Friday, February 29, 2008

FAMU Vice President of Student Government Association will Premiere his First Short Film

On March 4, at 7 p.m., James Bland, vice president of Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Student Government Association, will premiere his first short film “Dreaming in Color” at FAMU’s Lee Hall Auditorium. Bland, a fourth-year business administration student from Titusville, Fla., began production of the film in early January of this year. The movie, based on the true story of Bland’s cousin Devon Hayes, has a storyline that the students on FAMU’s campus and abroad can relate.

“This story touches on issues that affect many young African Americans today,” said Bland. “I want it to serve as an inspiration for others to follow your dreams no matter what.”

The film is also serving as a debut for young actors in the FAMU community. Whitney Mignon Reed, a fourth-year broadcast journalism student from Sarasota, Fla., stars as the young Grace Hughes an inspiring singer.

“Grace reminds me of myself,” said Reed. “She wants to see all her friends’ dreams come true and she supports them in their efforts.”

The film also stars Bryan Brown, a fourth-year broadcast journalism student from Apopka, Fla., as Sean Miller the aspiring basketball player. Brown said that this film is coming at a good time for the FAMU community.

“It is showing a different side of FAMU,” said Brown. “I am proud to play the role because I can relate to Sean. He just wants to make a difference like many students here at FAMU.”

Recent issues such as budget cuts, threats of canceled summer school, and leering financial issues from semesters past are plaguing the student community. Student morale has steadily grown on the campus since President James H. Ammons returned to FAMU, but students are looking for this movie to be a new driving force.

“I am excited to see the movie,” said Anquan Brown, a fourth-year doctorate of pharmacy candidate from Miami. “We hear so many negative things about our school in the media that it’s easy to forget about the positive things students are accomplishing.”

In the past decade, FAMU alumni such as Will Packer and Rob Hardy have made a major impact on the film industry. Bland is hoping FAMU will be his starting ground like the great directors and producer before him

FAMU Hosts Spring Break Safety Awareness Day

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will sponsor its annual Spring Break Safety and Awareness Day on Wednesday, March 5. The awareness day will provide important safety information to students before leaving for spring break vacation.

At 10 a.m., on The Set in front of the H. Manning-Efferson Student Union Complex, several activities are planned throughout the day. Activities include table displays and demonstrations from the FAMU Police Department; Florida Highway Patrol; Tallahassee Fire Department; FAMU Student Health Center; and FAMU Research on Young Populations Safely Ride or Die Campaign. There will also be the staging of a mock wreck on the corner of Wahnish Way and Gamble Street. In addition, a New Orleans-style mock funeral will start at 11 a.m. at the Sybil C. Mobley School of Business and Industry, which will be led by a motorcycle blockade. It will proceed to The Set for the eulogy of the fallen Rattler with a repast for the students.

“The message to our students is to be safe, enjoy spring break and return safe and sound,” said Henry L. Kirby, associate vice president and dean of student affairs. “Our goal is to reach as many students as possible to educate them on the adverse results of carelessness during spring break.”

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Phenomenal was one word used to describe the work by Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James H. Ammons and his leadership team.

Task Force member, Dr. Ed Penson of Penson and Associates, Inc., said the work was phenomenal. Penson is a resident of Tallahassee and a higher education consultant with more than 400 higher education clients, and former university president.

“This work at FAMU is phenomenal in the amount of time and the amount of work,” said Penson. “Usually, it takes six months for a team to come together. The leadership of the President and the followship of this team is amazing. Last year when this started, it was close to a catastrophe; this has been a tremendous turn around.”

The Task Force Committee met on Wednesday, February 27 from 2-4:30 p.m. via telephone conference call. Seven of the nine members were present on the call. Chancellor Mark Rosenberg and Derry Harper, inspector general and director of compliance for Board of Governors, participated also.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the Task Force Report and to receive the changes that the consulting firm hired by the Board of Governors, Accretive Solutions, made to their report based on the Task Force meeting that occurred on Friday, February 22, 2008, in Tallahassee and lasted for nearly six hours.

Task Force Chair Lynn Pappas outlined the work for the conference call. She asked for the substantive issues regarding the conclusion of the consultant’s report. She said she wanted to produce a document that meets the mandate of the Legislature, and to review and discuss the executive summary of the Task Force Report.

Harper noted that the consultants had completed a major phase of the Task Force Action Plan and those responses from FAMU and the consultants have changed; but, that the conclusion of the consultant’s report had not changed.

Harper read the first sentence of the conclusion in the consultant’s report, “A large majority (92%) of the corrective Action Plan line items that have been subject to our procedures and successfully rated are adequately designed to correct the material findings documented by the Auditor General and the plans are operating satisfactorily... Controls are in place and adequately documented. The effectiveness of the Action Plan is being adequately evaluated on a periodic basis and University personnel are aware of their responsibilities for control.”

The consultants:

• Changed the satisfactory category from 73% to 92%, excluded the number of “not rated” items from the denominator of the fraction.

• Changed the needs improvements from 10% to 8%
• Removed the percentage notation listed in the “not rated” category. There was a total of 11 items that were not rated and most are a part of the EIT work.

FAMU CFO Teresa Hardee notes that the substantive changes in the consultant’s report represents a better depiction of the actual work that has been completed by FAMU. She noted that internal controls are in place and working whereas the lack of such controls were the focus of the operational and financial audits.

FAMU Board Chairman and Task Force committee member William “Bill” Jennings questioned why the work of the FAMU staff was not mentioned in the draft of the Task Force Report and called it a “glaring oversight.” Further he questioned the need for the recommended certification by the President and whether some of the examples cited in the Task Force report were needed.

