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Three to be Honored at Fall Commencement on Dec. 13

Fontaine DavisBethune-Cookman University will honor Brian Lamb, president and CEO for Fifth Third Bank (Tampa Bay), philanthropist Betty Jane France and B-CU Chief of Staff Fontaine Davis with honorary degrees at the fall commencement.

The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center. There are 213 candidates for graduation.

Lamb, who is the keynote speaker for the commencement, will receive the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Lamb oversees over $2.7 billion in deposits, 48 banking centers, 51,000 consumer and business households and over 350 employees. He is responsible for the growth and strategic direction for all lines of business, including Retail, Commercial Banking, Private Banking and residential Mortgage in the Tampa Bay region. 

Actively involved in the community, Lamb currently serves as the vice chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership and holds board positions on the University of South Florida Board of Trustees, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. He also serves on the United Way Campaign Cabinet and previously served as a board member for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance and Meals on Wheels.

France, Executive Vice President and Assistant Treasurer of NASCAR, Inc., and Chairperson of the NASCAR Foundation, will receive the honorary Doctorate of Law. A native of Winston-Salem, NC, France met her husband, William C. France, in her hometown.  They married and soon relocated to Daytona Beach.  Bill Jr. (William C.) rose through the ranks to become the Chairman and CEO of Nascar.

A longtime community leader in Daytona Beach, France is perhaps best known as a steadfast champion of health care for children. She assisted in establishing of the “Speediatrics” children’s care unit at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach and was also instrumental in the establishment of a similar unit at Homestead 

Hospital, Homestead, Fla.  She was and is the driving force in fundraising and design of these units.

            France is a member of the Junior League of Daytona Beach and has served on boards of numerous area community service organizations including the Volusia/Flagler chapter of the American Red Cross and the Garden Club of Halifax County. In 2003 she was presented the Halifax Medical Center Foundation’s Humanitarian Award in recognition of her advocacy, commitment, support and advancement of health care and human services for women, infants children and families.

         Davis, who has served as Chief of Staff at Bethune-Cookman University in the Office of the President for the past two years, will receive the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.  He began his career as a higher education administrator at Pace University in New York City as the Assistant Director of Special Programs, and the Director of the Academic Study Center.

            In 1996, Davis was named Dean of Students at Medgar Evers College, and eventually became Vice President of Student Affairs. As the Vice President, he was responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and support programs that included recruitment, admissions, transfer and articulation, multi-cultural programming, SEEK, Freshman Year Program, financial aid, veteran’s affairs, career planning and placement, health services, student government, counseling services, athletics and student life. He served three years as the Vice President of Student Affairs. 

            In 1999, Davis was named Vice President of Operations & Chief of Staff in the Office of the President. Serving Medgar in this capacity for five years, his responsibilities included oversight of the central administration and management of the internal operations. Davis was also the Senior Policy Advisor to the President, assisting the President in formulating appropriate plans for implementation of the college’s mission.


Bethune-Cookman University was founded in 1904 and serves the community via three campuses. For more information, visit

Institutional Advancement

Beverly James
Director of Communications
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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