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James Colston - Bethune-Cookman's Second President

James Colston, B-CU's Second President

James Colston

1942 – 1946

James Colston became president of Bethune-Cookman College on December 15, 1942. 

Mr. Colston initiated programs based on a philosophy of the “Life Centered College” which meant, according to the Summer Catalog of 1943:

Well roundedness, ability to produce, scholarship, vision, seriousness of purpose and the spirit of service . . . are ends towards which education must strive . . . . Bethune-Cookman College plans to center all summer School Courses and activities around the life of the students and the communities in which they live.


A career educator, Mr. Colston oversaw expansion of B-CC’s education programs including the development of new majors in secondary education in science, the social sciences, business administration and English.  These initiatives resulted in accreditation of the program by the Florida Department of Education in 1945. 

Prior to becoming president of B-CC, Mr. Colston held a number of positions in the education field in both Florida and Georgia.  He was vice president of Florida’s Teacher Association and program director for the High School Division of Georgia Teacher’s and Educational Association.  He also served on the Curriculum Committee for Florida High Schools, the Georgia Curriculum Improvement Committee, the State Adviasory Council on Teacher Education and the Planning Committee for Georgia Principals.

Mr. Colston received a B.S. in education from Morehouse College in 1932 and a M.A. in education from Atlanta University in 1933.

Source:  Bethune-Cookman College 1904 – 1994: The Answered Prayer to a Dream;
Sheila Y. Fleming, Ph.D.

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Approximately 100 elementary school-age children descended on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University for a Summer Academy for rising third, fourth and fifth graders. Frolicking across the green lawns of the institution, the young students learned not only the basics such as reading, math and science, but also the importance of attending college and planning their future careers.

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