Stetson University was founded as DeLand Academy in 1883 by New York businessman Henry A. DeLand, and in 1889 was renamed for John B. Stetson, the nationally known hat manufacturer and philanthropist who gave generously to the school. The university has been independent since it was founded, but had a historical relationship with the Baptist denomination. That relationship was dissolved in 1993.
Florida's first private university, Stetson University today has two campuses and two satellite centers along the Interstate 4 corridor. The historic main campus in DeLand houses the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Music. The university also includes the main College of Law campus in Gulfport/St. Petersburg, the Tampa Law Center in downtown Tampa and the Stetson University Center at Celebration in the Orlando area.
Stetson University serves a diverse student population of 3,700 in nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. The university's four colleges and schools offer more than 60 majors and minors in 13 degree programs. There are 256 full-time faculty members, 95 percent of whom hold Ph.D. or equivalent degrees, and there is an 11 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Stetson is consistently ranked among the best universities in the South in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" edition.