Friday, May 21, 2010

FAMU President Appoints K. Ken Redda as Acting Vice President for Research

Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James H. Ammons has appointed Kinfe Ken Redda, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS), as acting vice president for the Division of Research. Redda once served as an associate vice president for Research from 2004 to 2005.

“I’m confident that Dr. Redda will provide the leadership to guide the Division of Research during this transitional period,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “He is an outstanding professor, researcher and administrator with a long history of securing research grants. He has consistently been honored by his peers.”

The university will conduct a national search for the position of vice president of Research.

Redda began employment at FAMU on January 1, 1985 as an associate professor of medicinal chemistry in the COPPS. During his tenure at FAMU, Redda has generated more than $30.1 million from research and training grant awards.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve FAMU in any capacity,” said Redda. “I’m truly looking forward to a very productive engagement. I am so grateful to our illustrious president for his faith in me. I will work diligently to help ensure FAMU and the Division of Research are continually promoted, expanded and strengthened.”

On administrative leave as a professor and funded principal investigator from COPPS, Redda also will serve as an activity leader in the Drug Discovery Core Facility (DDCF), a component of the Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program.

A prolific grantsman, Redda graduated from the faculty of pharmacy, University of Albert (Canada) with a Ph.D. degree in Medicinal Chemistry in 1978. He completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship in synthetic medicinal chemistry a Dalhousie University, Canada. He served as an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at the College of Pharmacy, University of Puerto Rico in San Juan from 1980 to 1984.

In 1998, former FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries appointed Redda to serve as the director of the NIH funded Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Program at FAMU. He was promoted to a full professor level in 1989. Redda excelled in expanding and strengthening biomedical research on campus and generated millions of dollars for FAMU from NIH during his tenure as the MBRS director for 17 years. He was also the principal investigator and program director of the highly successful NASA funded and FAMU administered Space Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP), a summer program for about 40 college students that were recruited nationally from1987-1995. The training of these high achieving students, who had passion for space life sciences, was held at the Kennedy Space Center.

Among his numerous achievement awards, Redda was the recipient of both the prestigious Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) Award for outstanding teaching and research contribution in 1996 and the Professorial Excellence Program (PEP) Award for longevity of service to the University and demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service in 1999.

Redda has an active and productive research team of research associates, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students in his laboratory. His research involves the design and synthesis of nitrogen heterocycles as anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents. Many of his former research students have successfully completed their M.S., Pharm.D., M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and pursued professional and/or biomedical research careers.

Redda is the author of “Cocaine, Marijuana, Designer Drugs: Chemistry, Pharmacology and Behavior.” He has also authored about 50 scientific peer-reviewed and indexed papers. His research findings were presented in more than 80 national and international scientific meetings, including all over USA, Africa, Canada, Switzerland, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Russia, Austria, Italy, and Dubai (UAE).

Redda is a member of numerous state and national professional and scientific associations. In this capacity, he is a regular manuscript reviewer of articles submitted for publication to major scientific journals.

FAMU to Celebrate its Tenth Annual Grape Harvest Festival

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will host its Annual Grape Harvest Festival Saturday, August 21, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s theme is Toasting the Wonders of the Vineyard.

The Tenth Annual FAMU Grape Harvest Festival is a community event being sponsored by FAMU and coordinated through its Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research and the USDA/ARS/CMAVE Center for Biological Control, which are components of the FAMU College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA).

This year’s festival will have an assortment of fun-filled amusements, educational displays and informative demonstrations for both young and old. The schedule includes the following: the Annual Vineyard Walk and Vineyard Run (1K, 3K and 5K) competitions; pony and hot air balloon rides; grape throwing games; winemaking demonstrations/workshops; blood bank donations; a health fair with exhibits from the FAMU Schools of Nursing, Allied Health, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a special event titled “Ask A Doctor - Q&A” featuring some of Tallahassee’s most prominent doctors; an invitational wine-tasting session featuring FAMU’s own and Florida commercial wineries; and an exciting and highly popular old fashioned grape stomping contest.

Participants will have an opportunity to pick grapes at a specified time and place. Bags will be provided; but no buckets will be allowed. The festival promises to be jammed pack with fun-filled excitement for the entire family.

Admission is $2 per person and $5 per family. Additional fees are $10 for hot air balloon rides, $5 for the vineyard run/walk; and $2 for wine tasting, individuals must be 21 and proper ID.

