Donor Stories

Your philanthropic gift creates life-altering opportunities for current and future students in the FSU College of Arts and Sciences and has the potential to fund research that could truly change the world. Through annual giving, endowed scholarships, named professorships, and more, our donors are making a lasting impact on the college. Read on to learn about our donors’ activities and be inspired to make a gift today.

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Generations of Florida State University alumni are part of a campaign aimed at honoring a renowned professor’s five decades of service and setting a path for his future legacy. Current and former students and faculty from the Department of English have made over 150 gifts to support the David Kirby Graduate Fellowship within Creative Writing in recognition of the more than 50-year career of Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English David Kirby.

The 11th annual FSU’s Great Give broke a campaign record and amassed 4,537 donors in only 24 hours, exceeding its goal of 4,500 donors. FSU supporters rallied together and raised $1,693,923 during the annual day of giving, which took place March 9.

The Florida State University community will join together on March 9 for FSU’s Great Give, the university’s 11th annual giving day. This year, the million-dollar day is shifting its focus to donors, setting a goal of reaching 4,500 in only 24 hours.

Friends, military members, veterans and members of Florida State University’s campus community are set to gather Saturday, Feb. 26, on Langford Green, to participate in the ninth annual 2nd Lt. Justin Sisson 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen.

A new gift by longtime Florida State University donors is set to provide annual funding for two students from the university’s Department of Classics to study in Italy during upcoming summer breaks. During the internship, students visit and evaluate renowned Florence museums and participate in planning the opening of a museum.

Two faculty members in the Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences have been awarded funding to continue their innovative research into the causes of and treatments for cancer.

Two students from Florida State University’s Department of Classics are traveling to Italy this summer after receiving the Rodney Reeves Ph.D. Scholarship Award in Classics. Scholarship recipients Jamie Fontana and Nina Perdomo are rising seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences, both majoring in classical archaeology.

Joe Tatelbaum has a passion for ocean research. He seeks out where it’s being conducted and supports it. The Boston native is a co-principal of Pearl Street Holdings, Ltd., a firm involved in investing, manufacturing and consulting, along with his wife, Grace Wang. Though he had no previous ties to Florida State University, Tatelbaum did his “homework,” was impressed by an FSU ecologist and decided to make a transformative gift to her lab.

The newly installed seismometer at Florida State University’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science is already helping scientists detect and analyze earthquakes around the globe.

Friends, military members, veterans and more from Florida State University’s extended family will gather on Langford Green Saturday to participate in what has become a spring-time ritual – the seventh annual 2nd Lt. Justin Sisson 5K Run/Walk for the Fallen.

If you haven't been to Florida State University's Dirac Science Library lately, you're missing out! The latest exhibition, Printing the Past: Innovative Technology in Archaeology, was unveiled Friday and showcases how students are using 3D printing technology to advance archaeological discovery.

This is EOAS' new building: Construction advances! State-of-the-art classrooms, research and teaching labs. Two gifts of equipment for the building have been made by prominent scientists, including a SmartFlower solar device donated by Dr. Winchester and a state-of-the-art digital seismometer given by Dr. Robert Hutt.

Phillips was also a member of the 2011 team that received the Nobel Prize in Physics and has won the Gruber Foundation prize for cosmology and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

The word “transformative” tends to be overused, but there is perhaps no better way to describe the significance of George and Marian Langford’s gift to Florida State University’s Department of Classics.

William R. Mote’s entrepreneurial brilliance is obvious to anybody who’s ever passed an 18-wheeler on Interstate 95. The restless boy who spent the dawn of the 20th century crabbing and fishing Tampa Bay eventually headed to New York and developed a container that was easy to load from ship to truck.

Florida State alumna Ermine M. Owenby has made a gift to the College of Arts and Sciences so that female graduate students can attend professional conferences and present papers.

FSU-Teach, a teacher development program co-administered by Florida State University’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education, is the recipient of a $1 million endowment from the National Math and Science Initiative.

