William Berry

Acting President / Provost William Berry

Named Senior Vice President and Provost of Bethune-Cookman University in January 2021, Dr. William Berry’s long and storied career spans across the higher education and publication sectors.

Dr. Berry joined the faculty of Bethune-Cookman University in August 2015, following a national search. He was hired as a tenured full professor for the Department of Mass Communications. At B-CU, he not only has taught sophomores, juniors, and seniors but also supervised student research projects. His students have been accepted to compete in the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference, and many have gone on to graduate schools and professional careers.

Prior to B-CU, from 1991 to 2011, he served as a tenured member of the faculty at the University of Illinois with appointments in the departments of Advertising, Journalism, LatinoStudies, Media Studies, and the Institute of Communications Research. During his 20-year academic career at U of I he supervised the work of several master’s and doctoral advisees and also served on master’s and PhD degree committees.

In addition to serving as a Dean and Department Head, in 2000, he was promoted and named Associate Chancellor of the Urbana campus and continued in that role until 2011, when he took early retirement and received emeritus professor status. His responsibilities as Associate Chancellor included assessing, evaluating, and reporting the Urbana campus strategic plan outcomes to the University of Illinois System and serving as the Chancellor liaison to both the Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The University brought Dr. Berry back from retirement in 2014-2015 to serve as Interim Director of the ICR, which is the Ph.D. granting program in the College of Media.

Before joining the Illinois faculty, Dr. Berry worked for ten years in the telecommunications industry with the AT&T/Illinois Bell organization, where he held senior management positions in corporate communications, advertising, and consumer research. He began his professional career in journalism as an Associated Press reporter in New York City, before moving to positions in Chicago for six years.

He was senior staff editor of Ebony and managing editor of Jet with the Johnson Publishing Co. He later worked as an editorial consultant and writing coach for Morningstar FundInvestor magazine, part of the Morningstar mutual funds organization.

Dr. Berry’s research focuses on strategic reputation management, crisis communication, and the intersection between advertising theory and professional practice in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. For the period 1999-2000, Dr. Berry was named recipient of the highly competitive Fulbright Scholar award. During that year in the Dominican Republic, he lectured in English and Spanish and conducted research at Universidad APEC (UNAPEC) in Santo Domingo and Pontificia Universidad Cat lica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santiago. He received a second Fulbright in 2007 to conduct a curriculum review of the journalism and marketing programs, and to organize faculty professional development seminars at PUCMM.

As part of his service to society, from 2006-2011, Dr. Berry was a member of the Board of Directors of the Provena Health Corporation, a $1.2 billion health system that included six hospitals, 16 long-term care and senior residential facilities, 28 clinics, five home health agencies and other health-related activities operating in Illinois and Indiana.

Dr. Berry received his B.A. in English at Morehouse College, and M.S. in journalism and a PhD. in communications at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign’s Institute of Communications Research (ICR), the world’s oldest program for research and doctoral education incommunication and media studies. Additionally, he was a Charles E. Merrill Scholar at the University of Durham in England.

"Dr. B,” as his B-CU students fondly call him, enjoys fishing, sailing, and other water sports.