Monday, June 12, 2017

FAMU Law honors Distinguished Alumni during annual ceremony

By Nadia Felder
Florida A&M University

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) College of Law paid tribute to 10 renowned alumni during the third annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony. Not only did the FAMU College of Law honor individuals, but it also celebrated its 15th anniversary of the law school’s reopening in Orlando 2002. The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Democratic reps ask Scott how he will protect Florida from proposed Trump cuts to SNAP

Recently, nine Florida Democratic U.S. representatives sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott outlining their concern over President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“Upon the release of President Trump’s budget, we are deeply concerned about the proposal to “re-balance the Federal/State partnership in SNAP benefits to low-income households,” the representatives wrote. “This proposal will shift 25 percent of SNAP costs to the State of Florida by 2023. More than two-thirds of SNAP households include children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-wage workers. SNAP is essential to keeping poor and vulnerable Floridians from going hungry. At a time when Florida’s budget is already strained, this has the potential to drastically affect how our constituents are served, and we are requesting information on how your administration intends to respond.”

The Florida delegation members who signed the letter included U.S. Reps. Al Lawson (FL-5), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Darren Soto (FL-9), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Val Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).

Friday, June 09, 2017

FAMU faculty member uses innovative teaching methods

By FAMU CAFS Magazine Staff

The 2016-2017 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) junior faculty Teaching Innovation Award (TIA) was presented to Jenelle Robinson, Ph.D., of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS).

The award, which is given to a senior and junior faculty member, recognizes an outstanding faculty member who has demonstrated and implemented the use of non-traditional teaching strategies, approaches, techniques, or tools to produce measurable gains for student outcome.  It also exemplifies their respective efforts on exploring new ways of teaching that impacts the capacity of the students to think critically.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

FAMU NAA president helps to inspire HBCU Giving Campaign created by Roland Martin

Roland S. Martin, host and managing editor of TV One’s News One Now, has created the fundraising initiative, #HBCUGivingDay, a national call to action in support of raising funds for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). For the past week, Martin has represented a different historically Black college and university by wearing a lapel pin and then posting the photo on social media using the hashtag, #HBCUGivingDay.

On May 25, Martin interviewed Lt. Col. Gregory L. Clark, president of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association , about the importance of donating money to support scholarships and research at institutions geared toward the education of minorities and first generation students. Around 70 percent of all HBCU students rely on federal grants and work study programs to finance their education.

“We have an obligation to give. HBCU’s take us in, give us an education and send us out into the world,” said Clark, who reported that the association is working to increase FAMU’s 5 percent alumni giving rate. “The giving rates have got to be up…that’s going to help us drive in those corporate dollars and it’s going to show the corporations that we do care about our institutions.”

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

FAMU expects to receive $1.7M from World Class Faculty and Scholar Program

In 2017-2018, Florida A&M University expects to receive $1,748,715 from the World Class Faculty and Scholar Program. The FAMU Division of Finance and Administration included the estimate in the Budget Workbook it prepared for this week’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The Florida Legislature approved the program in the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2017 (CS/CS/SB 374) that it sent to governor’s desk on June 5. Gov. Rick Scott still hasn’t announced whether he will veto the bill.

According to the act: “The World Class Faculty and Scholar Program is established to fund and support the efforts of state universities to recruit and retain exemplary faculty and research scholars. It is the intent of the Legislature to elevate the national competitiveness of Florida’s state universities through faculty and scholar recruitment and retention.”

The act goes on to describe that the funds from the program may be used for: “investments in research-centric cluster hires, faculty research and research commercialization efforts, instructional and research infrastructure, undergraduate student participation in research, professional development, awards for outstanding performance, and postdoctoral fellowships.”

