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Stetson University: 2018 Year in Review

Longtime Stetson Trustees and supporters Cici and Hyatt Brown donated $18 million for a new science building on campus, launching a major initiative to expand science and health programs.

Group shot of the five of them.

From left to right, Stetson Provost Noel Painter, President Wendy B. Libby, Trustees Cici and Hyatt Brown, and Board Chair Joe Cooper celebrated the announcement of the Browns’ $18 million gift.

Stetson received national recognition, with the College of Law ranking No. 1 in the country in Trial Advocacy for the 20th time and No. 2 in Legal Writing, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Stetson also made the list of the Best 384 Colleges by The Princeton Review, was ranked No. 5 in the South by U.S. News & World Report, and was one of the “Best Colleges for Your Money,” according to Time’s MONEY magazine.

And for the first time in school history, the Hatters Baseball team earned a spot in the NCAA Super Regional and saw six of its players drafted by Major League Baseball.

Players jump and spray water on the field after win.

The Hatters earned their first trip to the NCAA Super Regionals after beating Oklahoma State, 11-1, on June 3 at Melching Field in DeLand.

The year 2018 was filled with high points for the university. Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience received $1.3 million to create a Sustainable Farming Fund. An Air Force ROTC program arrived on campus, along with the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, one of the “Divine Nine” historically Black Greek Letter Organizations.

In the spring, Stetson Athletics unveiled a new logo and the Hatters captured the 2018 ASUN Beach Championship, winning their second consecutive conference title and their fourth championship in the past five years. And for the Fall Semester, a new Commons Dining Hall opened for students in the renovated Carlton Union Building.

Here are the highlights, month by month, as chronicled by Stetson Today:


Donald Payne, wearing his Jacksonville Jaguars uniform, readies for a play on the football field.

Donald Payne

‘Super’ Donald Payne: Former Stetson All-American Donald Payne ’16, made an impact playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the team attempted to advance through the NFL Playoffs.

Prince Entrepreneurship Program Kicks off Seminar Series: Stetson’s School of Business Administration announced the continuation of Entrepreneurship Thursdays, a seminar series designed to promote engagement and creative thinking with nationally recognized speakers, pitch competitions and startup advice.

Stetson hosts Small Liberal Arts Colleges Writing Program Administrators: A two-day conference brought more than 40 administrators to Stetson from college writing programs across the country.


Winning on a Different Scoreboard: Hatter student-athletes who entered college in 2010 graduated at a rate of 91 percent, according to figures released as part of the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report. The rate marked the fourth consecutive year Stetson had achieved at least a 90 percent graduation success rate.

A group shot around a large cake

Stetson’s VITA Program has secured $1.5 million in tax refunds for local families.

Stetson College of Law’s Dispute Resolution Board advances to national competition: Stetson Law students on a Dispute Resolution Board team won the regional rounds of the American Bar Association Law Student Division Client Counseling Competition and headed to the national ABA LSD Client Counseling Competition in Durham, North Carolina.

Stetson’s VITA Program Celebrates $1.5M in Tax Refunds: The School of Business Administration hosted a celebratory event to commemorate the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program securing $1.5 million in tax refunds for local families over the past eight years.


Stetson Law Students Win, Advance to National ABA Competition: A student team from the College of Law won the American Bar Association Representation in Mediation competition in Connecticut and advanced to the national ABA competition in Washington, D.C.

Stetson Welcomed into CFA Institute University Affiliation Program: Stetson was welcomed into the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, which positions students to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, the most respected investment credential in the world.

large group shot in the gym with a sign that says how much they raised

Hatterthon raised three times more money in 2018 than the previous year.

Hatterthon raises $31,200 for Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children: Stetson’s second annual Hatterthon raised $31,200 for Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, surpassing the previous year’s $10,861 and exceeding the goal of $20,000.

A ‘Game-Changer’: Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience received $1.3 million to create a Sustainable Farming Fund and help farmers reduce the pollution draining into area rivers and springs.

Stetson Again Ranks as Top Law School for Trial Advocacy, Second for Legal Writing: U.S. News names Stetson College of Law as No. 1 in Trial Advocacy.


Stetson Selects Sam Friedman as Hillel Director: Stetson’s first Hillel Director will shape Hillel as the center of Jewish student life on campus and engage students in Jewish life, learning and Israel.

Stetson’s first annual Global Citizenship Symposium: WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center presented Stetson’s first annual Global Citizenship Symposium, developed with the goals of providing education, support and opportunities for activism around topics of global significance.

Stetson to Launch New Minor in Sustainable Food Systems: New courses set to start in fall 2018 and focus on this emerging field of study and social justice issues.

