While parents, friends, and family members yelled and shouted, “We love you” and “We are proud of you” and banners read, “Follow the path of God” and “Congrats! Dr. Curtis, You did it!,” FAMU students received challenges and advice from commencement speakers Bishop Eddie Long and Attorney Willie Gary.
During the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony, Long told FAMU graduates that they better be ready to run.
“When that sun comes up tomorrow morning, don’t hit the snooze button,” said Long. “You better get up running; you better be ready to keep learning; you better be ready to work.”
“Remember that behind every problem, there is a promise,” said Long. “And every promise is always bigger the problem.”
Attorney Willie Gary, one of the most successful trial attorneys in the nation, told FAMU graduates to set their goals high.
“I challenge you today to be all that you can be,” said Gary. “You can make it happen. You are going to go out there and make a difference. Remember to always give and reach back and help those that are less fortunate.”
FAMU President James H. Ammons gave Long and Gary the President’s Award for serving as the keynote speaker. Monique Gillum, James Bland and Phillip Agnew each received the President’s Student Leadership Award for their role on FAMU’s Student Government Association.
This spring commencement was for one for the history book. The graduating class of FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical had the largest graduating class in the college’s history, with 144 graduates, which included Shantrice Green, a Miami native and an NCAA track star.
“I’m the first person in family to graduate from college,” said Green. “The whole time I was in college I ran track, worked and I was in pharmacy school. I guess you can say that is my greatest achievement.”
Shantrice’s mother echoed her excitement.
“I'm very proud of my daughter and her accomplishments,” said Joann Green. “The speaker touched on a lot of relevant topics that these young people that are getting ready to go out in the real world need to focus on.”
While at FAMU on a track scholarship, Green qualified for the NCAA regional championship two years in a row, 2005 and 2006, and she was awarded FAMU’s Outstanding Athlete Award of the Year in 2006.