Wednesday, October 31, 2007

FAMU Hosts "Game Behind the Game" Career Panel

What: Florida A&M University "Game Behind the Game" Career Panel

• The Boost Mobile Stomping On The Yard National Step Show Tour, Vibe Magazine and New Era will host a career symposium entitled the "GameBehind The Game" at Florida A&M University. The "Game Behind The Game" is designed to expose, educate, inspire, entertain and "boost" the lives of college students.

• At the heart of GBG is a panel discussion featuring industry leading experts in entertainment, apparel, music and sports that will share their real-life experiences, offer practical insight and exchange trade secrets on how to get in the game and win.

• Students will receive a rare opportunity to directly interface and network with the distinguished moderator and panelists and learn first hand what it is like to work behind the scenes to make a movie, national event program, advertising campaign, sneaker deal come to fruition.

Who: The moderator will be Elton Gumbel, news anchor for WCTV-TV 6, and the feature panelist will Fonzworth Bentley, entertainer and author of How to Advance Your Swagger.

When: Thursday, November 1, 2007, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Florida A&M University - Perry Paige Auditorium

For more information, contact Nichole Felix of Dyalect Marketing at or (404) 643-4430.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

RW News: New Parade Route for FAMU’s Homecoming

Florida A&M University has a new route for its Homecoming 2007 parade. The parade is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, November 3, at the intersection of Macomb and Georgia Streets. This is also the staging area.

The parade will travel south on Macomb to Tennessee Street; east on Tennessee to Monroe Street; and south on Monroe to Gaines Street. The parade will officially end at the corner of Monroe and Gaines Streets.

Bands, walking units, floats and other vehicles in the parade will continue east on Gaines Street towards the Department of Transportation parking lot to board their buses/vehicles and depart the area.

In the past, the parade traveled along Duval Street.

“Monroe Street will provide a much better viewing area for spectators,” said Captain Jamica L. Langley, co-chair of FAMU’s Homecoming Parade.

For more information, contact Captain Langley at (850) 599-3515 or 599-3516.

Monday, October 29, 2007

FAMU College of Law Unveils Sign for Walt Disney World Legal Clinic

Officials from the Florida A&M University, College of Law and the Walt Disney World Company officially unveiled a sign designating the future home of the WALT DISNEY WORLD Family and Children’s Clinical Program.

The family and children’s clinic will provide a venue for law students to offer pro bono legal assistance to indigent clients with wide-ranging family and juvenile law matters, including, but not limited to child custody, disability and landlord-tenant and other housing problems. While the Family and Children’s Clinical Program is still being developed, it is already operational with the Guardian ad Litem Clinic and the Housing Clinic.

“We are excited about the prospects of an initiative that will touch the lives of countless families and children in the Orlando community,” said Ruth A. Witherspoon, interim dean of FAMU’s College of Law. “We couldn’t be more pleased than to have the Walt Disney Company as our partner for our legal clinic. And now, the sign outside our clinic brilliantly symbolizes that partnership.”

As part of a naming opportunity for the clinic approved in 2004, Disney provided a $250,000 gift to support the WALT DISNEY WORLD Family Law Professorship. The Walt Disney World Family and Children’s Clinical Program will be complete when other family and juvenile law clinics are added and a Disney Professor is named.

Several other clinical programs and externship programs are in operation at the FAMU College of Law, including the Homelessness and Legal Advocacy Clinic, the Death Penalty Clinic, the Community and Economic Development Clinic, as well as the Public Defender, Prosecution and Judicial Externships. The FAMU College of Law Legal Clinic provides law students with hands-on experience in a facility located on the north end of the downtown Orlando law school that is a simulated law office. Law students work under the tutelage of professors and attorneys, serving clients referred by legal and community service agencies.

Photo caption: Ruth A. Witherspoon, interim dean of FAMU’s College of Law; Ann Marie Cavazos, director of Clinical Programs and assistant professor of law; and Eugene Campbell, director of community relations for Walt Disney World Co. stand in front of the future home of the Walt Disney World Family and Children’s Clinical Program. (Photo by Todd Anderson/Walt Disney World Co)

FAMU Journalism Grad Named 2007 "Distinguished Alumnus"

The Florida A&M University, School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) has selected Africa Price as the 2007 recipient of the Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Price is the managing editor at the Tallahassee Democrat and a 1992 graduate of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.

“To say that Africa has distinguished herself in newspaper journalism would be an understatement,” said Jim Hawkins, dean, School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. “Her appointment as the Tallahassee Democrat’s managing editor signals the respect she has earned in newspaper journalism.”

Price will receive her award Thursday, November 1, during the school’s alumni homecoming luncheon. The luncheon, sponsored by the Tallahassee Democrat, will be at 12 noon in the school’s gallery, room 2015.

Before assuming her current position, Price worked as managing editor at the Jackson Sun in Tennessee. While there, the newspaper won several state and national awards, including one of a package that looked into a failing state health system.

She also has worked at The Times in Shreveport, La., as an education reporter, team editor and assistant managing editor.

The Thelma Thurston Gorham award is named in honor of the late Thelma Thurston Gorham. Gorham was the first instructor of journalism at FAMU. She also distinguished herself in being one of the few African-American women to work in newspaper journalism at a time when it was not fashionable for African Americans or women to work as newspaper journalists.

“Price clearly reflects the level of achievement deserving of the Thelma Thurston Gorham award,” Hawkins added. “The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication applauds and congratulates Africa on her accomplishments.”

FAMU’s Marching “100” will be featured on PBS’s Florida Crossroads

Florida A&M University “Marching 100” will be featured on Florida Crossroads which will air on PBS and other public, educational and government channels throughout the state beginning Tuesday, October 30. The 30-minute documentary, The Making of the Band: The FAMU “Marching 100” will also air Thursday, November 1, at 8 p.m. on WFSU Channel 11 which is COMCAST 5. It will air again Sunday, November 4, at 11 a.m.

The documentary will focus on the members of the Marching 100, who will speak candidly about what it takes to be a part of the tradition. For showtimes schedules visit

RW NEWs: FAMU's Office of Public Affairs will Launch Public Affairs Radio Show - “Inside FAMU”

Florida A&M University Office of Public Affairs will launch its new public affairs radio show called “Inside FAMU” on Sunday, November 4, on WANM 90.5 FM at 1 p.m. The show will feature FAMU President James H. Ammons. President Ammons will share his vision for FAMU and talk about his plans and goals. The host of the show is Pamela Tolson, director of Media Relations.

“Inside FAMU” highlights people, events and news at Florida A&M University. Staff and/or faculty members will be featured along with students who are doing great things at FAMU and in the community. It will air every Sunday at 1 p.m. Individuals can tune in by listening to WANM 90.5 FM or online at

Friday, October 26, 2007

RW News: FAMU Student Wins Florida Classic Design Contest

Florida A&M University student, Brittany Barr, has won the program design contest for both, the Walt Disney World Florida Classic Battle of the Bands presented by State Farm and game day.

“All of us here in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) congratulate and applaud Brittany for this recognition,” said Dr. James Hawkins, dean of FAMU’s SJGC. “The award reflects the skill sets we seek to provide our students and it will motivate others to achieve greatness.”

Barr, a 21-year-old Jacksonville native and senior graphic design major in the SJGC, said she heard about the contest while sitting in class.

“I’m excited to have the winning design in both areas of the contest,” said Barr. “The exposure I’ll get from winning is the best prize.”

Barr’s design was chosen from a pool of about ten graphic design students from FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University. In addition to having her work featured on thousands of programs, Barr won two tickets to the football game and exposure on the official website for the game (

Bradford Gillens, the Florida Classic assistant, said Barr’s design embodied what the classic is all about.

“She did an excellent job designing and paid special attention to detail, which is what her design over the top,” he said. “Brittany’s design incorporated all aspects of the classic, from the band, football players and even our sponsor. Although we were choosing from a very competitive field, we really felt that Brittany’s design was the best.”

RW News: FAMU Beats Out FSU in First Campus CANpaign Challenge

Florida A&M University beat out Florida State University (FSU) in the first Campus CANpaign competition, part of the City of Tallahassee’s effort to collect and recycle aluminum cans.

FAMU’s total was 154.6 pounds and FSU’s total was 13. Tallahassee Community College chose not to participate.

“Honestly, I wasn’t at all surprised that FAMU won the competition,” said Michelle Williams, program coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Environmental Science Cooperative Program and who also oversaw FAMU’s collection efforts. “I’ve been at FAMU for 11 years, and I know that when we come together for a common cause, we Rattlers will produce awesome results.”

CANpaign 2007 was Tallahassee’s entry into the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Cash for Cans City Recycling Challenge. In a report released by the City of Tallahassee Solid Waste Services, Tallahasseeans are reported to have dropped off more than 4,300 pounds of aluminum cans on collection day October 13 at The Home Depot located on 3200 Capital Circle NE.

According to Anja DeLoach, Tallahassee recycling and special services coordinator, the CANpaign complements the increased curbside collection of recyclables this past year.

The Campus CANpaign Challenge was coordinated at FAMU by the FAMU Green Coalition, a group of faculty, staff, students and community members dedicated to making FAMU a sustainable community. FAMU student organizations were encouraged to collect cans as a fundraiser for their organizations. Groups received 40 cents per pound for cans collected. The group that collected the most cans received double its money.

FAMU’s top collector was the Environmental Sciences Student Organization (ESSO), which collected 53.4 pounds. Members of ESSO and the FAMU Green Coalition spent several hours collecting, weighing and then tossing cans into large dumpsters on collection day.

For its win, FAMU received a traveling trophy fashioned out of aluminum cans and wood. FAMU President James H. Ammons and architecture Professor Beth Lewis, co-chair of the FAMU Green Coalition, accepted the award at the Second Annual Campus and Community Sustainability Conference.

“I am already excited about next year,” Williams said. “Now that we know exactly what needs to be done, I know that we will be keeping the Campus CANpaign trophy in our possession for years to come.”

Photo: Professor Beth Lewis, co-chair of the FAMU Green Coalition, and FAMU President James H. Ammons hold the Campus CANpaign Challenge trophy.

RW News: FAMU Unviels New Developments In Agricultural Sciences

Florida A&M University’s , College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA) hosted the 2007 CESTA Research Forum and officially announced the new developments initiated in the College’s Division of Research.

Unveiled for the first time was the first muscadine grape variety released from FAMU, an innovation tool used for weevil identification and a pesticide bacteria strain.

“I encourage CESTA to continue and increase their research efforts,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “I applaud the college and their new developments. I know with their hard work and dedication there will be many more to come and they will continue to uncover new developments to benefit society.”

The Honorable Dr. Gale Buchanan, Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics for the United States Department of Agriculture, was the keynote speaker at the forum’s opening session. He spoke of the importance about Land-Grant Institutions in society today.

“I have a deep appreciation and understanding for Land-Grant institutions and their contribution to society,” Buchanan said. “For over 30 years, FAMU has been successful in their different programs of study and they continue to be a critical asset in addressing many of the public’s issues today.”

The newly released muscadine grape, named Majesty, is disease resistant and adaptable to climate in North Florida. The weevil identification software also identifies other harmful species of insect that are foreign to the U.S. The new strain of bacteria is a biological method used to control mosquitoes and is considered safer than pesticides.

