Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday stressed the significant progress the state of Florida has made in acknowledging the importance of historically black colleges and universities.
At a commemorative breakfast in honor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., held at the School of Business and Industry, Bush said HBCU’s were instrumental to society and have “shaped the country.”
“We are still in need of HBCUs,” Bush said. “I would tell anyone thinking otherwise to look at the students emerging from FAMU.”
In his keynote address, Bush acknowledged the importance of HBCUs since King’s college graduation in 1948.
“As governor, I have attended commemorations for King for the past four years,” Bush said. “This year, I felt that it was important to link Martin Luther King Jr. Day to this institution. FAMU pushes the envelope for progress and dares to change its vision (for continued progress).”
Mayor John Marks and FAMU Board of Trustees member Randy Hanna were also among those in attendance. Both Hanna and King encouraged FAMU students to continue to advance and reach their full potential.
Quoting King, Hanna said, “You will never be what you ought to be until your children are who they ought to be.”
Marks said the nation’s youth should not forget past struggles or take present liberties for granted.
President Fred Gainous also addressed the audience and commented on the strides the nation have taken in the last few decades, and the strides Americans have left to make to achieve King’s dream of all races and creeds living in harmony.
“We are the product of that dream,” Gainous said. “Things are not as they should be, but they are a whole lot better than they used to be.”