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Bethune-Cookman’s Student Government Association ¬President Samuel Heath was one of three recipients of the 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award.

The award honors a resident of Volusia County who ¬exemplifies the philosophy and ideals of the late Dr. ¬Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders who have worked to ¬improve community life, develop positive relationships in the community and enhance the lives of individuals. The award particularly emphasizes contributions and service to the people of Volusia County by a person who performs these services outside of their profession and over a long period of time.

Heath was recognized for his involvement on the B-CU campus and in the ¬community, which was highlighted by his leadership during an organized march to a Volusia County early ¬voting site in November that involved more than 1,500 students, faculty and staff.

“Mr. Heath always made himself available for volunteer work in Volusia County,” ¬said Cynthia Slater, President of the Volusia County-Daytona Beach NAACP.

Heath spoke of how proud he was to be a native of Daytona Beach and how humbled he was to accept the award. He said he feels the key to greatness is service to the community, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King by saying, “Everyone has the power for greatness — not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

A  Daytona Beach native and Mainland High School graduate, Heath became a ¬licensed minister during his sophomore year in high school. At B-CU, he also has been president of the freshman class and the Religious Life Association.  He is the ¬recipient of the Take Stock Scholar Award and is a resident of the Zimmerman ¬Scholarship House which requires students to meet the highest academic standards. He hopes to attend seminary at Emory University to pursue law and religion after graduating from B-CU this year.

The other recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award were B-CU alumni Stanley H. Whitted (’73) and Betty J. Powers (’72). Whitted is the Area Superintendent of the Northeast Halifax area of Volusia County Schools and Powers is the principal of Turie T. Small Elementary School. Heath felt especially happy to be in the company of his fellow award winners who were both his teachers in his early years.

The Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet took place on the evening of Jan. 15 at the Daytona Beach Hilton Oceanwalk Resort.  This year’s theme was “¬Leadership Built on Legacy: Fulfilling the Dream.” The banquet is held annually in order to ¬assist in ¬raising funds for scholarships to deserving students. This year’s Mistress of ¬Ceremonies was B-CU’s Janice Walton (‘73), director of B-CU’s Center for Civic Engagement. The keynote speaker was CNN’s Roland Martin, whose message was both challenging and personally thought-provoking. The challenge was that you find something that you are passionate about, pursue it and make a difference in the community where you work and live.

Heath was chosen to be the featured speaker at the 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Breakfast at Stetson University on Monday morning.

Public Relations

Liz Poston

PH: 386-481-2990

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

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