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Bethune-Cookman University Raised $2.53M at Tuesday night's Award Gala

Awards GalaOctober 14, 2014 – Daytona Beach, Florida - Bethune-Cookman University hosted nearly 500 guests at its annual Mary McLeod Bethune Awards Gala on Tonight at the Daytona International Speedway 500 Club (1801 W International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114).  The annual affair honored six awardees who have contributed to the livelihood of the community and the University.  In addition to the awards, B-CU raised nearly $2.5M for the university, including a surprise student donation of $1M.

Betty Jane France and Lesa Kennedy France received the Mary McLeod Bethune Leadership Award.  Betty Jane France, who is the widow of Nascar founder Bill France, is chairperson of the Nascar Foundation. Lesa Kennedy France, Bill France’s daughter, is the chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation.        

John and Lee Bryan received the Mary McLeod Bethune Philanthropy award. Lee Bryan, an alumna of Bethune-Cookman University, also served as a member of the Board of Trustees. The Bryans are longtime supporters of university programs and sponsor several scholarships.           

Gloria A. Carr received the Mary McLeod Bethune Beacon of Light award. Carr, an alumna of B-CU, is a partner with the law firm Dean, Ringers, Morgan and Lawton. She focuses her practice on employment law, governmental entity defense, insurance disputes and civil rights law, among other areas.

In addition, there was a presentation of the Mary McLeod Bethune Living Legend award to Albert Bethune Jr., the grandson of Mrs. Bethune. The former faculty and staff under Mrs. Bethune was on attendance.

The awards gala was instituted by B-CU President Dr. Edison O. Jackson in 2013, during his inauguration. “We wanted a way to recognize people associated with the university and with the community who really make a difference,” Jackson said.

View the Mary McLeod Bethune Awards Gala Photo Gallery.

For more information, please contact Keisha

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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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