Florida A&M University (FAMU) will kick off its yearlong 125-year Anniversary Celebration during the President’s Gala on Friday, October 7, 2011. This year’s gala theme is “Marching for Excellence” and will pay tribute to the life of William P. Foster, the “Dean of America’s Band Directors,” and the incomparable Marching “100.”
Marching “100,” a leader in marching bands, has appeared in films,
commercials, Super Bowls, the Grammys, numerous magazine and newspaper
articles and nationally televised performances. In 1985, the “100” was
the recipient of the Sudler Trophy, the Heisman Trophy for marching
bands, which is the highest honor a collegiate marching band can
receive. It is awarded to a college or university marching band, which
has demonstrated the highest of musical standards and innovative
marching routines and ideas. FAMU is the only historically black
college or university to receive that award.
celebrate our 125 years of existence, we want to highlight all of the
icons of our brand including the Marching “100,” our great presidents,
Dr. Foster and others who helped FAMU to become a household name and
brand,” said Sharon Saunders, chief communications officer and chair of
the 125th Anniversary Celebration.
Foster, who was also
called “The Law” and “The Maestro,” was the founder and creator of the
noted Marching “100.” He served as the band’s director from 1946 to his
retirement in 1998. He is credited with revolutionizing marching band
techniques and reshaping the world’s concept of the collegiate marching
band. Foster brought more than 30 new techniques to the band that have
now become standard operating procedure for high school and college
In 1998, Foster retired after 52 years
of service to the university, the State of Florida, the nation and the
world. On August 28, 2010, the FAMU family and this nation mourned the
loss of Foster, who was 90-years old.
During the 2011-2012
academic year, FAMU will host several anniversary events including a
community-wide picnic, a health symposium, an artist in bloom festival
and much more.
“This is an exhilarating and monumental
milestone in Florida A&M University’s history,” said FAMU President
James H. Ammons “As we honor FAMU’s quasquicentennial and reflect on
the university’s achievements, I can not think of a better way to signal
the commemoration’s official launch than to honor a legend [William P.
Foster] who was a key figure in the life and history of FAMU.”
October 3, 1887, FAMU has grown from its initial 15 students and two
instructors to now educating more than 13,000 students. The University
now offers 53 bachelor’s degrees, 28 master’s degrees, three
professional degrees and 12 doctoral degrees. The three professional
degrees include the JD, PharmD, and the Doctor of Physical Therapy.
prominently resides atop the highest of Tallahassee’s seven hills and
is the only historically black university within the eleven-member State
University System of Florida.
Gala tickets are $125 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at www.FAMU125.com or by calling (850) 599-3860.