Lawson Program

The Lawson Endowment Program

The Lawson Endowment Program is named in honor of Father Leroy Lawson (1917-2001), a long-time Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Stetson (1952-1966). Born in Los Angeles, Father Lawson earned the Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkley, CA in 1941. After graduate work at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, he served as Chaplain in the U.S. Maritime Service and was posted to St. Petersburg, FL. Following WWII, he was called to DeLand as Rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church (1947-1966), where he lived with his wife Dorothy and sons Jerry and Tommy. During his leadership, St. Barnabas grew from 200 to 1,000 members. His ministry and his appeal to young people was legendary.

The Lawson Program is designed to carry on the legacy of Father Lawson's commitment to the value of scholarship and to the importance of fostering the moral development of the human community. The Lawson Endowment was established thanks to a generous gift from a former DeLand resident, who was touched by Father Lawson's kindness and guided by his wisdom and spiritual insight.

The Lawson Scholarship Program

Three Lawson Scholarships are awarded annually to students of unusal ability, academic achievement, and commitment to principled citizenship. This prestigious award can be renewed up to four years. Preference is given to students intending to major in philosophy and/or related field within the humanities.

Lawson Scholars

Damaris Del Valle 2004-2005

Michael Riggs 2004-2008

Kevin Hanson 2005-2006

Joseph Qualls 2005-2009

Ryan Napier 2006-2010

Claire Stubblefield 2008-2011

Jennifer Schmitt 2009-2013

Abigale Ramsbottom 2014-

Porter Crapps 2015-

The Lawson Lecture Series

The Lawson Lecture Series aims to provide a forum at Stetson University for distinguished scholars to carry on the legacy of Father Lawson's exemplary embrace of faith and reason.


Richard Pipes

Topic for lecture was "Russian Intellectuals"  on February 21, 2011.  Professor Pipes taught at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement i 1996.  He was the director of Harvard's Russian Research Center from 1968 to 1973 and is now Baird Professor Emeritus of History at Harvard University.  During the 1970's , he was an advisor to Senator Henry Jackson , and in 1981 and 1982, he served on the National Security Council.  He is the author of many books including The Russian Intelligentsia (1961)

Ignat Solzhentisyn

Topic of lecture: "One Life to Live: Choice and Free Will in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" on March 21, 2010.  His piano performance and talk:"A Schubert Sonata" followed that same day.  Recognized as one of today's most gifted artists, and enjoying an active career as both conductor and pianist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn's lyrical and poignant interpretations have won him critical acclaim throughout the world.  

Ignat Solzhenitsyn is in his sixth season as music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, having served as its principal conductor for the preceding six years.  He also serves as principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, and winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Solzhenitsyn serves on the piano faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Leon Kass

Topic of lecture:  "Science, Religion and the Human Future" on October 19, 2009.  Dr. Leon R. Kass is a physician and one of America's leading experts on biomedical ethics.  For nearly four decades, he has been engaged with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advances and , more recently, with questions of human nature and with broader moral and cultural issues. 

Kass is the Addie Clark Harding Professor in John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and currently is the Hertog Fellow in Social Thought  at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.  He was chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001-2005 and served on the council through 2007.  His widely reprinted essays in biomedical ethics range from in vitro fertilization, cloning, genetic screening, and organ transplantation to aging research, euthanasia, and steroid use in sports. 

He is the author of numerous books and published essays.  He began his professional career as a member of the U.S. Public Health Service, serving as a researcher in molecular biology at the National Insitutes of Health.