By Beverly James
Dr. Lawrence Drake, interim president of Bethune-Cookman University, confirmed on Friday (May 26) to the Daytona Times that after his contract expires on June 30, he has no plans to return to the institution. Lawrence said he plans to travel until June 30.
University officials have made no announcements about Drake’s departure.
Drake had been the Daytona Beach HBCU’s interim president since June 2022.
Just days after B-CU announced the retirement of another interim president, Dr. Hiram Powell, on June 8, 2022, Drake was named to temporarily lead the institution. Drake had been B-CU’s dean of College of Business and Entrepreneurship. He was to continue in that capacity while interim president.
B-CU’s last president was Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite, who served from 2019 to 2021. He left to become president at Bentley University.
B-CU, founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in Daytona Beach in 1904, has had six presidents or interim presidents at the helm of the university over the past six years.
After Bethune stepped down as president—having served two terms—the institution would be led by three men and one woman until 2012. Dr. Richard V. Moore and Dr. Oswald P. Bronson each served almost 30 years. Bethune headed the school for 20 years.
The alumni said they are disappointed that the university didn’t inform the B-CU community of Drake’s departure or of next steps.
“This shows a complete lack of leadership from the administration. This means we will be looking for our third interim president and we haven’t had a full-time president in three years,” said Percy Williamson, a 1978 B-CU alumnus and retired banker. “The university is rudderless; we need stable leadership. I am concerned about the direction of the university because the board of trustees is not leading it.”