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Larry Handfield Elected Chairman of B-CU Board of Trustees

April 2, 2009

Larry Handfield Elected Chairman of B-CU Board of Trustees
Leading Florida Attorney Is First B-CU Alumnus to Hold Position


B-CU Chairman, Larry Handfield

The Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) Board of Trustees has elected Larry Handfield, a prominent Miami attorney and B-CU alumnus, to the position of chairman.   Handfield is the first alumnus of the university to be elected chairman of the Board of Trustees in the institution’s 105 year history.  He will begin his term on July 1, 2009.

“This university gave me the foundation for who I am today.  At B-CU I learned to have a sense of responsibility to be my best,” noted Handfield.  “I still take seriously the school’s motto of ‘enter to learn, depart to serve.’  As I have become successful, I have always found a way to reach back, to give back to others.  My goal as chairman is to electrify the alumni and students and show that the sky is the limit when you get your education at B-CU.”

“It is with great excitement that we welcome Dr. Handfield as our next chairman,” commented B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed, Ed.D.  “He is a role model for our students in so many ways.  This is a man who rose from humble beginnings and through the power of education became an incredible success.  At the same time, he gives back to the community and institutions, like B-CU, that helped him along his journey.”

Since graduating from then-Bethune-Cookman College in 1978, Handfield has distinguished himself professionally and as a community leader. 

He has practiced law for more than 25 years, starting as a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC and later serving as chief state prosecutor in Miami under then-State Attorney Janet Reno.  Handfield is currently principal of The Handfield Group, an eight-lawyer Miami firm specializing in criminal defense.   He earned his J.D. degree from Howard University Law School in Washington, DC.

In addition, Handfield has provided leadership on legal and law enforcement issues throughout the state of Florida.  In 1992, Governor Bob Martinez named Handfield to the state’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.  He later served for four years as the chairman of the 11th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles.  In Miami, Handfield was chair of the city’s Civilian Investigative Panel during its first four years, providing oversight of the Miami Police Department.  Most recently, Handfield was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to the Statewide Ethics Commission, where he currently serves as one of nine commissioners overseeing standards of conduct for officers and employees of the state of Florida.  

Handfield also had a tremendous impact on the health care system in Miami-Dade County as past board chairman of the Public Health Trust which oversees operations of Jackson Health System, the nation’s largest hospital system.  Handfield was appointed to the board in 1997 by Mayor Alex Penelas.  He served on the board for nine years and as chair for four, stepping down in late 2006.

Under his tenure as chair, Handfield oversaw an annual budget of $2.5 billion and the employment of more than 13,000 individuals.  Through his efforts, the finances of the health system dramatically improved – moving from a $155 million deficit to a $68 million surplus.  In 2006, Handfield played a significant role in the decision to admit Marlie Casseus, a Haitian teenager with a 16 pound tumor on her face, to Jackson Memorial Hospital for surgery that saved the young girl’s life. 

Handfield is a native of Miami, growing up in Liberty City, Opa-Locka and Carol City.  He graduated from Miami Carol City Senior High and attended then-Bethune-Cookman College on a band scholarship as drum major for the Marching Wildcats. 

Bethune-Cookman University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1997 and, in 2003, named its music building annex in his honor.  Next year, his daughter Crystal will graduate from B-CU only months after construction begins on the new Dr. Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center.

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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

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