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

FAMU could receive $1.9M from Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program

BEST Program Orientation for July Bar Exam at FAMU Law
For the 2017-2018 year, Florida A&M University expects to receive $1,959,398 from the State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program. The FAMU Division of Finance and Administration included the estimate in the Budget Workbook it prepared for this week’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The Florida Legislature approved the program in the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2017 (CS/CS/SB 374) that it sent to governor’s desk on June 5. Gov. Rick Scott still hasn’t announced whether he will veto the bill.

The language in the act says that: “The State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program is established to fund and support the efforts of state universities to enhance the quality and excellence of professional and graduate schools and degree programs in medicine, law, and business and expand the economic impact of state universities.”

Monday, June 05, 2017

FAMU the only public university spared from Scott’s veto pen

Florida A&M was the only public university that Gov. Rick Scott chose to spare from his veto pen this year. Every other public university took line item vetoes in the 2017-2018 General Appropriations Act that the governor signed last week.

New College of Florida, which isn’t classified as a university but is still part of the State University System of Florida, also escaped line item vetoes from Scott.

FAMU’s line items in this year’s appropriations bill include: $1.5M for the Crestview Education Center, $1M for “increasing online course offerings,” and $3.5M for the Center for Access and Student Success.

Florida State University, which is led by Scott’s former reelection campaign Chair John Thrasher, took $20,897,730 in line item vetoes. Scott slashed: $8M for the Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Building, $5M for the Stem Teaching Lab, $4M for Land Acquisition, $1M for College of Law Scholarships/Faculty, $700,000 for the Health Equity Research Institute, $608,111 for the Florida Campus Compact, $489,619 for Evaluation of Behavioral Health System of Care in Florida at the FSU Medical School, $300,000 for the Next Generation Ultra-High Field Magnets, $300,000 for the Charles Hilton Endowed Professorship, $250,000 for the Pepper Center Long Term Care Proposal, and $250,000 for the Learning System Institute.

Out of all the public universities that took line item vetoes, Florida Polytechnic had the smallest amount removed. It lost $150,000 for a “Feasibility Study to Relocate the Florida Highway Patrol Academy to” its campus.

View the full list of line item vetoes here.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

FAMU wins MEAC’s Mary McLeod Bethune Women's All-Sports Award

FAMU celebrating Head Softball Coach Veronica Wiggins’s 700th win
The Florida A&M University Women's Athletic program has returned to the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 2016-2017, as it captured the Mary McLeod Bethune Women's All-Sports Award, the conference recently announced.

The All-Sports Award is an indicator of the overall strengths and women's athletic program. FAMU received a $20,000 check during a reception in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“I would like extend congratulations to Florida A&M University and Interim President Dr. Larry Robinson, Director of Athletics Milton Overton and all of the outstanding individuals including staff, coaches and student-athletes who were involved in winning the Mary McLeod Bethune Award,” said MEAC Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

FAMU Law student overcomes obstacles to obtain degree

When the 13th Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law Hooding Ceremony was held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on May 20, 2017, Benjamin Irving may have resembled any graduating law student who had faced challenges.

After all, Irving –  who commuted daily to downtown Orlando from Marion County during his three years of studying law – uses a wheelchair to move about life.  But that is not the half of what makes him one extraordinary law graduate.

The 37-year-old Philadelphia native was charged with and convicted of three felonies at the age of eighteen.  In addition, at 24, he was shot and paralyzed and has suffered from physical issues because of his paralysis ever since.

Friday, June 02, 2017

FAMU to hold groundbreaking ceremony for new Center for Access and Student Success

Florida A&M University will officially break ground on the new Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) during a ceremony set for Thursday, June 8, 2017, following the Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for that day.

The building site for CASS will be a Wahnish Way parking next the Jake Gaither Gymnasium. The total cost of the CASS will be $39,355,000. FAMU has already received $12,655,000 of that amount from the state. The Florida Legislature recently approved an additional $3,500,000 for CASS during its 2017 session. Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t yet announced whether he will support or veto that line item.

