Bethune-Cookman University Announces New President
DAYTONA BEACH—Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite will become the seventh president of Bethune-Cookman University, following a national search. He will take office effective July 1, 2019.
Chrite will be stepping down as dean at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business in June. He previously served as dean at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and has held leadership positions at the University of Arizona-Tucson and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Chrite also is an independent director of Gordon Food Service, a $15 billion privately held company, where he chairs the risk committee.
“I am tremendously honored to assume the presidency at Bethune-Cookman University, an academic institution with a storied history; great faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends; and a bright future,” Chrite said. “We face some serious challenges, but we have so much that’s outstanding in our community and traditions—and I have every confidence that together we will make exciting things happen. I am passionate about Bethune-Cookman and am thrilled to be a part of its community.
“The board chose Dr. Chrite as President of Bethune-Cookman University because his global experience in leadership, business, policy and academic transformation will serve as the foundation for setting a new course for our beloved college. We look forward to working together to create a new and robust educational institution that preserves our history while taking us into the future.”
At Daniels, where he headed a faculty and staff of 220 serving more than 3,000 students, Chrite led the College through a major strategic shift—overhauling the academic portfolio, expanding the global footprint, creating a new generation of teaching and learning approaches matched to the demands of the 21st-century economy, and growing the faculty.
“Dr. Brent Chrite served as dean with deep integrity and great intelligence,” said Gregg Kvistad, the provost who hired Chrite. “His visionary, collaborative leadership is respected by colleagues across the University. His most lasting legacy, however, may be his singular focus on academic excellence and inclusion. Bethune-Cookman University is extremely fortunate to have landed Dr. Chrite as its next president.”
“He is a truly exceptional and rare leader,” said Don Bergh, Beaumont Chair and professor of management at Daniels. “He values everyone, listens intently and responds thoughtfully.”
In addition to his leadership positions, Dr. Chrite has taught strategic management, leadership and international business to students and executives at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and at universities around the world.
“Brent Chrite is a leader who has demonstrated an innovative approach to complicated issues in education today,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America and a member of the Daniels Executive Advisory Board. “His keen intelligence combined with a passion for both faculty and students is a true asset for Bethune-Cookman University.”
Chrite is an expert on how to build individual and institutional economic capacities in challenging emerging markets around the world. He has worked on behalf of the World Bank to build education and business assistance programs across sub-Saharan Africa, and on behalf of the Eurasia Foundation to strengthen the private sector in Uzbekistan. He recently completed a three-year engagement to improve business education and entrepreneurship in Afghanistan, working under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and engaging Daniels faculty.
He is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He and his wife, Phyllis, have three children and one grandchild. He completed his undergraduate work at Michigan State University, earned an M.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000. For more information, visit www.cookman.edu.