Student-Leaders Learn to 'Lead Like Mary' in Inaugural University Institute

Students Lead Like Mary

Over 600 student-leaders participated in the institution’s inaugural Lead Like Mary Student Leadership Institute February 13. Students convened to learn from leaders around the university and the community at-large; speakers for the event included esteemed community leaders such as the mayor, city manager and police chief, as well as Acting B-CU President and Provost, Dr. William Berry.

The institute, sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, draws on the remarkable legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to empower and educate students on the principles of effective leadership. By delving into the history and values of Bethune-Cookman University and the extraordinary life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the institute seeks to instill a deep sense of pride, purpose, and responsibility in the attendees. 

“At the heart of our institute lies the belief in the power of immersion and engagement,” said B-CU Dean of Students Jermaine McKinney. 

Invited speakers focused on connecting Dr. Bethune’s legacy of servant leadership, with the broader themes of innovation and cultivating self-awareness to foster a community of support and growth. Through the diverse range of topics covered, the institute hoped to broaden students' perspectives on leadership, nurture their strategic thinking abilities, and encourage them to embrace their unique leadership styles. 

Herny & Feacher

Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Executive Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Dean Stephanie Pasley-Henry ’96 and Daytona Beach City Manager Deric Feacher ’00.

Mec’hi Powell, junior class president and a political science major at B-CU, said he appreciated the opportunity to connect with members of the local government and surrounding community. “Many students are not from Daytona Beach or Florida, so this event allowed [us a chance] to meet and learn about influential figures [in the community],” Powell said.

He particularly appreciated the speakers’ connection to his major and the opportunity “to engage with professionals in [my] desired field of work,” he said. “The event shed light on the legacy of the Great Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune and her work ethic and mindset that built this great institution. So when asked how to ‘lead like Mary,’ my answer is to be open to new opportunities, build connections with diverse individuals, and possess the wisdom to understand your goals and how to achieve them.”

Donald Kellman, Jr., a junior computer information systems major at B-CU, said the biggest lesson he learned is that as a leader, you’re not always leading from the front. “Sometimes you can be in the back and lead by pushing people from behind so that they are able to reach their goals,” he said. “Often, that’s all we as people need, is a little push.”

The institute aims to be an annual event that will ultimately help foster a new generation of confident, empathetic, and visionary leaders who are committed to making a positive difference in the world.

Lead like Mary