The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards
Contact: Allie Sparkman,


Harvey Leavitt, III NBE Scholarships Awarded


CHANDLER, AZ (March, 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 winners of the Spring 2023 Harvey Leavitt, III NBE Scholarship and share their responses.


  • Hannah Parsley (Woodbury, TN)
    Professional standards are the minimum competencies to practice and the minimum efforts that should be put forth to adequately perform the responsibilities of a profession. Their central concerns are ethical conduct in fulfilling obligations to the family, the decedent, the public, and the regulating government entities. From pre-need to at-need arrangements, there are opportunities for unethical behavior on the part of the funeral professional. Understanding what is expected generates a mental benchmark that can assure the public and ensure their protection. Not only do professional standards lay the foundation for what is right and what is wrong, but they also hold funeral professionals accountable for their actions. Standing on common ground and having a sense of accountability imbues feelings of honor and duty to the public. This mixture of expectations and emotions promotes public protection, regardless of a funeral professional’s beliefs, values, personality, faith, and morals.
  • Jesus Regalado (Huntington Beach, CA)
    Professional standards are important to public protection within the funeral profession because we undertake the sanctity of human remains, preparing/transporting them to their final disposition. Serving with respect for all customs/religions, openness to fulfill emotional needs within financial limitations, and dignity to maintain confidentiality for our families. A funeral director maintains integrity and competence to increase confidence in our families with an adherence to public health/safety. Having high standards and a proper education, we can conduct proper business practices while being in compliance with all federal/state laws, rules, and regulations. Professionalism extends to all members to cooperate and fulfill the needs of our families in a competent manner without dishonesty and/or unethical practices. A Code of Ethics is paramount and must be followed to protect those we serve in good faith and by definition of what a funeral director, mortician, and undertaker is.
  • Danielle Slone (Macomb, MI)
    Professional standards are important to public protection because they provide a guideline for funeral directors and funeral service providers to adhere to when servicing families. Professional standards in the funeral service industry outline the quality of care that families are expected to receive. These standards provide families with protection from being treated unethically and immorally. By setting standards surrounding the quality of care for families, we are protecting families from being treated with behaviors that render unprofessional or inappropriate in the funeral setting. Professional standards are also important to ensure public protection in the funeral service industry because they include the universal precautions taken when handling the deceased body. These standards ensure that funeral directors are treating deceased bodies as if they are dangerous in order to ensure proper disinfection and sanitation. This standard protects the public from possible contamination.
  • Adam Stocker (Minneapolis, MN)
    The Funeral Industry is unique in that those who serve it are put in charge of maintaining an aura of empathetic professionalism. A type of professionalism that is a perfect balance of natural and learned. Serving the community and family members after a loss comes with a level of care that is higher than typical in the service industry. The NBE alongside the ABFSE and most state’s individual licensing processes, all work diligently to create a safe environment for both employees and consumers within a funeral home. Everything from improper work safety practices, to understanding the complex emotions that result from loss, the implementation of standardized curriculum, and active apprentice or internship periods helps to better prepare mortuary science students and aspiring Funeral Directors for the real world they will be working in. Professionalism is a show of how we keep our communities safe, and how we serve them properly.
  • Deniesha Wadley (Southaven, MS)
    Professional standards ensure that we are accountable for our decisions, actions and for, maintaining a certain degree of competency during one’s career. The exam reflects on current practice in funeral services and assesses a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform their professional duties according to a national standard. The publics protection is one of our top priorities, considering families are trusting us at a very vulnerable time in their lives. The National Board Exam is designed to guarantee funeral service professionals are knowledgeable enough to represent the profession in an appropriate manner. Standards allow us to make ethical and professional decisions in the industry and with the people we serve.


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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