Monday, June 30, 2008

Preserving the Legacy: The Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Removes Florida A&M University from Probation

There were shouts of joy and the hisses from more than 300 Rattlers, board of trustees members, administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, legislators, friends of the university, and the community as Florida A&M University’s Tenth President James H. Ammons announced that the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) voted to continue FAMU’s accreditation and remove the university from probation. SACS has requested no further reports.

“We are very proud of and excited for FAMU for all of their hard work to come into compliance with the commission’s standards; and therefore, get off of probation,” said SACS President Belle S. Wheelan.

During its 112th SACS Summer Meeting, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (COC) announced its decision to remove FAMU from probation.

“This is a great day for FAMU and the state of Florida,” said Ammons. “We have been able to solve and address the critical issues that threatened the very existence of this university. Through our success, we have preserved this institution’s legacy for generations to come. Our intent was to restore the public’s trust in the university’s ability to handle its finances and I believe this entire process has sent a strong and clear message to the state and our stakeholders that FAMU is in good hands.”

Shortly before Ammons began his first workday, he learned that the SACS-COC had placed the university on probation for six months. Ammons quickly pulled his leadership team together to develop an action plan to address not only the SACS issues of non-compliance, but also the 35 findings in the 2005-2006 operational audit and the 13 findings in the 2005-2006 financial audit. For two years, FAMU had received qualified audits by state officials. During the first months of his administration, Ammons spent most of his time managing the implementation of the corrective action plan and trouble shooting university issues and concerns.

“Today is a remarkable day in the life of the University,” said Bill Jennings, chair of FAMU’s Board of Trustees. “It completes a great first year for President Ammons and his remarkable leadership team.”

Maurice Holder, president of FAMU’s faculty senate, applauded the faculty and administration for their efforts.

“The faculty has not lost sight of its responsibility to protect and advance the academic environment here at FAMU,” said Holder. “This is on the top of our commitments.”

In October 2007, SACS made its first site visit to review the status of the university’s financial affairs. At that time, the university had implemented the corrective action plan and prepared for a visit by the state auditor’s office in November. The weekend before the SACS Commission on Colleges (COC) was scheduled to make its recommendation, the final audit report was completed; however, there was not enough time for it to be considered by SACS. On December 11, 2007, the SACS-COC voted to continue to accredit Florida A&M University, but extended the university’s probation for six months.

The second SAC-COC monitoring report, which outlined FAMU’s progress in implementing the action plan, was submitted March 15, 2008. The SACS-COC sent a team to visit the campus to verify the work March 25-27, 2008.

In addition, the Board of Governor’s Task Force on FAMU Finances was established to provide oversight regarding the implementation of the corrective action plan. The task force hired Accretive Solutions, Inc. to validate and verify the work outlined in FAMU’s corrective action plan. The corrective action plan was designed to address the audit findings in the operational and financial audits as well as the SACS concerns.

In a meeting on Wednesday, June 25, 2008, the task force concluded that FAMU has implemented adequate and effective controls. The task force found that 72 corrective actions put into place by FAMU satisfactorily addressed 92 percent of the findings noted by the task force earlier. The task force found that FAMU had processes in place to address the remaining eight percent of the findings.

“After completing this process, FAMU is in a stronger financial position and has restored its fiscal integrity,” said Ammons. “Campus morale is high, sound financial planning and accounting practices are in effect, and policies and procedures governing finances are operating effectively. Additionally, qualified leadership is in place among the administration and the Board of Trustees.”

“We are thankful for this day and the leadership that President Ammons and his administrative team have provided,” said Alvin Bryant, president of FAMU’s National Alumni Association. “We also are thankful for the leadership Trustee Bill Jennings has provided as chair of our board of trustees through these turbulent times. Working collectively, the board and President Ammons have removed the last obstacle from FAMU's most recent darkest days. The National Alumni Association is grateful for their excellent leadership and competence.”

About the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.

Photo caption: President James H. Ammons (at the podium); board of trustees members; members of the leadership team; student government association; and alumni give the “Rattler” strike in celebration of the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) voting to continue FAMU’s accreditation and remove the university from probation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FAMU Rattlers Continue to Make Significant Contributions to the U.S. Marshals

Florida A&M University student Carl Brown recently graduated from the Centralized Student Career Experience Program (CSCEP) with the U.S. Department of Justice following in the footsteps of many before him.

FAMU places more students in CSCEP than any other historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation, and first became a host site for the program through the efforts of FAMU’s Assistant Chief of Police James Lockley, Jr., the first U.S. Marshal to serve in Florida.

“I always knew I wanted to be a federal agent, and I knew this program was for me,” said Brown, a criminal justice student from Ocala, Fla. “What you see on TV and what the media portray is totally different from the actual thing. The program teaches a lot before you actually step into your career. If I could do it all over again, I would have it no other way.”

