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Bethune-Cookman University Announces Gift to Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management


Dr. Deanne Williams-Bryant, Dean, Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality welcomes entrepreneur Henry “Hank” Thomas

The Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management recently welcomed American entrepreneur Henry “Hank” Thomas at the Wendell Holmes Building.

Henry "Hank" Thomas is president of Victoria Hospitality Properties, Inc. which develops and operates Marriott-branded hotels, and is vice president of the Hayon, Inc. Group, which owns and operates McDonald’s franchises in metro Atlanta.

Thomas inspired students with the narrative of how he went from earning $1.20 an hour as an employee to becoming an entrepreneur and charting his own destiny.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida and educated at Howard University, Mr. Thomas was active in the African American struggle for Civil Rights. The Jacksonville native was one of the original Freedom Riders and a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He is also a Vietnam War Purple Heart recipient. Thomas is a life member of the NAACP, an active fundraiser for the UNCF and a retired member of the 100 Black Men of DeKalb County.

The civic leader and philanthropist presented a gift of $22,500 to support the Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management. The Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management at Bethune-Cookman University is the only school of hospitality at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the State of Florida, that offers an undergraduate degree in Hospitality Management both face-to-face and fully online.

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. 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 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. 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 nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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