History - Florida's First Law School

Stetson University College of Law humbly began on Oct. 2, 1900, with five students from Florida. Since then, the state's oldest law school has trained thousands to become legal experts and societal leaders.

In 1954, Stetson Law moved from DeLand to a beautiful new 21-acre campus in Gulfport. An enrollment boom after World War II spurred the relocation to the 17 buildings which had been part of the Hotel Rolyat built in 1925. Today, the student body exceeds 1,000 and Stetson Law has grown to become home of the nation's top-ranked advocacy program and LL.M. degree programs in advocacy, elder law and international law. The Tampa Law Center opened in 2004 as a major hub for legal activity -- housing evening law classes, the Tampa branch of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal, and legal conferences.

1900 Stetson Law founded in DeLand
1902 First graduating class
1922 Stetson Law becomes three-year school
1926 Stetson Law applicants need two years of college
1930 Stetson Law becomes ABA approved
1931 Stetson Law joins AALS
1942 Stetson Law closes until end of WWII
1947 Stetson Law moves to naval base at DeLand Airport
Enrollment grows to 194 due to G.I. Bill
1954 Stetson Law relocated to Gulfport
1957 First Law College Board of Overseers
1958 Charles A. Dana Library opens
1963 Stetson is first law school in Florida to establish clinical program
1966 J.D. replaces LL.B.
1968 H. Jackson Crummer classroom building and Eleanor Naylor Dana Administrative Hall open
1970 Stetson Law Review is first published
1976 Harold L. Sebring Courtroom opens
1994 Stetson wins all five National Trial Advocacy competitions
Carey & Florin Courtroom dedicated
1995 Stetson Law ranked No. 1 for trial skills education
1998 LL.M. program begins
Law Library and Legal Information Center opens
2002 Part-time J.D. program launched
Student Center opens
2004 Tampa Law Center opens
Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Courtroom dedicated
2005 William Eleazer Courtroom dedicated
2006 Florin Roebig Courtroom upgraded and rededicated
2010 Dolly & Homer Hand Library named
2012 Veterans Law Institute opens
Stetson Law - Through the Years

Florida's First Law School

For extensive information on Stetson Law's history, read Florida's First Law School: A History of Stetson University College of Law by Michael I. Swygert and W. Gary Vause.

Hall of Fame

Stetson Law's history includes many noted scholars, judges, lawyers and benefactors. To learn more about a few of the people who have profoundly shaped the institution, please see the Hall of Fame.