CSCEP is a cooperative education program within the U.S. Marshal Service used to fill deputy U.S. Marshal positions. The program is designed to provide a wide range of work experience so that students will become familiar with both administrative and performance duties of U.S. Marshals.

Program participants will act as deputy trainees and gain hands-on experience with warrants, courts support, criminal and civil issues and firearm familiarization.

Brown is currently employed by the U.S. Marshals, performing administrative tasks, and will start in the U.S. Marshals Academy on July 11.

FAMU Alum Elected as the First Black Mayor of Lancaster, Texas

Florida A&M University alum Marcus Knight, 33, was recently elected the first black mayor of Lancaster, Texas, following in the footsteps of his father, Richard Knight Jr., who was appointed Dallas' first black city manager 22 years ago.

Although Knight did not plan on having a career in politics, after moving to Lancaster, Knight served on several boards and commissions in the city, which prepared him to run for mayor. He was a member of the Lancaster Economic Development Corporation Board, Planning and Zoning Commission and Charter Review committee.

Knight, a 1996 honor graduate of FAMU’s School of Business and Industry (SBI), began his professional career at Toyota Motor Sales USA after graduation. After moving back to Texas, Knight eventually joined his family’s business, Knight Waste Services, Ltd., which is a residential waste hauling company. He currently serves as the vice-president and chief operating officer.

Knight and his wife Tengemana have three children: Avery, 8; Sanaa, 5; and Mia, 19 months.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

FAMU Alum will serve as SC State University’s 10th President

Florida A&M University alum George Cooper was recently elected as the 10th president of South Carolina State University (SC State University), after a unanimous vote by the university’s Board of Trustees.

“I am honored to be selected as the 10th President of SC State University,” said Cooper. “I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and stakeholders as we together move towards academic excellence.”

Cooper, a 1967 graduate with a bachelor’s in animal husbandry, was selected from among three others to serve in the top position at South Carolina’s only public historically black college or university (HBCU).

Before returning to higher education as SC State University’s 10th president, Cooper served as a professor and dean at Tuskegee University; a professor and vice president for academic affairs at Alabama A&M University; a principal animal nutritionist and coordinator of strategic planning; national program leader in cooperative state research; and deputy administrator in the partnerships unit at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Cooper earned his Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois, Urbana and master’s degree in animal science from Tuskegee University.

Interim President Leonard A. McIntyre, Ph.D., will remain in office until July 2008 when Cooper arrives.

FAMU Student Sidney Wright IV named NABJ Student Journalist of the Year and FAMU ABJ Chapter is finalist for NABJ Student Chapter of the Year

Sidney Wright IV, an award-winning senior broadcast journalism student at Florida A&M University, will be honored as the Student Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists on July 24 in Chicago as part of the NABJ Hall of Fame Banquet.

FAMU’s ABJ Chapter also is a finalist for the Student Chapter of the Year and will be honored during the banquet. FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean James Hawkins will host a July 24 reception from 5-7 p.m. at the Mississippi Room in the Sheraton Chicago Hotel to celebrate Wright, the FAMU ABJ chapter, students and alumni during the UNITY Journalists of Color Convention.

“We salute Sidney and our ABJ chapter for the fine work they’ve done and will continue to do,” said Hawkins. “The reception is an opportunity to recognize some of the talent in our program plus reconnect with alumni and industry leaders.”

Wright, who is from Tampa, Fla., has shown exemplary leadership by spearheading the first live newscast for FAMU-TV 20 in 2007 and serving as editor for “The Famuan” newspaper in 2006.

Wright also has served as host of the weekly radio show “SGA Talks” on WANM FM 90.5 and correspondent for the school's campus magazine “Journey.” While juggling all of his school activities and classes, he also serves as the weekend producer for the 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts for WTXL, Tallahassee's ABC affiliate. He continues to mentor and lend his support to student journalists.

After graduation in August, Wright will work full-time for ABC News in New York City. Samples of his work can be found online at

“I'm extremely proud of Sidney; it's a well-deserved honor,” said Valerie White, one of Wright’s journalism professors and mentors. “He is a true newsman, which is becoming an anomaly for his generation. But he is a true standout and is committed to his profession. I am happy that he is receiving this recognition, and

I'm looking forward to seeing him accomplish many more milestones in the future."

“Under the leadership of President Georgia Dawkins, FAMU’s ABJ chapter, has become one of the most active student groups in the SJGC,” said Dorothy Bland, director of FAMU’s division of journalism. “Membership in the ABJ chapter has tripled from about 15 to more than 50 active members in the last year.”

FAMU Students Selected to Participate in CFO Alex Sink’s 2008 Academy of Leadership Excellence Program

Thirteen Florida A&M University students were part of the 2008 inaugural class of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s A.L.Ex.” Academy of Leadership Excellence Program. CFO Sink, FAMU President James H. Ammons, and Florida State University (FSU) President T.K. Wetherell today announced the launch of the A.L.Ex., the Academy of Leadership Excellence program within the Florida Department of Financial Services.