Several Task Force members offered comments to improve the tenor and tone of the report.

Joelen Merkel, chair of the Audit Committee on the University of Florida Board of Trustees, noted that the Task Force recommendation No. 1 and No. 4 were the same. The certification is “standard operating procedures” in a financial audit. “Not sure why you need that again.”

Other members agreed with Chairman Jennings. Barbara Bowles, a financial consultant noted that “most of the operational and financial findings were benign and we need to close the door on the history of this matter.”

Further, Merkel noted that the report should include language that notes that the consultant’s review found no indication of fraud, thief or misappropriation of funds.

The Task Force members herald the turn arounding citing the work of the Division of Audit and Compliance at FAMU, the current FAMU leadership team, as well as the six new members of the Board of Trustees as factors that strengthen the financial conditions at FAMU.

The Task Force will review the final report on Friday, February 29 and is scheduled to be submitted to the legislature on Monday, March 3.

President's Forum

See you there!

President's Concert

Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) President James H. Ammons, Ralph Turner, interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Department of Music proudly present the Fifteenth Annual President’s Concert Sunday, March 2, at 4 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Performing will be FAMU’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble with conductor Julian White and associate conductor Shelby Chipman. Guest conductors include Retired United States Air Force (USAF) Col. Arnald Gabriel, conductor emeritus for the USAF Band and David Gorham, director of bands for Owasso High School in Owasso, Okla. The concert will also feature flute soloist Dennine White.

The general public is invited to attend and admission is free. For more information, call (850) 599-3024.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nobel Laureate in Physics Shared his Discovery and Love of Physics

Florida A&M University (FAMU) students and faculty, and members of the community had a once in a lifetime chance to be in the presence of Nobel Laureate in physics, Jerome Friedman recently during a lecture at FAMU.

Friedman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990, toured the facilities at the FAMU Humphries Science Research Center and was a guest lecturer.

While he fell in love with physics at a young age, Friedman almost veered in the direction of the arts, turning down a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago to matriculate at the University of Chicago.

Cynthia Hughes Harris, provost and vice president for academic affairs, lauded his decision.

“While the art world laments your loss,” she smiled. “I’m sure that the science world applauds its gain.”

Ray O’Neal, a FAMU associate professor of physics, recalled his senior year at MIT in his introduction of Friedman.

“Dr. Friedman was the chair of the department at the time, and I remembered reading about his work on the existence of quarks and thought, ‘I want to work with him,’ O’Neal said. “After I confirmed that he would be my advisor for my thesis, I was like I’m going to discover a new particle!’”

O’Neal explained to the audience that although he didn’t discover a new particle, he did make another discovery. He said that often times the most interesting results are the ones that you don’t expect at all.

“Dr. Friedman helped me to stay in physics,” O’Neal said. “There were times when I thought about other fields, but his enthusiasm kept me in physics.”

Friedman spoke of a Japanese physicist who first discovered matter in 1903, and discussed the history and evolving theory of atomic particles.

“Although the discovery was made,” Friedman said. “It took about ten years and an enormous amount of controversy before the point of view of particle physics was accepted.”

Lellia Hines, twice a FAMU graduate, with her bachelor’s in cardiopulmonary science and master’s in mathematics education, and now a teacher at the local Griffin Middle School applauded Friedman’s lecture.

“He was extremely good and informative,” she said. “I think it’s an excellent chance for, not only FAMU students, but the community, to hear someone of his [Friedman’s] magnitude speak about things that students are covering in class, and will actually be doing in the near future.”

After his lecture, the floor was opened for questions. A student, too shy to take the microphone, shouted from across the auditorium, “Why physics? What kept you involved in making all these important discoveries?”

“What kept us doing it?” Friedman smirked and replied. “Well, I just figured no one else was doing it, and it was worth a look.”

Photo caption: Jerome Friedman, a Nobel Laureate in physics, recently gave a lecture at Florida A&M University.

FAMU and FSU Students Collaborate to Create Solidarity within the Community

In recognition of Black History Month, Florida A&M University (FAMU) Student Government Association (SGA) and Florida State University’s (FSU) Black Student Union will host Blackout 2k8 Friday, February 29, through March 2, throughout the city of Tallahassee. The Blackout will instill a greater sense of pride in black-owned businesses and gear students and the community toward supporting black-owned businesses.

“It is frustrating to see black-owned businesses go out of businesses because we do not support them,” said Kianta Key, secretary of economic development for FAMU’s SGA and co-chair of Blackout. “I hope that this initiative will encourage our community to support our businesses and influence students to become entrepreneurs.”

The Blackout is patterned after the Black Solidarity Day that began in 1969. It was formed following Mahatma Gandhi’s protests for unity and strength and was developed from a play by Douglas Turner Warner titled “The Day of Absence,” which emphasized the important role blacks played in building the country.

Leading up to the Blackout, the FAMU SGA will hold the annual “Black is Green” Student Business Expo and a seminar focusing on the pros and cons of entrepreneurship Wednesday, February 27, and Thursday, February 28. The Expo will highlight student entrepreneurs from FAMU and FSU and will feature the Florida Black Business Investment Board, Inc. and the Grass Roots Investment Group, who will give students tips on seeking start-up financing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FAMU Has Raised More Than $800,000 Toward its Goal of $1.5 Million as the Tom Joyner Foundation School of the Month

In January, Florida A&M University kicked off the Tom Joyner Foundation School of the Month’s Tenth year anniversary. FAMU students received scholarships every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday during the month. There were also on-air presentations made during the month including a presentation by FAMU President James H. Ammons.

