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 www.famu.edu/inauguration2008.


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This is great and well deserved by Dr. Ammons. I support him and will continue to support FAMU. My second (last remaining child) graduated from FAMU this past April. We are so thankful that he was able to experience Dr. Ammons' Administration during his senior year at FAMU. I am so impressed with Dr. Ammons and his team and expect many more great things to happen at our beloved Alma Mater.

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