Cici and Hyatt Brown sit at the press conference amid a standing ovation around them.

The Browns received a standing ovation for their support and service to Stetson University when their gift was announced April 9, 2018.

Stetson Trustees Hyatt and Cici Brown Donate $18M for Science, Health Education: Hyatt and Cici Brown, longtime Stetson University Trustees and supporters, donated $18 million — the largest single gift in the university’s history — to construct a new science building and expand science programs. The gift was announced to faculty, staff, students and others in the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center and moved the university close to reaching the goal of its $200 million capital campaign, “Beyond Success – Significance.”

Stetson’s 30-hour Hackathon draws 106 students from 12 universities, 3 high schools: The annual hackathon attracted 106 students from 12 universities and three high schools to the Rinker Field House to compete in a one-day app-creating competition, a security challenge designed by Apple corporation, and other activities.

Excellence on Display: Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Stetson Showcase featured 235 projects – the result of more than a year of work by 248 undergraduate students.

The Centurion Sales Program won first place in the 20th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition in 2018.

Stetson Wins Top Rookie Program in National Sales Competition: Stetson’s Centurion Sales Program secured a first-place win in the 20th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition in Georgia, earning Stetson the title of 2018 Rookie Sales Program.

group shot all on the sand volleyball court.

The Hatters celebrate their ASUN Championship.

Champions Again: Hatters Capture 2018 ASUN Beach Championship: The Hatters (30-8) won their second consecutive conference title and their fourth championship in the past five years.

Stetson Ethics Team Takes First, Second at International Business Ethics Competition: Stetson students won first and second place prizes at the International Business Ethics Case Competition in Boston, which drew competitors across the U.S., Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Kuwait, China and Australia.


Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Bruce Jacob retires: Jacob argued his first case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the historic Gideon v. Wainwright, at age 27.

The New Look for Athletics: During Late Night Breakfast, Stetson athletes took to the stage in the Rinker Field House for a “fashion show,” wearing new Nike uniforms that sported freshly restyled Athletics’ logo/brand marks designed to capture the historic Hatters spirit and progressive movement into the future.


A crowd of happy graduates smile and wave their hands in the air.

Happy graduates wave to family and friends during the Commencement ceremony in Spec Martin Memorial Stadium in DeLand on May 12, 2018.

180 Graduate Students Earn Master’s Degrees at Stetson and Stetson University Celebrates 132nd Commencement: Stetson faculty, staff, students, families and friends celebrated the graduation of 828 seniors and graduate students at two 2018 Commencement Ceremonies.

Hatters Make History, Will Host NCAA Regional at Melching Field: Stetson and the City of DeLand were selected by the NCAA as one of 16 host sites for Regional Baseball Tournaments to open the “Road to Omaha” in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Stetson Law named first American Bar Association Competitions Champion: Stetson’s Dispute Resolution Board achieved a perfect 4-for-4 record of advancing to nationals in all four dispute resolution competitions sponsored by the ABA – the first school to achieve this distinction.


The Hatters celebrated their first trip to the NCAA Super Regionals after beating Oklahoma State, 11-1, on June 3 at Melching Field in DeLand.

1st Time in School History, Hatters heading to NCAA Super Regional: Stetson’s Baseball team earned its first trip to the NCAA Super Regionals after beating Oklahoma State, 11-1, at Melching Field in DeLand. The Hatters traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to face the Tar Heels for a best two out of three series, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Gilbert Goes No. 14: Hatters pitcher Logan Gilbert was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the MLB Draft.

Hundreds of Stetson alumni again named Florida Trend Legal Elite and Florida Super Lawyers: A total of 111 College of Law alumni were selected for the Florida Trend Legal Elite and Up & Comers, 359 Stetson Law alumni were selected as Florida Super Lawyers, and 258 Stetson Law alumni have been selected as Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars this year.

Stetson Receives $210,000 grant for Prison Education Project: The Stetson Community Education Project was awarded a $210,000 grant and will expand classes for incarcerated men in Tomoka Correctional Institution, as well as begin offering college credit for courses.

Long group shot of family with the four young men as they hold a banner with the fraterniy's crest.

A new chapter of Phi Beta Sigma started at Stetson in 2018.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Chapter Arrives on Campus: Stetson welcomed a new chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma FraternityInc., one of the nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council, collectively known as “The Divine Nine.” The fraternity joined the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. already on the DeLand campus.


A Growing Movement in Sustainable Dining: Stetson Dining will switch from plastic straws to biodegradable straws, another environmental-friendly practice being rolled out in eating establishments on campus, including in the new Commons Dining Hall when it opens in August.

