Founders’ Day Convocation will feature local bishop, top honors for other community leaders
MIAMI GARDENS, FL. – Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only historically black university, will celebrate 134 years of existence Tuesday, March 12, during its annual Founders’ Day Convocation. The observance will also mark the university’s relocation 45 years ago from its site in St. Augustine to Miami.
“This is a time of reverence, remembrance and rejoicing for an institution that continues to provide a high-quality education to students who are in pursuit of a college degree,” said Dr. Mary A. O’Banner, acting president. “Each year, during the Founders’ Day observance, we pause to pay homage to those visionary founders who saw the need for such an institution as this.”
Bishop Billy Baskin, founder and pastor of New Way Fellowship Praise & Worship Center, will be the guest speaker at the 10 a.m. convocation, which will be held at the university’s Susie C. Holley Religious Center (directly across from the main gate). Baskin, a 1971 graduate of FMU, is considered one of Miami-Dade’s “pre-eminent” religious leaders. He is also known for his heavy involvement with South Florida’s faith community and his work with the area’s most vulnerable residents.
“This year’s theme, ‘Moving forward…the Legacy Continues,’ epitomizes the spirit of our founders,” said Patricia Carter, Founders’ Day co-chair and director of Church Relations. “From its humble beginnings to its present, Florida Memorial continues to thrive as a center of opportunity for students.”
The key supporters and community leaders who represent the historic institution’s founding principles of character, leadership and service set to receive the university’s highest honors are:
- The Nathan B. Collier Award
William “Bill” McCormick, President and CEO at Medivance Billing Service, Inc., and the CEO at 4KUS Consulting Group, Inc., A graduate of Florida Memorial College, he is the past chairman at MedValue Healthcare Services, LLC, CEO at Cullen Home Health Pharmacy, Inc.
- The Sarah Blocker Award
Dr. Barbara Wright, president, Senior Women Progressive M&E Baptist State Convention of Florida
- The Humanitarian Award
The Rev. Canon Richard Livingston Marquess-Barry, rector of St. Agnes Episcopal Church, the largest and oldest black Episcopal congregation in Miami, and champion for the education of youth.