Stetson University is a private, nonprofit university with four colleges and schools located across the I-4 corridor in Central Florida, United States, with the primary undergraduate campus located in DeLand. In the 2013 U.S. News and World Report's guide to America's Best Colleges, Stetson ranks third in the category of regional universities (South) and also third in Southern Masters-granting institutions.
Other recent recognitions include being ranked No. 13 nationally for service and 11th nationally for research in Washington Monthly magazine’s “2012 College Guide” to master's universities. The School of Music was named to Parade Magazine's national "College A-List" in the category highlighting Arts Programs and the School of Business Administration was named one of the nation's 300 best by The Princeton Review. Stetson, the only university affiliated with the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in Florida, is also nationally recognized for its commitment to service and social justice-based community engagement and community-engaged learning.
According to Gilbert Lycan, a Stetson history professor who wrote the university's official centennial history in 1983, Stetson University was founded in 1883 by Henry Addison DeLand, a New York philanthropist, as DeLand Academy. In 1887, the Florida Legislature enacted the Charter of DeLand University as an independent institution of higher learning.
DeLand University's name was changed in 1889 to honor hat manufacturer John B. Stetson, a benefactor of the university, who served with town founder, Henry A. DeLand, and others as a founding trustee of the university. Mr. Stetson also provided substantial assistance to the University after Mr. DeLand, on account of financial reverses, was no longer able to do so.
Stetson University was affiliated with the Florida Baptist Convention from its founding in 1885 until 1907, when the Convention was defeated in its effort to force Stetson to amend its charter. From 1907 to 1919, the Florida Baptist Convention operated Columbia College in Lake City, Florida, but it failed for lack of adequate financial support. In 1919, the relationship between Stetson University and the Florida Baptist Convention was reestablished and continued until 1993, when it was terminated.
The university's College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Music, and most graduate programs are housed at the DeLand campus, located just north of the downtown area of DeLand, Florida. More than 60 undergraduate majors and minors are offered.
Stetson's campus is just north of the downtown area of DeLand, roughly halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach, Florida. The 175-acre (0.71 km2) campus is nationally designated by the National Register of Historic Places as the Stetson University Campus Historic District for Florida's oldest collection of education-related buildings. DeLand Hall, which houses the Office of the President and the offices of other administrators, was constructed in 1884 and is the oldest building in Florida in continuous use for higher education.
In 2003, the Lynn Business Center, housing much of the university's School of Business, was Florida's first green building certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Elizabeth Hall, named after John B. Stetson's wife, houses a number of departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Music performs in Lee Chapel in the south of the building. The cupola atop Elizabeth Hall — modeled after the one on Independence Hall in Philadelphia — is used as the official symbol of the undergraduate campus.
In 2010, Stetson became a pet-friendly campus, and the university also invested $6.5 million to renew landscaping in the campus core, upgrade classrooms and add energy-saving lighting, all at the DeLand campus. Improvements included a new coffeehouse. In recent years, over $17 million in new construction took place at the DeLand campus. Sage Hall, home of the departments of natural sciences, received an $8.5 million renovation and expansion, while the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center, the Rinker Environmental Learning Center, and Mary B. McMahan Hall — rehearsal space for the School of Music — were new constructions. Along with student exhibitions, the university's extensive collection of paintings by American modernist Oscar Bluemner are housed in the Hand Art Center.
The university also includes the Stetson University College of Law, the first law school in Florida. It was relocated in 1954 from DeLand to Gulfport, Florida, a suburb of St. Petersburg.
There are also two satellite centers:
Stetson's campus has been used as a filming location for a number of films and television shows. These include the Adam Sandler film The Waterboy, Ghost Story, From Earth to the Moon, First of May, and Estás nominado: Cuando la realidad supera a la ficción.
There are nine residence halls at Stetson University. These include:
Students may also reside at the University Village Apartments or Stetson Cove Apartments. In addition to the residence halls, a Foreign Language House and Greek Houses (both fraternity and sorority) provide student housing. The fraternity houses were renovated in 2009. The Wellness House serves as housing for students who wish to abstain from any substance use, including alcohol and tobacco. Nemec Hall and Stetson Cove Apartments are pet-friendly residences. Smith, Gordis and Carson-Hollis Halls are used primarily for first-year students. Conrad and Chaudoin Halls are all-female housing.
In 2012, Stetson arranged to purchase University Inn, adjacent to campus, and use it for student housing The property will operate as University Inn under the present owners until June 30, 2013, after which it will be renovated and made ready for student occupancy in time for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Stetson University had an acceptance rate of 60% for the class of 2016. Applicants’ average SAT score was 1717 and academic GPA was 3.77.
