Friday, December 18, 2009

FAMU Strikers to Perform in Disney Annual Christmas Day Parade

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Strikers have been selected to perform in the Walt Disney World Annual Christmas Day Parade scheduled to air on ABC on Christmas day, reaching 16 million viewers worldwide.

The dance troupe will perform with one of Disney’s artist, Steve Rushton, along with youth dancers from all over the world between the ages of 7 and 15-years-old.

The Strikers will also be featured in the opening performance with the Jonas Brothers, 2008 American Music Award winners and 2009 Grammy nominee for best new artist.

During the Strikers special step performance, host Kelly Ripa will introduce the troop.

“This is overwhelming,” said Brandon Cenningham, 21, a fourth year member of Strikers and a business administration student from West Palm Beach, Fla. “It’s my first nationally televised performance outside of the Marching “100.”

The 16 members of Strikers were contacted a month prior to departing for their fully funded three day trip to Orlando, where they met with Disney’s choreographer who trained the dance troop on step dancing.

“It’s a good opportunity for the university to receive positive exposure,” said Sheprio Hardemon, founder of the Strikers.

Hardemon was contacted by Disney’s representatives requesting the troupe to perform in the 2009 parade.

However, the Strikers are no strangers to the spotlight. The troupe was recently featured on MTV America’s Best Dance Crew as well as BET’s 106 and Park and Apollo Theater.

The group has been invited back to perform for Disney in February 2010 during the Steve Harvey Dreamers Academy, which will incorporate a combination of dance and theater performances. They were also invited back in September 2010 for the Disney Step Show.

It may have been cold outside of Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Alfred Lawson, Jr. Multipurpose Center Teaching Gymnasium for the 2009 fall commencement, but inside parents, family and friends of nearly 700 FAMU graduates packed the gymnasium near capacity with shouts of joy and excitement.

Among those graduates was Chantell Black, a broadcast journalism major, who left two days after commencement to join her unit in Fort Dicks N.J., before deploying to Afghanistan. Black should have deployed with her unit on September 13; however, her commanding officer allowed her to finish her final semester with the expectation that she would join her unit after graduation.

“This semester I have not been on active duty,” said Black. “I’m in the Reserves. I would typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year.”

Black is no stranger to Afghanistan. Black enlisted in the military after high school and spent a year in Afghanistan. Now, almost four years after returning from Afghanistan, Black feels that she is mentally prepared because of her years of experience and education.

Commencement speaker Congresswoman Corrine Brown, a FAMU alumna, encouraged the graduates to be leaders like Black because their leadership is needed today.

“We are facing some very tough times and we are looking for your leadership,” said Brown. “When you are born, we receive a birth certificate and when you die, your family receives a death certificate. The dash between your birth and death stands for what you will do to make this world a better place.”

Graduate Cheryl Truesdell Mitchell, a third generation Rattler, stated she wanted to be a great example for children.

“I wanted to get my master’s degree so I can be a good example for children,” said Mitchell, who received her degree in educational leadership. My experience here at FAMU has been outstanding.”

Mitchell is a first grade teacher at Hawks Rise Elementary in Tallahassee. She is a National Board Certified teacher and the first African American to be named Teacher of the Year at Hawks Rise in 2007.

She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from FAMU in 1990.

During the commencement ceremony, FAMU President James H. Ammons presented former FAMU Presidents Walter L. Smith and Frederick S. Humphries with plaques for recognition as President Emeritus.

During the administration of Smith [1977-1985], the University grew to 11 schools and colleges and a Division of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. In 1984, the University was granted the authority to offer its first Doctor of Philosophy degree, the Ph.D. in Pharmacology.

In 1985, Humphries [1985-2001] became the eighth president of FAMU. The Humphries Years were heralded as a time of unprecedented expansion and achievement. During Humphries’ tenure, enrollment soared from 5,100 [1985] to 9,551 [1992]. And by the 1998-1999 school year, enrollment had reached 12,000 students.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Department of Computer and Information Sciences Awarded More Than $2 Million in Grants

Despite the economic crisis plaguing the nation, Florida A&M University (FAMU) Department of Computer Information Sciences (CIS) has garnered more than $2 million in grants to support academic and research efforts within the department.

The largest of the funds is a $1 million grant from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish the Minority Innovation Challenges Institute (MICI). The purpose of MICI is to get more minority students around the country to become interested in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by using the NASA Centennial Challenges as a motivating factor.

According to Clement Allen, CIS associate professor and the principal investigator for the grant, the NASA Centennial Challenges are a set of fascinating, monetary contests used by NASA to spur innovations in space technologies. They offer contests where individuals and groups compete for money and fame. For example, there is a contest to design and build a better astronaut glove and a contest to build a robot that can excavate dirt on the moon.

FAMU is the first institution to establish a MICI with funding from NASA, and will work with other minority-serving institutions in the nation to mentor students.

The MICI will mentor students at minority serving institutions around the country. MICI will feature a year-round virtual conference to provide video, question and answer sessions, networking opportunities and other resources, with a focus on a different contest each month.

Through MICI, which is funded for three years, Allen aims to foster further research in technology areas meaningful to NASA. He will also work to motivate students to become involved in STEM disciplines related to NASA and inspire them to seek employment at NASA or a NASA contractor.

“Technology contests have proven to be a powerful way to stimulate student interest in STEM related disciplines,” he said. “MICI will strive to increase the number of underrepresented students participating in these contests.”

The CIS Department was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) for Integrating Computation into STEM Education. The project, “Computation for STEM Education (C-STEM),” is a three-year, $600,000 award.

The goals of this project are to increase the number of STEM students who graduate with discipline-specific computational skills, and to stimulate increased use of computation in the teaching of STEM disciplines at FAMU. This project has the potential to effect long-term improvement in science and engineering education at FAMU through increased use of computation in the teaching of STEM disciplines. The outreach component of the project includes working with area high school science teachers to promote their use of computation in science courses.

FAMU also received an award from the National Science Foundation for $280,000 to continue to host the Tri-Regional Information Technology Program (Tri-IT).

Tri-IT is an alliance of three colleges – Florida State College at Jacksonville, FAMU and Seminole Community College. The goal is to engage female high school students interested in technology and encourage them to consider college degrees and careers in the field of information technology (IT). It is an “after-school” type program that teaches students about the latest and greatest technology.

“This program, along with the African American Women in Computer Science (AAWCS) scholarship program and the STARS Alliance, has established FAMU as a leader in addressing the shortage of minority women in IT,” said Jason Black, co-principal investigator.

Another $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation will explore the use of studio-based and active learning techniques in formative CIS courses. The project is titled “Evolution to Studio-Based Active Learning.” The project goal is to transform incrementally the instructional paradigm used in formative programming courses. Traditional lecture-based instruction, where the teacher is primarily a transmitter of knowledge, will be augmented by active-learning activities, where the teacher coaches student problem solving and exploration.

Expected project outcomes include higher retention in the CIS major, increased mastery of foundational skills, improved technical communication skills and enhanced critical thinking.

CIS faculty is also working with students on various robotic projects funded by the National Science Foundation. Some of the robots that have been created have the ability to play tag, follow a line around a track and even deliver mail. The central focus of the project is to stimulate interest in computer science.

FAMU President and Mrs. James H. Ammons Share Some Holiday Joy

On the twelfth day of December, Florida A&M University (FAMU) President and Mrs. James H. Ammons shared some holiday cheer by donating bicycles, books and gift cards to more than 300 children in the Tallahassee community. The program benefitted children from Bond Elementary; Fairview Middle; FAMU-Developmental Research School; Oak Ridge Elementary; Griffin Middle; John G. Riley Elementary; Nims Middle; Pineview Elementary Schools and New Beginnings.

Mayor John Marks also participated in the program designed to promote reading.

“It is important we show the community that we care and how important they are to us, especially during this holiday season,” said President Ammons.

One parent, Amanda Love, thought the toy drive, was a wonderful event.

“I think this [toy drive] was very helpful,” said Love, who has a third grader at Pineview and a six grader at Fairview. “The whole program was motivational for the kids. This toy drive is wonderful for those who may be less fortunate than others. FAMU is doing some wonderful things. I hope FAMU keeps up the good work."

