FSU Foundation

FSU Alumna Stella Cottrell Leaves Lasting Legacy

Headshot of Stella Cottrell

Stella Schmahl Cottrell, a prominent and beloved member of the Florida State University family, passed away March 23 after battling pancreatic cancer.   

“Stella loved Florida State from the time she set foot on this campus more than 50 years ago,” said President John Thrasher. “She made this university a more joyful place through her contributions and service, and, of course, her beautiful piano playing. Jean and I and the entire FSU family will miss her very much.” 

Mrs. Cottrell graduated from FSU in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in French and a minor in music. While a student, she met her future husband, Raymond, and they married in 1972. She later delighted in walking around campus and pointing out the exact spots where their courtship developed, including in front of the Suwannee Dining Hall.  

A talented pianist who served as the chief rehearsal accompanist for the Voices of Liberty singing group at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT for more than 20 years, Mrs. Cottrell enjoyed sharing her musical gifts at countless FSU events and gatherings. Many remember her lovely rendition of the “Hymn to the Garnet and the Gold.”   

She gave back to FSU in other ways as well.  

She served on the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council and the FSU Foundation Board and was a founding member of Women for FSU. She participated actively in the Alumni Association and Seminole Boosters and was a docent at the FSU President’s House. 

She and Raymond created two endowed funds, the Raymond Cottrell Family Professorship in Chemistry and the Stella and Raymond Cottrell Professorship in the Department of Psychology.