Tag: Bethune-Cookman University

From Homeless to College Grad: Story of Joshua Williams Inspires

Bethune-Cookman University graduating senior Joshua Williams walks recently over the International Speedway bridge as he did when he was homeless and used to walk it all night long.
DAYTONA BEACH — As the lights went out and his fellow students settled into their dorms, Joshua Williams would store two duffel bags of belongings in a friend’s room and disappear into the darkness.

He would leave the secure surroundings of the Bethune-Cookman University campus and head across the International Speedway Boulevard bridge and walk, sometimes all night. In the early morning hours, he would sneak into the lobby at the Bronson Hall dorm and sleep a few hours on a couch as if he lived there.

“I would go down to the beach sometimes,” he recalled. “Sometimes I would just take any direction and get lost and try to find my way back — I would just walk.”

Williams, 23, who is graduated last Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, was homeless for most of his first three years at the school but too proud to tell anyone.

But just like on his nightly walks, he always found his way. He survived on handouts, slept in empty trucks or on a couch at the apartments of classmates who thought he just didn’t want to go home after a late-night study session.

Remembering the poverty, drug dealers and random shootings he’d seen growing up near Miami, he knew he was on the right path. At school, he would find family, a sense of purpose and even win the title of Mr. Bethune-Cookman University and become the first student to organize a scholarship — but first he had to find a place to sleep.

“Before the sun comes up, I would make sure I was somewhere to lay down,” Williams remembered. “I knew I was homeless, but I said to myself I’d rather be in Daytona homeless trying to go to school than ever go back to Miami.”

NO PLACE TO LIVE

Williams arrived at B-CU in the fall of 2008 with $3,000 he saved from working at a gas station in Miami. He knew it wasn’t enough but felt confident.  Then he found out tuition, room and board ran about $10,000 a semester.  Williams wasn’t about to let that stop him.

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Edison O. Jackson Named President of Bethune-Cookman University

Edison O. JacksonEdison O. Jackson is the sixth president of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He has been serving as interim president since May 2012. He has agreed to serve as president until July 2016. The board of trustees stated that it would begin a search for his successor in January 2015.

Dr. Jackson previously served as president of Compton Community College in California and as president of Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of New York system. He retired as president of Medgar Evers College in 2009 after serving in that position for 20 years.

Dr. Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in counseling from Howard University. He holds a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.

 article via jbhe.com