“One of the main reason we do research is to increase the economic opportunities for society as a whole,” said Samuel L. Donald, CESTA’s interim dean and director of Land-Grant programs.
In addition to unveiling new developments, students and faculty presented their research on a variety of agricultural topics.

FAMU Homecoming 2007


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

RW News: FAMU Ranked One of the Most Innovative Colleges and Universities

Florida A&M University was featured in BusinessWeek as one of the country’s “Most Innovative Colleges” and universities making its mark in technology development in a study on technology transfer.

Technology transfer involves moving a novel development from one organization or environment into another. Often this movement is from a federal or university laboratory into a commercial operation, capitalizing on the investment in research and development that was initially intended for use by the government or for the advancement of science.

The study, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, examined tech transfer results of a number of smaller colleges and universities whose research and development budgets fell far short of the funds expended by tech development superstars such as MIT and Stanford.

Business research and consulting firm Innovation Associates, with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program, set out to find institutions of higher learning that are punching above their weight in areas of technology transfer. The schools were selected from a list of institutions that fall below the top 50 when ranked by innovation and design budgets, and met several other criteria, such as a high ranking in some area of tech transfer — including patents filed, licenses executed or startups launched.

According to the study, in the last 10 years academic institutions have nearly doubled the number of licenses executed and more than doubled the number of startups launched.

FAMU is known for innovation particularly in pharmaceutical research, physics, agriculture and the environmental sciences. Innovation Associates highlighted FAMU's lead role in the TechLink project to promote technology transfer at the university and eight other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In addition, FAMU promotes startups with an incubator at the nearby Innovation Park, a research center supported by local colleges and governments.

“We are extremely pleased with the progress that Florida A&M University has made in the technology transfer arena over the past seven to ten years. As the Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization reaches the age of maturity, our goal is to continue to make significant contributions to the economy of this state and nation through the development and commercialization of innovative technologies”.

Read the story at:

Monday, October 22, 2007

RW News: Two New Members Join FAMU's School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Board of Visitors

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) announces the addition of two new members to its Board of Visitors.

Joining the board are Kimberly Godwin, senior producer for CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and Terrence Williams, vice president of Human Resources for The New York Times Regional Media Group (NYTRNG).

“We are elated to have these two media professionals on our Board of Visitors,” said Jim Hawkins, dean, School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. “Both bring a wealth of experience and will add significantly to our efforts to advance the mission of the school.”

Godwin was named senior producer at CBS this past April. Her responsibilities include overseeing editorial coverage and story production for all CBS bureaus in the country. She also has served as vice president and news director of KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and before that she served as vice president of News Operations for NBC television stations for Atlanta and New York.

A 1984 graduate of FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, Godwin returned to her alma mater in 2004 to serve as the interim director of the Division of Journalism.

Williams was named vice president for Human Relations, NYTRNG, in December, 2006. His responsibilities include leading human resource initiatives, involving selection, performance management, succession planning and organizational design and development for the company’s 14 daily newspapers. He also has served as director of development for the company’s production department and director, business development of their New York Times Professional Exchange.

Before joining The Times, Williams worked for the Sentara health system. He has a B.S. degree from Johnson and Wales University and a M.S.M. in human resources from Troy State University.

“I look forward to working with these two members and indeed our full board,” Hawkins added. “Having input from these industry leaders in discussions about the school’s strategic planning is highly valued and appreciated.”

RW News: FAMU Professor has new Evidence that Garlic is the Anti-Cancer Weapon

Ronald D. Thomas, associate professor in the Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, (COOPS) has new evidence that garlic could play a significant role in the prevention of cancer and many cancer prevention research scientists agree that one of the keys to unlocking the door of cancer prevention is eating more vegetables.

For many years, scientists have been accumulating evidence that what we eat and how it is prepared has a lot to do with preventing or causing cancer, especially garlic. Thomas, an environmental toxicologist, suggested that studies have shown that a chemical that helps give garlic its flavor can keep PhIP from triggering DNA damage or the formation of carcinogens in the body. Thomas further suggests that the garlic flavor component, called DAS, triggers a gene alteration in PhIP that might play a significant role in preventing breast and other types of cancer.

“People should include garlic with their daily meals or take a garlic supplement if they can’t take it in their meals,” said Thomas. “Additionally, eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables.”

“The research that our faculty are involved in seek to find cures for the many disease facing society and improve the quality of life for patients everywhere,” said Henry Lewis III, dean and professor of FAMU’s COPPS.

RW News: FAMU is Major Contributor to Nation’s Physics Workforce

On average, approximately 15 PhDs in physics are awarded to African Americans in the United States each year, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Florida A&M University awarded five Ph.D. degrees in physics to African Americans during the 2006-2007 academic year—a significant portion of the total national output.

“There are so few African-American physicists produced,” said Roman Czujko, director of the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics (AIP). “The numbers have bounced between 12 to 22 over the last five years. The recent graduates of FAMU’s doctoral physics program are a very big percentage.”

- Jeremy Jackson earned his Ph.D. in physics from FAMU in August 2006. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee;

- Stephen Roberson and Eddie Red earned Ph.D. degrees in physics from FAMU in December 2006. Roberson is a National Research Council Fellow at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md. Red accepted an E. O. Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California;

- Cleon Barnett and Eli Leon earned Ph.D. degrees in physics from FAMU in May 2007. Barnett is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in forensic science at Florida International University. Leon is an Adjunct Physics Instructor at FAMU.

FAMU’s Ph.D. program in physics is the only one of its kind in the southeast, according to Professor Charles Weatherford. In addition to a standard physics curriculum, the university has two new research centers with academic programs in astrophysics, astrochemistry, and plasma science and technology.

“Physics is the fundamental science—the basis for all of the natural sciences,” said Weatherford. “Our country needs this workforce to study new ways to generate energy, to work in the national defense effort, and in general to staff the national scientific enterprise. We have to produce physicists who can do this important work.”