One third grader from Bond Elementary was truly excited because he won a bicycle, which was his first.

“I really like the colors because red and black are my favorite colors,” said the third grader. “I hope it stops raining so I can ride it.”

The children were entertained by members of the FAMU Marching “100,” the Boys Choir of Tallahassee, FAMU cheerleaders, Tallahassee Girls Choir of CHOICE and the Mountain Dew Cloggers. Mayor Marks also did a reading of the “Spirit of Christmas.” They also received greetings from the FAMU men’s basketball team.

FAMU will also make a donation to Mothers In Crisis, Inc.

FAMU faculty, staff and students collected more than $15,000 in gift cards, books and bicycles.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Today the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced that Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) accreditation has been reaffirmed for a 10-year period with no further reports required and no recommendations.

“We are proud of the work of our accrediting team and the campus community,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “Two years ago scathing financial audits hinted toward fiscal instability and uncertainty at FAMU. We have met our challenges, completed the accrediting process and are focusing our energies on creating a 21st Century Learning Center second to none. We have been through some challenging times and it is ironic that at the SACS annual meeting this year we were the presenters this time, telling others how to weather the storm. I can truly say that achieving this milestone was a team effort and confirms the academic and administrative strength of the university.”

Within days before Ammons’ arrival, the SACSCOC announced that it was placing FAMU on a six-month probationary period, the organization’s most serious sanction, aside from withdrawing accreditation. During this same period, FAMU was undergoing the re-accreditation process which was pushed back a year so that the university could make sure it addressed the issues related to the probation — compliance with core standards related to financial and governance issues. Without accreditation, FAMU students would not be able to receive federal financial aid – something more than 80 percent of students receive.

With the public’s trust in the university wavering, Ammons and his leadership team took the reigns in July 2007 with a tough task ahead. However, after numerous hours of work by staff, there was a sign of better days ahead for FAMU.

In December 2007, the State of Florida Auditor General reported that FAMU had received its first unqualified audit in three years. This was a clear sign of the restored fiscal integrity of the institution, but it was not the last.

The true symbol of FAMU’s resurgence as a fiscally responsible and credible institution came in June 2008 when the SACSCOC announced its decision to remove FAMU from probation.

With probation lifted and a clean fiscal bill of health, the FAMU leadership team only had to focus on reaffirmation of accreditation from the SACSCOC.

“We had a very competent staff and we are pleased with the outcome,” said C. William Jennings, chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees. “This is yet another great milestone achieved under Dr. Ammons’ administration.”

FAMU has been accredited by the SACSCOC since 1935. FAMU achieved a significant first by becoming the first historically black institution to become a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in 11 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.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Student Writers Received Honors from Black PR Wire for Being the No. 1 HBCU

Matthew Beatty, associate director for Public Affairs for Black PR Wire’s Miami-based company, visited Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) to honor a group of FAMU students who had been actively involved in writing for the company’s HBCU Writers’ Project initiative. FAMU was the No. 1 HBCU to submit the most press releases. FAMU won the honor over Johnson C. Smith University, Savannah State University and Florida Memorial University to name a few. FAMU students submitted 29 press releases and 25 were published.

Black PR Wire, an online news service, launched the new initiative called the HBCU Writers’ Project in August of last year. The project was specifically designed to encourage students at HBCUs to write news stories with national appeal, submit the stories to Black PR Wire for critical editorial review, and, if approved, gain visibility for their work through publication on the Black PR Wire web site.

Beatty, a recent graduate of the FAMU SBI five-year program, stated it felt great to come back to FAMU.

“I am excited to be back at my alma mater to honor the students,” said Beatty. “I am a firm believer in an HBCU education.”

Beatty presented each student with a certification and a flash drive. He also presented HP laptop to Gina Kinchlow’s class. The students honored are students in Kinchlow’s class, who is an assistant professor for the public relations sequence in the Division of Journalism.

“For the past three semesters, students in the public relations sequence have been encouraged to submit examples their writing to the project,” said Gina Kinchlow, assistant professor, FAMU’s SJGC. “I’m very pleased with what the students have accomplished.”

One student, Jeanine James, had five articles published, more than any other HBCU student in the project.

“It is wonderful to be recognized,” said James, a senior from St. Croix, Virgin Islands. “This accomplishment is something I can add to my portfolio.”

You can see photos o Black PR Wire honoring FAMU students at

Click on the "Black PR Wire" icon.

About Black PR Wire
Black PR Wire is the nation’s first and largest black news distribution wire service. The company’s database holds a comprehensive listing of more than 1,200 black-owned publications and media and includes a comprehensive listing of key black journalists throughout the United States and the Caribbean.

Black PR Wire delivers its clients’ press releases, video and audio news releases, electronic video messages and electronic newsletters to key reporters, writers, and influential grassroots, social and civic community leaders throughout the country.

Business Students Place Second in National Team Selling Competition

Students in the Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Business and Industry (SBI) won second place in the Indiana University (IU) Kelly School of Business Center for Global Sales Leadership National Team Selling Competition.

Team members Nicole Crowell, Ashley Alfred, Daniel Murff and Darriel Brown beat out teams from institutions like Indiana University, Penn State University and the University of Toledo. This was the first time FAMU entered the competition.

Following the competition, each member of the team was offered a full-time, selling position at Altria Sales and Distribution, Inc.

“I was thrilled because I knew my team had done a great job, but when I found out that we won second place it validated our performance,” said Alfred, a fourth-year business administration student with a concentration in marketing from Houston, Texas.

“Finding out we won second place was unbelievable,” said Murff, a graduating senior, business administration student from Indianapolis, Ind. “The chance to represent the university in a setting like that was an honor.”

Roscoe Hightower, Jr., associate professor for SBI, served as the advisor for the team and developed a theme for them while they prepared for the competition, “Tenacity plus Preparation plus Conviction equals Unlimited Success.”

“The team had to make personal sacrifices in order to maintain their scholarly efforts as FAMU students while at the same time prepare and fully understand these business cases that pertain to everything they are exposed to in business,” Hightower said.

According to Hightower, one of the largest deciding factors that differentiated FAMU from the other institutions was the students’ ability to “critically think” and apply their knowledge during a pressure situation.

According to Brown, a senior, business administration student from Lakeland, Fla., the team utilized team-building skills they acquired as students in SBI.

“Once we put those teamwork and communication skills to work, we discovered our strong and weak points and we could prepare better for the competition,” he said.

Fellow teammate Crowell, a junior business administration student from Stockton, Calif., said “the team was looked at as the underdogs.”

“This was really one of the greatest experiences ever,” she said. “Being in Indiana, around so many top institutions, many were surprised when we came in second place. I’m vey proud of the work that we put in.”

Each team role played as a fictional Caldaco National Account Supermarket Team whose goal was to introduce a new product, “Foco” brand energy drink, to the fictional Get-a-Lot Supermarket chain. The team had to convince a buyer to accept this new product in a morning appointment limited to 15 minutes. If the buyers accepted the proposal, then a follow up afternoon appointment was scheduled with a group of vice presidents where the team made a sales presentation based on uncovered needs from the earlier appointment. The afternoon presentation was limited to 20 minutes. The teams’ presentations were taped for them to review their performance later and judges provided detailed feedback on each team’s performance.

About the Center for Global Sales Leadership National Team Selling Competition
For three years in a row, the Center for Global Sales Leadership has hosted the National Team Selling Competition "Can't Beat the Experience!" at the Kelly School of Business on the IU Bloomington campus. This annual event is sponsored by Altria Sales and Distribution.

The event was launched as part of IU’s ongoing commitment to prepare today's sales students for the world of work. In today's fast-paced sales world, more companies are turning to a team selling or team consulting approach to their major accounts.

