CAM-tastic Stories highlights the journeys of our CAM students in a brief narrative fashion.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people. It’s harder than it sounds but you could miss out on great friendships.” Olivia McDaniel offers this suggestion for incoming students at Southeastern University. Olivia is a senior at SEU and is majoring in public relations. Graduating in April, she looks back at her time at SEU with positivity. “I think Southeastern University has helped me learn how to stay organized and create good habits for myself. I see myself working in an office helping with events and social media content after I graduate, but the end goal is to work at a wedding venue in an event manager’s position.” While Olivia has made the most of her time in the classroom, she is also actively involved on campus in a leadership position as the resident Assistant for the Esperanza dorms. “My favorite part of my time at Southeastern has been being involved in leadership and living with best friends.”
– story by Emilia Pombo

“It is truly amazing to work with people who are so passionate about music,” says Brandon Pasquence, a junior at Southeastern University, who has been elected as Parliamentarian in the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Music Education. “This position has helped me realize that the process is just as important as the product.” Brandon is one of three SEU students who have been elected to serve NAfME. “My responsibilities are to become an expert on interpreting and applying Robert’s Rules of Order to all of our meetings as well as to give advice regarding parliamentary procedure.” Brandon attributes his success to what he learned at SEU. “The concept of servant leadership has changed my mindset on being a leader by shifting my focus towards serving and lifting others to a higher level.” Brandon offers this advice for students who are considering elected positions: “Know your stuff and have a thirst for knowledge.”
– story by Emilia Pombo

Lakeland Polk theater

Originally written by Paul Catala and published by the Ledger Media Group. Visit the to view the original article.

LAKELAND — Joseph DeBeasi returned for an encore, getting in tune with military families.

During his return trip to the area, DeBeasi worked to arrange a musical score telling not the struggles of soldiers and military personnel endure, but about the sacrifices, struggles and stateside duties of their families.

DeBeasi, 58, is a Hollywood music editor and composer who wrote the score for “American Sniper.” He has worked on more than 60 feature films including “The Revenant,” “The Book of Eli” and “Dirty Dancing.”

DeBeasi premiered “One More Minute” on March 20, a song commissioned by Southeastern University’s (SEU) College of Arts & Media. It was performed by Lakeland’s Imperial Symphony Orchestra (ISO) at Victory Church as part of the college’s “Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community” project. Sinfonia, which cost more than $60,000, served as a tribute to members of the military and was funded partly through a $26,700 grant from the Polk County Tourist Development Council.

This time, DeBeasi returned to Lakeland for two days to interview families and prominent members of the community, such as Joe Tedder, Polk County tax collector, and Seretha Tinsley, co-owner of Tinsley Family Concessions Inc., Winter Haven. Tedder and Tinsley will have songs composed for them, telling their stories through music and will be the guest conductors for each song.

Craig Collins, dean of the SEU College of Arts & Media, has helped coordinate the cooperative effort between SEU, DeBeasi and the ISO. “Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community” is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, in Lakeland’s Polk Theatre.

Collins said DeBeasi has interviewed seven families and selected different stories to present in a musical context. He said the pieces will focus on families with loved ones away, who have members of the military who don’t come home and others who don’t truly return home emotionally.

“We must show how music can tell a narrative to truly understand the pieces John DeBeasi is writing about our military and their families,” he said. “This is a wonderful way to unite Polk County.”

Warner Bros. studios and Clint Eastwood, who directed “American Sniper,” gave DeBeasi permission to use the movie’s music for “Sinfonia.”

DeBeasi said he was delighted to be back in the Polk County community. He hopes his new compositions will show how families continue to love and support those serving at various stages of their service.

“I’ve interviewed quite a range of families, from a young military family whose son is a first generation Marine, to a widow dealing with the results of a casualty, to another family who lost their son, and to another family recounting their son’s severe PTSD and his journey to recovery,” he said.

The experience brought a new awareness to him of how families go through war in different ways.

“A lot of times, they don’t know where their child is. Even when their child is not deployed, because of security protocol and the lack of communication associated with that line of work, parents just don’t know, so they’re pretty much carrying a constant level of anxiety the whole time,” he said. “It’s just a different point of view hearing from families about when they are here stateside and their loved ones are deployed, and it’s an eye opener for me.″

Published: January 19, 2018

Southeastern University CAM student gallery

Originally written by Eric Pera and published by the Ledger Media Group. Visit the to view the original article.

LAKELAND — Southeastern University unveiled its burgeoning commitment to the arts Thursday evening with the debut of its College of Arts & Media Gallery.

The gallery will be open to the public during business hours beginning Wednesday. It is situated within the sprawling $22 million Buena Vida Building, which comprises Southeastern’s business college, the newly completed College of Arts & Media, student housing, classrooms and more.

A private reception Thursday allowed college benefactors a chance to peruse the gallery and chat with Jonathan Simon, an accomplished artist and arts instructor who has been hired to help build Southeastern’s fledgling arts program.

This fall, the private, Christian liberal arts university will debut a bachelor’s program in visual arts.

The gallery, and indeed the entire College of Arts & Media facility, is evidence of Southeastern’s robust development, said Kent Ingle, president of Southeastern.

“This is wonderful,” he said during Thursday’s reception. “We have an absolute commitment to the arts. This is a historic moment.”

The gallery’s inaugural exhibit is all about Simon, 43, a realist painter who primarily uses oil on linen canvas. He holds a bachelor’s in fine arts in illustration from Memphis College of Art, and a master’s in fine arts in painting from the New York Academy of Figurative Art.

Having taught previously at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and Frostburg State University, Simon left academia in 2012 to return to painting full time.

He said he was drawn back into teaching for the challenge of building a program at Southeastern.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s coming in on the ground floor,” he said. “It’s like an egg; we’re just hatching, but the potential is endless.”

The art gallery was designed with the future in mind, especially in attracting professional exhibitions.

Published: January 19, 2018