As an undergraduate chemistry major at Florida State College for Women (FSCW) in the early 1940s, Louise Cason worked in the dining hall and as a laboratory assistant in the Department of Physics to pay her tuition. Now, several decades later, following a highly successful career in pediatric medicine and wise financial investments, Cason has made a gift to her alma mater for half a million dollars.

Educational software creator and FSU psychology alum Bill Jenkins has honored his Ph.D. adviser by creating the R. Bruce Masterton Endowed Professorship. Masterton was a psychology professor at FSU from 1967 until his sudden death in 1996. The first recipient of the endowed chair is neuroscientist Rick Hyson.

Earning an advanced degree is never easy on the wallet. But thanks to the generosity of Florida State University alumna Melissa Berger and her husband, Daniel Berger, getting a graduate degree in English has just gotten a little easier.

Kitty Hoffman, a former FSU faculty member and dean—not to mention a standout student leader back when the university was named the Florida State College for Women (FSCW)—is still making good things happen at the university she has long loved. Thanks to a gift to the department where she taught for decades, the university will be able to bring an internationally renowned scientist to campus every spring, beginning in 2012, for a colloquium to coincide with Earth Day.

When he was an FSU undergraduate working toward a career in actuarial science, Courtney White spent at least $1,000 on textbooks and other materials to help prepare for a series of exams to be certified in his field. Now, nearly two decades later and well established as an actuary, he has decided to help defray some of those costs for current FSU students. To honor one of his former professors, White and his wife, Shari, have made a gift of $25,000 to establish the Bettye Anne Case Scholarship in Actuarial Science.

Brooks Pettit didn’t attend FSU as a student, but during 20 years of retirement spent in Tallahassee, his life has been touched in many ways by the university. Pettit and his wife, Almena, a Tallahassee native, have given back to FSU over the years with many gifts of both time and money. And they’ve recently decided to do so again, this time by supporting the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience with a deferred gift of $122,000. 

Microsoft Research has announced a $100,000 gift to Florida State University to help a Nobel laureate bring science into classrooms around the world by using the Internet. The Nobel laureate is Sir Harold Kroto, Florida State’s Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry. “The gift is a great indicator that Microsoft aims to encourage the development of new approaches to education in the 21st century,” Kroto said.

Angelos Langadas of Boca Raton, Fla., has given $100,000 to the Department of Classics for support of graduate students. Langadas, an engineer by training, was born in Greece, served in World War II, and then worked in the shipping industry.

Professor John Simons, a faculty member for decades in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics who died in January 2010, has made a gift of approximately $300,000 for student scholarships. "John’s generosity has created a very bright future for German studies at FSU,” said William Cloonan, department chair.

Department of Mathematics alumni Carol Brennan and John Crowe have made separate major gifts to Florida State University, said Assistant Dean Nancy Smilowitz. Retired telecommunications executive Carol Brennan of Piscataway, N.J. has made a provision in her estate plans for $89,000 to fund an endowment for general uses within the interdisciplinary FSU-Teach program. John and Betty Crowe of Memphis, Tenn. have committed $100,000 to benefit academic and athletic programs at FSU. The academic portion of the gift ($50,000) will fund the DeWitt Sumners Endowment within the Department of Mathematics.

Florida State University alumni Stella and Dr. Raymond Cottrell have made a gift of $125,000 to establish an endowed professorship titled “The Stella and Raymond Cottrell Professorship Within the Department of Psychology,” said Assistant Dean Nancy Smilowitz. The recipient of this newly endowed professorship is Thomas Joiner, Distinguished Research Professor and the Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology.

NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw was on campus in March 2009 to announce a personal gift of $100,000 to the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience. The gift establishes the Baumgarten Gibbons Endowed Fund and was specifically named for Dr. Harold Baumgarten, a retired physician who lives in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., and The Honorable Sam Gibbons, a former U.S. congressman of Tampa, Fla.