The competition attracts top teams of undergraduate sales students from America's leading universities who wish to pursue high-level, complex sales with an opportunity to practice team-selling simulations. Altria Sales and Distribution employees role play the position of buyers and senior management and also serve as judges.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Office of Communications Creates Photo Gallery on the University's Web Site

The Office of Communications has created a photo gallery on the university’s web site, which is a new feature to keep the campus community, alumni and friends of the university engaged. Individuals can now view the photo gallery at the following link - View photos from the general faculty meeting and the Black PR Wire awards ceremony as well as the Florida Classic, homecoming and much more.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FAMU Awarded $50,000 Grant from Higher Education for Development and the United States Agency for International Development

The Higher Education for Development (HED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded Florida A&M University (FAMU) a $50,000 grant through the U.S.-Africa Higher Education Initiative Planning Grant competition.

The grant was awarded to U.S. and African partnering institutions to develop plans to address regional and national economic development priorities including such as engineering, health, agriculture, environment and natural resources, science and technology, education and teacher training/preparation, and business, management and economics.

“We are extremely pleased to fund these additional 13 partnerships,” said Alonzo Fulgham, acting administrator of USAID. “With the addition of these 13, we now have a total of six historically black colleges and universities in the initiative and a number of well-respected, top-ranked academic institutions in the United States and throughout Africa. The expertise and experience delivered by these institutions will have a critical impact as this effort moves forward."

FAMU is currently partnering with the University for Development Studies, Ghana, Africa.

"Faculty and staff at Florida A&M University have created yet another excellent opportunity to address complex health issues,” said Larry Robinson, FAMU vice president for research. “This USAID planning grant allows us to work in collaboration with colleagues in Ghana who have similar interests and are also strongly committed to the resolution of health issues."

Marching 100 Selected to Participate in 2010 Honda Battle of the Bands

Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Marching “100” has been chosen as part of the 2010 lineup of marching bands for the eighth annual Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase scheduled for Saturday, January 30, 2010 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Eight Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching bands have been chosen to participate through a combination of online voting by fans and a selection process involving HBCU band directors and university presidents. The 2010 lineup includes the following:
• Florida A&M University “Marching 100” (Tallahassee, Fla.)
• Albany State University “Marching Rams” (Albany, Ga.)
• Clark Atlanta University “Mighty Marching Panthers” (Atlanta, Ga.)
• North Carolina Central University “Marching Sound Machine” (Durham, N.C.)
• Prairie View A&M University “Marching Storm” (Prairie View, Texas)
• Southern University “Human Jukebox Marching Band” (Baton Rouge, La.)
• Tuskegee University “Marching Crimson Pipers” (Tuskegee, Ala.)
• Virginia State University “Trojan Explosion Marching Band” (Petersburg, Va.)
The Honda Battle of the Bands is the only event where the HBCU marching bands act as the show headliners. The FAMU Marching “100” will have the opportunity to perform for 12 minutes and showcase their musical skills, dancing talents and creativity.

“The Honda Battle of the Bands is designed to showcase the amazing talents of student musicians and celebrate the musical prowess represented at our nation’s HBCUs,” said Marc Burt, senior manager, Office of Inclusion and Diversity for American Honda. “This event is not only about entertainment, it’s also about highlighting the importance of music education and shining a spotlight on vital skills which are learned through band participation like effective communication and teamwork. Honda is proud and honored to be able to bring this enriching experience to every marcher on the field and every band fan in the stands.”

The Honda Battle of the Bands is the only national scholarship program that showcases an important facet of HBCU heritage and culture – music education. The eight winning band programs chosen to participate in this year’s Invitational Showcase will be awarded $20,000 by American Honda for their music programs in addition to the $1,000 grant they received for participation in the pre-qualifying fall campus event tour. Through this program Honda is awarding a total of $205,000 in scholarships to HBCU music programs for the 2009-2010 academic year, and since the beginning of the program, has awarded grants in excess of $1 million.

About American Honda
Honda has a long-standing commitment to the support and success of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities that began more than 20 years ago with the establishment of the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, a program designed to showcase the academic gifts and prowess of HBCU students. American Honda established Honda Battle of the Bands eight years ago as an effort to support HBCU music programs.

PHOTO CAPTION: Derek Webber, director of Promotions and Operations for Urban Sports and Entertainment Group, (first on left); Erika Braxton-White, communications administrator for Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Affairs and Communications, American Honda Motor, Co., (second from right left); and John Morris, promotions and event manager for Urban Sports and Entertainment Group (first on right) presents Shelby Chipman, assistant director of bands (second from left) and Julian White, director of bands and chairman of the Department of Music, with the official plaque inviting the Marching “100” to participate in the Honda Battle of the Bands.

FAMU Awarded $225,079 Grant from USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will provide Florida A&M University (FAMU) with a $225,079 grant to address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers and enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of the U.S. agriculture.

FAMU was one of the 29 institutions USDA chose to award more than $17 million in grants for this cause.

“FAMU is one of two 1890 Land Grant Institutions that received an award from this program,” said Ray Mobley, director of extension programs. “Although we are pleased for this award, we are very much aware of the work to be done to address issues particularly related to our clientele. I am appreciative of the work of our team led by Ms. Vonda Richardson, extension marketing specialist. We are determined to provide the best support to our Beginning Farmers and Ranchers program.”

“Beginning farmers and ranchers face unique challenges and need educational and training programs to enhance their profitability and long term sustainability,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. “The training and education provided through these grants will help ensure the success of the next generation of farmers and ranchers as they work to feed people in their local communities and throughout the world.”

The grants were awarded through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture's (NIFA, formerly the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer.

FAMU was one of the two universities in Florida, the other being University of Florida, and one of two historically black colleges and universities, the other being Langston University, in the nation to be awarded this particular grant.

Life Gets Better and Distinguished Scholars Receive Laptops

Christmas came a little early for some freshmen at Florida A&M University (FAMU). FAMU President James H. Ammons presented laptops to more than 40 scholars as part of the FAMU Presidential Scholarship Program, which includes the Life Gets Better Scholarship and the Distinguished Scholar Award.

The sound of boxes ripping out and the chatter of excitement filled the room as FAMU scholars opened their brand new HP Probook 4310s.

The HP Probooks are equipped with a 4.0 GB RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, DVD player and web camera.

Some of the scholars stated that the laptops were something they really needed.

“I need one [laptop] because I have been borrowing my parents’ laptop,” said Loren McLendon, a biology pre-med major from Jacksonville, Fla. “I’m really grateful and excited to receive a laptop. It’s nice to know that my hard work has paid off.”

McLendon is a Life Gets Better Scholar.

David Johnson, another Life Gets Better Scholar from Atlanta, Georgia, agreed with McLendon.

“I am really happy to get a laptop,” said Johnson, who is also a biology pre-med major. “My old desktop had stopped working a couple of weeks ago.”

Johnson further stated that he chose FAMU because of the biology department.

“FAMU has a good biology department,” said Johnson. “I feel the department [biology] will prepare me for medical school. I’m looking forward to all of the opportunities and internships.”

This group of scholars is from Florida, Missouri, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee. One scholar, Tyler Fryberger, is from the state of Washington. When asked how did he hear about FAMU, Fryberger, who is a Life Gets Better Scholar, stated he heard about the University through ROTC.

“I received a ROTC scholarship as well,” said Fryberger, who is a chemical engineering major. “I had an opportunity to attend the University of Washington, but I decided to come to FAMU because of the Life Gets Better scholarship package. I made the right decision because I feel I can learn more here than I could in Washington.”

Another scholar, Michael Jefferson from Indianapolis, Ind., stated he broke the family tradition by attending FAMU.

“I’m the first to break my family’s tradition by not attending Jackson State University,” said Jefferson, who plans to be a Presidential Ambassador. “In March of this year, I visited FAMU. I walked the campus and studied the history. I knew this [FAMU] is where I wanted to be. I love FAMU.”

PHOTO CAPTION: President James H. Ammons (center); Vice President for Student Affairs Roland Gaines (first on left); and Dedra O’Neal, coordinator for university scholarship programs (second from right) take a photo with the Life Gets Better and Distinguished Scholars.

Rattler Battalion Takes First Place in Ranger Challenge Competition

For the first time in the program’s history, the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Army ROTC “Rattler Battalion” took first place in the Ranger Challenge Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

Cadets from 42 schools throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana competed in the competition over a three-day period. FAMU was classified in the gold tier, where the Rattlers emerged victorious over teams from the University of Florida, which finished second, followed by Tulane University. Each team was comprised of 10 to 11 students for competition.

