Interim President Hiram Powell announced that he would be retiring from Bethune-Cookman University last week. Powell had been in the position since July of 2021 and was a key partner in guiding the university through the pandemic. Additionally, Powell came in when Bethune-Cookman was under the strain of correcting some previously questionable investment decisions that left the university with accreditation issues.
Working with the Board of Trustees, Powell, a B-CU graduate, helped guide the school back to compliance and re-accreditation with SACS. Additionally, he and the Board of Trustees successfully navigated the financial issues by garnering donations and even convincing Florida Governor Ron Desantis to extend resources to the private school in efforts to put the financial issues behind them.
The B-CU Board of Trustees selected Lawrence M. Drake II as its new interim president. Drake came to B-CU last fall as the dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship. He holds a vast array of experience including guiding an international division of the Coca-Cola Corporation within his 21 years of experience.
B-CU Board of Trustees chairman Belvin Perry Jr. is excited about the energy Drake brings to the school.
“Bethune-Cookman University is looking to the future,” Perry said. “As a result, we must transform our beloved university to meet the changing needs of our students. Dr. Larry Drake has the academic experience, leadership skills, financial expertise, and inspired vision to move us forward.”
Drake was already turning heads on Bethune-Cookman campus
Drake, who was already working on the university’s strategic plan for the future apparently stood out to trustees as a possible candidate to bridge the gap until a permanent president could be selected.
“I am deeply grateful to the Board for the opportunity to help advance Dr. Bethune’s incredible legacy into the 21st century. The truth is, we don’t have a minute to waste, so I pledge to give everything I have to advance our vital mission. With ‘Re-Imagining B-CU’ as our North Star, my priorities are the four pillars of every successful university — financial health, faculty excellence, student outcomes and community partnership,” Drake said.
The B-CU Board of Trustees is embarking on a search for the eighth permanent president of the university.