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B-CU Gears Up For Its 4th Annual Mary Mcleod Bethune Legacy Awards Gala


Senator Arthenia Joyner, B-CU Trustee Rufus Wilson, Dr. Nelson Adams, Mr. Orlando Ashford and Dr. Jacob F. Bryan, IV Will Be Honored at the Highly-Anticipated October Affair

Bethune-Cookman University expects to welcome over 800 community supporters for its upcoming Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Awards Gala.  This years’ honorees are Senator Arthenia L. Joyner, B-CU Trustee Dr. Nelson Adams, Dr. Jacob F. Bryan, Mr. Orlando Ashford, and B-CU Trustee Rufus Wilson. These leaders will be recognized for their dedication and continuous contribution to education and the community.  The fourth annual affair is Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 at the Ocean Center (101 N. Atlantic Ave) in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Tickets and more information are available at 

Senator Arthenia Joyner will receive the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Lifetime Achievement Award. Senator Joyner is the Florida State Senate Democratic Leader for the 2014-16 term, making her the first black woman to hold the position. Most recently, she was appointed to represent the Florida Senate on the Criminal Justice Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Her focus is women leadership and human rights issues centered around her passion for justice, truth and equal rights. Joyner has been committed to support human rights, civil rights, criminal and civil justice reform, health policy and consumer protection. Her activism has resulted in raising issues that either furthered or defeated important legislation. As Senator, Joyner has served legislation as a trailblazer and world renowned advocate.

Trustee Dr. Nelson Adams will receive the Humanitarian Award. Dr. Adams is a medical leader committed to eliminating racial and ethnic inequality in health. He is a board certified Obstetrician- Gynecologist with a thriving practice in North- Miami Dade County. Adams has held many leadership positions during his successful career. He was the first African-American Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the first African-American Chief of Staff of North Shore Medical Center. He held the position of the 107th National Medical Association National President and represented over 30,000 African-American physicians and patients they serve.

Mr. Orlando Ashford will receive the Leadership Award. Mr. Ashford serves as president for Holland American Line. He oversees Holland America Line’s sales and marketing, revenue management, deployment and itinerary planning, public relations, hotel operations and strategy.  Ashford is on the Board of Directors for global manufacturing company ITT Corp., as well as the Executive Leadership Council, a distinguished membership organization for the development of global Black leaders. Most recently, Mr. Ashford was named Savoy Magazine’s list “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.”

Trustee Mr. Rufus L. Wilson will receive the Beacon of Light Award.  Wilson is a graduate and long-time supporter of B-CU. He launched the Wanda & Janice Wilson Foundation (WJWF) as a way to honor the legacy of his late mother and wife.  The main focus of the WJWF is the Wilson Rotunda Legacy Tree fundraising project. The legacy tree is permanently housed in the College of Liberal Arts building.  The branches and roots of the tree represent the lineage of Rufus and Janice Wilson, catalysts of the foundation and the generational connection of their parents, David and Blevins Jackson and Robert and Wanda Wilson.  Trustee Wilson has raised over $300,000 for the Wilson Rotunda Legacy Tree. Several individual and corporate donors have invested in the Wilson family and B-CU.  Support for WJWF offers educational opportunities for deserving students who want to obtain a college degree.

Dr. Jacob F. Bryan IV will receive the Philanthropy Award. Dr. Bryan IV serves as a community trustee working with a variety of civic and charitable organizations. He is the current Chairman of the Board of LISC (a local initiative to redevelop challenged neighborhoods), Chairman of the Reinhold Foundation and is a member of the Board and Past Chairman of Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida just to name a few. For his 24 years of board service, Bryan received an Honorary Degree in May from Bethune-Cookman University. Bryan was the recipient of the Bank of America 2011 Neighborhood Excellence Initiative local hero award. In 2012, Bryan and his wife, Peggy, were honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as Outstanding Philanthropists. 

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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