Dear Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Supporters:
It is with great pleasure that I announce the extension of President Edison O. Jackson's contract with Bethune-Cookman University. During the October 2015 meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to renew the President's contract for two additional years, ending in June 2018. President Jackson will continue to lead this great institution and further progress its status as one of the top research institutions in the nation that just happens to be an HBCU.
President Jackson has made some undeniable strides since taking office in 2013. The University's endowment is currently more than $54M, and B-CU is achieving record high participation from donors giving back to the University. The campus is transforming with several new construction and renovation projects including the College of Liberal Arts Building and new state-of-the-art residence halls. While many HBCUs are losing students, B-CU is maintaining healthy enrollment with a total of 3,831 students currently enrolled.
College Choice ranked B-CU #3 for students seeking an HBCU experience. The White House Initiative on HBCUs ranked B-CU #10 for applicants in the nation and B-CU has risen to #23 in the U.S. News and World Report rankings for best HBCUs from the prior year's ranking of #31. B-CU has become a recognized trendsetter in online college education and recently earned the State of Florida's first and only certification from the United States Distance Learning Association. In addition, under the leadership of President Jackson, B-CU has expanded its academic programs, now offering more than 40 available degrees and programs.
President Jackson and I co-founded the Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Awards Gala, which recognizes leaders who have made a great impact on our institution and community. The most recent 3rd annual event hosted 811 guests, raised $2.2M and honored five outstanding leaders including Governor Rick Scott, Ms. Lucille O'Neal, Mr. Tony Jenkins, Rev. Dr. Gerald Lord and Mr. Jeff Feasel. It was one of the largest events hosted in the history of Volusia County. Over the past three years, the gala has raised $7.5M and hosted nearly 2,000 guests.
President Jackson and his leadership team are committed to building strong partnerships with the Midtown community. The University has begun to offer an array of opportunities for growth and expansion to serve area business owners through the Center for Entrepreneurship & Economic Development; and have directly impacted the lives of residents with job opportunities. Additionally, the University has partnered with Volusia County Schools to offer educational enrichment programs for students from local elementary and middle schools.
Radical transformation is surely taking place as students and faculty are experiencing a different B-CU under President Jackson. The President has invested in the addition of quality faculty to mold the future leaders graduating from B-CU, and encourages faculty to write and publish their works in an effort to establish them as industry experts. B-CU has received faculty research grants in various schools including health sciences, education and liberal arts.
The aforementioned are just a few accomplishments credited to President Jackson and his team. President Jackson is a fine leader with a wealth of knowledge and experience, the Board of Trustees' vote displays confidence in his ability to move B-CU to the next level of excellence. Dr. Jackson has proven to be a valuable asset to this University and we look forward to Ascending to Greatness over the next two academic years under his leadership.
Dr. Joe Petrock,
Chairman of the Board