To date, FAMU has raised more than $800,000 toward its goal of $1.5 million for scholarships. This is not the largest fund raising campaign undertaken by FAMU; however, it is currently the only named campaign in progress.

“I’m excited about the level of support we have received from our alumni, friends and corporations,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “We have already set a record. We need your support to reach our $1.5 million goal.”

Although FAMU was the January School of the Month for the Tom Joyner Foundation, the university has until December 31, 2008, to reach its $1.5 million goal. Currently, fund raising activities are being implemented which includes an E-Bay online auctions, a telethon, a direct mail campaign, a high profile concert and online giving.

The FAMU fund raising campaign includes all stakeholders. The National Alumni Association is conducting a nationwide Alumni Chapter Challenge and each college, school and institute at FAMU has also been allotted goals to help the university reach its goal.

In addition to scholarship give-a-ways and fund raising activities, FAMU will also participate in the Tom Joyner Foundation HBCU (Historically Black College or University) Tour Give-A-Way presented by Nationwide.

The Tom Joyner Foundation will select nearly 20 high school students who have express a serious interest in attending FAMU to take part in the HBCU tour. The purpose of the tour is to expose promising students to educational opportunities and a possible skills match for the students’ needs.

High school juniors and seniors interested in participating in the Tom Joyner Foundation HBCU tour should submit their name, name of parent or legal guardian, address, daytime telephone number, name of high school and counselor, and GPA to or fax the information to (972) 789-1428.

During the month of January 2008, the following FAMU students were awarded scholarships:

Tom Joyner Foundation Scholars - Each were awarded a $1,500 scholarship:
- Natasha Hamilton, a sophomore journalism student from Jacksonville, Fla.
- Alisa Routh, a freshman psychology student from East Point, Ga.
- Jasman Wynn, a junior cardiopulmonary science student from Lutz, Fla.
- Nicole Crowell, a sophomore public relations student from Murietta, Ca.
- Liban Mohamed, a sophomore physics student from Alexandria, Va.

Hercules Scholars - Each were awarded a $2,500 scholarship:
- Keith Morely, a junior music education student from Tallahassee, Fla.
- Errol William, a senior civil engineering student from Dallas, Texas
- Jeyre Lewis, a senior engineering student from Miami, Fla.
- Condarrio Murdaugh, a freshman business administration student from Brandon, Fla.
- Stanley St. Hilarie, a freshman pharmacy student from Lauderhill, Fla.

Single Parent Scholars - Each were awarded a $1,500 scholarship:
- Audrey Moreau, a freshman business major from Tallahassee, Fla.
- Kimberly Barber, a senior chemistry student from Chicago, Ill.
- Sonya Green, a junior pre-law student
- Dominique Ferguson, a sophomore English education student from Miami, Fla.

First Generation College Scholars - Each were awarded a $2,500 scholarship:
- Karl Grant, a junior environmental science student from Charleston, S.C.
- Katia Wilson, a sophomore criminal justice student from Tampa, Fla.
- Brain Haley, a senior business administration student from Stone Mountain, Ga.
- Charles Bobino, a sophomore architecture student from Ellenwood, Ga.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FAMU Launches Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise HR / Payroll System

Florida A&M University announced a successful "go-live" of Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management (HCM) 8.9 at FAMU. FAMU just completed successful payrolls in January utilizing the newly installed HCM application.

“Making the switch from the Legacy Payroll System to PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management is another way for FAMU to take another step toward its fiscal responsibility,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “This is an outstanding accomplishment and I applaud the hard work of each department, and our close relationship with Oracle Consulting.”

The Title III program provided funding assistance for implementation of the payroll system.

“We have successfully implemented PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management due to the dedication and hard work of our staff and our close relationship with Oracle Consulting,” said Teresa Hardee, FAMU’s chief financial officer and vice president for administrative Fiscal Affairs. “It was truly one of the finest examples of teamwork that I have ever seen.”

Leveraging PeopleSoft Enterprise Payroll, part of PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management, FAMU replaced its legacy payroll system, paying employees on January 4, 2008, by direct deposit or paper check, from the new system.

n addition to PeopleSoft Enterprise Payroll, FAMU plans to leverage other modules within the PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management suite to gain new functionality, including reporting and self-service capabilities.

“PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management interfaces with our PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management system to give employees greater visibility and accessibility to their HR benefits and other payroll related information,” said Robert Seniors, chief information officer and vice president for Information Technology at FAMU.

FAMU’s previous system relied heavily on manual paper-based tasks for routine transactions, such as changes to employee addresses and dependent status. With PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management, FAMU is able to automate many of those processes and, with Phase II of the deployment, introduce the following employee self-service features:

- View and print payroll and compensation information including paycheck stub, direct deposit, and W-4
- View, update, or add personal information including home and mailing address, emergency contacts, e-mail addresses, phone numbers
- Review benefit information including healthcare, insurance, and dependents
- Access benefits Open Enrollment online

The new system currently provides FAMU with online time and labor entry for departments, enhanced reporting capabilities, an accounting interface to the PeopleSoft Enterprise General Ledger, external interfaces to vendors, and new tools to effectively manage employee statistics and trends to enhance analysis and planning activities, which will ultimately help increase productivity and efficiency at FAMU.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates.

Friday, February 15, 2008

FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Hosts the 31st Annual Clinical Pharmacy Symposium

Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) will host the 31st Annual Clinical Symposium Friday, February 22, through Sunday, February 24, 2008 in the New Pharmacy Building, 1415 South Martin Luther King, Boulevard. Sponsored by the COPPS and the Division of Continuing Education, the symposium’s theme is “Addressing Cancer Related Health Disparities through A Multidisciplinary Approach Identifying Differences…Equalizing Benefits.”

