SPECIAL TO THE
Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) will graduate more than 200 students and bestow doctorate degrees upon three key influencers at Saturday’s fall commencement ceremony.
The university will honor Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, local businessman Bert Reames and automotive connoisseur Thomas A. Moorehead for their business accomplishments and commitments to service.
The fall commencement ceremony is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center (698 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach). All guests must have a ticket for entry. Moorehead is also the featured commencement speaker.
Moorehead is a visionary business professional who is a revered mentor to hundreds of African-Americans interested in careers in the automobile industry. He began his automotive career in 1985 and has since opened his own Buick/Izuzu and Buick-GMC Trucks dealerships.
He is now the owner of the largest African-American owned BMW/Mini centers in the country and was the first African-American awarded a Rolls-Royce franchise in 2013. He later added Harley-Davidson of Washington, D.C. to his portfolio.
He has been recognized numerous times by some of the country’s top business entities. In 2014, Moorehead was the recipient of the 2014 Morehouse College Candle in the Dark Business Award, joining a list of esteemed honorees.
Moorehead and his wife, Joyce, have one of B-CU’s newest residence halls named in their honor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from Grambling University in 1966 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan in 1971.
Bert Reames, better known as “Gator Bert,” is a native Floridian who relocated to Daytona Beach after graduating from college in 1949. He is chairman is CEO of Reames Employee Benefits Solutions.
He was a forerunner in the development of voluntary life, disability health and dental benefits for employees and designed and implemented the first wholly voluntary disability program written by Unum, an employee-benefits company based in Chattanooga, Tenn.
He has held top positions with Sears Roebuck and Co.; Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce; Prudential Insurance Company of America; Set up Life and Employee Benefits Department and others.
His community activities are numerous, including the Daytona Beach Lions Club, Masonic Lodge #270; University of Florida Alumni Association, Halifax Home Health Governing Board; Tiger Bay Club Board Member; and the Civic League of the Halifax Area.
He is married to the former Julie Massfeller and they have one son, Roosevelt. He attended the University of Florida for two years and entered the United States Army Air Corps in 1944. After being discharged, he continued his education at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is a change maker who has been committed to fighting for change in her community and beyond.
Wilson’s achievements include working with Republican Governor Jeb Bush to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol, mandating HIV/AIDS testing for newly released prisoners, opposing high-stakes standardized testing, pushing for a ban of the term “illegal alien” in state public records, and partnering with Republican Governor Charlie Crist to restore voting rights for ex-felons.
She introduced the American Jobs Act of 2013, the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, and the Youth Corp Act of 2013. Wilson is widowed and the mother of three children: Nicole, LaKesha, and Paul.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Fisk University and a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Miami.