Showing posts with label Grads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grads. Show all posts

Saturday, June 15, 2019

FAMU Judge Rodney Smith ascends to federal bench

Rodney Smith, a 1996 graduate of FAMU, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal judge for the Southern District of Florida which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties last week.  Smith previously had served as a state judge since in Miami since 2012.  He was nominated to the federal bench by President Donald Trump in May 2018. 

His background includes stints as an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade County and an assistant city attorney for the city of Miami Beach.  Smith is also a member of the Federalist Society, a nationwide group of conservative lawyers that seeks to interpret the law as written and plays a large role in Republican Supreme Court nominations.

Through his conservative ties Smith, became close with Sen. Marco Rubio.  During his confirmation Democrats question Smith over his decision to impose a life sentence without parole for a juvenile in 2008 and for his Federalist Society activities. The Miami Times said Smith once described himself as “the skinny kid from Liberty City.”

Smith earned his law degree from Michigan State University.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

CBS News selects two FAMU J-School grads for internships in NYC

Gabby Bolden (l) and Diasha Henley (r), two recent FAMU broadcast journalism graduates have been selected as CBS News Fellows. The two will spend this summer in NYC interning for the “48 Hours” and CBSN departments, respectively. 

When asked about any advice she would give to current students, Bolden told us, “To prepare for something of this caliber it is imperative for students to be involved in student media, actually write stories, interview subjects, research, reach out to the community/peers, and never doubt your abilities!” Henley echoed this, and even took it a step further, saying “Don’t be scared to say yes to things you’re afraid of. That opportunity can open doors for you at any moment.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

FAMU grad offered free root canals to some of Big Bend's neediest residents

Briano Allen, PharmD, DDS, MS
FAMU graduate Briano Allen, PharmD, DDS, MS, has truly embodied the university’s motto “Excellence with Caring”, by providing excellent, compassionate service to some of Tallahassee most in need.  

Dr. Allen, a Tallahassee-based endodontist, who earned his PharmD from FAMU, and his DDS from Howard University, teamed up with the Kearney Center, which provides comprehensive emergency services and temporary shelter and housing focused services. 

The Kearney Center has a dental clinic but did not have the capacity to provide root canals.  Last Friday, Dr. Allen shut down his Red Hill Endodontics practice and provided root canals to Centers residents in need.  In all, he saw about eight patients most in severe pain.

Not having a place to live is stressful enough, without the added pain of a toothache. 

When asked why he did it, Dr. Allen said, “I enjoy what I do because I am able to help people reduce their anxiety and it’s the same thing with these patients.”  Many were in “a lot of anxiety (pain) but when they are done, they are happy and smiling. So, it's great." 

“I just wanted to make sure that these patients got the highest quality of care possible,” Dr. Allen added.

Root canals for paying patients at Dr. Allen's practice normally cost between $900 to $1,500.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

FAMU physics grad conducting weapons /nuclear security research at national lab

Candace Harris, a December 2018, Ph.D. in physics graduate of FAMU, is making her mark at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California.  Harris is on a prestigious National Nuclear Security Administration Graduate Fellowship.  

At LLNL, Harris is conducting research in the Weapons Physics division in support of stockpile management. She’s also learning how policies in Defense Programs are being made by adding scientific and technical expertise.  Upon completion of the fellowship, Harris hopes to remain working as part of the Nuclear Security Enterprise conducting research in support of NNSA’s mission.  

Harris became the 22nd student and the fifth black woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics from FAMU since the university began offering the doctorate in 2001. She receivedher bachelor’s degree in physics from Spelman College, and a masters in physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

FAMU grad Jerry Lorenzo collaborates with Nike to produce high-end sneakers & apparel

                                   FAMU grad Jerry Lorenzo, founder, Fear of God clothing/sneaker
                                   label, wearing shoes from his upcoming collaboration with Nike.
Jerry Lorenzothe 43-year-old, Founder/CEO of the high-end streetwear fashion label Fear of God is doing his second collaboration with the iconic, global, sportswear brand Nike. Lorenzo, who graduated from FAMU in the 90s played on the Rattler baseball team.   He is the son of former MLB player, coach, and manager Jerry Manuel.
Since creating his L.A.-based label in 2012, he has earned the approval of Kanye WestRihanna, and Travis Scott—also created custom looks for Justin Bieber’s 2016 Purpose tour.

Although he had no fashion training, Lorenzo broke into fashion by asking a buddy [luxury sneaker designer] Jon Buscemi whether he had time to work with him and show him some the ropes. Buscemi said, “I don’t, but here’s the developer that you need to talk to.” 