The symposium workshops are free and open to the general public.

“Cancer continues to affect minority populations, particularly African Americans disproportionately,” said Otis Kirksey, professor of pharmacy practice and interim director of Continuing Pharmacy Education at FAMU’s COPPS. “The 31st Clinical Symposium has exciting presentations from nationally known speakers and will facilitate intriguing discussions related to the management of cancer and strategies to eliminate cancer related health disparities.”

The symposium is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education to offer a total of 15 continuing education credits for pharmacists.

“For over three decades the College’s Clinical Symposium has provided the most up to date information on research, drug therapy and patient management focused on the theme of the symposium,” said Henry Lewis III, dean and professor of the College. “This year is no exception. With the disparity in both the incidence and mortality of cancer, it is important that we train health professionals on the latest interventions.”

For more information, contact Mrs. Leola Cleveland at (850) 599-3240.

FAMU-DRS New Superintendent to Present His Plan of Action

Ronald Holmes, Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Developmental Research School new superintendent, will give his superintendent’s address to faculty and staff on March 26, at 3:20 p.m., parents on March 27, at 6:30 p.m., and the community and other stakeholders on March 28, at 6:30 p.m. During the address, Holmes will share his plan of action for the FAMU-DRS.

Since Holmes’ arrival, he has met with students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, the PTO and the school’s advisory council, advisory board and task force to develop his plan of action.

Some of Holmes’ goals for FAMU-DRS include: increasing faculty salaries; providing incentives to employees and students for school improvement; improving students’ test scores; creating business partnerships; maintaining and gaining certified teachers; improving the curriculum in accordance with DRS’ focus (science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages); and improving the communication gap among all stakeholders. These goals are similar to the views of the aforementioned constituents, and other goals will be revealed in Holmes’ address next month.

“Part of my plan is to be totally involved with the students,” said Holmes. “I will play an integral part in the lives of our students whether it is in the classroom or during extracurricular activities.”

Holmes further stated that he has a method he plans to use.

“It is called TEAM, which means together everyone accomplishes more. As a team, DRS, FAMU and the community at large can succeed,” said Holmes.

A FAMU alumnus, Holmes is the former assistant principal for Benjamin Banneker High School in College Park, Ga.

"Holmes is a seasoned professional,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “His area of specialty is on test score enhancements. He has been especially successful in this area which is a critical need for FAMU DRS students."

During his tenure at Benjamin Banneker High School, Holmes organized and served as principal for the Freshman Academy, which provided a positive academic climate for students to learn, grow and become responsible citizens; organized the School Watch Program, which reduced student’s tardiness by 70 percent; improved student and faculty morale; and established a partnership affiliation with the Coca Cola Bottling Company that led to an annual donation of $20,000.

As an educator, Holmes developed several test-taking skills programs that improved students’ performance on standardized tests: Criterion Referenced Competencies Test, Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT), College Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST), SAT and ACT. Students participating in the programs achieved a 100 percent passing rate on the CRCT; 95 percent passing rate on the science portion of the GHSGT; 90 percent passing rate on the English portion of the CLAST at the college level; 141 percent improvement on the SAT; and four percent improvement on the ACT.

As a strategist, he achieved strategic plan requirements which resulted in the Pay for Performance (PFP) recognition for faculty and staff through Fulton County, Ga. and the award of an $800,000 Small Learning Communities federal grant.

Holmes received his bachelor’s degree in business education from FAMU, his M.Ed. in business education from Bowling Green State University as well as a M.Ed. in administration and supervision from FAMU, and his Ph.D. from FAMU.

Andrew Gillum will keynote FAMU’s Black History Month Convocation

Florida A&M University alum and Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum will serve as the keynote speaker for FAMU’s Black History Month Convocation Friday, February 22, at 10:10 a.m., in the Jake Gaither Gymnasium. The general public is invited to attend, and all classes will be suspended.

A Miami native and Gainesville bred, Gillum graduated from FAMU’s political science program in 2003. During his tenure at FAMU, Gillum served as student senator and Student Government Association President from 2001 to 2002. He was the first student member of the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Gillum addressed the Democratic National Convention concerning election violations in Florida soon after the 2000 presidential election. In 2003, he was elected the youngest person ever to the Tallahassee City Commission. In 2004, he was re-elected by the citizens of Tallahassee, to serve as one of four on the Tallahassee City Commission. That same year, his peers elected him Mayor Pro Tem.

After accepting a position as field organizer with the Tallahassee Office of Young Elected Officials Network with People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF), Gillum organized and led a campaigning encouraging voters called Arrive With 5. In 2003, Gillum served as the deputy political director of the Florida Democratic Party.

Gillum has received numerous awards and honors. He was recognized by the National Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, D.C. as the country's top student leader in 2001. In 2003, he received the Emerging Leaders Award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Ebony magazine named him one of The Fast Track 30 Leaders Who are 30 and Under in 2004 and Tallahassee Community College honored him in their Fourth Annual African-American History Calendar. In 2007, Gillum was named “Emerging Leader of the Year” by IMPACT, a national organization based on recognizing and training emerging leaders ages 21 through 40.

For more information, call (850) 412-5211.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

FAMU Kicks Off President’s Tour: FAMU Up Close and Personal

Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons will start his eight -city tour beginning March 8, 2008, to meet students, parents, business executives and alumni throughout the state as he works to build enrollment and donor and corporate support.

“This tour will give us the opportunity to tell our story to people across Florida and help us continue to boost enrollment while recruiting some of the state’s best and brightest students,” said Ammons.