For the 2012-2013 academic year, are 2,500 undergraduates and 1,400 graduate and post-bachelor's students enrolled at Stetson's DeLand and Celebration campuses (not including the College of Law), from 43 states and 47 other countries. 44% are male, 56% female. 67% of undergraduates live on campus.
Stetson’s peer schools include University of Richmond, Furman University, Trinity University and Rollins College.
There are more than 60 majors and minors leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, or Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. Master's degrees are offered by the School of Business Administration in Accounting and Business Administration, and by the College of Arts and Sciences in Education, English and Counseling. The Juris Doctor and a Master of Laws in International Law and Business are offered by the Stetson College of Law, which guarantees admission to Stetson graduates who meet certain academic requirements.
The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Stetson has 195 full-time faculty teaching undergraduate courses, with 95% of those faculty holding Ph.D. or equivalent degrees. The student-faculty ratio is 12–1.
Since its founding in 1883, Stetson's College of Arts and Sciences has prepared students for informed, compassionate, and accomplished lives. A core curriculum in liberal studies develops breadth of understanding and serious engagement with principles of ethical decision-making. Additionally, all students in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to complete a "Senior capstone project," also known as "Senior research" or a "Senior thesis," before a degree can be awarded.
The School of Music combines a music conservatory education with being part of a university grounded in the liberal arts tradition. The enrollment is 200 undergraduate music majors. There are 47 artist-faculty members. Performance opportunities for students include the symphony orchestra, band, choirs, opera, musical theater, jazz, chamber music, and solo recitals. The curriculum includes degree options in performance, education, theory, and composition. Music students may combine music study with business, pre-law, and many other fields. The School of Music has been an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1938.
Music students can opt for the Bachelor of Music in Music Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts-Sound is also available. Through the collaboration of the music and business schools, students can earn an undergraduate music degree and a graduate business degree in five years.
The School of Business Administration features a range of traditional and non-traditional majors. Each major offers a customized field of study for a specific business discipline. Undergraduate majors include accounting, management, finance, international business, management information systems, marketing, family business, and general business. Masters programs include MBA, EMBA, and MAcc. All programs are accredited by AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
A variety of special academic programs are available to students, such as the Roland George Investments Program, where business students manage a real portfolio of more than $2.8 million, the Honors Program, where students and faculty collaborate in an interdisciplinary community, the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Education Reform, which attempts to improve education from preschool through college, the Stetson Institute for Social Research, which provides services to outside agencies, and the Family Enterprise Center, offering a major in Family Business.
The Sullivan Creative Writing Program is an undergraduate initiative for students with a passion for the English language.
Stetson University also offers special programs for students up through 9th grade. Working in collaboration with the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa, Stetson University sponsors the HATS (High Achieving Talented Students) Program. HATS serves K-9th grade students who participate in gifted programs or have scored at or above the 95th percentile on any subject area on the FCAT, ITBS, CTBS, or other standardized test. HATS offers Saturday and summer enrichment programs, scholarships, and above-level testing.
Stetson University offers study abroad programs at a number of universities in Spain, France, Germany, Mexico, England, Scotland, Russia, Austria, and China, as well as an option for study in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the completion of a "Senior thesis" project compulsory for graduation, students have the opportunity to develop their own research projects and be involved in faculty research. Two distinct programs foster undergraduate research: the SURE (Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience) Grant competition, which provides summer stipends and faculty mentors for selected student research projects; and Stetson Showcase, a day-long event that encourages all undergraduates to share their research with the Stetson community.
Stetson has hosted a number of notable lecturers, some through the Stetson Institute for Christian Ethics. Notable lecturers include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former United States President Jimmy Carter Astronaut/Senator Bill Nelson, author Elie Wiesel, scientists E.O. Wilson and Jane Goodall, journalists Bill Moyers and William F. Buckley Jr., playwright Eve Ensler, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist and former Florida Governor/U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.
Other visitors have included Ralph Nader, Buckminster Fuller, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Robert Frost, Shirley Chisholm, John Kenneth Galbraith, Andres Segovia, and Art Spiegelman.
The university offers departments and program that specialize in services to lifelong learners and organizations outside the Stetson community.
Stetson has approximately 20 honorary academic and professional organizations and over 100 other student organizations on campus, including Phi Beta Kappa (first private university in Florida to be granted a chapter); the Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate program; The Reporter, Florida's oldest college newspaper; Model United Nations; a philosophy club; Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Professional Fraternity; Psi Chi, an international psychology honors fraternity; Alpha Kappa Psi business professional fraternity; Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership fraternity; Poetry at an Uncouth Hour (a poetry reading club); Hatter Harvest (organic community garden); Touchstone, the student literary magazine, and many others.