According to FAMU: “The FAMU Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) is designed to be a multipurpose building serving as a one-stop shop for programs like recruitment, admissions, financial aid and enrollment management. This building will also house registrar, scholarship office, counseling services and the Center for Disability Access and Resources.” 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Entertainer K. Michelle among FAMU Distinguished Alumni honored in Baltimore

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Distinguished Alumni Award celebrates the extraordinary contributions and achievements of select FAMU graduates. On May 26, nine FAMU alumni received the prestigious award during a black-tie gala at the FAMU National Alumni Association’s (FAMU NAA) National Convention in Baltimore.

Hundreds of alumni, FAMU trustees, Interim President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., and guests gathered to recognize the following honorees:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Legislature approves $450K for Florida African-American Heritage Preservation Network

The General Appropriations Act (SB 2500) passed by the Florida Legislature includes $450,000 in nonrecurring funds for the Florida African-American Heritage Preservation Network (FAAHPN).

Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Althemese Barnes, executive director of the John G. Riley Museum, submitted the funding request to state Rep. Ramon Alexander, D-Tallahassee, in January. Alexander then filed a bill to seek the money (HB 2379). The final appropriations bill included the full amount Barnes sought for 2017-2018.

Back in 2016-2017, the FAAHPN received $400,000 in nonrecurring funds.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Alumni hold most seats on Howard BOT, only 2 alumni in appointed sets on FAMU BOT

Howard University has the biggest number of doctoral programs among all historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Its six-year graduation rates are also strong. The overall six-year graduation rate at Howard was 61 percent in 2015. Howard’s six year graduation rate has remained above 60 percent since at least 2009. 

The university enrolled a total of 10,002 students back in Fall 2015.

Howard has had a high quality Board of Trustees (BOT) for many years. Twenty of the 30 seats (or about 66 percent) on the university’s BOT are held by alumni.

Monday, May 29, 2017

FAMU NAA donates $273,734.28 to university

On May 27, the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association (NAA) gave the university a donation in the amount of $273,734.28. NAA President Lt. Col. Gregory Clark presented the check to Interim President Larry Robinson during the Fundraising Breakfast that was part of the NAA National Convention in Baltimore, Md.

According to the NAA’s official Facebook page, “this amount includes online donations. Near the end of the event, President Clark made a special call for $20 bills to raise those last few dollars. Alumni in the room and online responded with $11,046.00.”

Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ten Rattler baseball players make MEAC All-Academic Team

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) recently announced the 2017 Baseball All-Academic Selections, honoring 96 student-athletes from the conference's nine baseball institutions. Ten Florida A&M University (FAMU) players made the list.

Director of Athletics Milton Overton Jr.  praised academic success of the baseball players. 

“We bring our athletes here first and foremost for an education,” Overton said.  “We are extremely proud of the job these young men have done in the classroom.  This is a testament to good recruiting from [Head Coach Jamey Shouppe] and his staff and our academic support staff who have made sure the learning environment is conducive to success of our student-athlete.”

Saturday, May 27, 2017

FAMU to award nine $50,000 scholarships to Grand Rapids high school students

William Hudson, vice president of student affairs at Florida A&M University, visited Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids Michigan on May 19 to announce a new pipeline program between Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and FAMU.

As part of the pipeline, FAMU will award nine $50,000 scholarships to Ottawa Hills students.

Hudson said that many talented Michigan students choose to attend FAMU and the new partnership will help the university enroll even more.

“We have a strong alumni base here that does a great job in recruiting students and letting them know the benefits of higher education and specifically what we have to offer at Florida A&M University,” Hudson said in an interview with WZZM 13 news. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Four FAMU softball players make MEAC All-Academic Team

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) recently the 2017 MEAC Softball All-Academic team, which recognized 90 student-athletes with a 3.0 or better cumulative grade point average.

Four players on the Florida A&M University softball team, which won its fourth consecutive MEAC title this year, made the team.  They were Alexis Day, Whitney Farris, Kenya Pereira, and Tahlia Snider.

FAMU Director of Athletics Milton Overton Jr. said he was pleased with the players who garnered the conference honor.