BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
More than 350 Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats are now the proud owners of a new bachelor or master’s degrees, including three honorary degrees given to Joe Petrock (Doctor of Laws), and Larry C. Little and Dr. J. Stanley Marshall (Doctor of Humane Letters).
“We are proud of our graduates. Let’s give them a big Wildcat roar!” Dr. Edison Jackson, B-CU president, said as the 2014 graduating class took their seats.
‘Doing his thing’
Stephanie Sumpter, a Wildcat mom who sat in the upper level of the Ocean Center along with family and friends, witnessed her son, 24-year-old Marquis Richardson, walk across the stage.
“We are so proud of him and the accomplishments that he has done on his own,” Sumpter exclaimed. “We are from Miami, and he came up here (to Daytona Beach) on his own and just took charge of his life. I’ve been crying since I walked through this door.
“We are a very close-knit family but there have been obstacles in our life that could have taken a young Black man and held him back and had him not move forward. But let me tell you something. He has persevered and he is doing his thing.”
Marquis received a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux was the Spring 2014 commencement speaker. She is the 15th president of Bennett College for Women and has hosted television and radio programs. She has also appeared as a commentator on TV networks such as CNN, BET, NBC, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN and others.
Malveaux, whose syndicated column appears weekly in the Daytona Times, told the students that although they may face many obstacles in the coming years, it is important to always persevere.
“Ask Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of your college who started with one dollar and fifty cents.
She had obstacles,” Malveaux exclaimed.
Malveaux gave several other examples, including obstacles faced by W.E B. DuBois, President Barack Obama, and numerous civil rights leaders.
“You will fail, one, two, three times. But stay on your knees, know who you are and whose you are.”
Oath and pledge
Following the conferring of degrees the graduates took the alumni oath promising to support the university in all its efforts to “educate HEAD, HEART and HAND… and adhere to the noble and honorable traditions established and ordained by the founder.”
Senior class president and graduate Arlen McCray-Nibbs led the pledge of support before the close of the ceremony expressing gratitude to God, parents, spouses, family, and friends and to Bethune-Cookman University.