BY JAMES HARPER
Dr. Edison Jackson will officially become Bethune-Cookman University’s sixth president on Oct. 16 during an inauguration ceremony. Four days and nights of activities will lead up to the inauguration.
The four days will include an Inaugural Symposium at Heyn Chapel on Oct. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. It will be open to the public.
The theme of the symposium will be “Changing Times: Sustaining the Academy for the Preparation of Tomorrow’s Leaders – An Examination of the Impact of Federal Legislation on the Future of HBCUs and Smaller Colleges.”
Panel of presidents
The moderator will be economist, author and commentator Dr. Julianne Malveaux, who is a former president of Bennett College.
The panel will be made up of university presidents, including Dr. Carlton E. Brown, Clark/Atlanta University; Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier, Savannah State University; Dr. Wendy B. Libby, Stetson University; along with Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund.
Following the symposium, an Inaugural Gala, open to the public, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Daytona 500 Club, located at the Daytona International Speedway.
‘March of Unity’
An inaugural kick-off celebration will take place Oct. 13 at the Center for Civic Engagement with only B-CU faculty and staff featuring tributes, a fellowship reception and a “March of Unity” to an ecumenical service at the Heyn Chapel starting at 6 p.m.
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr. of the United Methodist Church will be the keynote speaker.
The B-CU Gospel Choir will perform. That service also will be open to the public.
On Monday, Oct. 14 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., “An Evening of Spoken Word, Music and Dance” will take place at the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center featuring B-CU students. This is also open to the public. A student inaugural ball will follow at the Center for Civic Engagement by invitation only.
Reception after inauguration
Jackson’s inauguration ceremony will take place Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Performing Arts Center starting at 1:30 p.m. It is also open to the public followed by a reception at the center.
B-CU Board of Trustees Chairman John W. Harrington announced March 20 that the board had voted unanimously to have Jackson as the university’s sixth president.
He replaced Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed in May 2012 as interim president after she announced she was retiring from the school after seven years of service.
Jackson’s tenure will conclude July 1, 2016. A search committee will be appointed in January 2015.
Since arriving at the university, Jackson has established what he calls Freshman College, which provides new students a comprehensive first-year experience with structured support to ensure a seamless transition from high school to college.
He has established an Honors College to provide the university’s brightest students with a variety of opportunities to develop as scholars and what he calls “servant leaders.”
This is Jackson’s third presidency, having served as president of Compton Community College in Compton, Calif., and Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.