Sacred Consecration Service Opens Bethune-Cookman University Commencement Season


Activities for the Spring 2024 commencement exercises kicked off on Wednesday, May 1 with the Service of Consecration, a sacred tradition that started with our founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

The Service of Consecration is a special worship experience designed to consecrate graduating seniors for a lifetime of service, reinforcing our institutional motto, “enter to learn, depart to serve.”

“Bethune-Cookman University is a sacred place,” said B-CU Chaplain Rev. Kenya Lovell. “A place where we prepare, train and develop leaders who will lead lives confronting and dismantling some of the most horrific challenges our world has ever seen. Each of them stands as rays of hope as they commit to unmasking opportunities to make this world a better place.”

Dr. William Berry, acting president and provost of the university, opened the ceremony acknowledging not only the road the graduates have trod to get to graduation day, but also the road ahead.

“You are members of a generation of overcomers,” he said. “You have been challenged by the world through COVID-19, racial injustice, political unrest, and by the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Life hasn’t just challenged you socially, but personally as well. you who have entered to learn have gravely shouldered the losses of classmates, family members, too. All the while you remained steadfast. you studied and now you have shown yourselves approved to tackle the challenges of this world.”

“As you prepare to transition into a world that is not always ready, willing or able to receive you, we want you to be comforted in knowing you are not alone,” said Dr. Berry.

Bishop Timothy J. Clarke from First Church of God “The City” in Columbus, Ohio, delivered inspiring words and blessings over each graduate. “On Saturday we turn the tassel, but on sunday we change the direction of this world, because we’ve been to Bethune-Cookman,” he said. “Don’t be satisfied to turn your tassel without also turning your life in a certain direction.”

Following the service, graduating seniors and their families walked to Dr. Bethune’s burial site and ring the ceremonial bells.

Commencement activities will culminate with the university’s Spring 2024 graduation ceremony Saturday, May 4, where Ivy McGregor, executive director of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s BeyGOOD Foundation, will receive an honorary doctorate and deliver the commencement address.