Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, former president of Bethune-Cookman University, has died at age 91. He passed away on Sunday (Feb. 17) at his Port Orange home.
According to B-CU’s website, Dr. Bronson an alumnus of the university, served as the institution’s president for 29 years – from 1975 until 2004 when he was named president emeritus. Dr. Bronson was Bethune-Cookman’s fourth president.
Under his leadership, major fields of study increased from 12 to 37. In addition, seven continuing education centers for students began operating throughout the state, the website states.
While maintaining accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), Florida State Board of Education and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education, the college added new accreditations in the Nursing and the Teacher Education programs during Dr. Bronson’s tenure.
Dr. Bronson became president of his alma mater in 1975 after serving as president of Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
Student enrollment increased during Dr. Bronson’s tenure from 1,520 students in 1975 to 2,794 in 2003. He also presided over tremendous growth of the institution’s physical plant, budget and endowment.
According to B-CU, 15 new buildings were constructed under his administration, most notably the 2,500 seat Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center. The institution’s annual budget grew from $6.2 million in 1975 to $51.4 million in 2003, and the endowment surged from $1.2 million to $26.5 million in the same time period.
An ordained United Methodist minister, Dr. Bronson pastored a number of churches over 16 years.
He graduated from Bethune-Cookman in 1950 and earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary. He received a Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1965.
Check back for updates on Dr. Bronson’s passing and service plans.