Stetson Gets $500,000 State Grant to Rebuild Historic Hulley Tower

hulley tower stetson
The tower. (Stetson)

Stetson University has received a $500,000 historic preservation grant from the State of Florida to reconstruct Hulley Tower, which is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places for its statewide significance.

Through a grassroots alumni effort, Stetson is raising about $5 million to historically reconstruct Hulley Tower to its original 116-foot height with a new 52-bell carillon on the DeLand campus.

Originally built in 1934, the tower was damaged in the 2004 hurricane season and dismantled the following year due to safety concerns. The pink art stone base continues to serve as a mausoleum for the university’s second President Lincoln Hulley, PhD, and his wife Eloise.

Hulley Tower is one of the few historic freestanding bell towers on an American university campus with a mausoleum base. Once reconstructed, this historic landmark will again feature a red brick shaft and white belfry with geometric screens to house a true 52-bell carillon, enhancing Stetson’s larger historic campus.

“Hulley Tower is a rare gem and an iconic piece of Florida history,” said Stetson President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD. “We are incredibly grateful for this support from the Florida Legislature, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Division of Historical Resources in Florida’s Department of State.”

By breathing new life into the tower, Stetson alumni envision Hulley Tower becoming a symbol of the “Soul of Stetson” and serving as a memorial to three Stetson students who were killed in an avalanche in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1979. Landscaping and gathering spaces will be added in a future second phase, creating a scenic place for community events and other activities.

University officials credited the letters of support from community leaders for playing a vital role in helping Stetson to receive the grant, which was highly recommended by members of the Florida Historical Commission.

Elected officials who provided key letters of support are:

  • Senator Tom Wright, Florida State Senate
  • Representative Webster Barnaby, Florida House of Representatives
  • Mayor Chris Cloudman, City of DeLand
  • Jeff Bower, Chair, Volusia County Council

DeLand business owners and nonprofit leaders who contributed letters of support include:

  • Wayne Carter, Executive Director, MainStreet DeLand Association, Inc.
  • W. Ben Flowers, Jr., President & CEO, MainStreet Community Bank of Florida
  • Mark Shuttleworth, President, Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques & Alumnus, Class of 1971
  • Pattie Pardee, Executive Director, Museum of Art – DeLand
  • Mario Davis, Executive Director, Greater Union Life Center, Inc.
  • Savannah-Jane Griffin, CEO, Neighborhood Center of West Volusia
  • Maureen Breakiron-Evans, CEO, Strategic Forge / Alumna, Class of 1976, and former Chair of the Stetson University Board of Trustees
  • Karen Schmitt Roberts, Alumna, Class of 1980
  • Susan Brockway, Alumna, Class of 1979, Stetson University Board of Trustees
  • Melissa Wyllie, CEO & President, Florida Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Linda Glover Barnett, President, West Volusia Historical Society
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