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Ninth Annual Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Women's Conference Announced


Daytona Beach, FL – The Ninth Annual Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s Conference is scheduled for March 27, 2018 in the Center for Civic Engagement at Bethune-Cookman University. The Conference is designed to honor women, both on campus and within the local and global communities, who have illustrated a commitment to Dr. Bethune’s goals and honor her legacy.  This year’s theme is “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” 

Dr. Winifred M. Johnson, Conference Organizer and Assistant Professor of History, said, “This year’s conference will serve as an opportunity for the university and local community to continue the legacy that Dr. Bethune dedicated her life to fulfilling, the development of strong leaders.” The keynote speaker for the Conference is Dr. Wendy Osefo, political commentator and Professor of Education at Johns Hopkins University. Women “Torchbearers” who have kept the flame of Dr. Bethune’s vision burning as brightly as it did in 1904 will be honored at the conference luncheon.

Conference Schedule

Conference registration will begin promptly at 8:00 A.M. A continental breakfast will be provided until 8:30 A.M. at which time the Plenary will begin. The first panel will begin at 9:00 A.M.

Two panels will run concurrently per time block, and there will be four panel blocks: two blocks before luncheon, two blocks after luncheon.

8:00-8:30 A.M.        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:00               Opening Plenary

9:00-11:00             Panels

11:00-12:45           Luncheon: Keynote Speaker Dr. Wendy Osefo, Recognized: Women “Torchbearers,” Contest Winners

1:00-3:00               Panels

3:00-4:00               Closing Plenary

Essay/Spoken Word Contest Announced

Two Writing Contests will be held in conjunction with the conference: one for B-CU students and one for students at area high schools. B-CU students and local high school students are invited to submit essays/poems that answer the question, “What is your interpretation of the theme, ‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’?” Submissions may range from 500-1000 words. The entry should be double spaced with one-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman font. Submissions must include: name, classification, and major. Deadline for electronic submissions is midnight March 22, 2018. B-CU student submissions should be sent to Dr. Rondrea Mathis at Prizes for B-CU students include: First place $150 and Second place $100. High school students’ essays prizes are $75 and $50.

“This is a great opportunity to bring the legacy of Dr. Bethune home amongst the students for whom she dedicated her life,” said Dr. Rondrea Mathis, Essay Contest Coordinator and Assistant Professor of English.

Clothing Drive

A clothing drive is now underway to ensure items may be available on conference day. The remainder of clothing not distributed will be donated to campus “closets.” Dr. Johnson will serve as the contact for the clothing drive. Please send all inquiries regarding the clothing drive to

Funding for the Ninth Annual Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s Conference was made possible by the Andrew Mellon/Jessie Ball DuPont Endowment, B-CU Legacy Initiative, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

For more information contact, Dr. Paula McKenzie, 202-285-5119,

Office of Communications

Ursula James
Assistant 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