Monday, March 08, 2021

Beats headphones designed by FAMU senior Elijah Rutland introduced during NBA All-Star weekend

Last September, we told you all about Elijah Rutland, a senior graphic designs student at FAMU, who was selected as “Beats Black Creator” to specially design a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones for the company.
On Sunday, the limited edition headphones designed by Rutland were released in a really big way at the NBA 70th All-Star weekend in Atlanta.
"At the NBA All-Star game, all of the players did their courtside interviews in the beats headphones that I designed," Rutland said.
Elijah designed these headphones while in the "Beats Black Creator" program.
Rutland, specifically, will work with the Beats design to create a custom headphone and matching packaging for its 2021 Black History Month collection. 
"I also did another illustration for NBA that will be featured in the players locker rooms," he said. 
Rutland says this moment is surreal, he can barely describe the excitement he's feeling. 
"I'm very happy, very excited, very grateful," he said. He isn't the only one feeling the excitement. 

Rutland’s four years at FAMU has been nothing short of fantastic he has had he work go viral on the internet and has interned aWarner Brothers studios and worked on a Netflix project. 

Sunday, March 07, 2021

FAMU x LeBron x Nike partnership could be a game changer for HBCUs

While we do not yet know the all of the details of FAMU’s new six-year partnership with Nike and LeBron James, the media buzz surrounding the announcement for the moment could be a Deion Sanders neutralizer.
FAMU enjoyed two full days of unprecedented positive media attention, not seen since it was named Time Magazine/Princeton Review College of the Year in 1997.  
On Tuesday night, James showed up to the Lakers game versus the Suns game carrying a new pair of specially designed FAMU sneakers that he wore in the game. Few knew, then, what he had up his selves.  
Most probably thought the mega star was paying homage to the HBCU world, like he, Chris Paul, and others have done so often. But it was more to it.  He was a foreshadowing a huge, game-changing announcement that would influence the future and marketability of FAMU, and FAMU athletics. 
By Thursday, Nike and James again shocked the world by announcing a new multi-year partnership that would make the FAMU the first university to have its sports teams don LeBron James-branded apparel. 
When asked about the partnership James had this to say, “Nike has long supported Florida A&M athletics, and I’m committed to uplifting HBCUs, so I was happy I rocked a pair of the PEs in-game and showcased a glimpse of what’s to come for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.”
The deal will include footwear designed specifically for the university.
The Rattlers have a rich tradition of excellence in athletics and academics, and you know the age-old saying, “if you look good, you play good,” he added.
In the past month, the Lakers star has been busy on the court carrying his NBA team, and off the court executing major social justice power moves.  He facilitated WNBA activist Renee Montgomery‘s elevation to part-owner of the Atlanta Dream, after forcing out former GOP-Senator Kelly Loeffler and her BLM attacks.
Incidentally, FAMU grad G. Scott Uzzell is president and CEO of Converse, Inc., also a part of the NIKE family.
While James has always made education a priority in terms of using his platform to influence change off the floor. His I Promise School in Akron has had tremendous success.

Now, Nike and LeBron are preparing to leave their stamp on FAMU in support of HBCUs. If played right, FAMU could reap benefits from this partnership well beyond the gridiron, diamond, track and field, and, of course, the basketball courts.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

McCullum receives MEAC coach of the year honors

FAMU head basketball coach, Robert McCullum, has been named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Coach of the Year, the conference announced on Friday afternoon. McCullum is the first FAMU head basketball coach to earn the award in the 50-year history of the honor.

McCullum, who took over the FAMU program in 2017, led to Rattlers to its third consecutive winning conference record going 7-5, earning the No. 2 seed in the 2021 MEAC Basketball Tournament. In his four seasons at the helm, McCullum has racked up 33 MEAC wins against 27 losses. This year his Rattlers have an overall record of 8-11.
Under McCullum's guidance, the Rattlers have become one of the best defensive teams in the MEAC this season. As a team, FAMU leads the conference in scoring defense, as the only team to give up less than 70 points per game (67.5), and defensive rebounds per game (35.5).


The Rattlers also had two players earn All-MEAC recognition. Junior forward MJ Randolph landed on the All-MEAC First-Team and All-Defensive team, while Jalen Speer earned a spot on the All-Rookie team.

