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B-CU Announces First Annual Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Women's Conference and Legacy Essay Contest

The Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) School of Social Sciences and Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation today announced that the inaugural Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Women's Conference will be held on April 30, 2010.  The conference, envisioned as an annual event, is designed to honor women from the both the local and global communities who have demonstrated a commitment to Dr. Bethune's goals and whose actions honor her legacy.  

"Our goal is to provide a forum for the university and local community to continue the legacy that Dr. Bethune dedicated her life to fulfilling.  As a transformative leader in the areas of education, human and civil rights, Dr. Bethune had a direct, positive impact on the Daytona Beach community, the nation and the world," noted Dr. Cheryll Hardison-Dayton, conference director and B-CU assistant professor of history.  "We want to acknowledge women who are carrying on this vision and engage our young people in reflection on what Dr. Bethune’s legacy means for them."

An essay contest open to middle and high school students, as well as those attending B-CU, will be held in conjunction with the conference.  "This is a great opportunity to bring the legacy of Dr. Bethune home with the students to whom she dedicated her life. It is also an opportunity for students to share in her legacy by conveying her dream into the 21st century," said Dr. Winifred M. Johnson, chair of the B-CU Legacy Essay Contest and assistant professor of history.

Winners of the essay contest will be recognized and honored on April 30th at the conference awards dinner.  Cash prizes will be given to each winner of the Legacy Essay contests.   Details for essay submissions are:

  • All essays should address and develop the conference’s theme:  Faith and Leadership: Continuing the Legacy of Women as Transformative Leaders.

  • Essay submissions should be typed, double-spaced, using a 12 point font and one inch margins.
  • Bethune-Cookman University students:  Submissions should be 500 words.   Please submit essays electronically to Dr. Winifred M. Johnson at

  • Middle School students:  Submissions should be 300 words.  Please submit essays electronically to Dr. Deborah Freckleton at

  • High School students:  Submissions should be 500 words.  Please submit essays electronically to Dr. Deborah Freckleton at

  • Deadline for all essay submissions is midnight April 12, 2010.

Funding for the Mary McLeod Bethune Women's Conference was made possible by a grant from the Andrew Mellon/Jessie Ball DuPont Endowment awarded to Dr. Cheryll R. Hardison-Dayton.  

The conference will be held at the B-CU Center for Civic Engagement.  Additional details of conference events will be released closer to the event date.

For additional information about the conference and essay contest, please contact Dr. Paula McKenzie at 386-481-2478 or by email at

Office of 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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