Bethune-Cookman University selects Betsy DeVos as commencement speaker

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will deliver the commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University's graduation on May 10, the school's Office of the President confirmed Monday...

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Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will deliver the commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University’s graduation on May 10, the school’s Office of the President confirmed Monday.

Rumors had been swirling that DeVos would address the undergraduate students.  One alum  even started a petition to stop her from speaking.

The Office of the President told an official statement would be sent out later Monday.

DeVos’ confirmation did not come without controversy. The vote divided the Senate in a 50-50 split and eventually required Vice President Mike Pence to cast break the tie. Since she was officially confirmed, DeVos has been met with protests and demonstrations during her national tour visiting schools.


Bethune-Cookman University has released the following statement regarding Betsy DeVos’ commencement speech:

The Honorable Betsy DeVos will be the keynote speaker for B-CU spring 2017 commencement ceremony on May 10thlocated at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach (101 N Atlantic Ave). Secretary DeVos is the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education and serves as an education policy advocate for students across the country. Over the last three decades, DeVos has devoted her career in support of the opportunity for a quality educational experience for students.

Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune. B-CU President, Dr. Edison O. Jackson expressed, “Bethune-Cookman University is a school built on legacy and the transformation of students. Dr. Bethune’s love for students started with five little girls and grew to over 250 students during her time as university president.” “The legacy of Dr. Bethune is that she was not constrained by political ideology, but worked across all parties to support B-CU,” he explained.

Moreover, students are directly impacted by funding dollars that are dispersed through the Department of Education. B-CU receives $4 million annually through Title III, which supports teaching, research and infrastructure. Additionally, Title IV impacts the ability of B-CU students to receive federal financial aid, overall influencing the ascension of Bethune-Cookman University students.

Through Secretary DeVos’ life work, her contributions extend far beyond her home state of Michigan. Over the years, the DeVos family has supported Central Florida through several charitable efforts: 100 Black Men of Central Florida; Jones High School, and the Parramore neighborhood located in Orlando to name a few. Secretary DeVos has supported educational opportunities for students in over 25 states.

Secretary DeVos is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. She is the wife of community activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dick DeVos, where they are both owners of the NBA Orlando Magic Basketball Team.

This year’s commencement ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. located at the Ocean Center (101 N Atlantic Ave). This is a ticketed event and guests are highly recommended to adhere to the National Football Association, ‘Clear Bag Policy.’ The commencement ceremony will stream live via and radio broadcast on WELE The Cat 1380.