Scholarship and Award Programs

Leroy Lawson

The Lawson Scholarship Program

If you are an incoming student with interest in this scholarship, contact Joshua Rust, PhD at [email protected].

Scholarships are awarded annually to students of unusual 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.

The Lawson Scholarship is drawn from the Lawson Endowment Fund. The Lawson Endowment Program is named in honor of Father Leroy Lawson (1917-2001), a long-time Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Stetson University (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 a Chaplain in the U.S. Maritime Service and was posted to St. Petersburg, Fla. 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.

Ron and Maggi Hall

The Ronald L. and Margaret Smith Hall Philosophy Award

This scholarship is given to seniors, and current students interested to learn more about it should contact Melinda Hall, PhD at [email protected].

The Ronald L. and Margaret Smith Hall Philosophy Award is named in honor of Dr. Ronald L and Margaret (“Maggi”) Smith Hall, both of whom graduated from Stetson in 1967. After graduate school at Duke and Chapel Hill, Dr. Hall joined the Philosophy Department at Francis Marion University in South Carolina wherein 1988, he was named Distinguished Professor of Year. Upon joining the Philosophy Department at Stetson in 2000, he served as Chair of the Department for 13 consecutive years. He is the author of 3 books, the co-editor of one book, and the editor-in-chief of the International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion.

Maggi was a Learning Disabilities Clinician in South Carolina for 30 years and founded and directed two non-profit institutions: The Marion County Museum and the Fork Retch Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center. For these endeavors, she received national and state preservation and environmental awards. After moving to DeLand, Maggi retired from teaching and opened West Volusia Properties Real Estate Company, initiating the revitalization of over 80 historic downtown structures. For this, she received state preservation awards including the 2006 Florida League of Cities "City Citizen of the Year" Aware and the 2006 Florida Trust for Historic Preservation "Individual Achievement Award." In 2007, she founded and continues to direct ARK, a "No Kill" animal rescue organization. Maggi is also the author of five books.

The Hall Award is given annually to the most outstanding graduating senior majoring in philosophy. It includes a check for $1,000, and the winner's name is placed on a plaque outside of the Philosophy Department Office in Elizabeth Hall, room 104.

Joshua Rust standing with recipient of Senior Research Grant

Philosophy Department Senior Research Grant

This scholarship is given in connection with senior research, and juniors and other students interested to learn more about it should contact Melinda Hall, PhD at [email protected].

The Philosophy Department's Senior Research Fund helps support undergraduate philosophical inquiry by providing scholarships for (1) academic conference presentations and (2) summer research. The fund is entirely supported by student and professor contributions. You might consider donating to the fund (after graduation and upon employment, if you are student). 100% of your donations will be used to support the research and presentation activities of our senior philosophy majors. 

“I simply wouldn’t be who I am today without Stetson’s Philosophy department. I promised myself on the day of my graduation that one day, when I had a ‘real job,’ I would give back to the department that so fostered my intellectual and personal development. In my time as an undergraduate, the Philosophy faculty put truth to the vision of a values-centered education in tangible, experiential ways that administrative rhetoric and marketing slogans simply cannot.” - Mary Bernard, graduate from Stetson’s philosophy department and counselor, MS, RMHCI 

The Senior Research Fund supports two kinds of undergraduate philosophical activity: 

(1) Conference support. Have a conversation with the chair about this possibility. Awards might be further supplemented with funding from the philosophy department budget and the Dean’s and Provost’s office. You will be asked to write a short report detailing your presentation. Dean and Provost grants may have additional requirements. 

(2) $250 summer senior research grant. Up to four of these are available to philosophy majors who (a) would like to work on their senior project over the summer and (b) intend to complete their senior research projects in the fall or spring of the following year. If you are interested in applying, submit a 2-page overview of your proposed senior research project and a description of what you hope to accomplish over the summer to the Chair by May 1.