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Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed Chosen as B-CC's Next President

The new president of Bethune-Cookman College, the fifth in the school’s 100-year history, will be Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, the sitting president and CEO of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Reed was on the B-CC campus when the Board of Trustees unanimously voted on Tuesday evening to offer her the position. She is expected to begin her new duties July 1, according to Dr. J. Stanley Marshall, chairman of the B-CC Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Reed possesses the skills, qualities and characteristics to achieve success as the next president of Bethune-Cookman,” Dr. Marshall stated. “She is an experienced president, a champion of the liberal arts, a tenured professor, and she has the enthusiasm and determination to take this school to new levels of prominence.”

As president of Philander Smith, a historically black, United Methodist Church-related college, from 1998 to the present, Dr. Reed increased the academic rating of the school, unfroze faculty tenure and launched faculty development programs. She has developed the nation’s first academic minor in Black Family Studies and broke fund-raising records by spearheading a capital campaign that raised more than 30.5 million dollars in two years.

She doubled the College’s retention rate in one year, implemented a culture of service and leadership on campus and fostered a campus-wide appreciation for character development through the liberal arts.

“Dr. Reed knows B-CC’s well,” Dr. Marshall says. “Two years ago she chaired the University Senate of the United Methodist Church Accreditation Committee that exhaustively reviewed the college’s academic and fiscal operations to make recommendations to the United Methodist Church’s Board of Higher Education and Ministry for B-CC’s reaccredidation. The Methodists have continuously accredited B-CC since its affiliation which began in 1923.

“We are greatly pleased to have someone with Dr. Reed’s experience agree to serve as our president,’’ Dr. Marshall says. “She has a passion for the mission of Bethune-Cookman College and a strength of character that will enrich this campus and reaffirm our historic commitment to academic excellence and community service.”

Dr. Reed will be the College’s second female president, joining founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

“As I become the fifth president of this great institution, I will always remember the vision and the philosophy of Dr. Bethune,’’ Reed said. “There are unlimited resources for taking this institution to the next level and I am committed with energy and vitality and faith in God to take this leadership responsibility very seriously and continue the rich legacy of this institution.’’

The search for B-CC’s new president was resumed in February of this year when Trustee and Central Florida businessman Irving Matthews was appointed to chair a search committee that extensively involved the Bethune-Cookman campus community. A professional search firm was retained to facilitate the committee’s effort.

The 18-member search committee represented various college populations, including faculty, staff, administration student government and board members. The committee included Robert Billingslea, Burney Bivens, Matthew Brown, Myrtle Brown, J.F. Bryan, IV (Vice Chair), Dr. M. McCoy Gibbs, Dr. Larry Handfield, Dr. Wendell P. Holmes, Jr., Michael P. Johnson, Sonja Lewis, Dr. Aubrey Long, Mary Alice Massey, E. Dean Montgomery, Cathy Washington, Rachel White and Dr. Eugene Zimmerman. Dr. J. Stanley Marshall served in an ex-officio capacity on the search committee.

“The committee worked well together. There was a good sense of collegiality and a strong desire to work toward consensus building by respecting the viewpoints of everyone involved,” Mr. Matthews said. “I am confident to say that we did our best and we are very, very pleased with the outcome.”