Dr. William Berry '71, who had been serving as the Provost of Bethune Cookman University, is now serving as the Acting President. Dr. Berry replaced Lawrence Drake, who apparently informed the Board of Trustees via letter on Jan. 17 of his intent to leave after his contract ended on June 30, 2023.
A former journalist and telecommunications manager, Dr. Berry moved into academia, where he served as a tenured professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign for 20 years, starting in 1991. He had appointments in the departments of advertising, journalism, Latino studies, media studies and communications research.
He received a bachelor's degree in English at Morehouse College, a master's in journalism and a PhD. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois.
Berry started his professional career as a reporter with the Associated Press in New York and Chicago. He became senior staff editor of Ebony and managing editor of Jet, two Black-owned magazines under the Johnson Publishing Co. umbrella.
While at U of I, he also served as a dean and department head before being named associate chancellor of the Urbana campus. He took early retirement in 2011, but later returned to the university in 2014 to serve as interim director of the institute that granted him his doctoral degree.
He was hired as a tenured professor for the Department of Mass Communications at Bethune-Cookman in 2015. He became senior vice president and provost in January 2021.
He has received two Fulbright Scholar awards, allowing him to lecture and conduct research at two Dominican Republic universities. He also handled curriculum review for the journalism and marketing programs while organizing faculty professional development seminars.