Stetson Receives $15.4M for Scholarships for Local Students and Funding for School of Music

The Holler Fountain in Palm Court with Elizabeth Hall in the background.
Portrait of the couple
The late Richard and Mary McMahan

Richard and Mary McMahan were longtime supporters of Stetson University and enjoyed attending concerts by the School of Music.

They created the Richard and Mary McMahan Scholarship for Volusia County students in 1997 and provided funding for Mary B. McMahan Hall for the School of Music in 2009.

Krista Bofill

Richard McMahan, a former member of the Stetson Board of Trustees, passed away in 2011. Mary “Dinky” Blount McMahan passed away June 23 and has bequeathed $15.4 million to the university, which will be split between their scholarship program supporting Volusia County students and an endowment for the School of Music.

“This is transformational for our Volusia County students and for everyone who studies, works, or participates with the School of Music or attends their performances,” said Krista Bofill, Executive Vice President and Chief of Development, who announced the gift at a meeting this week of Stetson faculty and staff.

The School of Music will perform a free Celebration of Life Tribute Concert in Mrs. McMahan’s honor on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 3 p.m. in Lee Chapel. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. During a private meeting with her relatives before the concert, a portrait of her and her husband will be hung in McMahan Hall.

The donation comes as Stetson begins a new fiscal year, following two years of record-setting fundraising. The university raised $65 million during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, and $52.2 million the year before. About 75% of those funds will go to student scholarships.

President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD

“Let us continue to move forward together to make our form of education affordable and accessible to a wide range of hungry and talented students, all of whom wish to make a difference in our world,” Stetson President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD, said at the faculty and staff meeting.

School of Music Dean Washington Garcia, DMA, said the endowment will benefit the School of Music and its students for years to come.

“This generous gift from Mary and Richard McMahan will have a transformational impact on the mission of the Stetson School of Music,” he said. “It will support new initiatives to expand the recruitment of talented music students and strengthen the academic and artistic experience for current students.”

portrait at a piano.
Washington García, DMA

Although the couple were not alumni, they were involved at Stetson for many years. Richard “Dick” McMahan was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2009, and a trustee emeritus until his death in 2011. He was an investor and developer and served in the Florida House of Representatives. 

Mrs. McMahan served on the School of Music Board of Advisors from 2005 to 2011 and again from 2013-2015, as well as on the Board of Advisors for the College of Arts and Sciences from 1988 to 1991. In 1992, the McMahans received Stetson’s Doyle E. Carlton Award for extraordinary contributions to the life and development of Stetson and the state of Florida.

Building exterior
The 8,000-square-foot Mary B. McMahan Hall opened in 2009 for the School of Music.

They liked to attend concerts, recitals and operas offered by the School of Music. “We love music, and Stetson is a major force in the DeLand community – culturally, socially, economically and politically,” Dick McMahan said for the dedication of McMahan Hall in 2009. “This is a beautiful building, right in the heart of campus, and I’m proud to honor my wife in this way.”

-Stetson Today