Saturday, December 24, 2016

Lawson appoints Thompson chief of staff for Fifth Congressional District of Florida

Tallahassee native and Florida A&M University alumnus Tola Thompson, long-time director and assistant vice president of FAMU’s government relations efforts, is once again headed to Washington, D.C.

He will be leaving “the Hill” to relocate to Capitol Hill to support fellow alumnus and newly elected Congressman Alfred “Al” Lawson as his chief of staff.

“It has been my great privilege to serve my alma mater these past nine-plus years. My time at FAMU has been some of the best years of my life,” said Thompson. “I will miss the incredible people I have had the pleasure of working with and the tremendously talented students who are the reason why I lobbied so hard for FAMU.”

He added, “I look forward to working with U.S. Rep.-elect Lawson and the people of Florida’s 5th Congressional District, which includes FAMU, giving me the opportunity to support my alma mater once again.”

Interim President Larry Robinson applauded Thompson’s dedication to the advancement of the university.

“Tola Thompson has been an asset to Florida A&M University for a number of years,” said Robinson. “He literally ‘grew up’ on this campus and his commitment to FAMU’s success has been shaped by witnessing firsthand the impacts of the educational opportunities offered by his alma mater. I am certain that while he moves on to a larger legislative arena in our nation’s capital, his commitment to FAMU will remain strong.”

Robinson announced that Barbara Cohen-Pippin will serve as the University’s new director of governmental relations, effective January 10, 2017. Her resume includes more than 30 years of political experience, including serving as the special assistant to the president for governmental relations at Broward Community College from 2000-2011. She was also policy advisor to former Gov. Lawton Chiles and executive assistant to former University of Florida President Marshall Criser Jr.

Robinson said, “Mrs. Cohen-Pippin’s track record in the Florida Legislature and in higher education in Florida will make her more than capable of hitting the ground running in this very important time in the legislative process.”

Cohen-Pippin said her passion for FAMU started in the 1970s when she learned about FAMU’s rich history through a friend.

“My college roommate’s parents were FAMU graduates. The love FAMU’s alumni have for their alma mater is contagious and impressive,” said Cohen-Pippin.

“I share FAMU’s passion for its students and the community it represents. I look forward to working with Dr. Robinson and being a partner in advancing his vision for the university, which is about students and enhancing their academic performance.”

In 1979, Cohen-Pippin started her career working as a higher education analyst for the Florida Senate Committee on Education. In her capacity as an analyst, and later as a staff director, she worked closely with University presidents, staff, and alumni.

Cohen-Pippin earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston and her Master of Education from the University of Massachusetts.

Since she retired in 2011, Cohen-Pippin has coordinated workshops for college students to enhance their awareness of the political process and published a tool for middle and high school students on how a bill becomes a law.

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