As we close out this 2014 homecoming weekend, I will make some observations about the university and where we are today and what I personally believe has to happen. I have heard that some believe that the world has changed since I was president and that I may be out of touch with how to promote the university successfully and attract the necessary resources to sustain our alma mater. All due respect to those persons, but I disagree. When it comes to the "meat and potatoes" of FAMU and it relevancy to the fabric of American Higher Education the fundamentals have not changed.
1. It is critical that all persons in leadership must have a fundamental appreciation and respect for our history, the special role that FAMU plays, and the unique dynamics that it must navigate to be successful in a landscape that does not want FAMU to succeed and is actively seeking to starve the university to death. One cannot adopt a model that is successful at a predominantly white institution (PWI) and just drop that model into FAMU and expect it to work without significant amounts of nuance and finesse. Any notion of: “I'm from a PWI, I get it, the current and former university community doesn't” – is arrogant, inherently naïve, and will fail. The stakes are too high to not be thoughtful in every action that FAMU administrators and employees take.