The future of one of FAMU’s 12 colleges and schools changed Thursday. Alumni, faculty, and students gathered to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building that will be the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.
Dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Robert Ruggles, James Hawkins director of the Division of Journalism and Arvid Mukes, director of the Division of Graphic Communications , all spoke at the brief ceremony.
“FAMU is truly a light on a hill,” Hawkins said. “Our graduates have gone to higher heights in journalism and communications.”
The new $20 million building will be 99,000 square feet and tentatively be completed mid- 2003. On its four floors, the building will encompass private faculty offices, teacher- and student-friendly classrooms and labs, offices for student organizations and a library with an open computer lab. The various majors in the school were represented as journalism and graphic communication students Rashani Boynton and Deidre Williams spoke on behalf of their divisions. Thomas Rasheed, associate professor of graphic communications and Maryann Travis, Ruggles’ administrative assistant, spoke on behalf of the 22 faculty and 16 staff members respectively.
Interim President Henry Lewis III also spoke at the ceremony. He shed light on the past, present and future of the new building.
“This is indeed a historical event, because, for the first time, the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication will have it’s own personal facility,” Lewis said.
According to Lewis, the money collected is the largest amount raised by deans, faculty and personnel for a facility in FAMU’s history. The State of Florida matched all contributions in a one to one ratio, which totaled $7.5 million of the building’s total cost.
Lewis also informed the crowd that the name change from the School of Journalism and Graphic Arts to the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication was done through the influence of Ruggles and the board of trustees.
As he prepared to close his speech, Lewis reminded Ruggles that though there are some obstacles ahead with funding, “the money will not disappear again.”
“FAMU can and will make a mark on this state, this nation and even the world,” he said.