Sgt. Maj. Julio Baez of the Army Cadet Command’s Sixth Brigade, FAMU’s headquarters command, said the achievement is a significant one for the university program.

“For a team that never won before, it is a very motivational tool, it’s bragging rights,” Baez said.

A few of the graded events the cadets participated in included a physical fitness test, obstacles courses, marksmanship training and night land navigation.

Cadet Cory Bazemore, a third year electronical engineering technology student from Fayetteville, N.C. and FAMU team captain, said all of the hard work and preparation of the team
paid off.

“To see the excitement on my teammates faces was priceless,” Bazemore said. “I knew we had the physical ability and the mental capacity. It was just about staying focused.”

Master Sgt. Thomas Myers, a member of the FAMU ROTC cadre, said he is proud of the way the cadets performed especially with the responsibilities they all must maintain as students.

“Not only are they training for this event, but, in addition to that, they have to do their normal studies and many of them work part-time jobs. I’m incredibly impressed with each one of them,” Myers said.

LT. Col. Jeffrey Williams, FAMU ROTC Battalion Commander, said the first place finish speaks volumes on the character and commitment of the cadets and what he is trying to accomplish with the program.

“I am so proud of their hard work,” Williams said. “When young men and young ladies look for prospects of programs that they can attend to receive commissions in the U.S. Army, they look for the best programs, and this is another step in making us the best program in the country.”

Overall, Bazemore hopes the win will enlighten cadets at other institutions of the high quality ROTC programs housed at institutions such as FAMU and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“Competing against the larger schools gave us motivation. Hopefully it will encourage other HBCU’s to step out and continue to work hard and strive for the best, he said.

The Annual Ranger Challenge competition is widely considered a valuable training tool for the enhancement of skills ROTC cadets acquire through years of intense training. Upon their college graduation, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown Will Deliver Keynote Address for the Fall Commencement

Congresswoman Corrine Brown, a Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna, will serve as the keynote speaker for the 2009 fall commencement. The ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, December 11, in the Alfred Lawson, Jr. Multipurpose Center Teaching Gymnasium. Doors will open for the general public at 5 p.m., and the line of march will begin at 5:40 p.m. from Gaither Gymnasium.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Congresswoman Brown served in the Florida House of Representatives for 10 years before going to Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Brown was elected to Congress from the Third District of Florida in 1992.

As a result of Brown’s commitment to bringing the services of Washington back to Florida, communities throughout the Third District have been able to access resources previously unavailable to them. Brown was reelected to the U.S. House of Representatives for a ninth term in November 2008 and in the 111th Congress. Congresswoman Brown remains the chair of the Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. In this capacity, in the 111th Congress, Brown will concentrate on ensuring that both the Amtrak Reauthorization and RailRoad Safety legislation enacted at the end of the 110th Congress are fully and appropriately implemented. The subcommittee will concentrate on the oversight of pipeline and hazardous material programs and agencies, including reauthorizing the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety program. The subcommittee will also focus on reauthorizing the Surface Transportation Board, funding rail infrastructure improvements throughout the nation’s transportation system and developing a domestic High Speed Rail.

Her constituents and colleagues know Brown as a fighter. Her campaign slogan, Corrine Delivers, is one of the most apt descriptions of Brown’s style of service. By focusing on issues that are key to economic development, Congresswoman Brown has helped bring jobs and opportunities to towns and cities throughout the Third District. One of her first accomplishments as a Member of Congress was winning funding for the much needed Fuller Warren Bridge in Jacksonville.

Brown has been a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure since going to Congress. Early in the 110th Congress, Brown was picked to chair the Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. This subcommittee is very important to Florida and the Third District because of its jurisdiction over the passenger and freight rail industry, which plays a vital role in Florida’s economy.

During her tenure in Congress, Brown has been a member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. She has championed the rights of veterans and called for better funding for veterans health care programs. In the 111th Congress, Brown will serve on the Health Subcommittee. As the former ranking member on Oversight and Investigation, Brown presided for more than 20 hearings on issues relating to veterans services, health care and the Veterans Affairs readiness for the new millennium.

Brown has also fought to protect environmental resources in her district and across the country. Because of her advocacy, Brown has received accolades by the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and Florida Public Interest Research Group. One of the most important environmental successes for Brown was securing the American Heritage River designation for the St. Johns River, which spans
the length of the Third District.

Congresswoman Brown attended FAMU where she earned a bachelor of science degree. She also received a master’s degree and an education specialist degree from the University of Florida. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Edward Waters College. She has been a faculty member at Florida Community College of Jacksonville, the University of Florida and Edward Waters College. Her daughter, Shantrel Brown, is a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Media and Entertainment Conference is Free of Charge for Students

The Media and Entertainment Conference scheduled for today, Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14, is free of charge for students. However, students are asked to register for the conference. Registration is location in the University Commons Building. Students that paid for the conference will be reimbursed their registration fee and will be notified by email.

The conference will feature top media and entertainment industry executives to provide guidance, educational tips and knowledge to college students looking to have a career in media, entertainment, sports, business and law.

To view the complete schedule for the Media and Entertainment Conference, visit

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Opinion Counts! Take the FAMU Web Survey!

Please take the time out to complete this survey in regards to FAMU’s website. The feedback you provide will offer an in-depth perspective on areas of concerns and areas of improvement.

Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, November 6, 2009

B-Healthy with Mr. FAMU, TODAY at the Hansel E. Tookes, Sr. Recreation Center

Office of Student Activities and Campus Recreation sponsor SET Friday’s “B-Healthy” hosted by Mr. FAMU, Brandon McCaskill, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hansel E. Tookes, Sr. Recreation Center to encourage FAMU faculty, staff and students to live healthier lifestyles.

Scheduled activities include the following:

  • 100 Seasonal flu shots will be available. The flu shots are free for students and $10 faculty and staff

  • Group exercise showcases from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Step Aerobics from 1 pm. to 1:20 p.m.
Cardio Kickboxing from 1:20 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.
Caribbean Dance from 1:40 p.m. to 2 p.m.
TKO Boxing from 2 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Spinning from 2:20 p.m. to 3 p.m.

There will also be a smoothie/healthy food bar on site called “Island Retreat.”

Different fitness challenges are scheduled throughout the day.

Those interested in attending today’s SET Friday must present their Rattler card I.D. for admittance and bring a towel to use the workout equipment.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tom Joyner Foundation/Ford Get Out and Drive One Partnership supporting HBCUs

Tom Joyner and the Tom Joyner Foundation® are encouraging all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) alumni and friends to participate in the Tom Joyner Foundation/Ford “Get Out and Drive One” promotion that will run from Wednesday, October 21, 2009 until Monday, January 4, 2010. By test driving any Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury vehicle between now and January 4, 2010, a $25 donation will be made in the your name to FAMU!

Download the “Get Out and Drive One” coupon from and take it to any Ford dealership. Once you test drive any vehicle, the coupon will be validated and you can go back to the website to complete your donation on behalf of yourself and the Ford Motor Company. Together, we can raise up to $250,000 for FAMU!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Florida Classic Host Hotel Information

The host hotel for the 30th Annual Florida Classic is:

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, Florida 32821

Rate per night: $109

Cut off date: November 19, 2009

Phone No.: 1-888-353-2013

SRP Code: FAMU-ZFAM or Florida A&M Classic Weekend


The Florida A&M University Rattler Football team moved up two spots in The Sports Network Top 25 Poll for NCAA Division I FCS team announced on Monday afternoon.

FAMU (4-0), which made its' first Top 25 appearance in last week's poll, checking in at #24, moved up to #22 this week, following several upsets of higher-ranked FCS teams.

The Rattlers were ranked weekly in the FCS polls for a long stretch from 1995 through 2001, finishing the 1998 regular season #1 in the USA Today 25 Poll.

FAMU was last ranked in the national polls in 2001, when they soared as high as #8 during that season.

This week's Sheridan Broadcasting Network Poll (SBN) has the Rattlers a solid #2 nationally with 273 points and eight (8) first place votes, behind South Carolina State, just eight points (281) ahead, while owning a big edge in first place votes (22).