The tour will take Ammons and a team of administrators, recruitment advisors, and students through eight cities including Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Miami, Pensacola, Dothan, Ala., Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach and Sarasota. Ammons also will visit the homes of two high school seniors who have been offered full scholarships to FAMU for fall 2008.

“This is an excellent opportunity for me to personally meet students and tell them why they should attend Florida A&M University,” said Ammons. “Florida is a very competitive market in terms of choice for higher education, and I want students, parents and supporters to understand that FAMU has something very unique to offer.”

The FAMU Connection, the university’s recruitment/performing group, will accompany President Ammons on the trip along with several FAMU administrators and student ambassadors and leaders appearing at high schools and student receptions.

Topping Off Ceremony Signifies “Critical Spot in Construction Project”

Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James H. Ammons along with members of FAMU’s Board of Trustees, Turner Construction, Rooser International, subcontractors and onlookers witnessed the final beam of FAMU’s new teaching gym being raised and put in place on the uncompleted building.

“With this topping off ceremony, we’ll hoists the last beam into position of this structure, signifying a critical spot in the construction project,” Ammons said. “Members of the Board of Trustees and this administration have signed that beam to demonstrate our support and partnerships, as ratifying the construction of the teaching gym was the first official act of this administration.”

The new four-floored facility will be the new home to FAMU’s physical education department and Rattler basketball team, and is scheduled to be completed by February 2009. It will feature sports training and physical education training areas, a hydrotherapy pool, concession stands and ticket booths, interactive learning classrooms, athletic and physical education offices, an indoor track and an arena that will seat more than nine thousand.

David Reaves, vice president for operations management at Turner Construction, expressed his sentiments towards the project.

“Turner is very proud to be a partner with FAMU in the building of this exciting project that will be a landmark to the University in years to come,” he said. “Go Rattlers!”

According to Ammons the teaching gym will serve as modern teaching classroom for FAMU’s physical education program, not to mention provide a significant venue for attracting concerts, commencements and other entertainment that FAMU has not been able to accommodate in the past.

Donald Palm, associate vice president for academic affairs, representing FAMU provost and vice president of academic affairs, Cynthia Hughes Harris, said that with the addition of the new teaching gym they are certain research projects will be devised that will allow for future innovations in FAMU’s teaching.

“On behalf on the Division of Academic Affairs and the Department of Physical Education, we look forward to the instruction that will occur in this facility,” Palm said. “We are excited by the progress thus far and we look forward to the ribbon cutting and the first day of classes.”

Florida A&M University Day at the Capitol 2008

Florida A&M University students, faculty, staff and alumni will join state legislators Wednesday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate FAMU Day on the second floor of the Capitol Rotunda and the Senate Portico.

FAMU Day is an annual recognition of the university’s accomplishments and contributions to the state of Florida. It is also a day for students, administrators, and alumni to meet with legislators and personally thank them for their support of FAMU and to advocate on behalf of the university’s 2007-2008 Legislative Agenda. The day will also feature presentations of resolutions by Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives.

During the lunchtime intermission on the Senate Portico, there will be performances by FAMU’s Jazz Ensemble, cheerleaders, Venom and the Connection. FAMU President James H. Ammons will also recognize legislators and friends.

FAMU Day also includes free health screenings from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second floor. The College of Pharmacy and the Schools of Nursing and Allied Health and Sciences will offer blood pressure, pulse oximetry, test of grip strength, flexibility of lower back, height and weight, body mass index, glucose and cholesterol screenings. All screenings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Tola Thompson at (850) 599-3225.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Nobel Prize Winner in Physics to Visit FAMU

Nobel laureate Jerome Friedman, Ph.D. will keynote a series of lectures for the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Department of Physics on Thursday, February 21, at 4 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Friedman is also scheduled to tour the facilities at the Humphries Science Research Center located on Martin Luther King Blvd.

“Dr. Friedman has generously offered his time to come and speak with us at FAMU,” said Ray H. O’Neal, an associate professor of physics at FAMU and the faculty member that invited Friedman to speak on campus. “His work from which he was awarded the Nobel Prize was a significant step in the foundation of the modern theory of the structure of matter, also known as the standard model.”

O’Neal, a former student of Friedman, attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where Friedman was his undergraduate thesis advisor. According to O’Neal, the National Science Foundation Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) Center for Astrophysical Sciences and Technology (CAST) grant is sponsoring Friedman’s trip to FAMU.

About Jerome Friedman
A Chicago, Ill. native, Friedman developed a strong interest in physics after having read Relativity, by Einstein when he was only in high school. Friedman attended the University of Chicago on full-scholarship, where he obtained his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. After receiving his Ph.D., Friedman continued working as a post-doctorate at the University of Chicago nuclear emulsion laboratory, which was then led by Valentine Telegdi.

In 1980, Friedman became director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at MIT and then served as head of the Department of Physics from 1983 to 1988. During that time, he held several administrative positions and he managed to maintain a foothold in research, which greatly eased his transition back to full-time teaching and research in 1988.

In 1990, Friedman, along with collaborators Henry W. Wendell and Richard E. Taylor, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics.

Friedman was a member of the Board of the University Research Association for six years, serving as vice president for three years. He is currently a member of the High Energy Advisory Panel for the Department of Energy and also chairman of the Scientific Policy Committee of the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory.

Friedman is married to Tania Letetsky-Baranovsky, and has four adult children, Ellena, Joel, Martin, and Sandra.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Norton Museum of Art Unveils Rarely Seen Artistic and Historical Treasures of FAMU Alumni Bernard and Shirley Kinsey

On April 19, 2008, the Norton Museum of Art will open an extensive exhibition drawn from the artistic and historical treasures collected by California residents and Florida A&M University alumni, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. In the Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey presents the journey of the Kinseys as they embrace and acquire art and artifacts. From rarely seen slave owners’ documents and brilliant expressions in paint, to glimpses into private eighteenth and nineteenth-century lives, the Kinsey Collection reflects a rich cultural and historical heritage which they hope to preserve for future generations.