For more information, contact (850) 599-3996

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dean Hawkins Named Educator of the Year by NABJ

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Dean James Hawkins, Ph.D., has been named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for his commitment to journalism education and his dedication to students in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC). Hawkins will be honored on July 31, at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala during the 35th Annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair in San Diego, Calif. Hawkins will be joined by other top honorees, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien for Journalist of the Year, NBC News for the Best Practices Award and Washington Post Columnist Michelle Singletary for the Community Service Award.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of Dean Hawkins,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Hughes Harris. “We are not surprised by the recognition that has been bestowed upon Dean Hawkins and Florida A&M University. He has always created numerous opportunities for our graduates of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.”

The Salute to Excellence Awards Gala recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2009.

“I am honored to be named the recipient of this award,” said Hawkins. “Having former students nominate me is humbling and appreciated.”

Hawkins arrived at FAMU in 1977 just three years after the journalism program began as an assistant professor in broadcast journalism. He continued his professional development during the summer as a working journalist with the Associated Press and the Oakland Tribune. His dedication to the classroom and to his craft paved the road for advancement. In 1982, the program evolved into the School of Journalism and Graphic Arts and Hawkins was named director of the Division of Journalism. In 2003, Hawkins became interim dean. Less than a year later, the FAMU Board of Trustees named Hawkins as the dean of SJGC.

Dean Hawkins has chartered the School through many successes. Some of his recent accomplishments include seeing its student chapter, FAMU-ABJ, clinch the 2008 NABJ Student Chapter of the Year, as well as sharing the joy of FAMU Alumnus Kathy Y. Times winning the election as being named NABJ President in 2009 and FAMU journalism student Georgia Dawkins’ successful bid for NABJ Student Representative.

“As a former student of Dr. Hawkins, I can attest to his remarkable and unwavering commitment to making sure journalism students succeed and excel in a competitive profession,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “He has made it a priority to send FAMU students to NABJ conventions and conferences for more than 20 years. I’m proud to call him a mentor and a dear friend to NABJ.”

The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at FAMU offers four journalism sequences: newspaper, magazine production, broadcast (radio and television) and public relations. FAMU has the first journalism program at a historically black university to be nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

“Dean Hawkins has invested so much of his time and resources into NABJ and into introducing the organization to a new generation,” said NABJ Student Representative Georgia Dawkins. “I am a proud product of his generosity and love for NABJ!”

FAMU Alumna Writes Book about One of Tallahassee's Multimillionaires in the 1900s

For more than 30 years, Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Laura McLoud Bell was inspired by her grandfather's story and fought passionately to preserve his legacy.

Her grandfather, the late Dr. Alpha Omega Campbell, was one of the few multi-millionaires in Tallahassee in the early 1900s.

McLoud Bell honored her grandfather in her book, “A Good and Kindly Heart: The Amazing Life of Dr. Alpha Omega Campbell.”

“He was a man gifted with keen intellect and vision ahead of his time,” said McLoud Bell, who co-wrote the book with her sister, Gaile McLoud Wiggins. “As a physician he treated his patients with skill and kindness. His value was that everyone deserved good healthcare. As a man of color, he faced the challenges of living in a segregated world with courage, determination and unwavering faith.”

Campbell, who was educated in Boston, returned to Tallahassee in 1914 and established his practice. His wife, Maggie Lou, was half white. Her father was one of the richest white men in Tallahassee.

With the help from Maggie Lou’s wealth, Campbell was able to become a multi-millionaire in the early 1900s. He opened the first privately owned black hospital in Tallahassee — The Laura Bell Memorial Hospital in 1946.

Campbell acquired quantities of land around the Leon County fairgrounds and named streets after his daughters and granddaughters.

His dynasty ended in the summer of 1955 when he was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a white woman for performing an illegal abortion. He was sent to prison for four years. During and after his release from prison, he fought for the reinstatement of his medical license. His license was reinstated in 1971. He died six years later.

This book is comprised of stories and memories of former patients and employees, along with neighbors who served as the underpinning of the book’s core.

“We are grateful that my grandfather’s full measure of contributions have survived in the hearts and minds of those who believed in him,” said McLoud Bell.

For more information, visit

2010 Summer Camps

These are just a couple of summer camps offered at Florida A&M University this summer. For a complete listing of summer camps and details please visit the link below.

ExxonMobile Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp
Two weeks: WEEK 1: June 13 – 18: WEEK 2: June 20 - 26
Students promoted to grades: 6th, 7th and 8th

Engineering Concepts Institute (ECI)
Five weeks: June 13 – July 17, 2010
An engineering school readiness program for high school graduates who will major in FAMU engineering in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Larry Robinson Sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA

oday, on the steps of Lee Hall on the campus of Florida A&M University (FAMU), Dr. Larry Robinson was sworn-in as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Deborah A. Jefferson, director for Human Resources Management and deputy chief human capital officer for the Department of Commerce, performed the swearing-in ceremony via telephone.