The Rattlers will have two critical games in a row beginning this week with a 7 p.m. showdown against the Miami Hurricanes, Saturday in Land Shark Stadium, before their October 17 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference heavyweight bout in Orangeburg, S.C., against South Carolina State, at 2 p.m.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall 2009 Career Expo

All students and alumni are encouraged to attend Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) C.C. Cunningham Career Center’s Fall 2009 Career Expo on Wednesday, September 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. A career expo reception is scheduled for Tuesday, September 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. Both events are free.

“The expo and the reception gives the students and alumni the opportunity to network with potential employers on a formal and informal basis,” said Delores Dean, Ph.D., director of the career center. “The expo officially kicks off our recruitment efforts for the rest of the semester.”

Business attire is required for all expo participants. Free shuttle service is available. For additional information, call (850) 599-3700.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FAMU College of Law associate dean featured on Bill O'Reilly Show

The Huffington Post highlighted Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law associate dean, Jeremy Levitt appearance on Fox's Bill O'Reilly show. See their article by clicking here.

Levitt discussed a column he wrote for the Orlando Sentinel. Below is a video of his appearance.

For more information on Florida A&M University, visit

Below is Levitt's column, published September 15, 2009.

President Obama, race and the unpatriotic right

The far right and its right-wing brethren's most recent barrage of indignant and visceral attacks against President Barack Hussein Obama has led me to conclude that the scourge of anti-Obama fanaticism is nothing more than foolish racism masquerading as patriotism and phony Christianity.

It is no secret that the far right and its institutions have an unjust guttural dislike for President Obama. After allowing George W. Bush to destroy our economy and international standing without challenge for eight years, the far right's central strategy for helping America is to attempt to delegitimize Obama with trailer-park prowess.

Right-wing disdain for the first African-American president is primordially violent and expressed in dishonest, uninformed, racist and unpatriotic rhetoric and demonstration.

I am not concerned with right-wing dishonesty, ignorance, racism or hate marching; these are not new phenomena in American culture and politics. However, what concerns me is the combustible combination of these perspectives when combined with a lethal dose of violent and unpatriotic actions targeting the U.S. president.

Certain fanatical people and groups, not worthy of specific mention, recently toted guns at presidential town-hall meetings wearing menacing T-shirts that read: "It is time to water the tree of liberty."

This was a symbolically threatening parity of Thomas Jefferson's celebrated call for vigilance: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots." Regrettably, this dangerously insolent and unpatriotic message was aimed at the leader of the Free World.

A patriot is one who loves, supports and defends his or her nation and loves its citizens, especially the U.S. president. A patriot subscribes to symbolic values such as honoring the flag, singing the national anthem and fighting nonviolently for fundamental freedoms. A patriot honors the U.S. president, irrespective of his or her biases.

The U.S. president is the head of state and government, as well as the highest official in the country and commander in chief of the armed forces. He is not only the most-influential and -recognized political figure in the world, but also the living embodiment of our democracy.

While I believe that it is healthy to constructively engage and criticize government, the far right has shamed our nation by attacking President Obama with unpatriotic idioms and schemes.

As a close follower of presidential politics, I do not remember another time when an American president was so unpatriotically maligned by Americans, namely, right-wing politicians and media, and the millions of Joe and Judy plumbers who would disown Jesus if they knew he was African, and Obama if he were the Second Coming.

The truth remains that right-wing anti-Obama rhetoric around abortion, health care, education, gun control and foreign policy are cowardly coded smoke screens intended to mask fear and racism.

Whether it is the birthers movement, gun-toting right-wing anarchists, bigoted congressmen, hate marchers or garden-variety dogmatists, the fact remains that Obama won the election.

Any American family that participates in the far-right campaign against President Obama by, for example, depriving their children of the opportunity to receive apolitical words of wisdom and encouragement from the president and leader of the free world, is unpatriotic.

Is it patriotic to stifle debate with right-wing anti-Obama propaganda when our nation stands in the balance between a broken economy, a controversial war on terrorism, a sick health-care system and an uneducated educational system? Is it patriotic to malign the first African-American president with racially coded and violent messaging?

The far right and its right-wing brethren have shown that they are driven by envy and racial animus.

I would remind the far right what the Apostle Paul wrote, " ... there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Hence, Obama is the U.S. president and leader of the Free World because he was appointed by God.

Need I say more?

Jeremy Levitt is associate dean for International Programs and a distinguished professor of international law at the FAMU College of Law in Orlando.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Representative Alan B. Williams will Keynote Founders Day Convocation

FAMU has scheduled its Founders Day Convocation for Friday, October 2, at 10:10 a.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium. The keynote speaker will be Representative Alan B. Williams. The general public is invited to attend.

Representative Williams is the president and CEO of MW Land and Investments, LLC, a property management and business development firm, founded in 2006.

In November 2008, Williams was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, District 8, which encompasses parts of Leon and Gadsden Counties. Representative Williams serves on the Energy and Utilities Policy Committee, General Government Policy Council, Government Accountability Act Council, Government Appropriations Committee, the Joint Committee of Public Council Oversight, and the Joint Committee on Collective Bargaining.

Prior to being elected, Williams was an aide to Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, serving as liaison between the community and the Office of the Mayor. He advised the Mayor on appointments to all city advisory boards and represented the Mayor’s interests as a board member for the Tallahassee Visitors and Area Convention Bureau and the NASA Challenger Learning Center Board of Advisors.

For his service, Williams has been named Kappa Alpha Psi Brother of the Year, Leadership Tallahassee Board of Governors Chair (2008), Statewide Council of Advisors for Leadership Florida (2007), Ebony Magazine’s “Twenty Future Leaders under 30” (2003) and many more.

He is a member of Leadership Tallahassee; Opportunity Tallahassee; Leadership Florida; area Chambers of Commerce; United Way of the Big Bend Board of Directors; and the United States Commission on Civil Right Advisory Committee.

Rep. Williams is married to Attorney Opal McKinney-Williams, a FAMU graduate from Miami, Fla. They have two children, Adrianna Williams and Alan-Louis Portlock Williams.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (850) 599-3413.


The hits just keep on coming for FAMU All-America kick returner LeRoy Vann, who will be the subject of a feature segment on this Saturday's ESPN COLLEGE
GAME DAY, Built By Home Depot, which airs at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.

Vann will be interviewed by former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner, NFL All-Pro and GAME DAY panelist Desmond Howard on campus Tuesday as part
of the production for the segment.

The Tampa native was named NCAA FCS Special Teams Player of the Week by The Sports Network and MEAC, and will be higlighted in this week's
editions of Sports Illustrated.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Florida A&M's scintillating kick return ace LeRoy Vann, who has run four punts back for touchdowns in the last two games, will be a topic for discussion on this Fridays “Around The Horn” talk show on ESPN and ESPN News.

The program airs live at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN, featuring a panel of four sportswriters and sportscasters discussing hot topics of the day in sports.

“Around The Horn” will usually re-air on ESPN News at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, but viewers should check their cable listings, as the program occasionally airs on ESPN2 at 5:00 p.m., when programming bumps them from ESPN.

Vann has turned in two spectacular performances in a row on national television, with two punt returns (95, 80 yards) for scores against Winston-Salem State last week, before taking two more back on Thursday (40, 66 yards) against Howard University.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Win two tickets to the Atlanta Classic plus accommodations for the game at no cost to you. Text the word "VENOM" to 50555. The winner will be announced and contacted tomorrow morning. You have to text to win! Please text "Venom" to 50555 to be eligible to win. For this transaction, standard text messaging rates apply. For prize rules please log onto:

For full terms, visit

Monday, September 14, 2009

FAMU Student Health Services Sponsors Prostate Cancer Event

In observance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, Florida A&M University (FAMU) Student Health Services will sponsor a men-only interactive seminar followed by a tailgate party on September 17, to recognize the importance of prostate cancer awareness. Although this seminar is a men-only event, women are invited to join the tailgate party as long as they bring two men to the seminar.