The exhibition will remain at the Norton Museum of Art located at 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, Fla. through July 20, 2008.

“Art is precious, but historical documents are rare,” said Bernard Kinsey.

Personal Treasures includes works of art by important African-American artists such as Henry O. Tanner, William H. Johnson, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett and Sam Gilliam; as well as historical documents and artifacts of Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Alain Locke and Malcolm X. When viewed as a whole, the 90 plus objects reveal important aspects of American history and culture.

“To have members of our own community develop and share with us their outstanding collection of African-American art and historical pieces is extraordinary,” said Christina Orr-Cahall, director of the Norton Museum of Art. “We are most grateful to Bernard and Shirley Kinsey for letting us learn through seeing some of the incredible achievements of African Americans in the last four centuries. Each and every one of us of us should make certain that we take advantage of this experience.”

Graphic Communication Division Recommended for Reaccreditation

Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Division of Graphic Communication has been recommended for reaccreditation by a site team for the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications, Inc. (ACCGC).

“This is great news and quite an honor,” said James Hawkins, dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC). The ACCGC is the “platinum standard” for collegiate graphic communication programs and only three programs have been accredited nationally.”

In addition to FAMU, Ferris State University and Cal Poly State University are the other universities that have met the rigorous standards.

Arvid Mukes, SJGC associate dean and director of the division of graphic communication, said the positive recommendation “indicates we’re providing the type of program that serves the graphic communication and printing industry well.”

Mukes also serves on the board of directors for the ACCGC.

The FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication was founded in 1982. Its Division of Journalism was the first journalism program at a historically black university to be nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. It offers four journalism sequences: newspaper, magazine production, broadcast (television and radio) and public relations. The Accrediting Council on Collegiate Graphic Communication accredited the Division of Graphic Communication in 2002. It offers four major tracks: graphic design, printing production, printing management and photography.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

School of Nursing Secures $150,000 SUCCEED Grant

Delores Lawson, associate professor and coordinator of undergraduate programs at the Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Nursing, has, with the help of Ruena Norman associate professor in the School of Nursing, secured the $150,000 SUCCEED grant for a second year.

Last year’s grant, totaling $300,000, was secured by Norman and had a significant positive impact on the School of Nursing undergraduate program. According to Lawson, the grant will help to expand the nursing program at FAMU and address the need for Florida to produce more minority nurses.

“With SUCCEED project funds, the School of Nursing is able to admit 20 additional undergraduate students without negatively impacting the current program, through the use of clinical simulations, web-enhanced instructional delivery and a comprehensive multifaceted retention/remediation program,” Lawson said. “The project will assist to produce more baccalaureate prepared registered nurses.”

An initiative sponsored by the Florida Department of Education, the SUCCEED grant has a primary purpose to increase the capacity of undergraduate programs at public and private postsecondary educational institutions in order to produce more nurses to enter the workforce in Florida.

According to Lawson, national projections predict a need for more than 1.2 million new and replacement registered nurses within the next six years.

“The need to increase the workforce in Florida is acute and poses a direct threat to the quality of services provided in its medical or healthcare systems.” said Lawson.

Ngozi Ugochukwu Receives 2007 William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award

Ngozi Ugochukwu, who is an associate professor of chemistry in the Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Arts & Sciences and the 2006-2007 Advanced Teacher of the Year Awardee, is the recipient of the 2007 William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award for her “outstanding contributions to the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program.”

“I am highly honored to have this award which represents the collaborative efforts of my graduate and undergraduate students and I working mutually on our research projects on diabetes, obesity and congestive heart failure,” said Ugochukwu. “Moreover, I am elated by the recognition that this brings to the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences and Florida A&M University. I thank Florida A&M University for the opportunity to promote my discipline through teaching, research and public service.”

The William R. Jones Awards Committee awarded Ugochukwu the Outstanding Mentor Award after reviewing one of her student’s nomination application.

“Dr. U., as we all affectionately call her, can be characterized by three little words: passion, commitment and excellence,” said Cynthia L. Figgers, who has known Ugochukwu for five years. “Ugochukwu illustrates a superior quality of excellence. She is a very caring, diligent, thorough and demanding professor who pushes her students to work hard to reach their highest potential. She not only pushes them to work hard, she leads by example.”

Established in 1984, the Florida Education Fund's McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program has increased the number of African Americans who have been awarded the Ph.D. in historically underrepresented, crucial disciplines and fields of study where African Americans have not historically enrolled and completed degree programs.

CEO and “Apprentice” Winner to Speak at FAMU Workshop

Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry (SBI) will feature Randal D. Pinkett, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners and season four winner of NBC's "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump, as the keynote speaker at the “Inventure to Venture” Technology and Entrepreneurship Workshop scheduled for Friday, February 29, 2008. The workshop is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. until 4:15 p.m.

The daylong "technology bootcamp" is designed to empower the academic community with the knowledge and resources of how to commercialize their innovations, while connecting them to the local technology business community.

“The School of Business and Industry is excited to take the lead in establishing multidisciplinary partnerships to create a campus-wide environment at FAMU that supports entrepreneurship and innovation and encourages creativity, experimentation and cross-functional collaboration,” said SBI Dean Lydia McKinley-Floyd.

