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The Honorable Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education Will Serve as Keynote Speaker at Bethune-Cookman University Commencement


 Secretary Betsy DeVos, An Advocate for Education, A Supporter in Philanthropy

Daytona Beach, Fla.- The Honorable Betsy DeVos will be the keynote speaker for B-CU spring 2017 commencement ceremony on May 10th located at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach (101 N Atlantic Ave). Secretary DeVos is the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education and serves as an education policy advocate for students across the country. Over the last three decades, DeVos has devoted her career in support of the opportunity for a quality educational experience for students.

Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune. B-CU President, Dr. Edison O. Jackson expressed, “Bethune-Cookman University is a school built on the legacy and the transformation of students. Dr. Bethune's love for students started with five little girls and grew to over 250 students during her time as university president.” “The legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology, but worked across all parties to support B-CU,” he explained.

Moreover, students are directly impacted by funding dollars that are dispersed through the Department of Education. B-CU receives $4 million annually through Title III, which supports teaching, research and infrastructure. Additionally, Title IV impacts the ability of B-CU students to receive federal financial aid, overall influencing the ascension of Bethune-Cookman University students.

Through Secretary DeVos’ life work, her contributions extend far beyond her home state of Michigan. Secretary DeVos has supported educational opportunities for students in over 25 states and supported Central Florida through several philanthropic efforts: 100 Black Men of Central Florida; Jones High School, and the Parramore neighborhood located in Orlando to name a few.  

Secretary DeVos is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. She is the wife of community activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dick DeVos, where they have four adult children and six grandchildren.

This year’s commencement ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. located at the Ocean Center (101 N Atlantic Ave). This is a ticketed event and guests are highly recommended to adhere to the National Football Association, ‘Clear Bag Policy.’ The commencement ceremony will stream live via and radio broadcast on WELE The Cat 1380.

For more information, contact Ursula James, Assistant Director of Communications, 386-481-2975 or

Office of Communications

Ursula James
Asst. Director of Communications
PH: 386-481-2975
FX: Fax

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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