FAMU was recently awarded a $5 million grant from the NSF to establish the Center for Astrophysical Science and Technology (CAST). A major objective of the grant is to increase the number of African-American PhDs in astrophysics and astrochemistry.

FAMU aims to produce 15 African-American PhDs in these areas over the five-year grant period.

According to the AIP Statistical Research Center, FAMU has averaged five physics bachelors per year for 2002, 2003 and 2004. Research programs at FAMU, such as CAST and CePaST (Center for Plasma Science and Technology), are establishing a strong pipeline for baccalaureate-degree holders to pursue graduate-level degrees in physics, including the Ph.D. “We are a newly-minted PhD program that is committed to educating and graduating our students,” Weatherford added. “We are constantly working to diversify our physics program by also trying to recruit more female students.”

Physics is concerned with how the universe works from the smallest sub-nucleon matter to the entire universe—it is concerned with the pre-origin of the universe (what pre-dated it) and its ultimate destiny including everything that is matter and energy, dark or non-dark. Basic research in physics has led to the development of transistors, cell phones, computers, television, lasers, magnetic resonance imagers, electron microscopes, x-ray machines, superconductors, all varieties of medical imagers including the new proton therapy accelerators. Physics, as the foundation of biology and chemistry, is pointing the way for the medical science revolution that is presently occurring, and will continue for the indefinite future.

Friday, October 19, 2007

RW News: Monument Honoring Dr. Leonard W. Johnson to be Unveiled During Homecoming

A special campus monument honoring the late Leonard W. Johnson, the founder and director of Spruce Medical Center in Philadelphia, who served as President of the Florida A&M University (FAMU) National Alumni Association from 1970 -1980, will be unveiled as part of FAMU’s 2007 Homecoming celebration.

The unveiling is scheduled for Friday, November 2, at 9 a.m., on the east lawn of Jones Hall (science building) on FAMU’s campus. Johnson spent much of his college life in Jones Hall studying as a biology and chemistry major.

Johnson, a renowned and beloved physician, healthcare educator, mentor and humanitarian, was one of FAMU’s most distinguished graduates and most loyal supporters. During the 1970s, in the midst of desegregation in America, FAMU was threatened with merger with neighboring Florida State University (FSU). Benjamin L. Perry, Jr., FAMU’s sixth president, spearheaded a successful and highly strategic campaign to keep FAMU operating as a separate education entity. As the newly elected president of FAMU’s National Alumni Association, Johnson was one of Perry’s most prized generals and is credited for rallying and organizing FAMU alumni, economic supporters and political allies nationwide.

“In an era when white folks expected blacks to be deferential, Johnson never held back in expressing his contempt for the people and policies that relegated FAMU to the back of the higher education bus for so long,” proclaimed Eddie Jackson, FAMU’s former vice president of University Relations.

Johnson not only played a pivotal role in the first fight to save FAMU, he continued to financially support, recruit students, and contribute to the University in a variety of ways. He helped establish the Philadelphia Chapter and FAMU’s Northeast Alumni Association chapters, which are today some of the University’s largest and strongest alumni chapters.

The unveiling ceremony will include tributes from President Ammons, FAMU’s National Alumni Association, the Philadelphia NAA and Kappa Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc. A special salute will be presented by FAMU’s Music Department and a mini exhibition by the Meek-Eaton Black Archives will also be on display.

President James H. Ammons and the FAMU National Alumni Association invite all FAMUans and the entire community to come and pay tribute to this great Rattler. For more information, contact Carmen Cummings-Martin at (850) 599-3707.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

RW News: FAMU Student Courtney Simms is the Newest Face for Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Florida A&M University student Courtney Simms has been doing a lot more than hitting the books this semester. She is the new spokesperson of Fashion Fair Cosmetics. According to representatives from Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Simms has the beauty, youthfulness and passion they were looking for.

“She was the right person to represent our brand,” said representatives from Fashion Fair Cosmetics. “We’re proud to have her as one of the newest members of the Fashion Fair family.”

A Gary, Indiana native, Simms is a journalism student, a member of the Presidential Ambassadors and Images Modeling Troupe at FAMU.

As a spokesperson and model, Simms is currently participating in the Total Makeover Madness College Tour, which will culminate at FAMU during Homecoming week on October 31. The tour, in its second year, is tailored to create a lively atmosphere for college students to enhance their beauty, receive tips on fitness and hair care and to receive job and scholarship information. As part of the tour, Fashion Fair will offer 15-minute complimentary beauty makeovers, consultations on skin and hair care and fitness demonstrations. Sponsored by Macy’s, FAMU’s own Images Modeling Troupe will show off the season’s latest fashions in a student fashion show.

Simms said she is enjoying getting accustomed to her new life.

“I love it, especially the opportunity to travel for the company. I am managing quite well, actually,” she said. “I still attend school like a normal student and hang out with friends; I don’t feel overwhelmed at all. Fashion Fair is allowing me to balance school and work.”

Simms will also be instrumental in helping the company reach the younger consumer and she is involved with Fashion Fair Cosmetics’ print campaign, “Inspire Your World.” The campaign can be seen in the latest issues of EBONY and JET magazines and on

Simms said this experience is more than she dreamed it would be.

“I felt a euphoric rush [when I found out],” said Simms. “Never in my life did I think I would be a spokes model for a major cosmetic line. My dream was to become a model, but I am living way past my dream.”

RW News: Spreading Love at FAMU!

Florida A&M University will host diabetes motivational speaker Mother Love on Thursday, October 25, at 2 p.m. at the FAMU School of Pharmacy, Blue Cross Blue Shield Auditorium. She will give a motivational talk on her experiences with diabetes and its effects on her life.

