“Bernadine brings a wealth of experience to the position,” says Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “She is a first-generation college graduate who finds that Berea College’s mission resonates deeply with her.”
“I grew up in a small town in Florida, where I lived with my mother and three sisters,” Douglas says when describing her background. She adds that the dream of going to college was instilled early in life. “My mother always saw it as a possibility for me. I recognized what going to college [as a first-generation college student] would mean to me and to my mother. It changed my life.”
A native Floridian, Douglas most recently worked as vice president of external relations at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the home base of a multi-site campus that is the largest and best known institution focused on aeronautics and aerospace. Previously, she served the University of Central Florida as director of major gifts. Earlier in her career, she was community relations coordinator for Community Coordinated Care for Children, a large non-profit in Orlando, focused on children and families changing their outcomes.
“Bernadine is well suited by her training and experience to serve Berea,” President Roelofs continues. “At Berea College, she will oversee our operations in Development, Alumni Relations, and Marketing and Communications. As a member of the Administrative Committee she will serve also as an officer of the College.”
While employed at Embry Riddle, Douglas served first as associate vice president and later as vice president, where she successfully helped conclude the university’s $70 million comprehensive campaign and closed a scholarship gift of $1.5 million, the largest in that university’s history. She also led the creation of a parents’ giving campaign, developed a student philanthropy program, and established the first donor-sponsored faculty position. At the University of Central Florida, Douglas raised significant gifts including $600,000 for new programs in the College of Education, more than $1 million toward the creation of a College of Medicine, and a $22 million gift of intellectual property to the university.
Douglas’ educational attainments include a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida (Gainesville) and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University (Orlando). Douglas became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in 2004 and completed recertification in 2013. She also previously served on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, District III Conference Committee, and as president of the Central Florida chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
“I believe in the power of education. Education is the best weapon against poverty and inequality. Upon graduation, I recognized the role grace had played in my life and left the University of Florida with a commitment to use my degree for something greater than myself,” Douglas says. “And, it is exactly what I have been able to do in a career that spans nearly 20 years in both community-based and higher education organizations.”
“In a way this amazing opportunity with Berea College feels like I am coming full circle. When the founders started the College in 1855, it was with a very specific geographic focus. However, I am grateful that the seeds they planted grew well beyond the Appalachian Mountains to include places like Gainesville, Florida. Now, the opportunity to be of service to the mission that made my success possible will be a wonderful experience.”[/vc_row]