Wildcat Nation Mourns the Death of President Emeritus Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, Sr. July 19, 1927 - February 17, 2019
(DAYTONA BEACH, FL)- Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, Sr., a 1950 alumnus of Bethune-Cookman College (now University), and former president of Bethune-Cookman, died February 17, 2019, in Port Orange, Florida. Dr. Bronson served with distinction as the institution’s fourth president for 29 years – from 1975 until 2004, when he was named President Emeritus. Commitment to academic excellence was the cornerstone of his presidency.
A noted fundraiser, visionary educator, theologian and community leader, Dr. Bronson was appointed to serve in an advisory post by former President of the United States William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton. As a former student of B-CU Founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Dr. Bronson adopted a spirit of servant leadership and worked tirelessly to advance her mission to educate the whole person. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pastored several United Methodist Churches in Florida, Georgia and Chicago from 1950-1966, and was highly respected among college and university presidents throughout the country.
He spent nearly four decades at the helm of exemplary institutions. Dr. Bronson served as president of the following institutions: Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA) from 1968-1975, Bethune-Cookman College (Daytona Beach, FL) from 1975-2004, and Edward Waters College (Jacksonville, FL) from 2005-2007. Much of his life’s work is memorialized in the book, “Chief Servant Leader: The Life and Leadership of Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, Sr., President of Bethune Cookman.”
Dr. Bronson is survived by his wife, Helen Williams Bronson, former curator of the Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation at Bethune-Cookman; three children: Josephine "Bunny" Bronson, Flora Stitt, Oswald "Chip" Bronson Jr.; five grandsons; three great grandchildren; his sister, Dr. Audrey F. Bronson, and a host of relatives and friends who will mourn his passing.
Interim President, Hubert L. Grimes, has personally extended condolences to the Bronson family and funeral arrangements will be shared at a later date. “Dr. Bronson's legacy is that of a revered educator, spiritual leader and humanitarian whose reach extended throughout the nation,” said Grimes. “He was a larger-than-life-figure who transitioned during a month in which we celebrate giants in Black History. I considered him a mentor and friend.”
Dr. Bronson regarded every person he encountered as his “friend.”