A Letter From Interim President Dr. Hiram Powell


I want to express with humility the sheer joy I have for the opportunity to write you this letter. Being named Interim President of the great Bethune-Cookman University is without a doubt, one of the greatest honors of my life. Please accept my immense gratitude to those that have reached out to me, congratulated me, wished me success, and supported me. I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU! Now, it’s time to get to work.

I’m so very delighted that you are back on campus! I realize that last year was less than ideal, and even complicated at times, but I assure you, we are ready and eager to welcome you back. Your education, student experience, and success are very important to not only me, but the entire Wildcat nation. This year will most likely have some speed bumps, but our B-CU Faculty and Staff are here to serve, and are prepared to do what it takes to provide YOU with a tremendous experience. I thank you for choosing B-CU, and I want you to know, you are the reason we exist.

I continue to be inspired by the ways that the Wildcat community continues to make a difference across the country and in our Daytona Beach community. You should know that our student leaders are active and working for change in their organizations. Faculty are more engaged and are implementing innovative programs to support our students. We are continuing to work to build a stronger institution after the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to always feel welcome, valued, and to know that you are such an integral part of our history. We can only do better with your support and involvement. Thank you.

I know so many of you sacrifice your time, talent and treasure for B-CU and I want you to know how much you change the course of our students' lives. Whether it’s a dollar or a million, your support matters so very much to our students, our faculty and staff, to the University, and to me. Please know that the University has a renewed commitment to better communicate with you, serve your needs, and to keep you connected with our community. Your support truly makes a difference, and is truly changing lives.

What an exciting time for our local Daytona Beach community. As I write this letter, preparations are underway for the grand statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, to be shipped to Daytona Beach as a stop along her journey to statuary hall in Washington, D.C. I had the distinct privilege of joining a team of truly wonderful people in Italy last month to witness the unveiling of the statue, and of course, the blessing. I left Italy with a renewed passion for the mission of our University, and a true feeling of unity with our home, Daytona Beach. I vow that as a University, we will continue to serve our local community through support, ministry, engagement, and as stewards of the powerful story, legacy, and dedication to diversity and racial equality of our founder, Dr. Bethune. Her spirit lives on.

I am so grateful for your work at the University. All of us have experienced change in our work and in our personal lives. As we begin this new semester, my focus, and the focus of our Board of Trustees and administration remains keeping you, and our students healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. As our students return to campus, I ask that you continue to have patience, and compassion in the way that we treat them and each other. I know that you will continue to serve our academic mission to provide a learning environment that will inspire our students and each other. I’m looking to you to lead by example by adopting best practices for health and safety, and for teaching and learning. Make me and B-CU proud and have a great academic year!

I know just how much you are relying on Bethune-Cookman University to nurture, keep safe, and provide an exceptional education for your young men and women. Please know, I do not take that lightly, nor does the Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty and staff of B-CU. Our team is dedicated and ready to help your students have a remarkable education experience.

I want you to know that B-CU is ascending to greatness. I am thankful that you support your student’s decision to become a Wildcat! Our Board of Trustees and administration have worked tirelessly to improve the economic future of B-CU. A month ago, we celebrated putting an end to a tumultuous time in B-CU’s history. We signed a healthy financial deal to eradicate the bad dorm debt and to put B-CU back on a positive trajectory. This tremendous achievement will save the University over $300 million dollars in debt service.

We are not stopping there. Over the summer, we have assembled a powerhouse team to help us bolster admissions, enhance our sports programs, and provide a deeper level of academic greatness. And, some of our buildings are on track to get some much needed TLC. With your support, the Grace of God, and the spirit of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune we will always march forward.

I humbly ask for your prayers for our students, for our faculty and staff, our Wildcat parents, our community, and for me, that I may have the wisdom and fortitude to continue to move B-CU forward. Hail Wildcats, and may God bless us all.

Dr. Hiram Powell
Interim President