Dear Bethune Cookman University Alumni and Friends:
Sixty-five years ago, on a cool September night, John Saunders (deceased) and I attended a football game between South Carolina State University and Bethune Cookman College (BCU) at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. While making our way to our seats, I heard a voice of a woman as though it was a voice from heaven. As I turned to see who it was, this elegant woman dressed in black with mink stole around her shoulders, and small black hat that sat perfectly on her head said to me, “Young man, how would you like to attend Bethune Cookman College?” I responded by saying, “I could not because I never finished high school and (at that time) did not have plans to go back.” She, Dr. Bethune, said to me, “When you do decide to go back and finish school, we would love to have you at Bethune Cookman College.”
When John and I finally made it to our seats, I asked John, “Who was that lady?” John said, “That’s Mrs. Bethune and the man sitting next to her is President Moore.” I later learned that John was already attending Bethune Cookman College on a 4-year basketball scholarship 1953-1957.
I’m telling this story because I want everyone to know how a skinny Black kid from Hollywood, Florida was blessed and inspired by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune more than sixty (65) years ago at a football game in Miami, FL. I did not attend BCU, but I did decide to go back and finish school ten years later. That same year, my wife, Anathia and I had our beautiful daughter, Vonshelle. A couple decades later, not only did I begin working at Bethune Cookman University, but my amazing daughter started attending school there and graduated Summa Cum Laude! To this day I shall never forget that voice from heaven. That voice of inspiration. That voice that believed in me! And now, here are my concerns:
After many years of loving and supporting this wonderful institution, I am disturbed that BCU may be closed in the near future. You don’t know how troubling this will be to me and many of my friends and supporters of BCU. The voice from heaven (Dr. Bethune) was the one and only person who thought I was college worthy. It is for that reason I am the man I am today and will be until I leave this earth.
Please join me and others by supporting Bethune Cookman University prayerfully and financially. ‘If God is with us, who can be against us.’ This amazing institution, the students, the staff, the professors need us! Let’s make sure Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy lives on.
Fred D. Beneby
Life Member, NAA-50-year supporter
Make Checks Payable to:
BCU Institutional Advancement – Bethune Cookman University
640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-9986