A throng of friends from across the world assembled at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center on Saturday, March 2, 2019, to remember the life, legacy and leadership of President Emeritus Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, Sr., who served as president of Bethune-Cookman for 29 years. Bronson’s esteemed character, humility and influence was told in warm reflections by his family and many friends.
Dr. Bronson ensured that more young African-Americans had access to quality education. Under his leadership, the university’s enrollment grew from 1,520 students to 2,794, the endowment increased from $1 million to $28 million, and the operations budget went from $6.2 million to $51.4 million. Major fields of study at the institution increased from 12 to 37. In addition, seven continuing education centers for students began operating throughout the state of Florida.
Dr. Bronson also spearheaded investments in faculty development, student achievement and retention while maintaining accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Florida State Board of Education, and The University Senate of The United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education. The institution also added new accreditations in the Nursing and the Teacher Education programs under Dr. Bronson’s leadership.
His charismatic essence and warm embrace for all humanity continues to be recounted by his family, friends, former students, mentees, and colleagues who shared in his 91 years of life. To commemorate his legacy, the family has designated.