Why I Give to Bethune-Cookman University: Larry Roziers
Larry Roziers, 1982, College of Education
There are many reasons why I give back to what I have professed to be the best university on the planet. Over the years, B-CU has given so much to me and my family. When I first entered the doors of Bethune-Cookman College in 1978, I met Mrs. Helen W. Bronson, the wife of the late Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, Sr.,
B-CU’s president during that time. For whatever reasons, she took the time to invest in this immature, rough-around-the-edges, young black man from Jacksonville, Florida. She took me under her wings for the next four incredible years, working in step with my mother to hone abilities that I did not know I possessed inside of me.
Little did I know, 26 years later, my relationship with the Bronson family was fostering a path for my only son, Larry Mitchell Roziers ll. That very same passionate welcome that I received many years ago was also extended to my son in 2004 by Dr. Bronson, who at that time was the former president of the University.
My son attended B-CU, and in his sophomore year, became ill. Doctors recommended he pause his education at B-CU to move back to Jacksonville. However, he was determined to stay at B-CU to accomplish his dreams of being a college graduate with a degree in Mass Communication; even if that meant periodically traveling to Jacksonville for medical treatment and then returning to B-CU to attend classes. With the help of administrators, professors, counselors, good friends —who he called family —and fellow classmates; my son some nine years later, tearfully accomplished that dream! Although, two years later, he passed away, B-CU will always have a special place in this father’s heart. This university gave my son hope and a desire to live and for that I am forever grateful.
My devotion to my university is not exclusively because of my two earned degrees with honors, it is also because of the connection to a tight family structure that was wisely and purposefully created in 1904 through our founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. It extended personally to my family through a caring nurturing relationship with an amazing college president and his wife. I am forever linked through the blood of a son who learned the importance of perseverance from a university that gave its all to him.
My son and I understood the essence of the motto “Enter To Learn. Depart To Serve.” Therefore, in honor of my late son and proud B-CU graduate, his mother and I started an endowment at Bethune-Cookman University, keeping his memory and “connection” alive to continue the growth and sense of family by providing financial assistance to deserving Mass Communication students offsetting the cost of books, tuition, housing, and more.
Alumnus Larry Mitchell Roziers is the president of The MITCH22 Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in honor of his late son, Larry Mitchell Roziers II. The Mitch22 Foundation was founded on the belief that all families should have an opportunity to live life with a smile, in spite of life’s roadblocks and disappointments.