Sponsored by Novo Nordisk, this event is free and open to the public.

Mother Love is a published author, veteran of television sitcoms, radio talk and music shows, film actress, advice columnist, motivational speaker and humorist. Having lost more than 100 pounds, Mother Love has improved her diabetes management through hard choices and healthy lifestyle changes. Since her diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes in 1990, Mother Love has been on a personal crusade to share information about diabetes management.

Monday, October 15, 2007

RW News: FAMU Grad and Film Producer Will Packer, Speaker for FAMU’s Homecoming Convocation

Florida A&M University graduate and film producer Will Packer will be the keynote speaker for FAMU’s homecoming convocation scheduled for Friday, November 2, at 10:10 a.m. in Gaither Gymnasium.

Honored by The Daily Variety magazine as one of their “10 Producers To Watch” in September 2007, Packer is co-founder and chairman of Rainforest Films. He is responsible for producing and overseeing the company’s studio financed and self-financed films and distribution projects. He co-founded Rainforest Films with partner Rob Hardy in the summer of 1994 while both were engineering students at FAMU. After graduating magna cum laude from FAMU with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1996, Packer decided to forego job offers in the field of engineering to capitalize on his entrepreneurial instincts and his passion for filmmaking.

One of their most successful projects, Stomp The Yard (Sony/Screen Gems), held the #1 position at the box office for two weekends in January of 2007. Stomp The Yard chronicles warring fraternities at a historically black college. Stomp The Yard stars R&B sensations Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, as well as rising stars Megan Goode, Columbus Short, and Brian White. And may I add, Stomp the Yard just won BET hip-hop movie of the year.

In 2008, Packer is slated to produce several projects, including Bone Deep, a movie about a Los Angeles. detective gunning against a hip band of thieves as they prepare a $20 million heist and the urban remake of the classic film The Big Chill.

RW News: FAMU Professor to Join Commission for Association of Teacher Educators

Marian W. Smith, a professor in Florida A&M University’s College of Education, has been invited to be a member of the Commission on the Development and Preparation for Teaching the Whole Child of the Association of Teacher Educators, (ATE).

“I am excited about having Dr. Smith as a member of this commission,” said Paul Paese, president elect of the ATE.

Founded in 1920, ATE is an individual membership organization and with a primary mission devoted to the improvement of teacher education, both for school-based and post secondary teacher educators.

“I am ecstatic of the possibility of serving on such a commission,” Smith said. “It is an honor to have been invited and the idea that others think that the contributions you have make in education are worthy for consideration makes all the years I have given to education worth while.”

Smith is a member of the Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE) a chapter of FTA. As a member she made presentations such as “It takes a village to teach a child,” and "Benjamin Banneker: The Man, the Mathematician, The Scientist" both in Florida and nationally.

Smith has been a FAMU faculty member since 1991. She has previously served as chair of the Department of Elementary Education and as the assistant dean of administrative services in the College of Education.

Congrats Dr. Smith!

RW News: FAMU Hosts Student Art Competition and Art Auction

The Foster Tanner Fine Arts Gallery at Florida A&M University (FAMU) will host the First Annual Student Art Competition and Art Auction from October 22 to November 2, 2007. The competition is open to all FAMU students and a minimum of $250 will be awarded. Students can enter up to five artworks for a $5.00 entry fee. Professor Joe Roache, a 1974 FAMU graduate of fine art, will be the juror for the competition.

The art auction will feature alumni, faculty and contemporary South African artwork to raise funds to support student art scholarships. It will be a silent art auction in which potential buyers will have approximately two weeks to bid on their favorite work of art.

A reception is scheduled for Thursday, November 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and at that time the art auction will close. The winner(s) of the student art competition will be announced.

For more information, contact Professor Harris Wiltsher, director of the FAMU Foster Tanner Fine Arts Gallery, at (850) 599-3161.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Florida A&M University will take Bethune-Cookman University at the 28th Annual Walt Disney World® Florida Classic presented by State Farm Saturday, November 17, at 3:30 p.m. in Orlando, Florida.

Keeping with tradition, the game will be the final regular-season contest for both FAMU and B-CU, (and hopefully we'll beat them!).

Events include a symposium, sponsored by FAMU, Bethune-Cookman University and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regarding the impact of society on black athletes; a fanfare, a family friendly free interactive area featuring vendors, climb rock walls, etc; battle of the bands; a step show; a comedy jam; and much more.

A complete listed of the events are as follows:

Wednesday, November 14 through Friday, November 16
Scholastic Symposium
At the International Plaza Resort and Spa
$150 for professionals, $50 for students

Thursday, November 15
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Corporate Scholarship Luncheon
11:30 a.m. reception, 12 noon luncheon
At the The Ballroom at Church Street
$150 per person

Friday, November 16
Coaches Luncheon (Luncheon for coaches and players)
12 noon, at Tinker Field
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

AARP presents an Evening of Stars
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Rosen Centre
$100 per person and $1250 reserved table (10)
Featuring . . .Midnight Star

State Farm Battle of the Bands
7 p.m. at the Amway Arena
$26 for premium seating and $15 for general admission

The Classic Step Show and Comedy Jam
At the Orange County Convention Center

Saturday, November 17
Hospitality Village
Pre-game, at the Tinker Field

AT&T Fanfare
Pre-game, Lot C

The 11th Annual Grown Folks Classic After Party
At the House of Blues
$45 for general admission

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the FAMU ticket office or at Ticket prices for the classic are $50 for sideline, $40 for general admission and $25 for students with ID. Groups of 20 or more can purchase tickets through the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.

For more information, contact FAMU’s Athletics at (850) 599-3200.

