Alumni and students weigh in on the hiring of Dr. Brent Chrite as the next university president.
Editor’s note: Read more about Chrite’s appointment in this week’s Florida Courier.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
On Tuesday, Bethune-Cookman University announced that Dr. Elrie LaBrent Chrite will be become the institution’s seventh president effective July 1.
Chrite is currently the University of Denver’s Dean of the Daniels College of Business; he will leave the post in June. He is also an independent director of Gordon Food Services, a $15 billion company where he also chairs the risk committee.
“We face some serious challenges, but we have so much that’s outstanding in our community and traditions – and I have every confidence that together we will make exciting things happen. I am passionate about Bethune-Cookman and am thrilled to be a part of its community,” stated Chrite.
Students just want to see their school returned to good standing.
“I’m neutral on the hire. I didn’t see him during the hiring process. I just hope that he does what he is supposed to do. I hope that he ends the scandals and take care of business to get the school back to greatness,” commented music major Llandro Taylor, a graduating senior.
Sophomore computer information systems major Aaron Davis echoed, “It’s a good first step, which is important to move the school forward. I didn’t get to meet him during the interview process. I hope he cleans up the school and lead us away from the debt and accreditation issues. I hope he clears our name and legacy.”
The community seems hopeful as well with B-CU’s new leadership.
Daytona resident Perry Williams told the Daytona Times, “I think it’s a good thing. I hope that the new president can make the school strong. With the economic impact that the school has on our community, we need a strong Bethune-Cookman to move not only the school forward but our community as well.”
Tony Servance is an alum who lives and works in this community. Servance is also active in the community serving on several boards and as the president of Save Our Neighborhoods.
“As alumni, I’m glad to see new leadership. Hopefully, this new leadership allows us to get back on track with fundraising and stabilizing the university,” he said.
“I got a chance to meet him and the candidates during the final interview process. Each had qualities of a university president but Chrite stood above. We will work with him to turn our beloved institution around and protect the legacy of Dr. Bethune and the University.”
Percy Williamson, also a Bethune-Cookman graduate, said he was excited about the hire.
“I think he will be a transformative figure. This is an extremely important first step for us to change the culture of Bethune Cookman. I’m excited about his business background, not just in academia but also in international business,’’ Williamson noted.
“B-CU is a multi-million-dollar business and it’s time it’s been run like one.” A lot of changes need to be made but this is a great first step,” Williamson added.