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Bethune-Cookman University to Honor Distinguished Alumni at Commencement Ceremony

March 23, 2009

Bethune-Cookman University to Honor Distinguished Alumni at Commencement Ceremony
Leaders in Business, Government and Community Service to Receive Honorary Degrees

On Saturday, May 9, 2009, Bethune-Cookman University will welcome two distinguished alumni back to to campus as participants in the University’s 2009 commencement ceremony.  Mr. Ricardo P. Deveaux (’90), senior assistant secretary in the Bahamian Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and Mr. Lee Rhyant (’72), executive vice president and general manager for the Marietta, Ga., facility of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and a B-CU Trustee, will both receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.  Mr. Deveaux will give the commencement address. 

The commencement ceremony will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, May 9th at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, FL.

“It is my great honor to welcome these two distinguished alumni back to Bethune-Cookman University.  Mr. Deveaux and Mr. Rhyant represent the kind of excellence that we seek to develop in our students – professionalism, leadership and a commitment to serving the community.  In these challenging times, our graduating seniors will benefit greatly from the advice and wisdom Mr. Deveaux will provide in his remarks,” notes B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed.

Ricardo Deveaux

Ricardo Deveaux is an official with the government of The Bahamas, serving as senior assistant secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture, where he manages a $1 million dollar grant program that assists young Bahamian entrepreneurs in establishing or expanding their small businesses.  

He also is the president and CEO of the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation, a non-profit foundation established to recognize outstanding primary school students. The Foundation has presented over $250,000 in scholarships and prizes to outstanding primary school students since 2005.
Mr. Deveaux graduated with honors from Bethune-Cookman University in 1990, earning a B.S. degree in psychology.  In 1992, he received a M. S. degree in human services with a specialization in human resources management from Nova Southeastern University.

Lee Rhyant

Lee E. Rhyant is the executive vice president and general manager for the Marietta, Ga., facility of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company where he is responsible for the 7,000-employee operation, delivering the world’s finest military aircraft such as the C-130J Hercules,  F-22 stealth fighter, P-3 reconnaissance and C-5B modification programs.  Rhyant also is involved with Lockheed Martin strategic development, corporate special assignments and metro Atlanta community and government relations.  He came to Lockheed Martin in 2000 after a 35 year career in the aerospace and automotive industries, including stints with Rolls-Royce Aerospace and Allison Gas Turbine, a division of General Motors.

Mr. Rhyant has been widely recognized for his leadership in the Atlanta community, particularly his work mentoring young men to be good fathers, positive role models and citizens.  He was named the 2008 Citizen of the Year by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce/Marietta Daily Journal and 2008 Man of the Year by the Atlanta Tribune for his outstanding community service and dedication to the community.  He was also named a 2007 Man of Influence by the Atlanta Business League.

He graduated from Bethune-Cookman University in 1972 and holds an M.B.A. degree from Indiana University.  He currently serves on the B-CU Board of Trustees as its first vice chairman.  Mr. Rhyant is also a longtime financial supporter of the university.

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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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