Bethune-Cookman Trustee a Stellar Steward
December 18, 2007
Daytona Beach, Florida – Bethune-Cookman College Trustee and alumnus Larry R. Handfield, Esquire was heaped with words of praise and gratitude at the school’s October trustee board meeting, when he announced to his colleagues and college President Trudie Kibbe Reed that he had secured a $4.6 million gift for the private, historically black school located in Daytona Beach, Florida. The gift was made by one of his business associates “who wishes to remain anonymous,” says Handfield. It is the single largest gift by any individual to the college in its 102 year history.
Handfield is a prominent criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida who is ever mindful of the opportunities that became the foundation for his success. Those opportunities manifested themselves while he was a student at Bethune-Cookman College, which led him to adopt the personal credo that service is the price we pay for the space we occupy on this earth.
“I have a deep commitment to Bethune-Cookman and I take our college motto enter to learn and depart to service very serious,” says Handfield, who graduated from B-CC in 1978.
While at B-CC he held the much admired role of drum major for the school’s famous Marching Wildcats Band. Since his graduation, Handfield has worked closely with the college raising funds for major projects and in support of band activities. To show its appreciation, several years ago the college dedicated the Larry R. Handfield Music Annex to the Julia E. Robinson Music Building located on campus. He also holds an honorary doctorate from B-CC.
“Dr. Handfield is a drum major on all fronts for the college,” said Dr. Reed. “He is leading on a new and powerful level, and by doing so he is showing us all hope…hope that we too can do this for the great Bethune-Cookman College.”
According to college officials, they will make the most of the multi-million dollar gift by promoting it among its more than 15,000 alumni to encourage them to find ways to build constructive relationships for the college.
Handfield believes that while not everyone knows someone with great wealth, “We all can take up the torch to make a difference. Each of us knows one or two people who can do something, be they a friend, relative or employer. By getting others to give financially, we can help the college live its mission of building, shaping and transforming leaders.”
Speaking from experience, Handfield says that “At Bethune-Cookman College, lives are transformed on a daily basis.” The quality of education he received at B-CC qualified him, he says, for admission to the top law schools in the nation. However, when the time came, he elected to attend another historically black school, the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
Handfield is a founding member of the Handfield Firm, a law firm located in Miami, Florida. He received a gubernatorial appointment to the Sentencing Guidelines Commission and was appointed to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 11th Judicial Circuit, serving as chairman. He is chairman of the Jackson Health System Public Health Trust, the largest hospital in the country, as well as the City of Miami Police Oversight Board, which investigates police misconduct.
So how is it that this pillar of the legal community, this counselor to city and state officials, works so diligently for his undergraduate alma mater? “The school and the legacy of its founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, shaped my life,” he says. “For me, it’s about caring, thinking, and going the next step for B-CC. We all would be so surprised to see the dividends that could be reaped if each of us just made a commitment to do it!”
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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.