The inaugural class of 2008 consists of 18 university students from FSU and FAMU within 11 divisions of the Department of Financial Services.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to gain experience that will help give them a competitive edge,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “The students recognized today by CFO Sink are some of our best and brightest. We are hoping that they will seriously consider careers in Florida and in state government. These are students who have the potential to become the future leaders of our state.”

The FAMU students who were selected included the following:

•Rodney Dean Adair, Jr., a business administration major from Chicago, Ill., who will work in the agent and agency services;
•Kyesha Austin, a health information management major from Lauderhill, Fla. will work in the workers’ compensation division;
•Dariaen Brown, from Tallahassee will work in the accounting and auditing division;
•Tiffaine Cash, a criminal justice/biology major from St. Louis, Mo. will work in the fraud division;
•Latrese Cherry, from Hollywood, Fla. will work in the agent and agency services;
•James Harden, Jr., majoring public relations with a minor Spanish from Miami, Fla. will work in the consumer services division;
•Kendra Lee, from San Antonio, Texas will work in the accounting and auditing division;
•Geena Lewis, a business administration major from Jacksonville, Fla. will work in the accounting and auditing division;
•Manuel Moody, a business administration major from Canton, Miss. will work in the rehabilitation and liquidation division;
•LaToya Russell, a public relations major from Charlotte, NC will work in the Office of Communications;
•LaToya Sheals, a graduate student from Lakeland, Fla. will work in the fraud division;
•Kaili Walker, an accounting major from Thomson Georgia will work in the accounting and auditing division; and
•William Wiggins, an accounting major from Tallahassee will work in the accounting and auditing division.

“I will have the opportunity to travel to various counties in the state of Florida to review their budgets to make sure their agency is following Florida statutes,” said Brown. “This experience will help me because I plan to be a CPA.”

The Academy of Leadership and Excellence program will provide real-world work experience, professional development, and career opportunities in public service for Florida’s best and brightest university students. Students will receive substantive and challenging work assignments from their assigned mentor and have their work evaluated on a professional level.

“I commend the 2008 inaugural class of the A.L.Ex. program for their academic achievement and their commitment to public service,” said CFO Alex Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “As a state, we need to do everything we can to encourage and mentor our young people, providing a pathway for public service and a lifetime of success.”

Students have paid positions and are required to work at least 20 hours a week. All students must maintain above a 3.0 GPA and be a junior, senior or a graduate student. This class’s average GPA is 3.5. Future classes will be open to all state university students.

As a token, Sink presented each student with a nameplate for his or her desk.

Friday, June 13, 2008

FAMU is Ranked No. 1 in Production of Black Baccalaureate Degree Holders

Florida A&M University was recently cited as the number one producer of African American baccalaureate degree holders in a report issued by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

With a total of 1,256 graduates in the 2006-07 academic year, FAMU tops the magazine’s list of America’s top 100 undergraduate degree producers in its June 2008 issue. All institutions appearing on the list were ranked according to the total number of degrees awarded to minority students across all disciplines. FAMU has been consistently ranked as a number one baccalaureate degree producer for several years in various categories. The University also leads the nation in the production of African American pharmacists and African American PhD graduates in physics.

James H. Ammons, president of FAMU, said the recognition received from the recently published report validates the valued role FAMU plays in American and global higher education.

“This announcement by Diverse Issues in Higher Education speaks volumes concerning FAMU’s unique contributions to the nation and the international community at large,” he said. “I am pleased to learn of our ranking as we make enormous strides in our daily pursuit of excellence in everything we do.”

Located in Tallahassee, FAMU has a long tradition of achievements. In 1997, the institution was selected by Time Magazine and the Princeton Review as the “College of the Year” when it beat out most Ivy League Institutions in the recruitment of National Merit finalists. In 2000 FAMU tied Harvard in its recruitment of National Merit Scholars, bringing the nation’s brightest and most promising students to its campus. The university was also recognized as the number one institution for African Americans in 2006 by Black Enterprise Magazine.

Acclaimed Author, Dennis Kimbro to Keynote FAMU Summer 2008 Commencement

Dennis P. Kimbro, Ph.D., acclaimed author and professor, will keynote Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Summer 2008 commencement scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, August 8, at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.

Kimbro has interviewed some of America’s most notable achievers with one question in mind: How can impoverished black Americans pull themselves out of poverty and reach their full potential? Kimbro decided to study, and use as a reference, Napoleon Hill’s bestseller “Think and Grow Rich.” He also developed an open survey to use among black Americans much like Hill did in the 1930s.