The seminar will be held in Howard Hall from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the tailgate party will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. outside of Howard Hall. Prostate cancer survivors, local physicians, public health officials and church leaders will be in attendance. Attendees will receive pertinent information regarding men’s health issues.

Student Health Services will provide give-away bags for all seminar and tailgate attendees. For more information, call (850) 599-3777.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

FAMU Schedules 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

FAMU has scheduled a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony for Friday, September 11, at 10 a.m. at the eternal flame on FAMU’s campus. The ceremony will commemorate the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Participants include Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris, LTC Jeffrey Williams, Gallop Franklin, FAMU Board of Trustee member and president of the student government association and others.

The campus community and the general public are invited to attend.

FAMU to Host Green Summit for Student Leaders

The challenges related to global climate change and the need to be more sustainable have started to gain traction on the campus of Florida A&M University (FAMU).

On September 11-12, the FAMU Green Coalition will host a Green Summit to provide student leaders with the knowledge and resources to help combat global climate change. Registration for the Summit is open to one representative per FAMU student group on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We expect about 100 students to attend the Summit representing 60 different student organizations,” said LaRae Donnellan, FAMU journalism professor and cofounder of the FAMU Green Coalition. The Summit is registered with the “Green the Block National Day of Service,” organized by Green For All and the Hip Hop Caucus.

The Coalition has been leading efforts since December 2006 to educate students about the significant ecological, economic and social impacts of global climate change and empower students to address those impacts.

“Every student has the power and responsibility for creating a healthier environment,” said Jacqueline Hightower, SACS administrator and interim adviser for the Coalition. “College students have been at the forefront of many significant issues of the past, including the civil rights movement and combating apartheid in South Africa. Mitigating our carbon footprint is just as important.”

FAMU President James H. Ammons, Green For All Director Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, and Hip Hop Caucus President Rev. Lennox Yearwood will give video welcomes to the group. Nia Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, is the keynote speaker Friday night. She will address the social justice and environmental racism aspects of global climate change.

Other workshops will address topics such as understanding global climate change and the energy-climate era; setting up a recycling program; living a green lifestyle; working with government to bring about change; and exploring the connection between global climate change and health. Speakers are coming from city, county and state government, FAMU and FSU; Sustainable Tallahassee; National Wildlife Federation; and Southern Energy Network. At the end of the Summit, the student leaders will commit to a plan of action for the year – including events for homecoming.

“At the Summit we'll be modeling how to host green events and cut down on our carbon footprint,” Hightower said. “This includes offering locally produced organic food, serving beverages in refillable mugs and reusing conference supplies.”

More information about the Summit and the Coalition is available by calling 599-8832.

President Ammons Challenges the University to be Great

Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James H. Ammons delivered the state of the university address to a packed crowd with standing room only Jake Gaither Gymnasium for the first official convocation. His message was clear: “Dare to be Great.”

Larry Robinson, vice president for research, set the tone for the convocation by introducing Ammons.

Robinson mentioned that since Ammons’ arrival to FAMU, he has been successful in the reaffirmation of accreditation for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and full-accreditation of the College of Law. He also noted that during his first year, FAMU received its first unqualified audit in three years from the Auditor General’ Office, and admitted students to a new doctoral program in physical therapy.

Ammons opened his address with a warm welcome to the university community, and reminded the audience of the many accomplishments that have taken place at FAMU since his arrival in 2007 – restoring the public’s faith; rectifying business processes; completing the process for SACS accreditation; the start of the new Veterinarian Technology program; and student achievement across campus.

“But, truthfully, these were all fleeting headlines – merely mementoes in the big scheme of things,” Ammons said.

Ammons used four fading magazine covers that hang proudly in Lee Hall, which featured some of FAMU’s greatest achievements as an example. Each of those magazine covers were once bright, fresh, new and chronicled a time when FAMU conquered new territory.

“But, the stark reality is these images are fading and it’s time for a new era of greatness,” Ammons said. “ New trends in higher education are impacting the rankings that once made FAMU a leader.”

Ammons said that FAMU must adjust to meet the needs of a new generation, or like the images, FAMU will fade. In order to do that, FAMU must become concerned with the preservation process — those things that will sustain the institution over time.

“If we are concerned with the substance of preserving excellence in all things at the University, then it will stimulate progress in times such as these,” Ammons said. “It is time for FAMU to awake from the comfort of her great past and lead.”

Ammons urged faculty to use the “Stimulus Fund” link provided on the main page of the FAMU website to obtain funds to deliver additional services and programs that can sustain and preserve our vision of being a premier university. According to Ammons, this cannot happen if faculty and the administration do not collaborate and compete.

He also thanked President Barack Obama, Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the state legislature for providing FAMU with $8 million.

Ammons also mentioned U.S. healthcare reform and the absence of minority voices. He urged and challenged the FAMU School of Allied Health Sciences to inform the community about the issue.

“Hold campus forums on this issue, challenge your peers at other HBCUs to do the same, invite scholars from this campus and this community to speak,” he said. “Draft your solutions and text, tweet, or email them to elected officials here, in your hometowns, and in Washington. Remember, we must be the change we want to see. Likewise, rather than ranting and raving, our forum must be the voices of change that we want to hear!”

According to Ammons, strengthening the academic core values, and increasing our scholarship and research while inspiring students to become the change agents that the world needs and will stimulate and preserve FAMU’s greatness. His vision is to make FAMU one of the nation premier doctoral research institutions.

To do his part, Ammons said he will work to improve the student experience; develop distance-learning programs; increase private and research dollars; partner with major corporations; promote the university internationally; develop a School of Dentistry; and embark on a rigorous fundraiser for FAMU athletics.

Ammons asked the audience to review the updated FAMU strategic plan – which covers the next decade, 2020, with a long-range view to 2050 – and provide feedback. According to Ammons, the plan discusses how FAMU will create a 21st century living and learning community that produces global leaders and change agents. It also provides strategies for attaining excellence in processes and procedures; focuses on FAMU’s need to be efficient and effective in the management of fiscal resources; and promotes internationalism and inclusiveness.

Ammons also made sure the packed gym knew of the potential threat posed by the H1N1influenza virus. Ammons said that FAMU will provide regular updates and preventive measures on the campus website that students can access from the home page.

Ammons closed with words from the late Sen. Edward “Teddy” Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die.”

Gaither gym roared with excitement in response to Ammons words.

Following the keynote address, Robinson introduced the FAMU community to its new professors. Julian White, Ph.D. introduced the Marching “100” and the “Presidential Ten” drum majors. Joe Taylor, head football coach, introduced the coaching staff and the Rattler Football team to the university community. The convocation concluded with the singing of the alma mater.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Homecoming Gala Will Have Football Flavor

The centerpiece of any Homecoming weekend on most American college campuses is the football game when returning alumni pack the stadium next to faculty, students and boosters to cheer on the team.

This fall, Florida A&M University takes that time-worn tradition a step further, making its storied football program the centerpiece of the 2009 Homecoming Gala. The theme is “Blood, Sweat And Tears,” Great Moments in FAMU’s Gridiron History with Special Tribute to Robert “Bullet Bob” Hayes.

Bob Hayes, the track and football legend who was enshrined in the National Football League’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, this summer, is the honoree with the coaches and players of five of FAMU’s outstanding football teams — 1959, 1969, 1977, 1978 and 1979 aggregations.

Rattler Football – A Brief Overview

Football at Florida A&M University began in 1899 at the intramural level, reaching varsity status in 1906. It eventually blossomed into a veritable gridiron superpower which would win over 500 games, bringing back 12 national championships and 35 conference crowns to Tallahassee.

More than 100 Rattler football players have captured All-American honors. Most of them advanced to play in the various professional football leagues in the United States and Canada.

Robert “Bullet Bob” Hayes – World Champion in Two Sports

One of those Rattler football professional alumni was Jacksonville, Fla. native Robert “Bullet Bob” Hayes, a star athlete from Gilbert High School who used his world-class sprinter’s speed to become an enduring legend in not one, but two sports.

Hayes, who lettered in track and football at FAMU between 1961 and 1964, set world records in track in the sprints in 1962 and 1963. He turned in dazzling performances at 100 and 220 yards and later at 100 and 200 meters.

