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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bethune university a college no more

Bethune-Cookman has a new name.

The historically black Daytona Beach college, which added its first graduate program in the fall, is now Bethune-Cookman University.

The change reflects the school's broader educational offerings, said Stephen Schafer, vice president for institutional advancement.

"It's an opportunity for the institution to achieve a new academic status," Schafer said. "Now, we have a master's level."

Trustees approved the name change at a board meeting in October, but university President Trudie Kibbe Reed didn't announce it until Wednesday. The trustees plan to make a formal announcement at their March meeting.

The name change will be phased in over two years. The school song, however, will remain the same.

The moniker "university" reflects an expansion under Reed, who was named president in 2004, that includes new programs and buildings, said Anne McCulloch, dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

"Becoming a university is in line with the vision of the new president," McCulloch said.

School leaders have been considering the name switch since August 2004, when they began planning a graduate program with a $50,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The only graduate degree now offered is a master of science in "transformative leadership." The program is primarily an online course of study designed for working adults. The aim is to "equip leaders and their organizations to explore the values of diversity, community engagement and ethics." About 20 students are enrolled.

The work includes conventional business and communications courses with an emphasis on ethics and learning theory, McCulloch said.

"A transformational leader is one who not only manages the organization but who takes it to a new level," McCulloch said.

Bethune-Cookman, which has about 3,000 students, was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1904 as Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. It became a high school and then a junior college before the state approved it as a four-year college in 1941.

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