Two years later, Kimbro learned from the Napoleon Hill Foundation, that Hill himself had drafted a book in 1970 that explored his same question. After a personal meeting with the president of the foundation, Kimbro was commissioned to update and complete Hill’s original manuscript. The end result was “Think and Grow: A Black Choice,” which delves into the secrets of success contained in the lives of peak performing men and women, and reveals how readers can utilize these keys to make their dreams come true.

He has been awarded the Dale Carnegie Personal Achievement Award, and in 1996 he served as one of the eight national judges for the prestigious Ernst and Young USA Today Entrepreneur of the Year. The National Black MBA Association presented him with the 2005 H. Naylor Fitzhugh Award, emblematic of the top business professor in the nation. Kimbro has been featured on the Today Show and Larry King Live, and in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today.

Kimbro is the author of several books including his bestseller “What Keeps Me Standing: A Black Grandmother’s Guide to Peace, Hope and Inspiration.”

Kimbro received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from the University of Oklahoma, and his doctorate from Northwestern University, where he studied wealth and poverty among underdeveloped countries. He is currently a professor at the Clark Atlanta University School of Business Administration. He is married, and is the father to three daughters; Kelli, Kimberli and MacKenzie.

From Facebook Profile to Page, FAMU Makes the Switch to Keep Students Involved in the Digital Era

In an effort to creatively and effectively maintain open lines of communication and constant flow of information to one of its most important stakeholders, students, Florida A&M University (FAMU) is reestablishing its Facebook page.

“The Office of Communications is committed to making sure we keep our students and other stakeholders informed about the events, achievements and activities occurring at FAMU,” said Sharon Saunders, FAMU’s chief of communications and executive assistant to the president. “Facebook is one way to ensure that students are made aware of activities, issues and opportunities.”

Recently, FAMU received notification from the Facebook’s customer operations department that the FAMU Facebook “profile” would be disabled because organizations are not permitted to utilize a profile. FAMU will start to rebuild its list through a Facebook page it has been given permission to establish.

“This page will give the office the opportunity to rebuild its list of interested students and send key messages to them,” said Saunders. “The FAMU profile had generated more than 1,000 friends.”

The new FAMU Facebook page will feature up-to-date news on the institution; photo galleries showcasing campus activities; alumni and student achievements; and promotional videos. Also, “fans” of the FAMU Facebook page will receive alerts and reminders via a mass email blast.

Angel Suri, a FAMU information and communications specialist who is responsible for maintaining FAMU’s official MySpace page (, YouTube channel ( and blog (, will maintain the FAMU Facebook page.

To view the FAMU Facebook page, visit

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

FAMU President to Serve on Two National Committees to Develop Policy

James H. Ammons, president of Florida A&M University, has been selected to serve on two national committees that will develop policy used by officials in government and education.

As a member of the Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline, President Ammons will help develop resolutions to increase studies in the fields of math, science and engineering. The committee is scheduled to conduct a 12-month congressionally-mandated study to examine ways to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in various education programs in preparation for the science and engineering workforce.

In a second committee Ammons will serve as an educational associate member of the Conference Board. Since 1916, the board has been delivered data and analysis on the economy and fast-changing management practices. Nearly 2,000 companies, colleges, and universities worldwide rely on The Conference Board. In past years the board has created the first cost of living index in the U.S. and currently produces indices such as the Consumer Confidence Index, Consumer Internet Barometer, and the Leading Economic Indicators.

In an effort to help establish and enhance the plight of minority institutions, Ammons will also serve as a board member on the National Association of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Title III Administration. The mission of the board is to strengthen the resource development capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in order to move them into the mainstream of American Higher Education.

Ammons expressed great pride and joy in his nomination and appointments to these prestigious boards.

“It is a distinct honor for me to serve as a board member with these important and dynamic organizations. I look forward to having an opportunity to help develop policies that will enhance the higher education community and help inform the general public on what is needed to keep America as the world’s leader in research and cutting-edge technology.” Ammons said.

Ammons will begin his second year as president of FAMU on July 2. An official installation ceremony will take place on October 31.

Monday, June 9, 2008

FAMU President is the First to be Honored for Weathering the Storm by the Tallahassee Urban League

Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons, was recently honored by the Tallahassee Urban League with the “Weathering the Storm Award” for his continuous dedication to FAMU and ensuring its success.

Ammons was the first person ever to be honored with the award.

“Although my drive for a better FAMU is derived from a sincere love for an institution, and not from the desire of recognition, I am grateful for the Tallahassee Urban League’s notice of my dedication to FAMU,” said Ammons.

The award is intended to honor local religious leaders, political figures, a family or an individual that weathered a dangerous storm and survived to tell their stories.

“This is first time that this award has been initiated, and we wanted to award Dr. Ammons because of a strong comeback of university,” said Rev. Ernest Ferrell, president and CEO of the Tallahassee Urban League. “This was a very difficult challenge and storm, but under his leadership they were able to turn the university back in the right direction.”

