Chrite, B-CU get $55K welcome from Ormond

Ormond Beach resident Lowell Lohman and his wife Nancy gave a Rockefeller-like gift to B-CU.


On Feb. 23, the city of Ormond Beach held a welcome reception in honor of Bethune-Cookman University President Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite, highlighted by a $55,000 donation to the university.

Thanks from MMB

Prior to his opening prayer for the occasion, Dr. Kevin M. James, Sr., pastor of Palm Coast United Methodist Church, read an excerpt from a thank-you letter written in 1937 by B-CU founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to John D. Rockefeller, who the richest man in the world at the time.

Rockefeller had a winter home at the Casements, the Ormond Beach site where the reception was held. He was a financial supporter of then Bethune-Cookman College, and Mrs. Bethune thanked him for a $55,000 donation to complete a building project on the campus.

Soon after James’s prayer, Ormond Beach resident Lowell and Nancy Lohman gave remarks.

“As soon as that gentleman (James) told the story, I looked over at Nancy and I was in trouble,” Lowell Lohman said. “I’m not John Rockefeller… but Nancy and I will have a check to Bethune-Cookman for $55,000 tomorrow,” he exclaimed.

Choir performs

The reception welcome was given by Ormond Beach Zone Three Commissioner Susan Persis, followed by a musical selection from the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Children’s Choir. Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington gave remarks and presented Chrite with a proclamation and the key to the city.

Constance Poitier, the children’s choir founder and director, sang a musical selection which was followed by remarks by Chrite, who gave an update on the university’s progress under his presidential administration. Partington then gave closing remarks.

Chrite and his family live in Ormond Beach.

You can view YouTube video of Chrite’s remarks at


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