There are several religious organizations on campus as well, including the Cooperative Collegiate Ministry, the Lutheran Campus Ministries, the Catholic Campus Ministry, the Wesley House (Methodist Ministry), the Canterbury House (Episcopal), the Muslim American Student Organization, and Hillel, a Jewish student organization.
There are also a number of multicultural and social justice organizations on campus, including the Black Student Association, the Hispanic Organization for Latin American Awareness (HOLA), Organization for Students Actively Pursuing Equality (OSAPE), STAND (the student-run branch of the Genocide Intervention Network), and Kaleidoscope (the LGBT alliance on campus).
There is also an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) unit that students can participate in on-campus through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Successful completion of the ROTC program allows University students to be commissioned in the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant, and requires a post-graduation service commitment.
There are five social sororities on campus: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Delta Delta, Pi Beta Phi, and Zeta Tau Alpha, and six social fraternities: Delta Sigma Phi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Alpha Tau Omega.
Stetson is also home to chapters from Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a music fraternity for men, and Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women.
Established in 1908, the Stetson University Student Government Association is the representative and executive decision-making body for all undergraduate students in the Stetson community. Student governance at Stetson consists of two branches, an executive and a unicameral legislative branch. The executive branch consists of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of Communication, the Secretary of Finance, and the Secretary of Student Involvement. The President and Vice President are elected annually in the spring. After installment, the President appoints the Secretaries of Communication, Finance, and Student Involvement.
Stetson University hosts the nation's first and oldest college-level Model United States Senate program (established in 1970) every year in March. Each year, students from colleges and universities around the nation gather at Stetson for the three-day event. The Model Senate reproduces the actual procedures and activities of the U.S. Senate in an effort to provide experience and education for the student participants. Each student is assigned as a Senator in one of five legislative committees and is responsible for researching a variety of bills, and crafting appropriate amendments. In addition, the Model Senate attracts national speakers and lecturers, including former and sitting U.S. Senators.
Stetson is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and both men’s and women’s teams compete on a Division I level in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The school's mascot is "John B.", a stylized version of John B. Stetson, the benefactor for whom the university is named. The basketball, baseball, men's and women's tennis, women’s golf, men's and women's soccer and softball teams have either earned conference championships or, gained national rankings or recognition. In 2011, football and women's lacrosse programs were added. Both play their first games in 2013: Women's Lacrosse's first game was in February. The first football game will be in August.
One of the high profile sports at Stetson is baseball. Since 1970 the baseball program has earned seven Atlantic Sun Conference championships and 16 trips to the NCAA Regionals. In 2013, women's basketball made its third NCAA tournament appearance. The team won the A-Sun Conference Championship in 2005, 2011, and 2013. Stetson participated in football from 1901 until 1956 achieving an all-time record of 155–127–27 (.545). The football team earned its 100th victory in 1935. In 2010, university officials gathered information and evaluating the feasibility of starting a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) non-scholarship program. On March 14, 2011, SU President Wendy B. Libby announced the return of Hatter Football and the addition of women's lacrosse. Stetson will play in the Pioneer Football League, with the first game in August 2013. In July, 2011, Stetson named Roger A. Hughes as head coach. The first game in the NCAA Division I program in women's lacrosse was played in February 2013.
Stetson's main rivals include the University of Central Florida, Jacksonville University, and Mercer University.
The Club Sports program was launched at Stetson in 2010. The competition level of club sports falls between intramural sports and intercollegiate athletic. There are 15 club sports available to men and women at Stetson: Aikido, croquet, equestrianism, fishing, Hatter table tennis, Hatter tennis, Lady Hatter women's lacrosse, men's lacrosse, mixed martial arts (MMA), sand volleyball, shooting, surfing, Swimming, ultimate Frisbee, and most recently skydiving. Students may apply to form new clubs.
The Intramural Program offers students the opportunity to manage, officiate, direct and participate in physical activities. The following sports are available to both men and women: basketball, indoor volleyball, swimming, bowling, soccer, indoor soccer, kickball, ultimate Frisbee, dodge ball, sand volleyball, flag football, softball, golf, wiffleball.
Awards and Certifications
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded its Community Engagement classification to Stetson in 2008. For the past three consecutive years, Stetson has been named by the Corporation for National and Community Service to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction for exemplary service initiatives. Stetson also works with the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation on the CASE (Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur) program and other JRCPF initiatives, and partners with JRCPF and the W.K.Kellogg Foundation on a service-based scholarship program. In 2009, Stetson introduced a Certificate of Community Engagement program for undergraduates.
Stetson University has had nine presidents, as follows:
Lycan, Gilbert L. (1983). Stetson University: The First 100 Years. DeLand, FL: Stetson University Press.