Upon Ammons’ arrival to FAMU, a total of six accredited degree programs were in jeopardy of probation or conditional accreditation. Amazingly, 10 months later, all of these programs are either reaccredited or have had a positive site visit.

In addition to resuscitating academic programs at FAMU, under Ammons’ leadership the institution received the first unqualified audit it has had in three years from the State of Florida Auditor General’s Office. In the past two years, FAMU received qualified audits, which ultimately led to the University being placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

FAMU Student Government Vice President Named a Gubernatorial Fellow

Florida A&M University Student Government Association (SGA) vice president Mellori Lumpkin was chosen to be part of Gov. Charlie Crist’s fourth class of the Gubernatorial Fellowship program.

“I’m very excited, not only about opportunity but because there are only 11 students chosen throughout the state — undergrads, grads and even law school students — and I was one of them,” Lumpkin said. “Just for FAMU to have a seat at the table of this fellowship is a very good showing.”

Students were selected based on a competitive application process, which included the ability to show strong leadership, written and oral communication skills, community activism, and a desire to serve the people of Florida. They will work in the Executive Office of the Governor or one of the Governor’s agencies, depending on their area of study. Fellows will be expected to work a minimum of 20 hours each week and will receive an hourly wage for their time on the job. To broaden the Fellows’ exposure to state government and enhance their experience, they will also meet weekly as a group to participate in educational activities such as presentations, press conferences, budget briefings and policy briefings.

Lumpkin, a senior business administration student from Bainbrigde, Ga., first heard about the fellowship while browsing through the website, and is the third FAMU student to be part of the Gubernatorial Fellowship. She is most excited about being able to bring a Rattlers standpoint to the fellowship and the experience she will gain from it.

“Because of some of the issues facing our student body, like budget cuts and tuition increases, I think it would be a great experience and learning opportunity,” said Lumpkin.

After graduating in spring 2009, Lumpkin plans on attending law school and returning to Tallahassee to pursue a career in public service.

FAMU College of Law Honors Gwendolyn Cherry with Lecture Hall

Culminating a project that began eight years ago, the Florida A&M University College of Law and members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, co-hosted the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, Esquire Lecture Hall Dedication and Endowed Scholarship Fund Presentation at the school, naming a moot courtroom for the law school alumna, who was also an active member and legal advisor for the sorority.

Garth C. Reeves, Sr., publisher emeritus for The Miami Times, was the keynote speaker for the June 5, 2008 dedication event, during which he provided a history of the role Cherry and other lawyers played in obtaining civil rights and liberties in Florida. Other notable guests included Mynora Bryant, International Grand Basileus, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated; Leenette Morse Pennington, past interim president of Edward Waters College; the Honorable Ralph Flowers, Esquire, retired judge and FAMU College of Law Alumnus (1968); and, Henry Givens, board director, Southern Health Network, Incorporated.

The event also featured a $1,000 contribution from Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and a $10,000 donation from BlueCross and BlueShield of Florida, which increased the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry Scholarship Endowment to $25,000. More than 100 guests participated, including members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. from across the country. Reginald McGill, on behalf of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando City Council, presented Bryant with the key to the city in recognition of the event.

Located on the 2nd floor of the four-story law school, the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, Esquire Lecture Hall is a popular classroom at the FAMU College of Law. In addition to being used for legal curriculum, the room serves as a small moot courtroom where students practice for moot court or mock trial competitions.

Cherry received both her undergraduate and juris doctor degree from FAMU, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1965. Before attending FAMU’s law school, she was the first African-American woman law student to attend the University of Miami. She was also the first African-American woman to practice law in Dade County, Fla., and became one of the first nine attorneys who initially served at Legal Services in Greater Miami in 1966. She was elected as a state representative in 1970, becoming the first African-American woman to serve as a legislator for the State of Florida. She was elected to four terms and served until 1979.

Cherry died in an automobile accident while in Tallahassee, Fla. in February 1979. Former state governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham called her “a champion for the rights of all people and a voice of reason and concern” when he delivered her eulogy. She was honored posthumously in the State of Florida’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.

The FAMU College of Law was founded in 1949 on the main campus in Tallahassee. After graduating 57 lawyers, the law school was closed by the state of Florida in 1968. The Florida Legislature voted to reopen the law school in 2000 and Orlando was selected as the location. The reestablished FAMU College of Law opened its doors in 2002 and is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility at 201 Beggs Avenue in downtown Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood.

Photo Caption:
FAMU College of Law Dean LeRoy Pernell (center) accepts a check to the FAMU Foundation Inc. from members of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. Pictured with the dean are Katie L. Williams (left), chair of the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry Endowed Scholarship Committee; Ruby T. Rayford, co-chair Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry Endowed Scholarship Committee; Evan Peoples, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida; Mynora J. Bryant, International Grand Basileus, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; and Jennifer A. Gunn, Southeast Regional Syntatkes, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Friday, June 6, 2008

PRESERVING THE LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE IN A NEW ERA - Official Inauguration of FAMU’s Tenth President Planned for Fall

On his first day in office, he graciously asked for 500 days. He needed five hundred days to resolve nagging fiscal matters, accreditation issues and personnel problems. Five hundred days were needed to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones to restore his beloved alma mater to the legacy that had made it great.

