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On this date in 1904, Bethune Cookman University was founded. It is one of more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America (HBCU).
Activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune founded it as a normal and industrial school for Black girls in Daytona Beach, FL. Started in a rented house with only five students, in less than two years she attracted 250 pupils. By 1916, the school had grown into the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute and was affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
After absorbing the Cookman Institute for boys in Jacksonville, the newly christened Bethune-Cookman College was established as a high school with junior college courses in 1924. Despite the heavy financial squeeze of the Great Depression, Bethune-Cookman became a two-year college in 1939, a four-year college shortly after, and received a Grade A accreditation in 1947, the last year of Dr. Bethune’s presidency.
In 1990 Bethune-Cookman was the only Historically Black College founded by a woman. It is the 6th largest of the 39-member UCNF colleges with a student body nearing 3,000. Bethune-Cookman offers Bachelor of Science degrees in 39 major areas through six academic divisions: Business, Education, Humanities, Nursing, Science/Mathematics, and Social Sciences.
The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Florida State Department of Education, the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, AMA Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration National League for Nursing.
Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994