Stetson University honors Watson family with newly named football field


Stetson University has named one of its football practice fields Watson Field in recognition of the Watson family’s support of the school’s athletics programs.

“Through their generous support, William Watson, Jr. and William Watson III have recognized the role athletics play in enhancing the student experience and moving the university forward,” said Stetson Athletics Director Jeff Altier, “and we are honored to play on a field bearing the family name.”

Held April 8 at Stetson’s Athletic Training Center, the naming ceremony featured remarks from Altier, Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Head Football Coach Roger Hughes and Watson Realty Corp. Chairman of the Board and Founder William A. Watson, Jr. The ceremony was followed by a scrimmage on the field.

The Watson family has been one of the football program’s biggest supporters since it was re-established in 2012 as part of the university’s athletics expansion that also included the introduction of women’s lacrosse and beach volleyball programs, officials said.

“It is an honor and privilege to support Stetson University’s athletics programs,” William A. Watson, Jr. said. “Stetson University has had a significant influence on the success of the Watson family.”

William A. “Bill” Watson, Jr. graduated from Stetson in 1959 with a BSB in business administration, majoring in real estate and insurance. He was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, the rifle team and was a commissioned infantry officer through the school’s ROTC program. His wife, Janelle Willcox Watson, graduated the same year with a degree in elementary education and was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Their son, William A. “Bill” Watson III, received his BBA in finance from Stetson in 1996 and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The family also has a granddaughter who graduated from Stetson in 2016 and another who is currently a junior at the university.