“It gives me great pleasure to swear in Dr. Robinson,” said Jefferson.

Upon the swearing-in ceremony, more than 100 FAMU administrators, faculty, staff and students, who came out to witness the ceremony, applauded and cheered.

“Having spent so many years working on ocean and coastal ecosystem issues, I am excited to be joining NOAA at this dynamic and challenging time,” said Robinson. “As we confront climate change and other threats to our coastal communities, I look forward to helping develop and implement national ocean policy, and working with fishing communities and councils around the country to effectively manage our valuable fisheries. There is so much important work to be done that benefits the economy, the environment and our communities.”

Robinson further stated that this afternoon he would attend a meeting regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and would leave for Louisiana and Alabama Tuesday morning.

In his new position, Robinson will support and manage NOAA’s coastal and marine programs, including marine sanctuaries for preserving areas of special national significance, fisheries management to sustain economic prosperity, and nautical charts for safe navigation. He will also support NOAA’s participation as a lead agency in President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force.
Robinson also will help guide policy and program direction for NOAA’s conservation, protection and resource management priorities. NOAA helps protect, restore, and manage the use of ocean, coastal and Great
Lakes’ resources through an ecosystem-based approach to management.

“While I am very happy for him, it is going to be a tremendous loss for the university,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “Dr. Robinson has had an outstanding career and has served as a professor, researcher, vice president for academic affairs and as a vice president for research. I am certain that he will do an outstanding job.”

About Dr. Larry Robinson
Dr. Larry Robinson was the vice president for research and a professor in the Environmental Sciences Institute at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Since 2001, he has served as director of the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) headquartered at FAMU, which consists of a broad, multi-institutional consortium of predominantly minority-serving institutions. ECSC’s multifaceted program has made a significant contribution to the promotion of diversity in the scientific workforce — especially within NOAA — due, in large part, to Robinson’s outstanding leadership.

Between 1984 and 1997, Robinson served as a research scientist and a group leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His work there included detection and assessment of special nuclear materials and application of nuclear methods in nonproliferation, environmental science, forensic science and the assessment of high purity materials. From 1997 to 2003, Robinson directed FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute where he led efforts to establish bachelor and doctoral degree programs. In 2007, he became the first African American to serve as the science advisor to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Robinson graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Memphis State University in 1979, and earned a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1984.

About National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages coastal and marine resources.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

FAMU Recognizes its Top Researcher

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Division of Research (DoR) hosted its inaugural Principle Investigator Appreciation and Researcher of the Year Awards Luncheon Friday, April 23, in the Foster Tanner Band Rehearsal Hall. DoR awarded a total of $23,000 during the luncheon.

“It is wonderful to be the first,” said Larry Robinson, vice president for research at FAMU. “Many years from now, we will look back at this moment. We have set the standard. Today’s event is a small token of our appreciation.”

Karam F.A. Solima, Ph.D., College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS), received the 2010 FAMU Distinguished Researcher Award. Seth Y. Ablordeppey, Ph.D., COPPS; Mandip S. Sachdeva, COPPS; Gokhan Hacisalihoglu, Ph.D., College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences; and David Jackson Jr., Ph.D., College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History and Political Science, received the 2010 FAMU Research Excellence Award, respectively. Barack O. Abonyo, Ph.D., COPPS; Nelly N. Mateeva, Ph.D., College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry; and Karunya K. Kandimalla, Ph.D., COPPS, received the 2010 FAMU Emerging Researcher Award, respectively.

Dean Makola Abdullah, Ph.D., College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture, said the luncheon gave many a chance to reflect on their accomplishments and reflect with their colleagues.

“Your work has helped FAMU to fulfill its mission,” said Abdullah.

FAMU President James H. Ammons, Ph.D., said research is one of the most important parts of FAMU, citing the university’s world-class research program.

“This is long overdue,” Ammons said of the recognition luncheon. “Research is a part of the university’s DNA. The work you have done has been amazing. In spite of the difficult times, you have found a way to excel and promote our best and brightest.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

SGA Vice President Calvin Hayes New Rangel Scholar

It comes as no surprise that Florida A&M University (FAMU) Student Government Association Vice President Calvin Hayes was one of 20 students awarded an internship with the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program for this summer.

This program adds to Hayes’ internships and experiences, which may help him reach his ultimate goal — to serve as a foreign diplomat for the United States.

Hayes, 22, a senior public relations student from Orlando, Fla., will journey to Washington D.C. to study political economy, the history of U.S. foreign relations and writing at Howard University. The Rangel Scholars program not only pays for the interns’ tuition, but they will receive free room and board, along with a $3,500 stipend.

