Harry Burney has returned to his second hometown
August 7, 2007
Harry Burney has returned to his second hometown, Daytona Beach, to assist Bethune-Cookman University President Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed with getting the B-CU Performing Arts Center back into the limelight as one of Central Florida’s premier performance venues. The Center opened in 2003.
No stranger to the cultural arts circles of Florida, Burney has earned an impressive reputation as an actor and singer since graduating from B-CU in 1965. He began his six-month special assignment at B-CU on July 15.
“We are fortunate to be able to get Mr. Burney at a time when his schedule will permit him to devote his energies and talents to breathing life, activity and enthusiasm back into our treasured center,” says President Reed. “His knowledge of the entertainment world will help greatly with the plan to schedule performances that will be of interest to all segments of our community, as well as make this a financially efficient facility for the university.”
Although living most of the year in New York City and traveling the country to perform, Burney has kept close ties with the university and is frequently invited back to campus to assist with various programs like school’s annual chorale festival.
“Harry Burney has performed for the University’s office of cultural affairs, which produces the annual chorale festival,” says Dr. Rebecca W. Steele, director of the famed Concert Chorale and Cultural Affairs department. “His work with the students has inspired them to achieve professionalism in their performances, making this annual event a very successful recruitment tool for the University.”
For the past two years, Burney has served as a consultant to the Mayor’s Viewing Party for An Evening of Stars, a fundraiser for UNCF. That campaign has been chaired by local business leaders such as Bert Reames.
“I'd say that was a good day's work -- bringing our good friend, Harry Burney, back home to assist in scheduling popular programs and performances for Bethune-Cookman University's Performing Arts Center. New York can do without him for awhile. We need someone with his contacts and expertise,” says Reames.
Burney will work closely with Dr. Reed and the staff of the performing arts center to develop an advisory board of leaders from both the arts and business communities in Florida. In addition, he will develop a following of “Friends of the Performing Arts Center” in order to garner financial support, sponsorships, and ticket buying patrons.
“I can’t think of anyone better than Harry Burney to jump start this,” says Gary R. Libby of the Florida Arts Council and Halifax Area Advertising Authority. “Harry is an excellent choice for this important position. He has forged many friendships over the years that I am sure can benefit both Bethune-Cookman University and the community at large. Every body enjoys working with Harry; he’s a talented and gregarious professional whom I am sure will help place the PAC in its rightful position in Central Florida.”
Burney’s office will be located at the Performing Arts Center, located at 698 West International Speedway Blvd. Watch for updates and events coming to the Performing Arts Center on the website located at www.bethune.cookman.edu
“I consider this appointment to be an exceptional honor to be a part of restoring credibility and excellent programming at this magnificent venue,” says Burney. “I am already receiving encouraging interest from celebrity friends who say they will lend their support and talents to my efforts. Many of them are excited about being involved in a venue that bears the name of the legendary Mary McLeod Bethune.”
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About Bethune Cookman University:
Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000. For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.