The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards
Contact: Dustin Wardlow,


Harvey Leavitt, III NBE Scholarships Awarded


FAYETTEVILLE, AR (October, 2023) –Five candidates were selected to receive the Harvey Leavitt, III National Board Examination (NBE) scholarship. The scholarship allows recipients to sit for the NBE with the examination fee waived (a $570 value).


The Harvey Leavitt, III scholarship program is open to first-time exam candidates eligible to sit for the NBE within one year of application. To enter, exam candidates are asked to submit a brief essay. The 2023 topic reflects on the use of the NBE as part of the licensure process to ensure competency within the profession. Applicants were asked to explain why professional standards are important to public protection.


We are pleased to announce the following selections for the Fall 2023 Harvey Leavitt, III NBE Scholarship and share their responses.


Angel Cravens (Louisville, KY)
Licensing requirements in the field of mortuary science are vital for public protection. These standards ensure that funeral service professionals possess the necessary education, skills, and ethical understanding to handle sensitive tasks with utmost care and professionalism. Rigorous licensing criteria, including education, licensing exams, and internships, help establish a baseline competence level. This safeguards the public from inexperienced or unqualified individuals conducting sensitive funeral arrangements, embalmings, and burials. Licensing ensures that professionals adhere to ethical standards, provide accurate information, and offer dignified services during times of emotional vulnerability. Ultimately, licensing requirements in mortuary science prioritize public welfare, trust, and the
preservation of the deceased’s dignity, making them an indispensable safeguard in the industry.


Janijah Kelly (Canton, MS)
Licensing requirements are important for public protection because they help ensure that professionals have the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications to provide safe and quality services. By obtaining a license, professionals demonstrate their competence and commitment to upholding professional standards. This helps protect the public from potential harm or inadequate services. Licensing also provides a means for accountability and allows regulatory bodies to enforce ethical and legal standards. Overall, licensing requirements play a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being and interests of the public.


Rye Purvis (West Sacramento, CA)
Ensuring that families loved ones are in caring and trustworthy hands is what shapes the professionalism in the funeral services we know today. One part of this includes the requirement of licensure through the National Board Exam in Science and Art. Funeral service licensing requirements are important for public protection because they ensure that students and soon to be professionals in the field are knowledgeable and accountable in both their personal and business pathways in funeral services.
Preparing for the NBE includes being knowledgeable in such topics as counseling, chemistry, funeral law, and business law. These and other topics build and sustain professionalism within funeral services and ensure public protection. The licensure exam in science and art is the much needed and crucial next step that takes this extraordinary array of educational materials and evaluates if students and professionals are ready for this next step in obtaining a license.


Rachel Smith (Wilmington, NC)
When it comes to the funeral industry, licensing requirements play a critical role in ensuring the safety and protection of the public. By obtaining licenses to embalm and perform duties as a funeral director, the licensee is actively demonstrating to the families in their care that they have been appropriately vetted and successfully met the requirements of their state’s funeral service licensing board. Such requirements are in place to ensure that the licensee has demonstrated the skill, ability, and knowledge to perform their services and has pledged to abide by and uphold the laws and regulations that govern the funeral profession. Ultimately, licensure serves in the best interest of both the public and the funeral profession by promoting the regulation of standardized practices, safety protocols, and employment of qualified personnel.


Coralyn Tasker (Colorado Springs, CO)
During life, we seek out the highest quality of care for ourselves and our loved ones. We want competent doctors who listen to and treat our ailments, we follow knowledgeable religious leaders to fulfill our spiritual needs, and we look for the most engaging and uplifting teachers for our children. Just as we carefully select trained individuals to care for us in life, we want those who care for our communities in death to be properly licensed. Students seeking licensure are presented with commonly faced situations, allowing them to know what to expect, and how to face it. By understanding the circumstances they will face, students can ask questions, practice different solutions, and understand their mistakes in a safe environment. When we require funeral professionals to be licensed, we set them and the communities they serve up for success.


Harvey Hamilton Leavitt, III volunteered on The Conference’s National Board Examination Committee for twenty-two years. He was a dedicated funeral director and embalmer from Wadesboro, North Carolina where he owned and operated Leavitt Funeral Home, established in 1914, as a third-generation funeral practitioner. Harvey defined professionalism, was an eternal optimist and his volunteer spirit was catching. He will be remembered for his honesty, integrity and generosity of time and talent. In 2023 the board of directors officially named the National Board Examination Scholarship program in his memory.


The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards is headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Founded in 1904, the membership of The Conference is composed of funeral service licensing boards and regulatory agencies throughout the United States and Canada. For more information on The Conference, visit


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