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Lucille O'Neal, B-CU Alumna and Friend, to Sign Her Books on B-CU Campus

Lucille O'Neal

Daytona Beach, Fla. – On May 4, the Bethune-Cookman University Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center will host Lucille O'Neal, longtime supporter of the School of Nursing and alumna of the University, for a signing of her book, Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 2 p.m. in the Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center,  located on Lockhart Street in Daytona Beach, Florida, between International Speedway Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue.

O'Neal is the mother of one of professional sports’ most beloved stars, Shaquille O'Neal. Fans around the country were introduced to O'Neal as Shaq’s mom in the mid 90's during a commercial for Robitussin’s “Dr. Mom” campaign, in which she held a photograph of her famous son and one of his size 22 shoes.  Witnessing her eldest child soar to inconceivable success and stardom is a source of tremendous pride for Lucille, particularly because there was a great deal of disappointment, shame and secrecy surrounding her giving birth to a baby boy whom everyone around the world would come to know as "Shaq."

Because my mom was just a teenager when I was born, we supported each other as we both grew and evolved over the years…We never saw her down…and she balanced our lives, as well as her own, with the precision of a well-skilled neurosurgeon.  She certainly kept me away from the lure of drug dealers in our neighborhood and off street corners as a young man…Through it all, she’s never let me give up on myself, even when things seemed the most hopeless. -- Shaquille O'Neal

In Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go: From Mental Welfare to Mental Wealth, O'Neal describes how her faith, even when she did not fully comprehend or realize it, ultimately gave her the strength to endure some of the darkest, most challenging periods in her life.

The book chronicles her life story and the lessons she learned along the way.  According to her website,, "O'Neal shares her struggles and disappointments, against the backdrop of her sweetest memories and proudest accomplishments.

After 56 years, O'Neal has gained the wisdom to recognize her wrongs and guide other women down a different path. Her story is proof that it's never too late for a new beginning."

In promoting her book, O'Neal made a number of high-profile media appearances, including "Good Morning America,” "Fox and Friends,” and Newsweek magazine.

In media interviews, she had many inspiring words for her readers including the advice, "I want people to know that all things are possible. When you have a dream, dream big and hold on to that dream.”

As an adult student, O'Neal graduated magna cum laude with a major in business administration from then-Bethune-Cookman College in May 2003. She later went on to earn her master's degree in organizational management at the University of Phoenix.

"We are so proud of Mrs. O'Neal and all of her accomplishments," noted B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed. "With her resilience, generosity and dedication to help others, she is an inspiration to all women who struggle to balance life's everyday challenges with the achievement personal success. This university will be forever grateful for her kindness."

Support from O'Neal family was instrumental in the launch of the B-CU School of Nursing's Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center and the upgrading of the School of Nursing facilities.  The center is named for Mrs. O'Neal's mother, Odessa Chambliss, who was a nurse.  Significant funding to establish an endowed nursing scholarship was provided by the family's foundation, the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund.  The Lucille O'Neal Lecture Hall in the School of Nursing building was funded by contributions from Mrs. O'Neal's children.

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Meredith Rodriguez
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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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