(Left to right) Ralph Dawson, Ph.D., George M. Bell, D.Min., Kenneth M. Orduna, Ph.D.
Buckingham Univerisity plans to establish itself as a community center for knowledge, leadership and Christian values.
By Brian W. CarterSentinel Staff Writer
and Kaylee DavisSentinel Intern
As universities and colleges continue to suffer with recent state budget cuts, students continue to suffer cuts in their education. A college education is beyond essential nowadays, but it's not getting any easier to actually attend college financially. Buckingham University (BU) is here to be that new bridge to a better education.
Born in the collective minds of men who saw a need, BU is rising to become the premier university within the community. California Democratic politician Mervyn Dymally, Kenneth M. Orduna, Ph.D., Ralph Dawson, Ph.D., and George M. Bell, D.Min founded BU for people looking for affordable yet sought-after degrees. Recently, Orduna, Dawson and Bell spoke with the Sentinel about BU's purpose, what it offers in terms of education and what they hope to address.
"What we want to offer to the community is a chance to take leadership in your own future," said Dawson. BU plans to accomplish this goal by integrating core values in the curriculum: endurance, patience and integrity.
BU is a private Christian university in partnership with Hope International University, also a Christian university, based in the inner-city of Los Angeles. The University hopes to bring customized education and programs to the underserved, surrounding communities.
Leimert Park was chosen as a base for BU for its richness in culture, community and opportunity. "The model that we want to do is to rebuild Leimert like...Old Town Pasadena, like San Diego, or Santa Barbara, Culver City," said Dawson. "We need a locale like that...based on two things: culture/intellect and art/prosperity, and the prosperity has to be a prosperity from inside."
The focus is to used BU as a tool to help sharpen willing minds to construct a stronger community based on knowledge and Christian faith. BU incorporates Christian fundamentals throughout itscurriculum. "We come from God so in order to advance and represent a people, we have to include our spiritual roots," said Bell.
"We tailor a program to the students' needs," said Orduna. "We don't take the approach that you go to school, get your degree and there's a job- that we don't do." BU offers an introduction to college environment, which is a five-week course. This program is designed to help acclimate both new and returning student to college life and academia.
There are mentoring programs available to help with tutoring, career counseling and help online. "One of our distinctives is mentoring; we have a mentoring program," said Bell. "Once a week, each student can come in as needed and receive some sort of, let's say computer literacy, if they need to start gearing up."
BU offers a variety of degree programs to its attending students. They have programs for just about every field you could find at any other university or college. "The degree programs that we're offering range from lower division, which would be your AA degree to master's degree, " said Bell.
He continued, "Specifically, right now we're cultivating some other relationships but we provide degrees in business administration, intercultural studies, human development, which has two tiers of education...and there are some degrees that fall under those domains that expand the concepts."
The BU online program offers students a chance to further their education in the convenience of their own homes. Students can attend online programs and get onsite mentoring. All info can be accessed on the Hope online website.
Dawson, Bell and Orduna are committed to making BU the best it can be and know it will be the best. They intend on helping our community reach it goals and find success through commitment, faith and quality education.
"Those things are important: a restoration of honesty, faith and trusting each other," said Dawson.
"It is our vision that Leimert Park will become Buckingham village," said Orduna. "We're confident in that- steadfast, unmovable...the door is open, come, there's no excuse for not going to school and getting an education."
"I'm believing that Buckingham University can become a catalyst to bring forth greater solidarity and community," said Bell. "I really believe through our programs, we can foster a belief and an ethic for people to become proactive in their community."
For more information on Buckingham University, please visit their website at http://buckinghamuniversity1.org/index.html. Buckingham University is located in Leimert Park Village at 4327 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008. You may contact them at (323) 293-3300 or by fax at (323) 293-3339.