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Rev. John Harrington is Keynote Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient at Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) Spring Commencement

Daytona Beach, Florida – Bethune-Cookman University is preparing to graduate 325 students at its 2015 Spring Commencement Exercises at 12 noon on Wednesday, May 13th at The Ocean Center (101 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL).  The keynote speaker is Reverend John W. Harrington, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and also one of three honorary degree recipients.  The other recipients are Mrs. Dorothye Carithers Henderson and Mrs. Lesa France Kennedy.  Other senior week activities include the School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony, Service of Consecration, ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, and President's Reception for Seniors.

Rev. John Wesley HarringtonReverend John Wesley Harrington is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and is the Senior Pastor of Morrison United Methodist Church (UMC) in Leesburg, Florida.  Harrington has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Bethune-Cookman University since 2012.  Under his leadership, enrollment increased, the university's endowment grew, and the graduate program expanded.  Other notable achievements under Harrington include the renovation of the Harrison-Rhodes building, Municipal Football Stadium upgrades and plans for construction of new residence halls.  Harrington is a graduate of the Florida State University and the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.  Harrington and his wife Betsy have four very-accomplished, adult children.

Mrs. Dorothye Carithers

Mrs. Dorothye Carithers Henderson is a member of the Board of Trustees at Bethune-Cookman University.  Henderson holds memberships in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the Y.W.C.A.; N.A.A.C.P.; National Education Association; Spelman College Alumni Association; the Clark Atlanta University Guild for Fine Arts; and the Gammon Theological Seminary Board of Trustees.As an educator, Dorothye served for thirty-five (35) years in the Atlanta, Georgia school system teaching science to gifted students.  Henderson is an extremely active member of the United Methodist Church and continues teaching classes, singing in choirs, conducting valuable workshops and mentoring other members.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, from Spelman College; a Master of Arts in Science Education from Atlanta University; and she was a Peabody Scholar from Vanderbilt University. Dorothye has one daughter, Leah; and is the grandmother of two grandsons. 

Mrs. Lesa France Kennedy

Mrs. Lesa France Kennedy is "The Most Powerful Woman in Sports" according to Forbes, and serves as CEO & vice chairperson of the Board of Directors for International Speedway Corporation (ISC).  She is also vice chairperson of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Kennedy's vision and business acumen have made her one of the most influential leaders in the motorsports industry.  Kennedy has received several honors, including the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Award for Philanthropy at the 2014 Bethune-Cookman University Annual Gala.  She is an avid supporter of the Halifax Habitat for Humanity, the American Heart Association, the Victory Junction Gang, the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences, and serves prominently as a member of the Moffitt Cancer Center Board of Advisors. Kennedy received a B.A. in economics and a B.A. in psychology from Duke University.

For more information and media inquiries, please contact Keisha Boyd – or (386) 214-3653.

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Keisha M. Boyd
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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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