When Dr. James H. Ammons stepped into the spotlight on July 2nd of last year as Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) tenth president, he knew there was much work to be done. Instead, on his first day in office, James Ammons graciously asked for 500 days.

Today, just a few weeks shy of his 365th day in office, Ammons has accomplished much and has made impressive strides toward reducing the school’s vulnerability and moving it in a positive direction. Admittedly, there are major hurdles that remain, but the FAMU community is convinced that it is safe now to at least begin the planning for the official inauguration of Dr. James H. Ammons as the school’s tenth president. And, believe it or not, it will take place very close to the 500th day.

Scheduled for Friday, October 31, the installation ceremonies for Ammons will take place at 10:10 a.m. in the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center with all the pomp and circumstance befitting the return of a native son who many believe arrived just in the nick of time to save the institution from ruin. There will be no tricks or treats on that day. Instead, a steering committee comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, local business leaders, and even a few FAMU retirees, has been formed so that every detail for the occasion will happen without a glitch. FAMU Trustees R. B. Holmes and Pamela Duncan and Senator Alfred “Al” Lawson, Jr. have agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs.

“I am honored to serve as co-chair for this special occasion,” said Rev. R. B. Holmes. “Dr. Ammons has certainly accomplished many of the things that he outlined upon his arrival, and I am impressed with the energy and professionalism that he has brought forth.” Holmes believes that all stakeholders are ‘at the table’ and will benefit from the excitement that is generated on campus by Dr. Ammons.

“We are planning a festive and up beat celebration to honor Dr. Ammons who has made good on the promises made to students,

faculty, alumni and other stakeholders,” said Sharon Saunders, chief communications officer. “He said that he would restore the public’s faith in the university and over a nine-month period he has accomplished that task and more. We are excited about officially installing Dr. Ammons as the 10th president of FAMU.”

This inauguration won’t be just any inauguration. Themed “Preserving a Legacy of Excellence in a New Era,” this will be a seven-day celebration, and will highlight some of the major thrusts that are part of the Ammons ten-point plan: education, community service, health and the arts. On Sunday, October 26, Inaugural Week will kickoff with the unveiling of an art exhibition. A gospel concert featuring Pastor Shirley Caesar is scheduled for Monday of the inaugural week. This celebration of the arts will continue on the Wednesday night of Inaugural Week when students in the performing arts will showcase their talent in an evening tribute to Ammons.

“We want the community and local businesses to be a part of this event and they can play a major role by serving as sponsors of some of the events and activities,” said Saunders. “During these tough economic times we are being frugal planners while making sure the celebration is one that Dr. Ammons will be proud to claim.”

FAMU students will play an integral part in both the planning and promotion of the inaugural week and the activities that will take place. PRodigy, the university’s student-run public relations firm, has been retained to provide the publicity and promotional work for the week of activities. About ten student associates with the company have spent the spring semester brainstorming ideas and laying the plans to promote ten different activities for the week.

“We call him the talented tenth,” says Angelica Washington, a junior public relations student, referring to the school’s tenth president. “He’s a president that all of us feel we can relate to because he cares about students first and foremost.” Washington says she has had a lot of fun working on the inauguration account as an associate with PRodigy. The students working on the inauguration will begin implementation of the publicity plan at the onset of the fall semester.

On his first day in office, he graciously asked for 500 days — days committed to one of the most important races against time in his professional career, a race to make things right again. As far as FAMU’s stakeholders are concerned, if Ammons is willing to postpone the formalities of an inauguration while tackling the big issues and proving his long-term staying power, they are willing to meet him at the finish line with a well-planned and well-deserved week of celebration.

Inaugural Week will take place October 26- November 1, 2008. Planned activities include:
• Art Exhibit and Reception
• An Evening with the First Lady
• Gospel Concert
• Academic Forums for FAMU Students and Faculty
• A Night Celebrating the Arts
• Installation Ceremony and Reception
• Inaugural Ball
• President’s Inaugural Barbecue

For more information about the FAMU Presidential Inauguration and for regular updates, visit the official website at

FAMU President Forms Council to Address Global Warming Solutions

In line with the commitment made during the spring’s Focus the Nation event, Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons has formed the FAMU Environmental and Sustainability Council to work on global warming solutions.

The council will work to develop and implement an environmental literacy and awareness program for the campus and work with the campus and community to integrate green campus initiatives. It will also serve as a source of support for Governor Charlie Crist as he executes his energy policy and establishes the Florida Action Team on Energy and Climate Change.