“That was the assist of a lifetime. I met with the developer in Italy with a sketch of the shoe I wanted to make. A year and a half later, we had a shoe on the market," said Lorenzo.

The name of Lorenzo’s brand is not meant to be ironic, but simply a reflection of his Christian faith.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

FAMU AKAs create their own lipstick to celebrate their 10-year anniversary

Ten years to the day of their initiation, members of FAMU's Spring 2009 Alpha Kappa Alpha line introduced their very own custom hot pink lipstick to celebrate their anniversary.  The shade is appropriately name N.I.A.R.A., their pledge line name.
Post college, N.I.A.R.A. remains a close knit group and counts among its ranks pharmacists, lawyers, influencers, nurses, entrepreneurs, businesswomen, and other professionals. The women remain committed to promote the "The Beauty of Sisterhood" through acts of service.

The ladies partnered with Love N Good Lips to create the cruelty free, vegan, ultra matte, hot pink lipstick.  Proceeds from the sales of the lipstick will benefit FAMU.

The lipstick can be purchased here.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

FAMU grad Tirrell Whittley wins NAACP Image Award for Amazing Grace

FAMU SBI alum Tirrell D. Whittley, CEO, Liquid Soul Media, was awarded an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary (film) for his work as producer on the Aretha Franklin concert film "Amazing Grace".

Amazing Grace was shot in 1972 at New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles. The film had been long-shelved because of difficulties.  Franklin's estate teamed up with Whittley, and his partners, who served as producers, to revive the film and bring it to the big screen.

"Amazing Grace is the heart and soul of Aretha Franklin," Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece and personal representative of the Aretha Franklin Estate, said in a statement.  "This film is my aunt to her core."

Whittley had been working with fellow producer Allan Elliot, on the film since 2012.  Mrs. Franklin died in August 2018.  The film's rollout began with its Oscar qualifying runs late last year.  It opens in theaters nationwide April 5, 2019.  

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Ann O'Neal, Rattler super fan, has died

Ann L. O’Neal, a retired FAMU employee and longtime athletic supporter, died yesterday after a brief illness.  Ms. O’Neal, aka “Auntie Ann”, worked for more than 30 years at FAMU as a Space Analyst in the division of Facilities Planning & Construction.

Ann was a fixture at every single football, basketball, softball, baseball game on campus for over 50 years.  Her enduring loyalty to Florida A&M University was infectious. She was universally loved by all she came in contact with, even forging relationships with fans from opposing teams.

Longtime Rattler fans knew they could always find O’Neal at football games in her reserved seats, she purchased four each year (to spread out), on the 50-yard line, top row, press box side of Bragg Stadium. Back in the day, she would sound her air horn to show her approval after a big play.  After hip surgery, O’Neal moved her seat down to the box seats, still on the press box side of Bragg, but also maintained her four seats at the top of the stadium, just because.

Vaughn Wilson, Associate Athletic Director, recalled on his facebook page,"she never missed a single one of my or my brother (Van) football games at FAMU High or FAMU. She was everywhere the Rattlers were. She didn't play about her Rattlers or FAMU."

Just three weeks ago, O'Neal was selected to be enshrined in the 2019 Class of the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame this fall.  Final arrangements for Ms. O'Neal were not yet available. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Alumnus hosts special screening of “Canal Street” for FAMU students, faculty, and staff

Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnus Amir Windom and the Crawfordville minister who helped him produce “Canal Street” held a screening of the movie for the students, faculty and staff of FAMU at AMC Tallahassee 20 on January 22.

“Canal Street” is a Christian-based drama about a teenager Kholi Styles, (Bryshere Y. Gray, who played Hakeem on “Empire”), who tries his best to succeed in a new environment. After adjusting to a new school, a mysterious death results and Kohli is the main suspect in the crime. His only hope to get out of this web of hate is his lawyer who is also his father, Jackie Styles (Mykelti Williamson, who played Gabriel in “Fences”). FAMU alumnus Woody McClain also stars in the movie.

“One of the things that blows people’s minds when they see the movie is that they feel like we wrote it maybe a year ago because of some of the social climates that we currently live in. This movie was written in 2005,” said Kevin Mullens, executive producer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Scott elected to chair Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit

Back in January, U.S. Rep. David Scott (GA-13) was elected to chair the Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit in the now Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

“I am proud to be named Chairman once again of such an influential subcommittee within the Agriculture Committee,” said Scott.

The chair position puts Scott in charge one of the six subcommittees within the House Committee on Agriculture.

