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B-CU President is Honored at the National Action Network's National Convention

Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed & Rev. Al Sharpton

APRIL 15, 2011 (New York, NY)- Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, president of Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU), noted educator, author and transformative leader,  has been awarded one of the highest honors from the National Action Network, the prestigious Power Award.

The Harlem, N.Y.-based social justice organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the nation's foremost civil rights leaders, presented Dr. Reed with the honor during its 20th anniversary convention, which concluded this past weekend.  Dr. Reed was also lauded for her leadership and vision and her work in education and working with young people.

Dr. Reed also announced at the conference that Bethune-Cookman University will hold a summit for young Black women similar to a summit for Black males recently concluded at the university.

"Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune left us with this last will and testament: Take care of our youth," Dr. Reed said. "I am proud to say that Bethune-Cookman University is addressing the needs of our young people.  We have recently launched an initiative targeting first-generation young Black males who we will matriculate with values. Now, we want to take a similar initiative aimed at our young women."

While details of the women's summit have yet to be determined, Dr. Reed said the event will be sometime in 2012. She said she is certain that the initiative is necessary. "We must give back to the community and mentor our youth. Our goal is to take this model nationally," said Dr. Reed during the convention's Women's Empowerment Luncheon, where she received the honor.

"Dr. Reed is a leader who is bringing the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune into this century," Rev. Sharpton said. "She has been a cutting-edge visionary. She is taking Dr. McLeod's principles and transforming them into policies that are needed today to help our young people become productive citizens and future leaders both in their communities and globally."  

"She is the first woman to be elected president of the institution since Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune," added Kelli Coleman, vice president for business development for Global Hue, who made the introduction during the well-attended event. "She is deserving of the award, because she is a true visionary and transformative leader. She instituted the first Master of Science in Transformative Leadership, launching Bethune-Cookman into its university status, now making it the 'Great Bethune-Cookman University."

Other speakers at the April 8 luncheon included Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama & Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Melanie L. Campbell, CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and C.  Virginia Fields, President and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

About the honor, Dr. Reed said: "I am honored and humbled by the recognition as we all jointly find ways to build an intergenerational pipeline to continue the leadership that is necessary to give voice to many citizens."

Dr. Reed's honor came shortly after the university hosted The National Summit of the Black Males in Higher Education Think Tank, an event that featured leaders from academia, business, sports, government and other fields.  The conference marked the official launch of an initiative that calls for a network of community and professional organizations to work collectively to ensure the success of Black males.  Rev. Sharpton was one of the co-hosts of the summit.

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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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