“As a result of Governor Crist’s initiatives, FAMU has determined the development of environmental literacy is necessary to the attainment of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that support sustainability,” said Ammons. “By working together, we can positively influence energy and policy programs throughout our state and nation.”

Richard Gragg, associate director of the FAMU Environmental Sciences Institute, was appointed as chair of the council. Other members include: Felicia Barnes; Johnnie Niles; Nancy Santiago; Aaron White; Ariana Marshall; Viniece Jennings; Michelle Williams; Jacqueline Hightower; Kendall Jones; Joseph Bakker; Calvin Haynes; Alex DeJarnett; Donald Palm; Alton Royal; Audrey Simmons; Joseph Richie, II; Robert Seniors; Pamela Tolson; Clinton Smith; Errick Farmer; Ray Mobley; Elizabeth Lewis; Marcia Owens; Jennifer Cherrier; Lambert Kanga; Anjaneyulu Krothapalli; and Ryan Mitchell.

FAMU Named Recipient of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Technology Initiative

Florida A&M University was named a recipient of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Technology Initiative and was awarded a suite of Microsoft software valued at $75,000.

“We are proud to have been selected as a recipient of a commodity in high demand at university campuses across the nation,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “We would like to thank the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for their valiant efforts in improving the technological advancement of historically black colleges and universities.”

According to Dwayne Ashley, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, FAMU was selected bases on the institutions specific technological needs, justification of the needs technology planning and how and where the software given will be utilized.

“Your [FAMU’s] proposal was accepted based on the professionalism and high caliber of work that the technological team invested in the proposal process,” said Ashley.

EMBARQ Donates Computer Equipment Valued at $500,000 to FAMU to use for Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering Program

EMBARQ made a significant donation of reclaimed and repurposed computer equipment valued at more than $500,000 to Florida A&M University’s electronic engineering technology program. The donation includes PCs, monitors, and various network equipment for use in the University's engineering lab.

Makola Abdullah, dean of FAMU’s College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA), expressed the importance of the donation.

“This is not a donation,” said Abdullah. “This is an investment in FAMU. Our students will now be trained using some of the latest technology.”

Archie Wesley, director of EMBARQ’s workplace technology and sciences, stated that EMBARQ will definitely continue their partnership with FAMU.

“This donation is just a stepping stone to a long partnership,” said Wesley.

“This donation at Florida A&M University follows EMBARQ’s company-wide Green plan to reclaim and repurpose our assets,” said Vercie Lark, vice president of Infrastructure Services at EMBARQ. “We are committed to helping the communities that we serve and this is just one of the ways that we can do that.”

FAMU's engineering technology program also has an association with the non-profit organization AMIE (Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering); an organization that EMBARQ also supports.

Photo caption: (left to right) Derrick Blathers, network engineer for EMBARQ and a FAMU alum; G. Thomas Bellarmine, program coordinator for FAMU’s electronic engineering technology program; Makola Abdullah, dean for FAMU’s CESTA; Lou Carrion, chief diversity officer for EMBARQ; Vercie Lark, vice president for infrastructure services for EMBARQ; and Archie Wesley, director for workplace technology and sciences for EMBARQ take moment for a photo after EMBARQ announced its donation to FAMU.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

FAMU Law Associate Dean Lectures to Students in Pretoria, South Africa

As part of a new international focus at the Florida A&M University College of Law, Jeremy Levitt, incoming associate dean for international programs and distinguished professor of international law, recently taught a course, “Humanitarian Intervention in Africa,” to 32 graduate law students and lawyers from the Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The Center for Human Rights is a global leader in human rights education and was the recipient of the 2006 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Prize for Human Rights Education.

Levitt’s lecture, which also was attended by FAMU law students and faculty, was presented via international videoconferencing from a classroom at the College of Law, 201 Beggs Avenue in downtown Orlando. His presentation focused on Africa's incessant deadly conflicts and the trials and tribulations of international peacekeeping efforts in the continent by the United Nations as well as African regional institutions such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.

Levitt argued that because of international apathy and neglect, Africa has been forced to forge African solutions to African problems. Consequently, he states that African states have developed the world's most advanced legal frameworks and intervention mechanisms aimed at stopping genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The lecture was very well received by participants and Levitt -- whose areas of expertise include Public International Law of the Use of Force and Armed Conflict, International Human Rights Law and African Politics – indicated that similar programs are planned as part of the FAMU College of Law’s new international law program, which will commence this summer.

Leroy Pernell, dean of the FAMU College of Law, echoed Levitt’s comments, “This is a critically important topic and FAMU College of Law has an important role to play in global legal education. We look forward to working with more institutions of higher education in Africa.”

HP Technology for Teaching Grant awarded to FAMU

Chao Li, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Florida A&M University Electronics Engineering Technology program, has been awarded the 2008 HP Technology for Teaching grant by the Hewlett Packard Corporation.