Friday, March 05, 2021

FAMU athletics announces new partnership with Nike and LeBron James

FAMU athletics and Nike, Inc., yesterday, announced a six-year partnership to make the Nike the official athletic footwear, apparel and equipment provider for the university.


FAMU will become the first school to have its sports teams don LeBron James-branded apparel, the school announced.

Under the six-year agreement beginning July 1, all 14 of FAMU's athletic teams, as well as the marching band, will be outfitted in Nike uniforms, apparel and footwear, with the footwear reportedly designed specifically for the university. Nike has been Florida A&M's apparel supplier for more than 20 years.

According to Nike, the FAMU basketball teams will have LeBron James signature-branded uniforms, with the Los Angeles Lakers star's crown logo.

James himself showed off what the shoes will look like in a tweet teasing the announcement, showing the "FAMU" LeBron 18 PE shoes he wore on Tuesday.

In the past few months, Nike has made great strides in expanding their family of sponsored schools. Following not too long after UCLA’s inauguration into the brand, the Swoosh has announced their six-year partnership with FAMU Athletics.

In September, the FAMU Board of Trustees had approved a proposal to allow the university’s athletic teams to move over to Adidas. That action appears to have brought Nike back to the negotiating table with a more aggressive offer and yesterday’s announcement is an end result of those negotiations.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering dean to step down in December

J. Murray Gibson
, dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering since July 2016, is stepping down in December. 

Under Gibson’s leadership, the joint college moved up 51 points in rankings last year and is now the second highest ranked engineering school in Florida, according to US News and World Report.

In moving up 51 points, US News and World Report ranked it No. 69 among all doctoral granting undergraduate engineering schools in the U.S. It is ranked No. 40 among public universities, up 37 spots since 2019.`

Gibson, a tenured FAMU faculty member in mechanical engineering, will go on sabbatical during the spring 2022 semester and return to the college that fall where he will teach and conduct research.

He called department chairs Tuesday afternoon to notify them of his decision and engineering faculty, staff and students were told by email. Alumni were being notified Wednesday morning. 
Prior to coming to Tallahassee, Gibson, 67, served as the founding dean of Northeastern University’s College of Science, where he was credited with raising millions of dollars in education funding.

Before that, he was a professor in one of the nation’s top 10 engineering schools, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he trained 15 doctoral students.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

FAMU vaccination center expands eligibility to teachers and other frontline workers ages 50 and over

Florida health officials are expanding the eligibility of individuals who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the FAMU vaccination center at the Al Lawson Center to include K-12 school employees, law enforcement officers and firefighters ages 50 and over beginning today, March 3.
Previously, FAMU’s vaccination site was open to residents who are 65 and over and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients.
The university hopes the expanded eligibility will increase the number of people receiving shots at the site daily. As of March 1, 241 people were vaccinated at the site, but it had been open since Thursday, Feb. 25. The site had the capacity to vaccinate 1,200 people or 200 daily.
“We hope expanding the list of those who can get vaccinated would encourage those seniors who haven’t yet been vaccinated to come forward to get their shots,” said Tanya Tatum, director of FAMU Student Health Services. “This site is accessible. Getting your vaccine is one way to end this pandemic.”
The site is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. seven days a week. For the first four weeks, staff will administer up to 200 Moderna vaccine doses every day. Once that period is over, the site is expected to increase its capacity to 400 doses per day, the press release says.
If you have mobility issues, you can drive up to the curb area in front of the Lawson Center at 1800 Wahnish Way. Staff will provide wheelchair assistance to transport them from their vehicle into and out of the vaccination site.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Retired Sarasota teacher's $1 million donation will help create intern opportunities in DC for HBCU students

Jacqueline Lewis, a retired Sarasota, FL, teacher has pledged $1 million to create the National Center for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which provide affordable intern housing up to 175 HBCU students a semester in Washington, DC. 

The center will share space in a five-story building, originally built by Boston University, just north of the White House. Students will not only live in the center but will participate in programs related to HBCUs, and in turn share that experience with students representing universities across the world.


“I want to build diversity by preparing Black students for next generation-leadership in all professions and I have seen how to do it,” Lewis said.

The center will open this fall. 

She said she was inspired by last year’s gifts to HBCUs by billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Scott announced in December she is giving away $4.2 billion in gifts to 384 organizations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. — Second Harvest of the Big Bend also made the list.