Bethune–Cookman University (B–CU), formerly Bethune–Cookman College (B–CC), is a private, co-ed, historically black university located in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. The primary administration building, White Hall, and the Mary McLeod Bethune Home have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Although accredited, in June 2018 the university was put on probation by its regional accreditor.
On October 3, 1904, a very determined young black woman, Mary McLeod Bethune, opened the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls with $1.50, faith in God and five little girls: Lena, Lucille, and Ruth Warren, Anna Geiger and Celest Jackson. Through Dr. Bethune’s lifetime the school underwent several stages of growth and development and on May 24, 1919, the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute was changed to Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute.
In 1923 the school merged with Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida (founded in 1872) and became co-ed while it also gained the prestigious United Methodist Church affiliation. Although the merger of Bethune’s school and Cookman Institute began in 1923, it was not finalized until 1925 when both schools collaborated to become the Daytona-Cookman Collegiate Institute.
In 1931, the College became accredited by the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the Southern States, as a Junior College with class B status, and on April 27, 1931, the school’s name was officially changed to Bethune-Cookman College to reflect the leadership of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
Since 1943, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) has graduated more than 13,200 students. Traditionally, B-CU has maintained intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Many alumni are employed in the fields of education, medicine, business, politics, government, science, religion, athletics and environmental sciences.
The Marching Wildcats are a 325 member unit which includes instrumentalists, the Sophisticat Flag Corp, and the 14 Karat Gold Dancers. Known as The PRIDE, the band strives to bring the finest in half-time performances to viewing audiences.