A Record 180 Stetson Student-Athletes make ASUN Honor Roll: A record number of 180 Stetson student-athletes received ASUN Honor Roll accolades for posting a 3.0 GPA or better during the 2017-18 academic year. Stetson ranked fourth among league members and broke another school record with 73.5 percent of its ASUN student-athletes earning a spot on the Honor Roll.

portrait in tuxedo

Timothy Peter

Timothy Peter, Director of Choral Activities, named Interim Dean of School of Music: Timothy Peter, D.M.A., professor and director of Choral Activities, was named the interim dean of the Stetson School of Music.

Stetson Signs Articulation Agreement with Valencia College: Stetson University and Valencia College have signed an articulation agreement that will allow students graduating with an associate degree in accounting to seamlessly complete their Bachelor of Business Administration in the accounting program at Stetson’s School of Business Administration.

Stetson called ‘A Beacon of Innovation’: Stetson was showcased as “A Beacon of Innovation” during Blackboard’s 2018 international conference last week in Orlando.


Stetson University Named Among ‘Best Colleges for Your Money’: Time’s MONEY magazine ranked colleges based on 27 factors, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success.

Students sit at tables eating in the expansive new Commons dining hall.

The new Commons Dining Hall inside the renovated CUB.

Heading Toward Completion: Construction on the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center was moving toward completion on the shoreline of Lake Beresford, with building occupancy set for early 2019.

New Commons Dining Hall Opens: Under construction for two years in the Carlton Union Building, the expanded Commons opened to students with 9 cooking stations, including a stone-hearth pizza oven.

Princeton Review Names Stetson University One of The Best 384 Colleges: Stetson was recognized as one of the leading undergraduate institutions in the nation by The Princeton Review for the fourth straight year. This honor, given to only about 15 percent of America’s four-year colleges, appears in the 2019 edition of “The Best 384 Colleges.”

Laying Research Groundwork: First-ever Seed Grants from Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience exemplify “interdisciplinary nature.”

Stetson Offers New Tax Track in Master of Accountancy Program: The School of Business Administration’s M.E. Rinker, Sr. Institute of Tax and Accountancy announced two significant changes including a new tax track and alternative delivery formats for the Master of Accountancy (M.Acc.) program beginning in fall of 2018.

Stetson University Seeks Proposals on Sustainable Farming: The Sustainable Farming Fund, administered by Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, sought proposals to award up to $300,000 in grants to private farmers in the Suwannee River Basin for sustainable farming practices.

New Faculty include Brown Fellows in Health Sciences, Sustainable Food Systems: Seventeen new faculty members will start work at Stetson University for the 2018-19 academic year

Stetson’s WHAT Radio Moves to a New Home in the CUB: Student-run radio station, which is broadcast over the internet, moved into the new North Wing in the renovated and expanded Carlton Union Building.


From left to right, Capt. Joseph Walters, assistant professor of Aerospace Studies; Col. Jason Patla, Detachment commander; and Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., dean and professor of Management in Stetson’s School of Business Administration welcomed Air Force ROTC to Stetson’s DeLand campus.

Stetson Welcomes Air Force ROTC Program to Campus This Fall: Stetson joined forces with the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) to bring the program to Stetson beginning Fall 2018 semester. The university and Stetson’s School of Business Administration partnered with AFROTC Detachment 157, one of the largest AFROTC programs and one of the top pilot-producing detachments for the Air Force in the nation.

Stetson Computer Science Competition Receives $2,000 Grant: Stetson’s Greater Central Florida Tech Faire + Hackathon was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Orlando Technology Community Support Pilot Program, an initiative by the City of Orlando to give a jumpstart to efforts that boost entrepreneurs.

Stetson University Ranked No. 5 by U.S. News & World Report: Stetson ranked No. 5 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of Best Regional Universities (South), and No. 3 on the list of Best for Veterans Regional Universities (South).

Stetson Grad Students No. 1 in State for CPA Test: Stetson students who had a master’s degree and took the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam for the first time in 2017 had the highest overall pass rate in Florida (80 percent), according to results released by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

New Water Feature Donated for the CUB: Former Trustee Troy Templeton and wife Sissy will donate a water feature east of the renovated Carlton Union Building and a statue of John B. Stetson near the Welcome Center.

Eric Weiner on the stage, making a point with a hand

Eric Weiner gives the keynote address on Values Day, Sept. 25, 2018, in Lee Chapel.

Leading A Meaningful Life in ‘10 Simple Words’: Best-selling author Eric Weiner attracted a crowd on Values Day 2018.

