Apr 16, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Our Legacy

History of the University

The year was 1904 when a very determined young black woman, Mary McLeod Bethune, opened the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. It underwent several stages of growth and development through the years. As a result of a merger with Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida, it became a co-ed high school in 1923.  A year later, the school became affiliated with the United Methodist Church, evolved into a junior college by 1931, and became known as Bethune-Cookman College. In 1941, the Florida State Department of Education approved baccalaureate programs offering liberal arts and teacher education.

Mrs. Bethune retired in 1942, and Dr. James E. Colton became president. In 1946, Mrs. Bethune resumed the presidency for one additional year. In 1947, Dr. Richard V. Moore Sr., became Bethune-Cookman’s president. The curriculum expanded, student enrollment increased, and new buildings were constructed for residential housing and classrooms. Under Dr. Moore’s tenure, the College received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and in 1970, joined the United Negro College Fund and other academic and professional organizations.

Dr. Oswald P. Bronson Sr., an alumnus, served as its fourth president from 1975 to 2004. Dr. Bronson increased student enrollment and led to the College’s continuous development and expansion. Degree offerings increased from 12 in 1974 to 37 by 2003, and seven continuing education centers were operated throughout the state. A rapidly increasing student enrollment resulted in the construction of more student housing and academic buildings.

Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed served as the College’s fifth president from 2004 to 2012. Under Dr. Reed’s leadership, the International Institute for Civic Participation and Social Responsibility was launched, expanding student learning about citizenship and leadership development. Under her tenure, with the addition of graduate programs in Transformative Leadership and Integrated Environmental Sciences in 2007, the College became a University. Campus improvements included the Rev. Eugene Zimmerman and Alexis Pugh Student Scholarship Houses, the L. Gale Lemerand School of Nursing, Michael & Libby Johnson Center for Civic Engagement, Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center, and Lee E. Rhyant Residential Life Center.

In March 2012, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Edison O. Jackson as the sixth president of Bethune-Cookman University. During his short tenure, he has increased philanthropic giving to the University and garnered the support of the community that was evident during the presidency of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. In addition, he has remodeled the Dining Hall, upgraded Joyner and Bronson Halls, renovated Gertrude Heyn Memorial Chapel, and broken ground to add 4 additional floors to the Harrison Rhodes Memorial Social Science building.

In addition to maintaining its accreditations with SACS, the Florida State Board of Education, and the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education, the College added new accreditations for Nursing and Teacher Education programs. Since 1943, Bethune-Cookman has graduated more than 15,000 students who have continued to provide support to their alma mater. Many alumni are employed in the fields of education, healthcare, business, politics, government, science, religion, athletics, environmental sciences, and research.

Last Will and Testament

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune left a heritage in the college she founded. She also left her Last Will and Testament, an everlasting and priceless document of challenge, hope, and responsibility for African-Americans and other people, which states the following:

”.. .I leave you love. Love builds. It is positive and helpful. It is more beneficial than hate.
I leave you hope. The Negroes’ growth will be great in the years to come. Theirs will be a better world. This I believe with all my heart.
I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. As long as Negroes are hemmed into racial blocks by prejudice and pressure, it will be necessary for them to band together for economic betterment.
I leave you a thirst for education. Knowledge is the prime need of the Hour.  If we continue in this trend, we will be able to rear increasing numbers of strong, purposeful men and women, equipped with vision, mental clarity, health and education.
I leave you a respect for the uses of power. We live in a world, which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom.
I leave you faith. Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.
I leave you racial dignity. I want Negroes to maintain their human dignity at all costs. We, as Negroes, must recognize that we are the custodians as well as the heirs of a great civilization.
I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with our fellow men. The problem of color is world- wide. It is found in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. I appeal to American Negroes - North, South, East and West - to recognize their common problems and unite to solve them.
I leave you finally a responsibility to our young people. The world around us really belongs to youth, for youth will take over its future management. Our children must never lose their zeal for building a better world.
If I have a legacy to leave my people, it is my philosophy of living and serving. As I face tomorrow, I am content, for I think I have spent my life well. I pray now that my philosophy may be helpful to those who share my vision of a world of Peace, Progress, Brotherhood and Love.”