“I heard about the Rangel Scholars through a great man on this campus who is a former diplomatic residence, Roberto Powers, during my freshman year,” said Hayes. “I went to the Office of International Education just to learn about how to travel abroad and how to engage in different research opportunities overseas. He recognized that I had a deep passion for international relations. He put all the programs on the table that were offered to students who had the interest I have, and Rangel Scholars stood out the most.”

Each year, 20 students who display a strong interest in foreign affairs are selected from hundreds of applicants. This year, the program received an overwhelming amount of applicants.

The Rangel Scholars will also offer students the opportunity to visit and work at the Pentagon, the State Department, World Bank, National Foreign Affairs Training Center, United Nations and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Interns are required to be in good academic standing with the university, hold at least a 3.2 grade point average and have some prior international experience. They also must make a commitment to international relations advocating on behalf of the United States on an international platform.

Hayes is the former president of the FAMU chapter of the NAACP. Currently, he sits on the national e-board committee overseeing the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama chapters.

He was voted freshman and sophomore Senator of the Year. He received the 2009 Most Influential Student, 2010 Campus Leader of the Year and the Valuable Leadership Award. The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication recently awarded Hayes for having the best public relations blog.

Last summer, Hayes interned in Africa with the U.S. Embassy. He also has had previous internships that allowed him to travel to Israel, Italy, Belgium and France.

As a student leader and minster, Hayes is thankful for the opportunities he attained while attending FAMU and plans to inspire his colleagues while leading by example.

“You can’t lead where you don’t go and you can’t teach what you don’t know, and in order to get something you never had, you have to do something you never done,” Hayes said. “Which means taking on a cause that is greater than yourself in order to effectuate positive change in leadership throughout the world.”

FAMU Graduates Encouraged to Make Their Marks on the World

Florida A&M University (FAMU) graduates were all smiles during the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony held in the Alfred L. Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center Teaching Gymnasium.

Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and principal military advisor to President Obama, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Mullen, who visited the university once before, said he was honored to speak at the event.

“I just wanted to be with the best and brightest in our nation’s 2010 graduating class,” Mullen said.

He told the graduates that he believes the lessons he has learned will help navigate their futures.

“What does it mean to serve?,” he asked the class of nearly 600. “The future is you, Rattler Nation. Everyone here is a leader. Those who came before us gave their best, so that we can be our best. Serve well and lead us into the future.”

Philip Hamilton, who received his doctorate from the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said he was honored to have Mullen as his commencement speaker.

“I was honored and very encouraged by his words,” Hamilton said. “I feel such a sense of accomplishment graduating with my doctorate of pharmacy, but I know the real work is just beginning.”

President James H. Ammons charged their students to make their respective marks on the world.

“Make the most of it,” he said. “Go out and change the world. There is no higher calling than to show compassion to your fellow man. Learn to develop a deep-seated love for Florida A&M University.”

Takila Brooks, a Pensacola native who earned her master’s in health administration, said she knows what she learned from FAMU will last a lifetime.

“It felt like a breath of fresh air,” Brooks said of crossing the stage. "I am honored to have received my master’s degree from the best historically black university in the nation.”

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead Tells FAMU Ensigns Leadership is Important

Donning their military uniforms, the students stood proudly as they took the official oath of office at Florida A&M University (FAMU) commissioning ceremony, administered by Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of Naval Operations.

FAMU Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) held its commissioning ceremony April 30, at the Florida Capitol.

“The importance for our new officers in having the opportunity of being commissioned by the Chief of Naval Operations, the highest ranking Navy official in the country, cannot be overstated,” said Col. Elvis E. Blumenstock, USMC, FAMU NROTC Commanding Officer. “It drives home the importance of the oath they are taking in service to our country, our constitution, our fellow citizens and our comrades.”

Roughead told the students that their leadership is highly important to the safety of the nation.

“There is no greater responsibility than that of leadership,” Roughead said. “You must always stand for what is right. Do your work with passion.”

He told the prestigious group that they will be joining the ranks of many dedicated men and women who came before them.

“Today as you join them, you become a part of them—a part of a tradition,” he said. “You must combine what you have learned here with what they have learned out there.”

Roughead was a first of two of the U.S. military highest-ranking officials making their way onto campus. Admiral Mike Mullen, the 17th chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and principal military advisor to the U.S. president, is serving as the 9 a.m. commencement speaker on May 1.

Anthony Gantt, a second Lieutenant who enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 1999, said he feels honored to be commissioned by Roughead and Mullen.

“The emotions I’m feeling are unexplainable,” said Gantt, who was at the commissioning ceremony with his family and friends. “It is an exciting time. I’m happy that both of them are coming to our institution.”