An $18 million donation to Stetson University will enable the school to build a new science building on its DeLand, Fla., campus.
The university says the gift from Hyatt and Cici Brown, longtime university trustees, is the largest donation in the university’s history.
The donation brings the amount raised in Stetson's capital campaign to $190 million—close to its overall goal of $200 million.
President Wendy B. Libby says the plans for additional science space come as the Sage Science Center is operating close to capacity. Without more space, Stetson's ability to expand its science programs would be significantly hampered.
“The Browns’ gift will result in a new facility for science education,” Libby says. “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."
The Leesburg Daily Commercial reports that the new facility will be constructed above an existing parking lot south of the Sage building. Construction will not likely begin for at least another year, Libby says.
Stetson is aiming to “design a facility that meets the aspirations that we have for health and sciences, rather than a building that just reflects what we do today,” Libby says.
The Sage facility was constructed in 1967 and expanded in 2009. At the time, Cici Brown chaired the Board of Trustees’ facilities committee, and she and her husband led the effort to expand the facility.
“Sciences and health are an area that Hyatt and I have really become focused on for a number of reasons,” Cici Brown says. “We want to be ready. We think Stetson is in an incredible position to make this happen.”
Hyatt Brown, a former Speaker of the Florida House, joined the Stetson University Board of Trustees in 1981 and now serves as chair of the board’s finance committee. Wife Cici became a Trustee in 1999, and served 13 years on the College of Arts and Sciences’ Board of Advisors.