Hayes captured five national track sprint titles all between 1962 and 1964, setting four world records and tying one other during his scintillating career, which culminated on the ultimate stage – the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games – where he won two gold medals.

The powerfully-built Hayes sailed to victory in the 100 meter final in a badly chewed up lane one, winning in a record time 10.0 seconds – a record which stood for six years.

But it was his anchor leg in the 4x100 meter relay that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest single performances in Olympic history. Hayes took the baton several meters behind and outclassing the field to lead the Americans to victory with a split timed at between 8.6 and 8.8 seconds.

He went on to fashion a Pro Bowl, record-setting career in the National Football League as a receiver and return specialist, utilizing his blazing speed to account for 71 touchdowns and more than 7,100 yards receiving on 371 catches.

His speed helped revolutionize the staid old NFL, ushering in the zone defense era during his 11-year career (1965-75). His career was highlighted by a Super Bowl victory with the Dallas Cowboys in 1972.

Hayes, who died at age 59 after a long illness in 2002, was posthumously enshrined in the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8.

He is the only sports performer to ever be crowned a world champion in two sports.

FAMU Football’s “Fab Five”

As mentioned earlier, five of FAMU’s football teams are being recognized for their singular achievements in a given year:

1959 – 10-0-0 • 50th Anniversary of their National Championship Season

The 1959 Rattler Football team, under the leadership of Hall of Fame legend coach Jake Gaither, compiled a perfect 10-0 record 50 years ago, outscoring their opponents by a wide margin, 411 to 71.

The Rattler Defense was so dominant, that they shutout the first three teams they played in 1959, and only three teams managed to score more than a touchdown in a game, resulting in a 7.1 point-per game allowed average.

Led by All-Americans Curtis Miranda and Clarence Childs, the Rattlers averaged 41.1 points per game, scoring 50 or more points four times, capping their championship run with a 28-7 win over Prairie View A&M (Tex.) University, in the Orange Blossom Classic.

1969 – 8-1-0 • Winners of First-Ever Interracial Deep South Game

The final season of the Jake Gaither Era was the 1969 campaign, and the Rattlers sent the-then future Hall of Fame coach out in style with an 8-1-0 record.

But the capstone of that farewell season came in the next-to-last game of the year, when the Rattlers trekked to Tampa, Florida to take on the University of Tampa in FAMU’s first-ever football game between a historically black college and a predominately white school in the Deep South.

Despite facing a Spartans’ team loaded with future NFL star players, many who had transferred from major schools, Gaither’s charges prevailed thanks to a talented crew, of their own, led by future pro stars Hubert Ginn and Glen Edwards, along with All-America linemen Horace Lovett and Jimmy McCaskill, in a 34-28 thriller in the old Tampa Stadium.

1977 – 11-0-0 • Nation’s Only Undefeated Team

The 1977 Rattlers finished the season as the nation’s only undefeated team – 11-0-0 – on any level of play in college football, earning them the Black College National championship, and jump-starting a winning streak, which would grow to 17 games the following season.

Even a snub from heralded ABC Television Network broadcaster Keith “Whoa Nelly” Jackson, who said the Rattlers’ season didn’t compare to the accomplishments of major college teams, couldn’t diminish the glow of the last perfect season in FAMU Football history.

Utilizing a rock-solid defense, which limited opponents to a little over 10 points per game, while their option offensive attack averaged nearly 30 points per game, FAMU turned in a dominating performance.

That 1977 season was the first year of a three-year run by the Rattlers under Rudy Hubbard, which would witness a scintillating 30-5 record compiled with two national titles and a pair of milestone victories.

1978 – 12-1-0 • Winners of First NCAA Division I FCS Championship

FAMU followed the undefeated season in 1977 with a near-perfect encore in 1978, as the Rattlers compiled a 12-1 record, capping off the campaign with a national championship.

The Rattlers rode a 12-game winning streak into the 1978 season and by Week Six, the run had become the nation’s longest string at 17 games, before longtime nemesis Tennessee State escaped Tallahassee with a controversial 24-21 victory.

Determined to erase the bitter taste of that setback, the Rattlers would regroup and embark on a seven-game victory march, which resulted in an NCAA title.

Led by the nation’s top-ranked defense and a punishing ground attack, FAMU pulled off a thrilling comeback win against Bethune-Cookman University, 27-17 in the first Florida Classic; a smashing 31-7 romp past Eddie Robinson’s Grambling Tigers in the Orange Blossom Classic; a 15-10 first round playoff escape against SWAC champion Jackson (Miss.) State; and the climatic 35-28 title game win over Massachusetts in the Pioneer Bowl.

1979 – 7-4-0 • Upset University of Miami, 16-13

In 1979, injuries spoiled a potential championship season, as the defending national champs bolted to a 5-0 start before finishing 7-4.

FAMU came into the season armed with a boatload of veterans off their 1978 team, including future College Hall of Fame guard Tyrone McGriff, a three-time All-American (1977, 1978, 1979), and were ranked No. 1 for most of the first month of the season.

However, the singular highlight of this campaign came in week four, when the University of Miami came into Doak Campbell Stadium thinking the Rattlers would be an easy mark.

Instead, the Hurricanes found themselves in a battle as the Rattlers dueled them toe-to-toe for four quarters, using a hard-hitting defense and the option ground game to keep the Boys from Coral Gables off balance all day.

Vince Coleman’s 34-yard field goal with three minutes and 49 seconds left staked FAMU to a 16-13 lead, but the defense saved the day, slamming the door on UM after the ‘Canes had driven inside the 10-yard line, forcing a game-tying field goal try on fourth down which missed, igniting a celebration for the ages.

FAMU Alum Honored by the National Bar Association

Florida A&M University (FAMU) alum and State of Florida Senator (D-Tampa) Arthenia Joyner was inducted into the National Bar Association’s (NBA) Hall of Fame.

“It’s a singular honor to have been recognized by your peers for this milestone,” said Senator Joyner. “But there’s much work left to be done. This honor inspires me to continue the fight for equality.”

Senator Joyner was honored at the organization’s 23rd Annual Hall of Fame luncheon in San Diego, Calif. She is also the second woman to serve as president of the NBA.

John Crump, the National Bar’s executive director, said Sen. Joyner is being added to the Hall of Fame’s ranks “in recognition of her many years of services in the practice of law, contributions to the African-American community and the significant contributions that she has made to the cause of justice.”

About Senator Joyner
Joyner was elected to the Florida Legislature in 2000 where she served six years in the Florida House of Representatives and is currently serving in the Florida Senate. She is a shareholder in the law firm of Stiles, Taylor & Grace, P.A. where her primary areas of practice are probate, guardianship and public finance.

Senator Joyner has been a groundbreaker and leader in her profession. She received her bachelor of science and juris doctor degrees from FAMU. She was the first African-American female attorney in Polk and Hillsborough Counties, and she has been in private practice for 40 years – longer than any other black woman in the State of Florida.

Senator Joyner is a fighter for civil rights, and has always stood up for what she believes. Facing segregation and discrimination, she participated, while in high school, in one of the first civil rights demonstrations in her hometown of Tampa, Fla. She was active in the effort to desegregate movie theaters and churches in Tallahassee, Fla. and was arrested twice while attending FAMU. In 1985, her commitment was demonstrated again while serving as president of the National Bar Association as she protested apartheid outside the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Senator Joyner has received numerous awards. Counted among her most prestigious awards are appointments by former President William “Bill” Clinton to the U.S. Delegation to the Population Conference in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994; the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995; to the Federal Aviation Management Advisory Council, in 1999; and a Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Stetson University in 1991.

About the NBA
The NBA, founded in 1925, has been at the forefront of legal battles waged on behalf of equality, especially on behalf of the African-American community. The NBA is the nation's oldest and largest national association of predominately African-American lawyers and judges. It has 84 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and affiliations in Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa and the Caribbean. It represents a professional network of more than 20,000 lawyers, judges, educators and law students.

Office of Counseling Services Re-Accredited

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Office of Counseling Services has been re-accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc., (IACS) an Alexandria, Va. based organization of United States, Canadian and Australian counseling agencies.

