Stetson Receives $15 Million Bequest For Art & Music Scholarships


DeLand, FL - A $15 million bequest from the estate of an Ormond Beach woman will go to fund scholarships for talented Stetson University students pursuing degrees in the fine arts, creative arts and music.

The money came from Antoinette Levasseur LaValle, a local woman who has been a longtime supporter of Stetson and the Hand Art Center. Those funds will also go towards the LaValle Artists and LaValle Scholars awards, and special experiential scholarship opportunities for music and fine arts students.

Antoinette, also known as “Toni,” died at the age of 93 on March 28, 2020.

“We are deeply appreciative of receiving such a significant, transformative gift to support students seeking a degree in the four Creative Arts programs in the College of Arts and Sciences—art history, digital arts, studio art and theatre arts—or in the School of Music,” said Elizabeth Skomp, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Skomp was joined by Stetson University President Christopher Roellke, PhD; Board of Trustee member Steve Alexander, Class of ’85; and Kate Pearce, Stetson’s former director of planned giving in making the announcement on Monday (Nov. 15).

“Toni always loved the fine arts and the creative students at Stetson, and we talked many times about how she might help them,” said Pearce. “She so loved Stetson and wanted to give young people a chance to experience a Stetson education.”   

“The impact that this visionary gift will have in our current and future students in the School of Music is extraordinary, as we would be able to enhance their artistic and academic experiences to levels of the highest caliber,” said Washington Garcia, DMA, dean of the School of Music.