RW News: USDA Undersecretary Buchanan to speak at FAMU Research Forum

On Thursday, October 25, 2007, the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA) at Florida A&M University (FAMU) will sponsor the 2007 CESTA Research Forum on FAMU’s campus in the Perry Paige Auditorium, located at 1740 Martin Luther King Boulevard from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Honorable Dr. Gale Buchanan, Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics, for the United States Department of Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker at the forum’s opening session at 8:45 a.m.

The Honorable Charles Bronson, Commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and FAMU President James H. Ammons will also be on the program. Several USDA agency representatives, state partners and industry collaborators will also be present.

“CESTA’s research projects are interdisciplinary initiatives that address some of the serious challenges facing Florida and the nation as related to issues such as small farm productivity, water and air quality, expansion of viticulture production, biosecurity, management of invasive species and disease vectors,” said Moses Kairo, forum planning chairperson and director of the FAMU Center for Biological Control.

FAMU is the state’s 1890 land-grant institution, and CESTA is the college that has served historically as the land-grant component of the university with programs emphasizing the integration of academics, research and outreach in agriculture and natural resources. Programs in the college include 13 degree programs and options in agricultural sciences, engineering technology and naval science.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

RW News: FAMU President Back On Campus!

Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons was back on campus last week after being sick for nearly a week and a half after suffering from a viral-like illness.

According to his physician, Dr. Joseph Webster, he is pleased to report that “Dr. Ammons is doing well and is in excellent condition.” Ammons said that he began to feel a little sick after a trip to Tampa at the end of September and believes that it was something he ate.

He was out sick beginning September 25, 2007, and returned to the campus on October 3, 2007, for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Monitoring Report visit, working under an abbreviated schedule. Even during his illness, he was working from home.

“I’m feeling much better now,” said Ammons today. “I am feeling fine and I’m back at work. I feel 100%.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

RW News: FAMU Professor Valerie White will receive the Distinguished Adviser Award

Valerie White, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University will receive the Distinguished Adviser Award and conduct two workshops during the College Media Advisers Annual Convention from October 24 to October 28 in Washington, D.C.

“We congratulate Professor White on this prestigious award,” said James Hawkins, dean of FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.

“Under her leadership, The Famuan went to a three-times-a-week publication cycle in the fall of 2002, instituted a Survival Guide and students have won numerous awards including Hearst medallions,” said Dorothy Bland, director of the Division of Journalism. “Professor White is an outstanding and energetic teacher, who was named FAMU Teacher of the Year in 2006,” said Bland.

In 2004, The Famuan was named the “Best Newspaper” by the Black College Communication Association. In February 2007, White orchestrated and hosted the nation’s Ninth Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ National Newspaper Conference in Tallahassee.

White serves as chair for the Black College Communication Association. Recently, she received the Barry Bingham Award during the National Conference of Editorial Writers Conference in Kansas City, MO.

Hawkins, by the way, was the FIRST recipient of the Barry Bingham Award in 1990!

Monday, October 8, 2007

RW News: FAMU Law Student Bar Association Encourages Jones High Students!

Orlando, FL. – The Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law Student Bar Association (SBA) partnered with Jones High School to establish a scholarship center on their school’s campus with the intent of preparing and encouraging students to enter the college and postsecondary education arena.

Third-year law student LaDray Gilbert, who serves as the professional development chair for the SBA Career Services, views the center as an obvious involvement for FAMU law students.

“Given both the individual and collective histories of FAMU and Jones High, we felt we owed a duty to go to the high school and help the students strive toward higher education,” Gilbert said.

The center’s focus of diverting Jones students from entering the workforce and into undergraduate and vocational studies encompasses personal mentoring, registration for ACT and SAT exams, and exposure and correspondence with institutions of higher learning.

As part of this partnership, the scholarship center recognizes a student each month for their commitment and effort to utilize the center’s services in their pursuit towards a college education.

The FAMU College of Law Scholarship Center recognized Jones High senior Brittney King as the first ever Student of the Month during the halftime of a Jones High football game and recognized senior Gilbert Laracuente during Jones’ homecoming football game at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

“If we convince just one student to go to college that may have been otherwise leaning toward not attending, then we would have more than accomplished our goals,” said Gilbert.

PHOTO CAPTION: Third-year law student LaDray Gilbert (far left) presents Jones High Senior Brittany King with the FAMU College of Law Student Bar Association Scholarship Center Student of the Month Award as Jones High Principal Dr. Bridget Williams (third from left) receives a plaque from third-year law student Willie Huntley.

Friday, October 5, 2007

SACS Committee Complete Visit of FAMU

In the exit conference meeting, members of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Monitoring Committee presented its recommendations. The committee commended the university for the remarkable progress that has been made since the university was placed on probation by SACS.

The committee developed draft recommendations related to fiscal management. Dr. Joseph Silver, the SACS liaison, said the committee chair will submit the draft report to FAMU President James H. Ammons to review for accuracy. The final report will then be sent to the Compliance and Review Committee that will recommend action to the Commission on Colleges of SACS. A decision about the university’s probationary status will be made at SACS’ December meeting in New Orleans.

“In the three months since receipt of the notification, FAMU has made remarkable progress,” said Dr. Robert Gratz, chair of the on-site monitoring committee. “There has been taken a broad range of corrective action. The university has assembled a strong management team and there is also a strong campuswide commitment to addressing the concerns. Now the new system only needs time to show its effectiveness.”

The SACS committee reported that based on their review, the issues of board oversight and competent administrators are “moot.” The recommendations centered around finance and receipt of an audit and management letters.

“I am pleased with the effort of the campus leadership, faculty, staff and students who participated in the interview process,” said President James H. Ammons at the exit conference. “The accolades we received are not normal coming from a visiting team. The team, however, saw the intense amount of work and effort we put into making sure that we complied with SACS’s core requirements and comprehensive standards.”

