Press Releases

Rev. Al Sharpton to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Bethune-Cookman University

May 04, 2011

Civil rights leader will deliver 2011 Commencement remarks and receive an honorary degree

Daytona Beach, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) is pleased to welcome one of the nation’s most-renowned civil rights activists, the Rev. Al Sharpton, to the University’s 2011 commencement ceremony. Sharpton will speak to graduating students and receive an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree.

“It is our great honor to welcome Rev. Sharpton back to B-CU as our commencement speaker.  He has demonstrated excellence in leadership, education and service in his career that makes him a tremendous role model for our students,” notes B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed. “We look forward to hearing him provide words of wisdom and encouragement to our graduates.”

This year’s commencement marks the end of a remarkably successful academic year for B-CU. The University opened the brand new, state-of-the-art Lee Rhyant Residence Life Center, launched construction on the new Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center, received reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and received SACS approval for a new master’s degree program in environmental science.

Rev. Al Sharpton

Rev. Al Sharpton is the founder and president of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization based in Harlem, N.Y. A former Democratic presidential candidate, Sharpton is a leader on issues related to education and the fight to ensure equity in the U.S. education system. Born on Oct. 3, 1954, Sharpton began his ministry at the tender age of four, preaching his first sermon in Brooklyn. At just 13, he was appointed by Revs. Jesse Jackson and William Jones as youth director of the NY SCLC Operation Breadbasket, an organization founded in 1971 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now, Sharpton stands at the forefront of issues promoting equal standards, human rights and decency. He and the NAN recently led 30,000 people in a “Reclaim the Dream” march in Washington, D.C., to honor Dr. King. He currently hosts the nationally syndicated radio talk show, Keepin’ It Real with Al Sharpton.