DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Bethune-Cookman University is celebrating 114 years.

  • Bethune-Cookman Univ. celebrates its legacy, future
  • Founder's Day, Homecoming starts this weekend

Founder's Day and Homecoming begins this weekend as the university uses this time to reflect on its legacy and its future.

"I came in 1966, and I have seen this university grow," Daisy Grimes said.

Years ago, Grimes walked the campus as a student. Now she serves as the director of Legacy Protocol and Women's Initiative.

"When I came here, girls couldn't even wear pants," Grimes said.

Bethune-Cookman has been a part of her life for more than 30 years.

"I stand on a shoulder of a founder that gave me all that I needed to believe in myself," Grimes said. 

It's a vision that started when Dr. May McLeod Bethune spent $1.50 to open the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. Years later, it developed into the college.

"I'm hoping that they would take away the understanding that, in 1904, with little resources, only a $1 and a half, what you can become," Grimes said.

A price Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune paid for first generation students like Derenzo Thomas.

"It gives me motivation that one day I will be able to accomplish my dreams and goals as well," said Thomas, student body president. 

A legacy that's given many opportunities.

"Today, 114 years later, we have an institution that has about 4,000 students, 15,000 alumni and a huge economic impact over $100 million," said Clifford Porter, vice president of Institutional Advancement.

"That's tradition, legacy, faith in God, dedication, all of that in 114 years," Thomas said. 

While Grimes said the university has had its share of challenges just like others, nothing will stop them from keeping this legacy going.

"I want it to be like Harvard and Yale and keep going and going and going," Grimes said.

Celebrity radio host Tom Joyner is helping the university raise money as a part of its University of the Month program.

They're encouraging all alumni and anyone else to donate to keep the legacy going.