The Mary McLeod Bethune Home
“The Foundation”

A National Historic Landmark

Built in 1905, the Mary McLeod Bethune home is where Dr. Bethune lived and conducted much of the official business of the college she founded in 1904. The grounds of Dr. Bethune’s home are also the location of her final resting place. A memorial gravesite and garden are located in close proximity to her home. The home was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1975. On July 10, 1977, her 102nd birthday, a second marker was erected at the home by the Association for the Study of AfroAmerican Life and History, in cooperation with the Amoco Foundation. The site is also the 94th United Methodist Historic Site. The home currently serves as a museum and is visited by public and private school students, as well as, Native Floridians and national and international tourists. Visitors capture just a bit of the greatness of this remarkable woman and receive inspiration from the legacy that Dr. Bethune willed to the American public.

Bethune-Cookman University Mission, Vision and Core Values

University Mission Statement

The mission of Bethune-Cookman University is to develop global leaders committed to service, life-long learning and diversity by providing a faith-based environment of academic excellence and transformative experiences.

Revised by the Bethune-Cookman Board of Trustees, October, 2013

Vision for the Future

Bethune-Cookman University seeks to define a new standard for academic excellence as a way to become the best small college in the southern region.  To educate and empower people to seek their own solution; to advocate for opportunities for all citizens to improve their quality of life; and to inculcate an international perspective that would facilitate a keen appreciation of the new global realities.

Dr. Edison O. Jackson, President

The University is guided by its core values:


F - Faith:  We recognize and uphold the Christian tradition while welcoming the diversity of faiths.

I - Integrity:  We live in a way that reflects our deepest convictions.

R - Respect:  We recognize the inherent dignity and worth of each person.

S - Service:  We seek social justice through civic engagement.

T- Thirst for Knowledge:  We are engaged in the continuous pursuit of learning that transforms us and the world.

University Statement on Ethics and Values

Bethune-Cookman University seeks to develop graduates who are honorable and democratic citizens capable of making worthwhile contributions to society. The University expects its students to uphold the highest moral and ethical standards by practicing self-discipline. Students are held accountable for their behavior. The University believes that commitment, perseverance, and high regard for the value and quality of work should be demonstrated with pride as tasks are completed with accuracy and timeliness. Bethune-Cookman University further affirms that students should respect the environment, including the University’s grounds, buildings, and all other property.

Bethune-Cookman University seeks to develop graduates who demonstrate academic excellence. Graduates are expected to show competence in their careers and vocations by mastering verbal and written communication skills, research techniques, and aggressively pursuing knowledge in their major areas of study. Bethune-Cookman University believes that its graduates are individuals who will enter the future full of confidence and self-esteem.

Human Worth and Dignity

Based on the premise that all human beings are worthy of respect, honor, and dignity, Bethune-Cookman University is a proponent of the concept of human worth that is deeply embodied in its founding and purpose. In communicating this fundamental belief, the University seeks to define those characteristics that reflect honesty, tolerance, and genuine sincerity in all phases of human relations. The University strives to instill within each student the value of human worth and to show justice, compassion, and equality towards all.

Spiritual Growth and Development

Bethune-Cookman University, founded in the Christian tradition, strives to facilitate spiritual growth by nurturing a continuous understanding and appreciation of the ecumenical tradition and heritage of the institution. The study and acceptance of other religious cultures is demonstrated with tolerance, understanding, and love toward others. Students will be able to make wholesome decisions for themselves and important contributions to their communities. (Approved by Bethune-Cookman University Board of Trustees, October 16, 1992)

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes

As a transformative leader, the graduate will possess:

The African American Experience:
Graduates demonstrate an understanding of the foundational social, political, economic, and cultural role African Americans played in the development of the United States.
Graduates are able to articulate knowledge of Christian traditions and values, and apply this knowledge to analyze the faith commitments in other world religions.
Graduates are able to reason, analyze, and think critically to solve complex problems quantitatively and scientifically in their professional and personal life.
Moral and Ethical Judgment:
Graduates are able to clearly articulate and apply their knowledge of ethics and aesthetic values, particularly in terms of a study of social justice, to determine and defend actions which improve our society.
Knowledge of Human Cultures:
Graduates are able to analyze, compare, and assess the values, arts, social structures, and material practices of world cultures.
Literacy and Communication:
Graduates are able to use technology to gather and evaluate information in order to interpret and communicate complex ideas using written, oral and visual media. Graduates are able to use digital environments to communicate and work collaboratively.
Leadership, Service and Entrepreneurship:
Graduates demonstrate true servant- leadership in keeping with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s imperative that students “enter to learn and depart to serve.” Graduates have vision, strategic planning and collaboration skills to translate ideas into action and to promote the growth and well-being of people and communities to which they belong.
Practical Knowledge and Skills:
When applying discipline-specific principles, graduates are able to discriminate among possible solutions, selecting and supporting those that take into consideration societal impact (e.g., the health, safety, and empowerment of others).