Dr. Rebecca Walker Steele Scholarship
November 27, 2007
DAYTONA BEACH – At the great Bethune-Cookman University, one professor stands out as an institution unto herself -- Dr. Rebecca Steele.
Dr. Steele’s petite size and gentle manner belies the many roles she plays on campus. She began her B-CU career 29 years ago. Her titles alone seem a bit overwhelming -- Coordinator of Cultural Affairs for the School of Arts and Humanities, conductor of the B-CU Concert Chorale and a professor of music. She takes personal interest in every student under her watchful eye and nurtures each of them to understand the importance of giving back.
Her fundraising efforts on behalf of the Concert Chorale are astonishing. For starters, everyone knows they can find Dr. Steele and the Concert Chorale every day at 4 p.m. in the rehearsal hall. The dedication to rehearsals definitely pays off. The Chorale has a stellar reputation throughout Florida and beyond, and is sought for performances regularly.
To that end, Steele receives letters of request from churches statewide. Her ‘contract’ with each church states the cost of transportation must be covered. Then, every Sunday in the school year, chorale members board a bus at 5 a.m. and head to a church engagement somewhere in Florida. There are no overnight stays and Steele makes certain everyone is fed.
“The best part is we always return home with donations larger than just transportation costs,” she said with an easy laugh. “We also return with invitations for engagements further along in the year, possible recruits for the University and often with new benefactors.”
The money earned is divided three ways. A portion goes into a scholarship fund that Steele started many years ago. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need to students enrolled in the Concert Chorale for credit. Each applicant must carry a 2.2 GPA (or higher,) and sign a form promising his or her commitment to the Chorale. The rest of the funds are designated for the cost of meals and transportation expenses.
Because Steele’s work and dedication has significantly increased the number of unfunded scholarships for Concert Chorale students and athletes, Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, President of B-CU, recently established the Dr. Rebecca Walker Steele Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“The endowed scholarship in Dr. Steele’s name is available to assist musically talented students with tuition costs and to help off-set some financial responsibilities as they secure a higher education,” said Dr. Reed.
“We all know how costly this journey can be,” Reed continued, “and our goal is to assist those deserving and qualified students to walk that path as comfortably as possible.”
The levels of giving for the Dr. Rebecca Walker Steele Endowment are as follows:
$2500.00-$4999.00 Mass Choir
$5000.00 and up Concert Chorale
Awards from the endowed scholarship are based on both talent and need.
“It’s wonderful to be able to provide for both our students and the communities they will serve after they leave this university,” Steele said.
For more information on the endowment or on the B-CU Concert Chorale, go to www.bethune.cookman.edu or call the college at (386) 481-2000.
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About Bethune-Cookman University
Founded in 1904 by 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 baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. 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 more than 3,400.