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Posthumous gift from Ann M. Stevens creates legacy of support for costumes & textile arts at FSU

Published January 2, 2024

Ann M. Stevens (1946-2021)

The Florida State University community remembers Ann M. Stevens (1946-2021) and celebrates the impact of her legacy of support on the university.

Stevens received a doctorate in child development from Florida State University in 1981 and remained dedicated to the university through volunteerism and philanthropy. In order to make a lasting impact long beyond her lifetime, Stevens included testamentary gifts in her will, committing over $500,000 to FSU in endowed gifts.

A woman of many talents and interests, a portion of her gift went to FSU’s College of Fine Arts to establish the Ann M. Stevens Excellence Fund for Costume & Textile Arts.

The FSU Museum of Fine Arts exhibit “Intertwined: Labor & Technology in Contemporary Textile Art” was on display from August to December 16, 2023, thanks to the support of the Stevens Fund.

The exhibit, co-curated by alumnae Keidra Daniels Navaroli (MFA ’07) and Annie Booth (MFA ’19), who is also the FSU Museum of Fine Arts’ curatorial assistant and visitor engagement coordinator, explores themes of labor and agency across various media, showcasing a diverse array of textile art forms. Support from the Stevens Fund allowed the Museum to pay for shipping of artwork, visiting lecturers and educational programming such as pocket weaving demonstrations.

Costume Student Draping Fabric

The College of Fine Arts was also able to support its Theatre Costume Shop, which is responsible for the execution of costumes for six plays a year and serves as a classroom and experiential learning opportunity for the 200+ students in the School of Theatre. Read more about FSU’s excellence in costume design and construction in the Spring 2023 issue of VIRES Magazine.

Additionally, Stevens’ impact extends beyond the arts to the College of Medicine. Her remaining gift supports the Hazel and Rollin Stevens Endowed Scholarship Fund, honoring her parents and their commitment to healthcare access for rural and underserved populations.

The scholarship provides much-needed financial support to FSU College of Medicine students committed to practicing medicine for these communities in Florida after residency.

Remembered as an artist and environmentalist, Stevens left an indelible mark on her community. Her attorney and friend Robert Hightower fondly recall her deep concern for environmental issues, as well as her dedication to her church and the community.

She was an active member of the Deborah Circle women’s group at First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee and a devoted volunteer at the Goodwood Museum and Gardens.

Also, an expert in the propagation of old garden roses, Stevens was the vice president of the Tallahassee Area Rose Society and chair of their annual rose show. She won many blue ribbons and received the American Rose Society Bronze Medal for outstanding service to a local rose society.

Stevens also touched lives through her art and creativity, spanning paintings, poetry and even writing, illustrating and publishing a children’s book.

Stevens passed away on September 2, 2021. She was a native of Baker, Montana, but lived in Tallahassee most of her life. She was a caregiver and educator of young children and later worked with Sears Roebuck and Company before retiring.

“I hope students and faculty at FSU will follow her lead in caring for the natural environment, the arts and the beauty of roses and other flowers, and in contributing one’s time and talents to charitable, educational and environmental conservation endeavors,” Hightower said.

“To the extent we share our time and talents for such creative endeavors, our lives are enhanced.”