Edison O. Jackson, president of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, has announced that he is retiring on August 31, a year before his contract was due to expire.
The resignation comes after a series of reports showing financial problems at the university (See JBHE post.) However, recent data shows progress in balancing the budget, increased enrollments, and improving retention rates, all of which are helping the university’s bottom line.
Also, a new 1,200-bed dormitory on campus that had an original price tag of $72 million will now cost the university more than $300 million in costs and debt service over the next 40 years. On top of that, investigators found that President Jackson’s signature had been forged on the original construction contract.
President Jackson had also come under fire for inviting Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to speak at this spring commencement ceremonies at Bethune-Cookman. Some students and alumni protested this decision.
Dr. Jackson became the sixth president of Bethune-Cookman University in 2013. Earlier he had led Compton Community College in California and Medgar Evers College in New York.
A native of Virginia, Dr. Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in counseling from Howard University. He holds a master’s degree in theology from the New York Theological Seminary and a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.