The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards
Contact: Andrew Joseph,


Spring 2024 Harvey Leavitt, III NBE Scholarships Awarded


FAYETTEVILLE, AR (March 5, 2024) – 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 2024 topic reflects on the role funeral service regulation and licensure play in providing assurances to grieving families that their loved ones will receive proper care.


We are pleased to announce the following selections for the Spring 2024 Harvey Leavitt, III NBE Scholarship and share their responses:


Jessica Benitez – Cypress College

When a funeral service professional has a license, it shows families the licensee took the initiative to ensure he or she is well versed in the various aspects of funeral service showing a dedication to the profession and the importance of providing proper care for families and their loved ones. This includes providing accurate and honest information during the arrangement conference, providing support and a safe space for families emotionally throughout the process, and providing delicate care for loved ones when preparing for their services. With so many funeral homes to choose from, having regulation and licensure sets a standard that funeral homes and professionals must meet in order to be operational which helps in assuring families their loved one is safe no matter where they choose to go. Funeral service regulation and licensure gives families physical evidence that the establishment and professionals are trustworthy and knowledgeable as they navigate a vulnerable time.


Taryn Goddard – University of Minnesota

Regulations and licenses within the funeral service industry provide protection for both funeral personnel and families during the course of caring and providing for decedents and their loved ones. Licensure amongst funeral service personnel is not only a testament to a persons knowledge and ability to perform the tasks required of them, but also provides a sense of comfort to those who seek out the services of those providers. When a family is grieving, they want the help of a professional that will answer their questions and provide them with all the necessary information they require. A license in funeral service tells a family that this person has gone through years of education and training to be able to talk with you and serve you today. Regulations within the funeral industry ensures that the facilities in which funerals and preparations are held are safe and go above and beyond what families require during the death of a loved one. Safety and security is what a license provides


Letitia Grimes — Arapahoe Community College

The funeral director that has and maintains proper licensure shows that they truly care about the profession as a whole. Licensure adds a layer of legitimacy to the entire industry. There is so much time and education behind that piece of paper. It is not as simple as just applying for a license. We must make sacrifices and dedicate ourselves to education, continuing education, and service to others. In return, we are rewarded with licensure. Having regulatory oversight is mutually beneficial to all involved parties. Between the regulatory agency itself, the funeral facilities they oversee, and the communities we serve, we seek to gain the confidence of the client families. This symbiotic relationship is one that will continue into perpetuity. We must embrace working with the regulations we have, and strive to improve the industry regulations for the greater good. The goal is to serve our client families in the best way possible. This is only achievable with licensure and regulation.


John Rebello – Cape Cod Community College

Funeral service regulation and licensure play a crucial role in ensuring grieving families that their loved ones receive proper care. These regulations establish standards for funeral service providers, ensuring they meet specific criteria related to professionalism, ethics, and competency. Licensure serves as a formal recognition of an individual’s qualifications, giving families confidence that the funeral director handling their loved one’s arrangements has the necessary skills and knowledge. These measures collectively provide a framework that prioritizes the well-being of grieving families and upholds the dignity and respect owed to the deceased.


Sydnee Hanson – University of Minnesota

As a future licensee, funeral service regulation and licensure are vital to assure grieving families of proper care. Licensure mandates education, ensuring practitioners are knowledgeable in specific skills regarding funeral service. Ethical standards guide professionals to handle sensitive matters with integrity and sincerity. Consumer protection measures, including transparent pricing, while shielding families from financial surprises or unnecessary purchases. Facility standards create formal environments, and licensure boards address complaints, ensuring the accountability of directors. Legal compliance guarantees adherence to laws governing the industry. Continuing education keeps professionals updated on changes within funeral service. Overall, these regulations instill confidence in families that their loved ones will be treated with competence, respect, and compassion during a challenging time. Grief is not easy but having a reliable licensed funeral director may relieve stress.




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

Looking for an Exam?

We’ve put together a helpful guide to help you find the exam that’s right for you.