There is a registration fee of $10 for students; $20 for faculty, staff and alumni; and $40 those in the business community any others interested in attending. The fee will cover the participant guide, lunch and a continental breakfast. Interested individuals may register at

Sponsors for the event include FAMU’s School of Business and Industry, Office of Technology Transfer and Small Business Development Center; Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County; and the Leon County Economic Development Council.

“There are over 2000 universities in the United States with entrepreneurial programs; however, very few are offered at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) or Hispanic serving institutions (HSIs),” McKinley-Floyd said. “It is our ardent desire to facilitate the development and sustainability of viable new business enterprises that transform our communities and bring wealth accumulation and economic viability to Tallahassee and the Big Bend area.”

About Pinkett
Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and community servant. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar, management, technology and policy consulting services firm based in Newark, NJ, that works with corporations, government agencies and philanthropic organizations. BCT Partners is a minority-owned and operated company and one of the leading firms in the country with expertise in the following industries: housing and community development, economic development, healthcare, human services and education.

Pinkett was also named the winner of NBC’s hit reality television show, The Apprentice, with Donald Trump. He was selected as one of 18 candidates chosen from among 1 million applicants to compete for the opportunity to run one of Donald Trump’s companies. During his first year, he was responsible overseeing both renovation and information technology projects for Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, NJ. Since then, Pinkett has maintained a role with the Trump Organization as a boardroom advisor on The Apprentice, national spokesperson for the Trump Institute and faculty member for Trump University.

Prior to founding BCT Partners, Pinkett gained corporate experience as a member of Technical Staff at General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and Lucent Technologies. He holds five degrees: a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Rutgers University; a master of science in computer science from the University of Oxford in England; a master of science in electrical engineering; a MBA; and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Pinkett has received numerous awards: the National Society of Black Engineers’ National Member of the Year, NCAA Academic All-American, and has been recognized by USA TODAY newspaper as one of the top 20 scholars in the country. Also, he has been featured on nationally televised programs such as The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Nightline and Larry King Live. He is a brand ambassador for Verizon Communications and Outback Steakhouse, and a spokesperson for Autism Speaks; National Black MBA Association; Miller Urban Entrepreneurs Series; New Jersey Reads; and Junior Achievement of New York. Most notably, Pinkett is a Rhodes Scholar, and was the first and only African-American ever to receive this prestigious award at Rutgers University.

He is the author of Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business and No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash. His forthcoming book, Black Faces in White Places, chronicles his experiences as well the experiences of his college roommate, Jeffrey Robinson, as African Americans who have successfully navigated predominantly white institutions.

He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., as well as a member of the board of directors for the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute (NJPPRI), the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (N-TEN), and the Institute for Innovation in Government Technology (IIGT), and the board of advisors for the Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet).

Born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey, Pinkett attends First Baptist Church in Somerset, NJ, where he resides. He is happily married to his wife, Zahara, and they are both proud parents of their daughter, Amira. He firmly believes that “to whom much is given, much is expected,” so throughout his endeavors, he places great emphasis on his desire to give back to the community.

Charles Ervin Appointed to Board of Directors for the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers

Governor Charlie Crist recently appointed Charles P. Ervin, Jr., chair of the Department of Secondary Education, to a three-year term as a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Inc. (FFMT). The FFMT board is appointed by Florida's Governor and commissioned to oversee the administration and management of the multimillion dollar Florida Minority Teacher Education Scholarship (FMTES) program.

"It is an extreme pleasure to assist in advocating and helping to eliminate the approximately 22,000 shortage of teachers in Florida, and more importantly to increase diversity and quality of the teachers in public education in the state of Florida, through the FMTES program,” said Ervin.

There are currently 35 FAMU teacher education students who receive $2,000 per semester under this scholarship program. The program funds approximately 635 scholarships at colleges and universities statewide.

Ervin was also reappointed to a three-year term of membership to the Board of Directors of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition to help eliminate homelessness and enhance the education of homeless children and families in the Big Bend Community.

Monday, February 4, 2008

FAMU Students Call the Shots at PRodigy PR Firm

In the Florida A&M University School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) on any Monday night, one may find 40 to 50 public relations majors crowded into room 1003 where they handle the business of the PRodigy Public Relations Firm.

“The weekly business meeting begins promptly at 7 p.m.,” said Professor Gina Kinchlow, a visiting assistant professor in public relations and faculty advisor for the PR firm. “I call each meeting to order and the first thing I like to say to students is that PRodigy is not a club.”

Kinchlow says the business of public relations is tough, competitive work and students need to be regularly reminded that joining PRodigy means doing the work that PR professionals do.

The student-run, campus-based, all-volunteer company’s mission is to provide real-life, hands-on training and experience for students who are full-time public relations majors by allowing them to manage the company and provide a menu of services to clients.

First created in the late 1990s, PRodigy’s associates worked with clients such as Florida’s anti-tobacco campaign and the Artists in Bloom Festival. With the departure of the group’s faculty advisor in 2003, the company shut down and remained dormant until the spring of 2006 when Kinchlow, at the request of then Division Director Kim Godwin, assumed advisor duties.

“We held a meeting one evening during the spring 2006 semester just to see if anyone was interested,” says Kinchlow. “There was standing room only with more than 75 students showing up, a definite sign that the PR majors were ready to rev up the business again.”

“From the moment I stepped foot in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication I began hearing from alumni how the Prodigy PR firm helped mold their public relations skills and how those skills gave them a competitive edge in their professional career,” said Kristin Taylor, a senior public relations student from Chicago, Ill. “Professor Kinchlow has done an outstanding job of guiding her associates as they apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to successfully developing and implementing strategic communication initiatives that solve their clients’ communication needs.”