RW Soul: An Ode to Those Who Bleed Orange and Green

The spirit of a Rattler is complex at best, yet still evident. While those other college co-eds across the tracks paint their bodies and fill Doak Campbell with garnet and gold, we Rattlers strut into Bragg Stadium as if it were New York City fashion week, wearing strategically placed orange and green.

Those unfamiliar with how we do things on the highest of seven hills may think of our practices as a lack of spirit, when really it’s the opposite. Our spirit isn’t measured by how long we sit through a football game or how many students attend convocation, our spirit is in the pride that we have for our school. It is what keeps our alumni coming back and prospective students wanting to one day be considered a Rattler.

We love our school, through the good and the bad. We stood by our school during presidential changes, financial woes, and negative media coverage. Through it all, FAMU has emerged with flying colors, orange and green of course.

This school year is a fresh start. With a new president and financial aid getting things done in a timely fashion, what more of a reason do you need to show your Rattler spirit? With that being said, enjoy your sausage, rock your stilettos and “do whatcha wanna.” True Rattlers—we know you bleed orange and green.

By RattlerWIRE contributing student, Anitra Ellison

RW News: Get your FAMU Tags Here!

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is pleased to inform you of an exciting new opportunity for Florida A&M University students, staff, faculty, administrators and friends.

The department offers specialty license plate gifts certificates. This new program allows anyone to purchase a specialty license plate as a gift for a motor vehicle registrant.

What does this mean? Individuals can purchase a FAMU license plate for anyone! (Well actually any Florida motorist, but it’s still cool!)

This new gift certificate program works much like any gift certificate. Upon payment of the annual use fee, a gift certificate may be purchased at an authorized motor vehicle office for any of the 104 specialty license plates currently available in Florida. At the time of purchase, a receipt will be provided and a credit will be issued in the name of the gift recipient, which can then be redeemed by the recipient at the time the specialty license plate is purchased. You do not have to purchase and redeem the certificate at the same office.

Proceeds from the FAMU tag go to the FAMU Foundation, Inc. The foundation was established with the specific mandate to serve as a custodian of contributions from the private sector, alumni, friends, and industry. The Foundation receives, invests and administers funds. In addition, the Foundation acts as a trustee and exercises in general the powers of a not-for-profit organization under the laws of Florida.

By RattlerWIRE contributing student, Matthew Richardson

Thursday, October 4, 2007

RW News: FAMU Athletics' Response To The 2007 NCAA Graduation Rate Report

Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs

Florida A&M University Intercollegiate Athletics has made great strides in the past several years in addressing all aspects of the academic performance of its student-athletes in the past decade.

A concerted effort on the part of the FAMU administration, coaches, staff and student-athletes, in partnership with the university's various academic departments, has been largely responsible for the positive turnaround over the past several years.

Wednesday's release by the NCAA, which covered graduation rates from the period 1997-2001, may have been disheartening to some, however fans, alumni and the general public should be aware of the true academic state of the union in Florida A&M Athletics in 2007:

Improved Academic Performance
- In the past three years (2004-2005 to 2006-2007), 130 FAMU student-athletes have been named to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Commissioner's All-Academic Team (for persons with 3.0 grade point averages or higher) - 66 women and 64 men.

- In the 2006-2007 school year, 26 FAMU student-athletes received their undergraduate degrees, including five football players - all of whom finished within five years.

- The Academic Progress Rate (APR), a method instituted by the NCAA four years ago, evaluates the performance of student-athletes at each member school in the classroom, taking into account retention and progress toward a degree.

- During the 2005-2006 school year, 17 of 18 sports met or exceeded the baseline 925 rating.

- In 2006-2007, 10 of the 18 sports at Florida A&M achieved a perfect 1000 rating in the report released by the NCAA in February of this year.

Athletic Academic Support Center
In the 1997-1998 school year, Athletics employed just one (1) person responsible for academic advisement.

- Since 2003-2004, the University has partnered with Athletics to create an Academic Support Center dedicated specifically to all student-athletes.

This Support Center is supervised by an Associate Athletic Director for Academic Advisement Services, who in turn directs a staff of four full-time academic advisors responsible for the monitoring and counseling of all student-athletes.

Additionally, this Support Center provides tutoring services; a computer lab where student-athletes can do on-line research and complete class assignments; and sponsors a Life Skills program, which helps student-athletes prepare for life after sports.

Florida A&M University Athletics has been in operation since 1899 and its 13 national championships and 164 conference crowns are just the most visible part of a golden legacy which has as its foundation an emphasis on the academic excellence of its student-athletes as well.

Mr. Hollins works in the FAMU Department of Athletics. He has provided information on athletics at FAMU for more than 28 years.

RW News: Associate Dean of FAMU’s School of Nursing, Named Certified Nurse Educator

Jaibun K. Earp, associate dean of FAMU’s School of Nursing undergraduate program, has earned the designation Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) after successfully completing a rigorous certification examination developed and administered by the New York City-based National League for Nursing (NLN).

“Certification in any field is a mark of distinguish and professionalism,” Earp said. “This certification means that FAMU’s School of Nursing houses a senior level faculty that can serve as a role model for both students and faculty.”

As of September 2007, a total of 762 nurse educators have earned the CNE credential with an overall pass rate of 84 percent. Of those 762, Earp is of the 27 in the state of Florida.

FAMU's School of Nursing is still on top!

Alumni Strike: Andrew Gillum

Florida A&M University alum and City of Tallahassee Commissioner Andrew Gillum was named “Emerging Leader of the Year” by IMPACT, a national organization based on recognizing and training emerging leaders ages 21 through 40.

Gillum is currently the national director of the Young Elected Officials Network with People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF). In May 2006, the program evolved into a national network linking young elected officials in the nation and helping identify solutions to challenges facing their communities.

“I am overjoyed and humbled by the amazing support that I received from close friends, supporters, and ‘new friends’ near and far,” Gillum said. “It was a magical process to observe and be a part of. Although deeply honored and humbled by this recognition, I am most inspired by the fact that I can share this experience with family, friends and colleagues.”

Gillum was honored at a reception in Washington D.C. that he co-hosted with U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate, Barak Obama.

Each month IMPACT highlights a new Emerging Leader. They solicit nominations from their readers and the directors make the determination as to who they honor each month. The Emerging Leader of the Year is voted on by the community at large.

Congrats Mr. Gillum!

RW News: Nikki Giovanni is Coming to The Hill!

“I will be attending fall commencement,” said Florida A&M University staff member Brandi Milton. “I am so excited because Nikki Giovanni will be gracing FAMU with her presence,” she said. A poet, author, educator and activist, Giovanni is expected speak to FAMU’s 2007 fall graduating class. The commencement ceremony will take place on Friday, Dec. 14, 2007 at 6 p.m. in the Leon County Civic Center.

“I am excited to see what she has to say,” said Helen-Alexis Thomas, senior public relations student from Hampton, VA. Thomas usually does not like attending graduation due to its lengthy time. However, with Giovanni as the speaker she is excited not only to be attending but to be graduating as well. “I believe that Nikki Giovanni and I have the same belief, that change is necessary for growth,” Thomas said based on the things she has learned about Giovanni in the past.

Giovanni received her degree from Fisk University. Currently Giovanni is Virginia Tech’s University Distinguished Professor.

Giovanni is world-renowned for her many contributions to the American literature society. She is a Grammy-Nominated poet and author. Beyond her nomination, Giovanni has received numerous of honors and awards throughout her lifetime.

Faculty, staff and students look forward to hearing from Giovanni.

“I am elated that FAMU can bring someone of this caliber to speak at commencement especially at a December graduation,” Thomas said.

By RattlerWIRE contributing student, Ashley Felder

RW News: Homecoming 2007, Bringing Back the Old with the New

Florida A&M University plans to bring back the “Old Rattler Pride,” this year for homecoming. With the theme “The Rattler Renaissance: A Rebirth of Rattler Pride & Spirit,” Saundra Inge, chair of homecoming committee wants FAMU faculty, staff, students and alumni to go back to the old traditions of FAMU.

“Homecoming is a remembrance celebration,” Inge said. “It is a remembrance for those that have graduated. It is about holding strong to the beliefs that helped establish FAMU.”

Office of Student Union Activities Coordinator Ralph Coleman explains how FAMU’s homecomings use to be years ago.

“I’ve known FAMU Homecomings since I was a child,” Coleman said. “It used to be a barn fire on Fridays with fireworks that started the Rattler Strike at the stadium.”

According to Inge, this year’s homecoming events will cater to everyone.

“Homecoming consists of the same events that have proved to be a tradition for FAMU,” Inge said. “Recent homecomings at FAMU are not exactly the same from the past. A lot of little things have been added.”

Events include the fashion, comedy, dorm step and Greek step, gospel showcase, parade and the Battle of the Bands.

While homecoming is usually for alumni, students are looking forward to the festivities as well. “I am excited about attending the fashion show,” said Aundrea James, a 19-year-old sophomore nursing student. “I expect lots of school spirit and alumni participation during homecoming.”

Homecoming events will begin Sunday, October 8, 2007 through Sunday, November 4, 2007. The events are as follows.

Sunday, October 28
• 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Homecoming Worship Service, Perry Paige Auditorium
• 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Homecoming Fashion Show, Gaither Gym

Monday, October 29
• 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Sprit Run/Walk, “The Set”
• 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Spirit Day, “The Set”
• 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Essence College Tour, FAMU Track
• 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Kick Off Bash, FAMU Track

Tuesday, October 30
• 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Homecoming Health Fair, FAMU Track
• Noon – 2 p.m. Royal Luncheon, Grand Ballroom (Invitation Only)
• 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Dorm Step Show, Gaither Gym

Wednesday, October 31 Orange Day
• 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fashion Fair Total Makeover Madness, Grand Ballroom or “The Set”
• Noon – 4 p.m. SGA Barbeque, FAMU Park
• Noon – 4 p.m. BET College Tour, FAMU Park
• 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Comedy/Talent Showcase, Gaither Gym

Thursday, November 1 Green Day
• 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Industry Cluster Meeting (Invitation only)
• 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. SGI 25th Year Alumni Forum and Luncheon, Lee Hall/447 North Wing SBI
• 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Judging of the Buildings Decorations
• 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Coronation, Lee Hall
• 9 p.m. – Midnight Coronation Ball, Grand Ballroom

Friday, November 2 Orange and Green Day
• 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. Industry Cluster Meeting (Invitation only)
• 10:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. Convocation with Will Packer, Gaither Gym
• Noon – 2 p.m. Young Alumni Giving Luncheon, Doubletree Hotel Downtown
• 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. VIBE Block Party, FAMU Park
• 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Alumni Reception and Gala, Civic Center
• 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. National Pan-Hellenic Step Show, Civic Center

Saturday, November 3
• 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Parade/Judging of Floats
• Noon – 3 p.m. Pre-Game Reception, Employee Club House
• 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Football Game, FAMU vs. North Carolina A & T, Bragg Stadium
• 6 p.m. – Until Post-Game Barbecue, Employee Clubhouse
• 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. SGA Concert, Civic Center
• 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Gospel Concert, Lee Hall
• 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Old School Jam, Gaither Gym

Sunday, November 4
• 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Rattler Fever Campus Clean Up, Bragg Stadium/”The Set”
• 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Rattler Fever Campus Clean Up, Rattlers Den

For more information call (850) 599-3400 or visit

By RattlerWIRE contributing student, Ashley Felder