Scholarship and Award Programs

Leroy Lawson

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 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.

The Lawson Scholarship Program

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.

Lawson Scholars

  • Wyatt Fergus, 2021
  • Jacob Mauser, 2016
  • Porter Crapps, 2019
  • Abigail Ramsbottom, 2018
  • Jennifer Schmitt, 2013
  • Claire Stubblefield, 2011, children's minister, studied at Truett Theological Seminary
  • Ryan Napier, 2010 instructor and PhD candidate at Tufts University; editorial assistant at Harvard Kennedy School of Government; author, graduated from Yale Divinity School.
  • Joseph Qualls, 2009
  • Michael Riggs, 2008 Reporter at REASON, previously director of communication at Families Against Mandatory Minimums. His writing has appeared in The New Republic, The Awl, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, The Weekly Standard, Slate, The Nation and GQ.
  • Kevin Hanson, 2006
  • Demaris Del Valle 2005 Assistant Public Defender, Miami Dade Public Defender's Office (2018)

The Ronald L. and Margaret Smith Hall Philosophy Award

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.

Rob Brady Memorial Scholarship in the Humanities Purpose

The purpose of the Rob Brady Memorial Scholarship in humanities is to provide scholarships for students in the Humanities who are succeeding academically at Stetson University but have difficulty meeting their costs. Of particular interest would be students who, because of changed family circumstances, are financially challenged. Preference should be given to Philosophy majors or minors, and/or to students who are the first in their family to attend college if there are such humanities students in need.

The scholarship is renewable if the need continues, as long as the recipient maintains satisfactory academic progress and is a full-time student. The Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid will work with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in making the awards.  Students who feel they qualify for this award should consult with the chair of the Philosophy Department.

Philosophy Department Senior Research Grant

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) $200 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 either the fall or spring of the following year. If you are interested in applying, submit a 3-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.