By August of 2007, the PRodigy associates had taken on their first customer, the Florida Citrus Sports, the non-profit membership organization that handled the marketing of the 2007 Florida Classic football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University. That same semester the company also designed and managed the publicity and promotional work for the Gordon Parks “Crossroads” Exhibit and opening reception. Additionally, they promoted the Student Documentary Night, an event that showcases the film work of senior broadcast students at FAMU.

On February 18, 2008, the student associates, who run the PRodigy Public Relations Firm, will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. in the SJGC Gallery where they will unveil their new branding and announce their newest clients and initiatives. Other activities for that week will include a fundraiser and a service project with one of the middle schools or high schools in Tallahassee’s south side community.

For more information about PRodigy and the company’s services, please call faculty advisor Gina Kinchlow at (850) 412-5389.

Office of Black Diasporan Culture Sponsors African Caribbean Concert

The New York based Ase (as-shay) Dance Theatre brings the music, song, and dance of the African Diasporan experience to Florida A&M University’s Lee Hall Auditorium on February 15, at 8 p.m.

Led by award- winning choreographer Adia Whitaker, Ase is the featured guest artist for the Annual African Caribbean Concert produced by FAMU’s Office of Black Diasporan Culture and co-sponsored by FAMU’s Office of Student Activities and the 37th FAMU Student Senate.

Ase Dance Theatre is a professional neo-folkloric performance ensemble that is made up of freestyle dancers/spoken word artists, and musicians. Since 2000, ASE has presented work that links modern dance, original vernacular movement, and traditional dance theater from the African Diaspora to conceptual ideas in the human experience.

The concert will also feature poet Saddi Khali and the FAMU Rhythm Rushers, a Bahamian Junkanoo Group. Khali has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and has performed across the world for the last 15 years.

Tickets for the concert may be purchased at the FAMU Ticket Box Office located on the Set the night of the show. The show is free for FAMU students and children under 12; $8 for general admission; and $5 for senior citizens and non-FAMU students. Group and advance tickets may be purchased through the Office of Black Diasporan Culture by calling (850) 412-7525.

For more information contact La Toya Davis-Craig at (850) 412-7525 or via email at

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bishop Eddie Long and Attorney Willie Gary are the Keynote Speakers for the 2008 Spring Commencement

Florida A&M University has scheduled the 2008 Spring Commencement for April 27, 2008. The Schools and Colleges graduating at 9 a.m., where Bishop Eddie Long will be the keynote speaker, are:

- College of Arts & Sciences
- College of Education
- School of Architecture
- School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC)
- Environmental Sciences Institute

The line of march will commence at 8:40 a.m. and doors will open for the public at 8 a.m.

The Schools and Colleges graduating at 2 p.m., where Attorney Willie Gary will be the speaker include:

- College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS)
- FAMU/FSU College of Engineering
- College of Law
- College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA)
- School of Business & Industry (SBI)
- School of Allied Health Sciences
- School of Nursing

The line of march will commence at 1:40 p.m. and doors will open for the public at 1 p.m.

About Bishop Eddie Long

A native of North Carolina, Bishop Eddie L. Long received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from North Carolina Central University and a master’s of divinity degree from Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center. Additionally, Long received honorary doctorates from North Carolina Central University, Beulah Heights Bible College of Atlanta and the Morehouse School of Religion. Bishop Long earned a Ph.D. in pastoral ministry from the International College of Excellence, an affiliate of Life Christian University in Tampa, Fla.

The visionary and leader for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Long first served as pastor in 1987 for a congregation consisting of just more than 300 members. Since his installation, New Birth’s membership has quickly multiplied to well over 25,000.

Bishop Long is revered locally, nationally and internationally as a dynamic man of vision, leadership, integrity and compassion. In addition to his commitment to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church as senior pastor, Bishop Long also serves on an array of boards including: vice chair of the Morehouse School of Religion Board of Directors, former member of Board of Visitors for Emory University, member of Board of Trustees for North Carolina Central University, member of Board of Trustees for Young Life, member of Board of Trustees for Fort Valley State University, member of Board of Directors for Safehouse Outreach Ministries, and honorary member of 100 Black Men of America. In 2006, he was honored to be unanimously appointed to serve as co-chair for the DeKalb Police Alliance—a non-profit organization that enhances the lives and families of men and women serving as licensed officers. In 2006, Bishop Long was unanimously appointed as vice chair for the Board of Trustees for Beulah Heights Bible College. In 2007, he was appointed as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Beulah Heights, which would obtain university status that same year.

About Attorney Willie Gary

Once a migrant worker, Gary has overcome a lifetime of obstacles to become one of the most successful trial attorneys in the nation. In addition, he is the chairman of the Black Family Channel, the nation’s only African American owned and operated 24-hour cable TV network. Gary, who is best known in legal circles as “The Giant Killer,” is noted for taking on some of America’s most powerful corporate giants and winning billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients.

One of 11 children of Turner and Mary Gary, he was born July 12, 1947, in Eastman, Ga., and raised in migrant farming communities in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. His unwavering desire to earn a college education ultimately led him to Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Gary went to North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina where he earned a juris doctorate in 1974.

Gary is known as a businessman, churchman, humanitarian and philanthropist who is deeply involved in charity and civic work. He is committed to enhancing the lives of young people through education and drug prevention. Gary is a member of numerous business associations including the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers Association, Martin and St. Lucie County Bar Associations and the Million Dollar Verdict Club.

In 1994, he and his wife, Gloria Gary, founded The Gary Foundation, which provides college scholarships, direction and resources to students so they may realize their dreams of achieving a higher education. The Gary’s have donated millions of dollars to help historically black colleges and universities – including $10 million to his alma mater Shaw University.