Freed-Hardeman cancels Bill Cosby appearance

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HENDERSON, Tenn. — Freed-Hardeman University has cancelled Dr. Bill Cosby’s appearance at its Freed-Hardeman Benefit Dinner.

Instead of Cosby, Dr. Ben Carson will speak at the dinner Friday, Dec. 5.

Several women accused Cosby of drugging and raping them. Some incidents date back to the ’60s.

The Memphis Chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) works with rape victims and threatened to protest the dinner if Cosby appeared.

In statement, FHU President Joe Wiley commented, “I thank our board and administrative team, who have sought wisdom in carrying out this milestone celebration. I appreciate the prayers and encouragement many have offered for those who have been problem solving and handling details behind the scenes. Of course, we are grateful to Dr. Carson for adding this commitment to his busy calendar on short notice. More than 90% of our students receive financial aid, and the scholarships this event funds are a vital component of that aid.”

“As important as this event is to our students,” Wiley continued, “we know that names we have seen in the media represent real people who will be affected long after FHU’s dinner has passed. Please join us in praying for healing and peace for those involved.”

The school sent the following information about Dr. Ben Carson:

Carson grew up in a single-parent home with a childhood dream of becoming a physician. Dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper and low self-esteem appeared to preclude that dream until his mother (with only a third-grade education) challenged her sons to strive for excellence. Young Carson persevered and today is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for 29 years. His medical career highlights include the first and only successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987 and the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa.

Carson holds more than 60 honorary doctoral degrees and has received hundreds of awards and citations. In 2004 President George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. Carson spoke during the President’s National Prayer Breakfast in 1997 and 2013, and CNN and TIME Magazine named him one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists in 2001. That same year, Library of Congress selected him as one of 89 “Living Legends.” He is also the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In February 2008, President Bush presented Carson with the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal at the White House, and in June 2008, Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the land. U.S. News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership recognized Carson as one of “America’s Best Leaders” in November 2008.
The award-winning movie “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story” premiered on TNT Feb. 7, 2009. “Gifted Hands,” “Think Big,” “The Big Picture” and “Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live with Acceptable Risk” were Carson’s first four books. A fifth book, “America The Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great,” was released in early 2012 and made the New York Times Bestseller List in 2013. His sixth book, “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future,” was released May 20, 2014, and also has made the New York Times Bestseller List.

Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. He has been married more than 39 years to his wife, Candy. They are parents of three adult sons and have two grandchildren.
Freed-Hardeman University, with locations in Henderson, Memphis and Dickson, offers an education from a Christian perspective to approximately 1,850 students. U.S News & World Report consistently lists the university in the top tier of colleges in the Southeast. FHU offers baccalaureate degrees in 44 undergraduate majors and 66 programs of study. It also offers master’s, specialist’s and doctoral degrees.

For almost a century and a half, Freed-Hardeman has combined character and career education to produce graduates prepared to lead in the marketplace, community and church. More information is available at

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