Professor Li was notified that his proposal entitled, “Enhancing Students’ Learning in Electronics Engineering Technology Courses by Using Mobile Tablet PC Technology” would be funded for a total value of more than $77,000.

FAMU is one of three higher education institutions in the state and one of only 44 institutions in North America selected by HP to receive funding through this grant. The company received more than 370 proposal requests.

The grant is designed to support innovative and effective uses of technology in higher education. It includes $20,000 in cash and HP technology valued at approximately $57,000. As a recipient, the electronic engineering program will receive free software from Microsoft valued at $6,720. Technology supported through the grant includes: HP Compaq notebooks and accessories for faculty and classroom, a Hewlett Packard printer and digital camera and multimedia projector.

When asked why he decided to submit the proposal for the grant funding, Li responded: “Along with the faculty members in Electronic Engineering Technology, we face the challenge of using new instructional technology to help improve and strengthen the students’ learning experiences. The HP mobile tablet PC technology provides an innovative way to create a more interactive class environment. It is expected that with these classroom practices in place, student success will increase measurably. We also hope that the technological enhancements afforded by this grant will help produce more African-American engineering technologists.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FAMU Graduate Receives National Achievement Award

Denisha Carty, a 2008 Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate from St. Maarten, Virgin Islands, was selected as a recipient of the 2008 Pharmacy (RX) portfolio National Achievement Award.

“I am very excited and honored to have received the RX portfolio National Achievement award,” said Carty. “I feel extremely grateful to have been selected among the other students and proud to represent the best of what Florida A&M University Pharmacy Division has to offer. It goes to show with hard work and perseverance anything is possible.”

According to Gregory Cianfarani, R.Ph., CEO/Founder of RX Insider LTD, Carty was selected based on her exceptional RX portfolio submission and outstanding academic achievements. Carty was selected among 3,000 applicants nationwide by the RX portfolio Selection Committee, which consisted of pharmacy industry professionals from the Walgreens Company; CVS CareMark; SuperValu; Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy (COP); Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital; and the University of the Incarnate Word COP.

David Trang, RPh, University of the Incarnate Word’s COP, and RX portfolio selection committee member said, “It was truly a pleasure to review the portfolios of outstanding pharmacy students across the nation and the schools they represent.”

As the 2008 award recipient, Carty’s portfolio will be honored with extensive recognition and exposure sent to pharmacy industry professionals and will gain national recognition on the RX portfolios website.

“We are proud that a FAMU graduate’s portfolio was selected as one of the best in the U.S. This exemplifies the quality of students that FAMU produces,” said Henry Lewis III, dean and professor of FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

RX portfolios, RX Insider, LTD, located in West Warwick, R.I., is a communications and software development firm focused on the development of portfolios for the pharmacy profession and schools of pharmacy. RX portfolios are professional, detailed and lifelong portfolios used to organize one’s entire professional history from their first professional year until retirement.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tallahassee Delegation Travel To Ghana, West Africa

A delegation comprised of Florida A&M University Dean Henry Lewis III, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dean Lydia McKinley-Floyd, FAMU School of Business and Industry (SBI), Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, and 12 FAMU students will travel Monday, June 2, through Sunday, June 8, to Ghana, West Africa.

The delegation’s purpose is two fold. The Mayor and the Deans will explore areas of potential economic and developmental collaborations, explore business relationships that can be cultivated between Tallahassee and Ghana, and areas where the State of Florida may benefit from technology transfer.

While there, Mayor Marks will meet with Nana Ababio, Ghana’s President of the House of Chiefs, the Minister of Finance, and two members of the Ghana Assembly (Congress). In addition, the Mayor will make a number of diplomatic visits including to Tallahassee’s own Sister City, Konongo-Odumasi, where he will meet with Mayor George Frimpong. The Tallahassee City Commission approved the Sister City partnership with Konongo-Odumasi in 2001.

Dean Henry Lewis is taking 12 FAMU students to Ghana where the students will spend 10 weeks conducting research on health disparities that adversely impact the health of the people of Ghana. This National Institute of Health Program called Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) is designed for minority graduate and undergraduate students with health research training in an international venue.

“The MHIRT grant will facilitate student awareness of minority and international health problems, stress the importance and opportunities of international collaboration in research, as well as, address health disparities from a global health perspective,” said Lewis.

In previous years, the MHIRT grant at FAMU has provided training for student research in Egypt, Peru and the Czech Republic. Currently, FAMU is in the second year of a three-year grant that is sponsoring all of the delegation on the trip.

Dean McKinley-Floyd will explore collaborations between the University of Ghana, Cape Coast University and the University of Science and Technology. In addition, she will meet with women in the Micro-Business Enterprises and Entrepreneurial and Business Leaders from throughout Ghana.

“We hope to establish business and academic linkages for our students and faculty from SBI,” said McKinley-Floyd.