“The Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit Subcommittee provides oversight of commodity markets and their regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as agricultural credit and loans, rural development, rural energy, and bioenergy,” Scott said.  “As commodity markets have grown to over an $8 trillion part of the American economy and agriculture contributes $73 billion to Georgia’s economy, it is paramount now more than ever that we ensure that our farmers have access to the credit they need so they can continue to feed the world.”

In addition to chairing the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit, Scott will also return to his senior position on the House Financial Services Committee.

Scott is alumnus of Florida A&M University. He recently led the way in securing $80M in scholarships for land-grant historically black colleges and universities in the Farm Bill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Kim Godwin named executive VP of CBS News

FAMU alumna Kimberly Godwin, a former member of the University's faculty, has been named executive VP of CBS news, with top editorial oversight of news gathering around the world.  Godwin, a 1984 graduate of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communications, joined CBS in 2007 and was VP of news. She was also CBS News' executive director for development and diversity since 2014.

At FAMU, Godwin was Director of the Journalism Division in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communications. Before then, she was the VP and news director for KNBC in LA.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Gilda Cobb-Hunter becomes "Dean" of SC House of Reps.

FAMU graduate Gilda Cobb-Hunter has become the “Dean” of the South Carolina House of Representative by virtue of her having earned the distinction of becoming the longest serving member in the House with 27 years of service.   By tradition, as the longest serving member of the state house she presided during the Dec. 4 organizational meeting, and became the first black legislator since Reconstruction to swear in new members.  

The only lesson you really need to learn is the one you learned in kindergarten. Be kind, be respectful, be civil,” Rep. Cobb-Hunter told the freshmen. “All of us have a right to our opinions and we should commit to agree when and where we can, but also agree to disagree but not be disagreeable.”

Cobb-Hunter, this year, also became the longest serving Black member, and next year will become the longest-serving female, in the history of the SC House. 

A native of Gifford, Florida, she has represented Orangeburg, SC, in the state house since 1992.

In December 2018, Cobb-Hunter was sworn in as President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators at its annual conference in Brooklyn, NY.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

1890 land grant HBCUs to receive $80M in new scholarship funding from Farm Bill

U.S. Rep. David Scott, GA-13 and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, FL-5 worked to ensure that 1890 land grant Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) got a historic funding boost from the $867 billion Farm Bill. The bill includes $80 million in new funding to land-grant HBCUs for student scholarships. This will come from $40 million in discretionary authorization and another $40 million in mandatory funding.

Florida A&M University, Scott and Lawson’s alma mater, will get $2 million each year in new scholarship funding from the bill.

“I am especially proud of the $80M we have secured in funding for new scholarships for students attending the 19 African American 1890’s land-grant colleges and universities across the nation,” Scott said. “These scholarships will play a critical role in providing greater assistance for beginning farmers, and providing financial scholarships to bring more young people of all races who attend these outstanding universities for careers in the wonderful, and exciting, and growing world of agriculture businesses.”

“It is critical that our nation’s HBCUs have the resources necessary to succeed,” said Lawson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the HBCU Caucus. “This bill provides guaranteed funding for HBCUs and takes essential steps to create parity between the 1890 land grants and their 1862 counterparts.”

FAMU will be able to use the money to recruit new top flight high school seniors to its College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS). CAFS offers undergraduate majors in agribusiness, agronomy, animal science, biological & agricultural systems engineering, food science, entomology, and veterinary technology. It also offers a master of science degrees in most of those fields as well as an entomology cooperative Ph.D. with the University of Florida.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

SNAP benefits in Farm Bill critical to feeding 19.9M children in USA

Back on December 12, 2018, two Florida A&M University in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Farm Bill. They were U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) and U.S Rep. David Scott (GA-13).

The Farm Bill is critical to feeding millions of children in the United States of America.

According to a statement by the Children’s Defense Fund in July 2018: “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, helps feed more than 40 million low-income Americans, including 19.9 million children—more than 1 in 4. Every five years Congress must reauthorize the Farm Bill, which includes provisions related to agriculture, conservation and food, including SNAP that fall under the U.S Department of Agriculture’s domain. SNAP prevents children and families from going hungry and improves their overall health. Research also shows children with access to food stamps are nearly 20 percent more likely to complete high school.”

Sunday, December 30, 2018

FAMUans make list of finalists for vacant Tallahassee City Commission seat

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that several candidates with ties to Florida A&M University made the list of nine finalists for the vacant seat on the Tallahassee City Commission.

A total of 93 people applied and each of the four current city commissioners picked three who they wanted to be considered.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow and Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox placed FAMU sustainability coordinator Bruce Strouble Jr. on their lists.

Commissioner Curtis Richardson placed J. Byron Greene, associate director of the Florida Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation at FAMU, on his list.

