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Built in 1908 at a cost of $40,000, Sampson Hall was financed by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, with a matching gift of $40,000 from Mrs. John B. Stetson for endowment. Designed by Henry John Klutho, the first Floridian to earn membership in the American Institute of Architects, it shows the conservative Neoclassicism found in many Carnegie libraries across the United States. It was later renamed Sampson Hall to honor C.T. Sampson, a university trustee, who had contributed over the years to Stetson's library fund and left an additional $20,000 for a library endowment when he died in 1893. Stetson was the first university in Florida to employ a full-time librarian.
A frieze just below the roof all around the building features the names of famous authors and political leaders, with the motto "Education is Power" in stamped metal centered over the four classical Ionic columns marking the entrance. The two-story brick landmark is one of the few Klutho buildings remaining in Florida, making it a significant part of Florida's architectural heritage.
Inside, the Duncan Gallery of Art, named for former president and chancellor emeritus Pope Duncan and his wife Margaret, offers 2,000 square feet of space with soaring 16-foot ceilings and graceful interior columns. It serves the area cultural community with several diverse art exhibitions each year, from well-known artists' exhibitions to student shows.
Sampson Hall was restored in 1989 and 2000 and is in excellent condition.
Johnston, Sidney. "The Historic Stetson University Campus in DeLand, 1884-1934." Florida Historical Quarterly (January 1992): 281-304.
Lycan, Gilbert L. Stetson University: The First Hundred Years. DeLand, FL: Stetson University Press, 1983.
Shiver, W. Carl. Stetson University Campus Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1991.
A Walk with the Founders: Stetson University Campus Historic District. Booklet. [DeLand, FL: Stetson University/Public Relations Office], 1996.