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Oral History

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Richard (Rick) Bommelje has served Rollins as a staff member, administrator, and tenured faculty member for nearly five decades. He is a proud Rollins alumnus three times: from the School of Continuing Education (predecessor to the Holt School) with a B.S. in Business Administration; the Crummer Graduate School with a M.S. in Management; and the Education Department with the Ed.S. in Educational Administration. Rick earned his Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Central Florida.

Born in Rochester, New York, he relocated to Orlando in 1966 after short stays in Dallas, Texas and Louisville, Kentucky during high school. Rick is a Vietnam Veteran (U.S. Army) and spent a year each in Vietnam and Thailand. He met his wife, Quin, in Thailand and they recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Quin, a World & United States champion ballroom dancer, began dancing at the age of 60. She and her dance partner appeared on America's Got Talent Season 13 in 2018 and won the Golden Buzzer. Over 32 million people have viewed this performance on YouTube. She performed at the premier Hollywood Dolby Theater in the live show in front of 18 million viewers.

Rick has spent his entire Rollins career in continuing education. This has included serving in a variety of roles including Assistant to the Dean, Associate Director, and Associate Dean, and he was the founding Director of the Center for Lifelong Education at Rollins. He began teaching as an adjunct in 1980, was invited to join the faculty as a Visiting Associate Professor in 1997, and shortly thereafter was offered a tenure track position in the Department of Communication teaching courses in the areas of leadership and listening. He humbly states that he is privileged to teach in the two main areas he personally needs the most help in. Rick has been blessed to have learned with thousands who have taught him how to listen and lead better.