Area Philanthropists Announce $18M Contribution To Stetson University


DeLand, FL - Two members of Stetson University’s Board of Trustees have just announced an $18 million contribution towards the school’s science and health programs, the largest-ever single gift Stetson has received in its 135-year history.

On Monday, University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D, made the announcement as part of the university’s “Beyond Success – Significance” fundraising drive.

“With this gift, the university’s great friends, supporters, and members of our Board of Trustees – Hyatt and Cici Brown – have provided $18 million for the continuing growth and excellence of Stetson science education and research,” said Libby. “Their generosity will enable Stetson to meet the increasing demand for science and health graduates in high paying jobs, enhance faculty and student research capabilities, and contribute to the economic growth and high quality of life in Central Florida.”

Hyatt Brown is the board chair of the Daytona Beach-based insurance corporation Brown & Brown Inc. He and his wife Cici Brown are two of Florida’s most prominent civic philanthropists. Some of their philanthropic work in the area includes the February 2015 opening of the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art in Daytona Beach. The museum is home to over 2,600 of their Florida-based paintings. The Browns also supported the creation of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence at Stetson in 2014.

Stetson says the Browns’ gift will support the expansion and development of the school’s science and health programs. Hyatt Brown hopes the “investment,” which includes the construction of a new building, will create jobs and attract well-paying jobs for an educated workforce.  

“The Browns’ transformational gift to Stetson creates pathways to expansion and innovation in the sciences that we have sensed but are not yet visible to us,” said provost and executive vice president, Noel Painter, Ph.D. “We will be actively working with faculty, facility and professional experts to make this investment in Stetson powerful for our community."

“It’s really a pleasure for Cici and I to be involved and to be able to participate and be proud of what is happening at Stetson, and so we don’t view this as a contribution. We view this as an investment in the future,” said Hyatt Brown.

Hyatt Brown has served on the Stetson University Board of Trustees since 1981. He currently serves as the chair of the board’s finance committee. Cici Brown, who has been a member of the board since 1999, spent 13 years serving the College of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Advisors. During Stetson’s fundraising campaign for the expansion of Sage Hall in 2009, she also chaired the Board of Trustees’ facilities committee.

“Sciences and health are an area that Hyatt and I have really become focused on for a number of reasons,” said Cici Brown. “We want to be ready. We think Stetson is in an incredible position to make this happen.”

“Yes, this gift is about a great opportunity to provide more space, and a new facility for students and faculty who work and learn in Sage Hall, but it’s much more than that. Together, it represents a new opportunity for the university,” said the chair of the Stetson University Board of Trustees, Joe Cooper.

So far, the “Beyond Success – Significance” has raised $189 million out of the university's $200 million goal. The following is the breakdown of how the gifts and pledges will be used:

  • $70 million for students and scholarships
  • $26 million toward academic support and faculty research and development
  • $6 million for general operating purposes
  • $38 million toward new facilities

The $38 million will support the expansion of science and health programs and the construction of the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center and the Marshall and the Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center. It will also support the expansion and modernization of the Carlton Union Building student center, which is slated to be complete in January 2019.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment