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B-CU Announces Major Gift, Partnership with Halifax Health

Joe Petrock, a pillar of the Daytona Beach community, has bequeathed $1 million to Bethune-Cookman University. The gift is the foundation of a new partnership between the institution and Halifax Health.

Petrock has served on the Bethune-Cookman University Board of Trustees for eight years. The announcement of a new commitment by Petrock to the institution will forge a stronger bond between the Trustee and B-CU.

Trustee Dr. Joe Petrock“My wife Barbara and I are extremely proud of the work of the late Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and what she accomplished in that she said, ‘Without faith nothing is possible, with it, nothing is impossible,’” Petrock said. “Her vision and legacy of faith, scholarship and service is alive and well today at Bethune-Cookman University. And having the opportunity to work with B-CU President Dr. Edison O. Jackson, who is leading B-CU into the 21st century and who has served a lifetime in education, has been inspiring. He is a visionary leader, committed to excellence and producing world-class graduates. We feel it is important to support his vision.”

According to Jackson, Petrock’s unwavering support of the institution is critical to its success. “Trustee Petrock sets an example of a true servant leader. He walks the walk of someone who not only believes in the mission of Bethune-Cookman, but also supports our vision to make it a leader in education.”

In addition, B-CU and Halifax Health signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that strengthens and provides better health and wellness to Daytona Beach and the Midtown community specifically. According the MOU, the institutions will work together to build and sustain an integrated model of population health and wellness education, training, research and outreach programs that support both B-CU and Halifax Health in bridging healthcare education with practical application in professional and clinical settings. This model is realized through the Joseph and Barbara Petrock College of Health Sciences.

Program development will begin in the areas of public health, physical therapy, nursing, athletic training and psychology; specifically, aimed at creating masters and/or doctoral programs of mutual interest to both parties, Jackson said. B-CU and Halifax Health will work to: develop community-based health initiatives; pursue and apply for federal, state and local grant opportunities to support initiatives that leverage academic research; and explore the application of healthcare technologies.

To enhance clinical experiences, the partnership will begin by integrating athletic training, psychology and nursing programs of the university with the fellowship and residency programs of the hospital. Also, the institutions will create collaborations within the community in the areas of urgent care and public health education.

“At Bethune Cookman you ‘enter to learn, depart to serve.’ At Halifax Health it is our mission to train the next doctors, nurses, techs and more,” said Jeff Feasel, president and CEO of Halifax Health.  “It is also our mission to provide for, or ‘serve’ healthcare to everyone in the community regardless of their financial means.  We have been partners and this MOU just strengthens our commitment to each other and the community.”

“We understand the importance of quality education and healthcare. Both are important to our community’s economic vitality,” Petrock said. “The missions at Halifax and B-CU are very similar in that Halifax is a recognized leader in healthcare, and at B-CU we are working hard to ensure our students graduate with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful citizens.”

Petrock has been recognized for his civic involvement or as person of the year numerous times: Community Service Award from United Way; Outstanding Leader Award from March of Dimes; Golden Eagle Award and Honor Commissioner from Boy Scouts of America; Outstanding Alumni from Daytona Beach Community College (DSC); Leroy Collins Award from Florida Association of Community Colleges; the Lay Person of Year Award from Phi Delta Kappa East Florida Chapter; and the U.S. Freedom Corps award for leadership presented in person by President George W. Bush during his visit to Daytona Beach.

He is currently the Executive Director of Halifax Health’s Foundation/Governmental Relations. Petrock and his wife, Barbara, have been married for 22 years.        


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

Institutional Advancement

Beverly James
Director of Communications
PH: 386-481-2291
FX: 386-481-2973

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