Mayor John Daily placed Gallop Franklin, II, a former FAMU Student Government Association president and current FAMU visiting assistant professor of pharmacy practice on his list.

Tabitha Frazier, a rental management company owner and environmentalist, had the most support. Her name was on the lists of three commissioners.

The full list of finalists will discussed during a special meeting of the Tallahassee City Commission is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 31, at 4 p.m. A live stream will be available on and

Saturday, December 22, 2018

NIKE, Inc. names FAMU Alum G. Scott Uzzell president & CEO of Converse, Inc.

NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) announced that effective Jan. 22, 2019, G. Scott Uzzell will become President & CEO of Converse, Inc. Uzzell comes to Converse from The Coca-Cola Company where he most recently served as President, Venturing & Emerging Brands Group (VEB).

Uzzell joins Converse at an exciting time as the brand sets the stage to move into new spaces by reconnecting to its heritage in sports. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Florida A&M University.

“Scott’s unique blend of experience driving both strategic business growth and strong brand development is well-suited to help unlock the full potential of the Converse Brand and lead its next phase of growth globally,” said Michael Spillane, President, Categories and Product, NIKE, Inc.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Numerous Rattlers express interest in vacant Tallahassee City Commission seat

The Tallahassee City Commission seat held by Scott Maddox became vacant last week after Gov. Rick Scott suspended him from office. Maddox was indicted on 44 federal charges that include bribery, racketeering, and bank fraud.

The commission is now accepting applications for the seat and numerous Rattlers have expressed interest. Two of them include Gallop Franklin, II and Vincent Evans.

Franklin is a visiting assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, where he earned his PharmD in 2012. He is also a clinical pharmacist and sterile compounding supervisor for Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Franklin previously served two terms as the FAMU Student Government Association president. He has formally applied for the City Commission.

Evans is a scheduler for U.S. Rep. Alfred “Al” Lawson. He also held staff positions with the Andrew Gillum for governor campaign, and City Commissioner Curtis Richardson. Evans recently told Florida Politics that he was thinking about submitting an application for the job. He holds a political science degree from FAMU.

Other applicants with FAMU ties include: J. Byron Greene, associate director of the Florida Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation at FAMU and Bruce W Strouble, a sustainability coordinator at FAMU.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Adolphus “Al” Frazier (1935-2018)

Florida A&M University lost another of its’ great sports legends, record-setting, multi talented halfback, Adolphus “Al” Frazier, who played football for the Rattlers from 1953 to 1956.

Frazier passed away on Sunday in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Frazier was born on March 28, 1935. A FAMU, he was the All-American wingman to College Hall of Famer, Willie Galimore, teaming with the latter to baffle and terrorize opposing defenses, with their limitless combination of speed, power, quickness and shifty moves.

While Galimore was cast weekly in the role The Most Wanted Man, Frazier was often overlooked, a tendency which proved fatal to many Rattler opponents.

In his last two seasons (1955, 1956), Frazier rushed for 1,310 yards on 119 carries, averaging a sizzling 11.0 yards per carry – which remains a FAMU record.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Scott gets $95M for 1890 land grant HBCUs placed in conference Farm Bill

Back on September 6, 2018, U.S. Rep. David Scott, GA-13, thanked his colleagues on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee for supporting his proposed funding boost for 1890 historically black colleges and university (HBCU) land grant schools.

“With the help of many of my friends on both sides of the aisle, we have included in this Farm Bill a pioneering historic effort to bring $95 million dollars to the Land Grant 1890 African American Colleges and Universities,” Scott said.

Scott said that the money will be a big help to the 19 schools that include Florida A&M University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1967.

“I appreciate now that the language is included in the Farm Bill and says this: that for each of the five years, these nineteen 1890 African American Land Grant Colleges and Universities will each receive $1 million dollars per year,” he added. “That means $5 million times nineteen colleges, which is $95 million dollars in total. I just know that the American people will say that this could not happen without Democrats and Republicans working together.”

Saturday, November 24, 2018

FAMU alumna wins “Woman of the Year Award” for leadership in tech

Florida A&M University alumna Diana Lee Caplinger, the chief administrative officer of consumer technology for SunTrust Banks, Inc., has received Georgia’s Woman in Technology “Women of the Year Award.” The November ceremony was presented by The Coca-Cola Company.

The “Women of the Year Awards” gathers top companies at the forefront of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) industries to recognize and announce women who demonstrate leadership and vision in business, and make a difference in our community.

This year, 37 women were honored by being nominated as a “Woman of the Year,” and 13 young girls were nominated as “Girl of the Year.” Each honoree holds a business or STEAM leadership role within an organization or has shown excellence in STEAM education studies.