Monday, June 03, 2013

Hawkins an example of faculty leadership that has carried FAMU through tough times

The days when FAMU could count on having a steady presidency are over. There have been six presidencies in fewer than 12 years at the school.

FAMU is more dependent than ever on the selfless work of the faculty members who provide consistent top-quality leadership no matter who is sitting in the big chair in Lee Hall. James Hawkins was one of those people.

Hawkins dedicated most of his career to FAMU. He began working at the university in 1977 as an assistant professor of broad journalism. That was the start of a 36-year period of teaching and administration that touched the lives of thousands of students.

In his positions as director the journalism division (1982-2004) and dean (2004-2013), Hawkins played a key role in shaping what is now the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication into one of the university’s leading powerhouse programs.

A university press release listed some of Hawkins’ most celebrated accomplishments, which include:

• Establishing FAMU TV-20;
• Increasing the wattage of WANM 90.5 FM;
• Establishing the CBS Harold Dow Professorship and Internship Program;
• Creating the Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumni Award;
• Implementing the National Association of Black Journalists Multimedia Short Course;
• Establishing the Media Sales Institute;
• Creating the FAMU Music Recording Program; and
• Establishing the Black College Communication Association’s national office.

James Hawkins will be dearly missed by his family, former students, co-workers, and FAMU alumni near and far. But the fruits of his nearly four decades of irreplaceable service to the “J-School” will live on for the benefit of “Rattlers yet unborn.”

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