Stetson University in Florida has announced an $18 million gift from trustees Hyatt and Cici Brown for construction of a new science building on its DeLand campus.
The university's Sage Hall Science Center is operating close to capacity, hampering its ability to expand its science programs. The gift from the Browns, the largest in the school's history, will enable Stetson to meet the needs of its growing student population, which has increased 45 percent since 2010, including a more than 100 percent increase in the number of computer science, environmental science and studies, health sciences, and physics majors.
Hyatt Brown, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and chair of insurance company Brown & Brown, Inc., joined the Stetson board of trustees in 1981 and currently chairs its finance committee. Cici Brown became a trustee in 1999 and served thirteen years on the College of Arts and Sciences' board of advisors. Their previous support for the university includes gifts for the creation the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, scholarships, and athletics, music, and other departments.
"The Browns' gift will result in a new facility for science education," said Stetson president Wendy B. Libby. "But just as importantly, it enables us to take a step back and ensure we have the right planning and programming to support science and health education for the good of our students as they seek higher-paying jobs and entry into the best graduate schools in the country, as well as for our community and the growth of West Volusia."