Stetson Announces Four Academic Appointments: New positions will enhance student learning and plan for expansion of science programs.

Stetson Sees Record Enrollment of Undergraduates: Stetson University enrolled the most undergraduate students in its history for the Fall Semester. Undergraduate enrollment climbed to 3,150 in September, up from 3,084 a year ago. An additional 294 graduate students enrolled at Stetson’s DeLand and Celebration campuses, and enrollment was also up at the College of Law


the three students stand for a group photo

The winning team from the Stetson College of Law included: (L-R): Deanna Cipriano, James Nealon, and Madison Wahler.
Photo courtesy Professor Brooke Bowman

College of Law team Wins National Moot Court Competition: The Stetson College of Law team won the Leroy R. Hassell National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition in Virginia Beach, which drew 20 teams from across the country

Stetson Students Pitch Top Stock Buys: Roland George Investments Program launched pet index, approved 3 trade war fall-out stocks.

Stetson Law’s Dispute Resolution Board wins National Mediator Competition: The Stetson College of Law Dispute Resolution Board team won the National Mediator Competition in Houston.

Jason Evans to Discuss Problems, Solutions for ‘State of Watery Peril’: Evans, Ph.D., delivered keynote address at Volusia Water Alliance symposium.

Stetson Business Team Places 4th Overall at National Collegiate Ethics Case Competition: The Stetson team placed fourth in the finals of the 16th Annual Collegiate Ethics Case Competition at the University of Arizona.

Wendy Libby at the lectern, printed with Stetson Law and U.S., and Florida state flags behind her.

Stetson President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., spoke at the grand opening of the Veterans Law Institute.

Stetson College of Law opens new Veterans Law Institute: Veterans Advocacy Clinic provides complimentary legal assistance for veterans.

Gillespie Museum Celebrates 60 Years of Earth Science Education: During November, the Gillespie Museum will be celebrating six decades as an earth science center on Stetson’s campus and in Central Florida.

Memorial service honors victims of synagogue and Kentucky shootings: Memorial service remembered the 11 victims of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre and two African-Americans shot dead at a Kentucky grocery store.

Stetson College of Law team wins William & Mary Law Tournament again: Stetson College of Law’s Dispute Resolution Board won the William & Mary Law School Negotiation Tournament for the third year in a row.

The two stand outside the LBC

Scott Jones, Ph.D., program director of sport business at Stetson University, welcomed Stan Van Gundy to campus as he prepares to teach a special topics class in January.

Veteran NBA Coach Stan Van Gundy joins Stetson’s Sports Business Program: Van Gundy will join Stetson’s Sport Business program as an instructor for the spring semester, teaching a special topics class that will examine the ethical, management and leadership aspects of sport business.

Stetson, Ginsburg Family Foundation Announce the Jeffrey and Diane Ginsburg Hillel House: Stetson and the Ginsburg Family Foundation announced the establishment of the Jeffrey and Diane Ginsburg Hillel House and a $2 million gift to renovate, update and furnish the university property.

Solar Rises at the CUB: Rooftop solar panels set to be installed and generate efficient power while also shedding light on Stetson’s first revolving green fund.

Stetson Student Takes Second at Global Pitch Competition: Stetson student placed second and won $3,500 in the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization’s (CEO) Annual Pitch Competition in Missouri for a medical device idea.

Jacob deGrom

Faculty, Staff and Students win Florida Campus Compact Awards: Stetson faculty member, staff member and two students were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the Florida Campus Compact Awards Gala in Miami.

Pitcher Perfect: Former Hatter Jacob deGrom, with the New York Mets, wins the National League Cy Young Award

Dave Therneau Named Collegiate Baseball’s Pitching Coach of the Year: Stetson’s Dave Therneau has been selected as Collegiate Baseball’s National Pitching Coach of The Year for 2018.

‘A Magical Experience’: Christmas Candlelight concert ushers in the holidays with 200 years of “Silent Night,” including first show in Orlando

Hatters’ Roger Hughes Selected as PFL Coach of the Year: In his sixth season with the Hatters, Hughes led the team to an 8-2 record this year, its best since 1951.

A montage of two scenes of students dressed in formal attire and singing with candles.

The Christmas Candlelight concert sold out for four shows in 2018, including its first one ever in Orlando.


Montage of two photos: one hugging quarterback on the field after a game, and players dumping cooler of cold water on him following another game.

Coach Roger Hughes hugs quarterback Colin McGovern after their 38-35 win at home over Jacksonville University on Oct. 20; and players give him a cold shower following their 45-31 win over Valparaiso University on Nov. 17, capping an 8-2 season.