IACS found the Office of Counseling Services to offer competent and reliable professional services while being evaluated against high standards of counseling practice.

“Re-accreditation validates the consistently high standards that our professional and support staff apply to the delivery of mental health services to FAMU students in counseling, community outreach, consultation and crisis intervention,” said Yolanda K. Bogan, Ph.D., director of counseling services.

According to Bogan, re-accreditation is in part due to ongoing collaborations with the Offices of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, partners in the administration of external grants and student support programs to underscore and advance the importance of mental health care for FAMU students.

Approval by IACS is also dependent upon evidence of continuing professional development as well as demonstration of excellence of counseling performance.
The FAMU Office of Counseling Services serves registered students. The office offers individual and group counseling, couples counseling, psycho-educational workshops, academic support services, psychiatric consultation and self-help information.

About IACS
The basic purposes of IACS are to encourage and aid counseling services throughout the U.S. and internationally to meet high professional standards, to inform the public about those which are competent and reliable, and to foster communication among counseling services operating in a variety of settings.

Accreditation is open to universities and four-year college counseling services.

IACS is committed to furthering the visibility of the counseling profession and improving its quality. IACS has evolved standards that define professional quality and has established criteria for accreditation, which reflect these standards. IACS accreditation also acts as a stimulus to counseling centers to upgrade their professional services to meet accreditation standards. The Association also provides the profession and the public with information about those services, which it has accredited.

FAMU Announces the Rebirth of the Lyceum Series

Florida A&M University (FAMU) proudly announces the “Rebirth” of its Lyceum Series. Launched more that 80 years ago, the Lyceum Series hosted premier cultural events on the University campus for students and local and surrounding community members.

“The reintroduction of the Lyceum Series will rekindle the excitement and expectation of rich educational and cultural experiences for students, faculty and the community,” said FAMU Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris, who chairs the Lyceum Committee. “Rendering this kind of service in diverse ways has long been a part of the philosophy and practices of FAMU since its inception.”

The 2009-2010 season will feature an impressive line-up of renowned vocalists, dance groups and theatrical performances. Students will also participate in master classes conducted by the guest performers. Additionally, the University will host its first Media and Entertainment Conference as a featured Lyceum event.

The first performance is September 10 and 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium with the 3 Mo’ Divas. The 3 Mo’ Divas will present a concert that smashes musical barriers. The concert is a thrilling evening of entertainment wrapped around a unique and proven concept. The three women are all classically trained vocalists, who possess class, sass and style. The concert delivers some stupefying genre jumping feats that continue to amaze audiences, which includes opera, Broadway, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, rock and roll, spirituals and gospel.

During the early Lyceum Series, FAMU hosted outstanding and internationally notable participants such as Marian Anderson; pianist Etta Moten; Count Basie Orchestra; poets Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes; and W. E. B. Du Bois.

The Lyceum Series events for the 2009-2010 academic year are as follows:

September 10 & 11, 2009
3 Mo’Divas
7:30 p.m., Lee Hall Auditorium

November 12, 13 and 14, 2009
Media and Entertainment Conference

February 5, 2010
Highwaymen Exhibition
Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery
Reception: 5:30 p.m. and Lecture: 7:30 p.m.
FAMU Grand Ballroom

February 26-28, 2010
FAMU Essential Theatre
8 p.m., Lee Hall Auditorium

March 29, 2010
Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
7:30 p.m., Lee Hall Auditorium

April 10, 2010
Dance Brazil
7:30 p.m., Lee Hall Auditorium

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (850) 599-3413 or click here.

Photo Caption: 3 'Mo Divas

FAMU Ranks No. 1 Among HBCUs

Florida A&M University (FAMU) ranks first among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in selling licensed merchandise, according to information released this week by the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC).

The FAMU licensing program generated $79,007 in gross royalties during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. This represents the largest royalty collection in the history of the FAMU program.

“We are excited to know that FAMU is at the top of the list in selling apparel and other merchandise,” said Sabrina Thompson, coordinator of licensing at FAMU. “This is only an indicator of the success that we can have with this program. My goal is to increase sales by 25 percent in the upcoming year. We hope to continue to soar and bring revenue to the institution during these tough economic times.”

Royalties from the licensing program fund athletic scholarships at FAMU.

The primary factor for the increase is due to FAMU’s Victoria Secret PINK Collegiate Collection. This collection generated $7,764 in royalties for FAMU licensing program. The FAMU’s PINK collection had a significant impact on the women’s apparel category by growing it 187 percent.

Team Beans, a leading marketer and manufacturer of collectibles, novelty and promotional products for the sports industry, also contributed to FAMU’s record year. They reported $5,721 in royalties for the fiscal year.

FAMU currently has 120 licensees.

As part of the preparations for the 2008 Rattler Football season, officials at FAMU, CLC and local law enforcement made preparations to rid the marketplace of counterfeit and unlicensed merchandise. Since August 2008, CLC, the university and local law enforcement officials, have patrolled the Tallahassee marketplace in search of counterfeiters selling “knock-off” merchandise. All counterfeit merchandise is subject to seizure. FAMU benefits monetarily from the sale of licensed merchandise, receiving 7.5 percent of the purchase price.

“Florida A&M University has been extremely proactive in growing its licensing program, and their hard work as paid off,” said Brian White, CLC’s vice president of University Services. “FAMU’s rich tradition, combined with the innovative licensing programs the University has developed over the last couple of years have helped grow its retail product sales among its loyal constituents across a variety of product categories.”

About the CLC
CLC is a division of global sports and entertainment company IMG. Founded in 1981, CLC is the oldest and largest collegiate licensing agency in the U.S. and represents nearly 200 colleges, universities, bowl games, athletic conferences, the Heisman Trophy and the NCAA. Its mission is to be the guiding force in collegiate trademark licensing and one of the top sports licensing firms in the country. Headquartered in Atlanta, CLC provides full-service capabilities in brand protection, brand management and brand development. For more information, visit or

Photo Caption: Sabrina Thompson, coordinator of licensing at FAMU, is pictured in FAMU’s bookstore, which sells an array of licensed FAMU merchandise.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Authors of The Pact to Visit FAMU as Part of the Freshman Summer Reading Program

Drs. Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, fondly known as The Three Doctors, will visit Florida A&M University (FAMU) on Thursday, August 20, as part of FAMU’s Freshman Summer Reading Program. The three doctors will speak at noon in the Multipurpose Center Teaching Gymnasium.

The book selection for the 2009-2010 academic year is The Pact, which is an inspirational story about Drs. Davis, Hunt and Jenkins, who grew up together in the inner city of Newark, N.J.

The Freshman Summer Reading Program is a new University initiative that is designed to provide students with a common academic learning experience during the freshman year. All FAMU freshmen are required to read an assigned book and complete a writing assignment before arriving on campus this month. Students will participate in small book discussion groups and attend a campus-wide book forum. During the academic year, students will be given assignments in various courses based on the assigned reading.

The purpose of the Freshman Summer Reading Program is:
- To promote the development and enhancement of critical thinking skills
through written and oral communication;
- To provide freshmen with a common academic learning experience;
- To expose freshmen to the academic expectations of the University;
- To promote the integration of academic and social experiences; and
- To develop a sense of community by increasing interactions between
students, staff, and faculty.

As teenage boys, these three kindred spirits made a pact: they would stick together, go to college, graduate and become doctors. Surrounded by negative influences and having few positive role models, made this a not so easy feat. Now several years later, these three men have overcome countless obstacles and proudly bear the title of doctor and serve as the face of health and education for youth and families across the country.

Today, Dr. Hunt is a board certified internist at University Medical Center at Princeton and assistant professor of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Jenkins serves as assistant professor of Clinical Dentistry at Columbia University. Dr. Davis is a board certified emergency medicine physician at St. Michael's Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center and Easton Hospital.

The doctors have additionally authored two inspiring books about their lives: The Pact, for adults, and We Beat the Streets, for children. A third book The Bond, highlighting fatherhood relationships was immediately recognized as an exceptional guide for those struggling with fatherlessness by Essence magazine and the National Fatherhood Initiative Organization.

The general public is invited to attend. Admission is free. For more information, call (850) 412-5759.