the lower register with bass and piano that created extra rhythms underneath tension built by the rest of the orchestra playing strained harmonies that lead into the next movement, Dirge. The background of the rest of the orchestra transforms the strained harmonies from before into a feeling of dark complexity as folk-like melodies. Those melodies are then freed into the Pastorales and Rustic dance movements that breathed bright new life into them. The orchestra then gives a powerful final blow with the ultimate movement, Fugue, with an array of different parts intertwining creating a sea of sound that enveloped the audience as they bid them farewell.
“The orchestra took me on a bright spiritual journey,” said Corey Wilcox, jazz performance major. “I felt as though my like my mind was somewhere else. What I really enjoyed was the celebration of other’s creativity.”

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