Throughout history, turmoil and change have often been platforms on which great leaders are built.
SGA President and Vice President Virgil Miller and Keneshia Grant, who are both graduating April 30, have worked to exemplify this ideal.
Throughout the halls of the H. Manning Efferson building (the student union building) a common thought can be heard: These two have raised the bar for future administrations. They have also established themselves at FAMU as notable leaders.
Known to the FAMU student body for his political prowess, Miller’s most memorable moment, by many accounts, was during the removal of University President Fred Gainous. He posed a hostile amendment during the September Board of Trustees meeting where former Gainous was fired.
His amendment, which extended Gainous’ tenure through the end of the year, allowed a transition period for the University. Miller also served as an impromptu sergeant-at-arms as tension filled the BOT meeting.
Miller’s actions earned him respect from many and played a major role in the fair handling of events during and after Gainous’ termination.
Miller said some decisions the BOT made this year were difficult and he also is disappointed with “the way some things were handled with the recent changes in student government.”
In retrospect, Miller said he will miss “the time spent with his staff planning and implementing – and the fun that came along with it.”
Though Miller is the president, he has no problem taking counsel and advice from his No. 2.
“Sometimes I have to sit back and be quiet,” Miller said of his right-hand-woman’s ability to command a situation.
Grant has also demonstrated her commitment to students this year, so much that students at FAMU’s neighboring university have recognized it.
“I noticed Grant’s commitment to students at the Miss FAMU pageant,” said Adah Pittman, 21, a senior criminology student at Florida State University.
Students who wanted to attend the pageant were subject to an ambiguous dress code and many, including Miller, were asked to leave. Grant threatened to withdraw her participation from the event until all students, regardless of dress, were admitted.
“It was outrageous to me. I don’t believe in forcing students, especially at home – and Lee Hall is home,” Grant said.
This brand of year-round commitment has aided Grant in earning the distinction of being named The Famuan’s Most Influential Woman for 2005.
Post graduation, both Miller and Grant plan to extend their careers of service. Miller, who is receiving his masters in allied health, plans on working in the health field for a year before going to medical school.
Grant, a political science student, is looking forward to fulfilling her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.
As their tenure ends, Miller and Grant are optimistic about the future of FAMU and the Student Government Association.
“SGA needs to be everywhere, not just leading the student body. There are a lot of issues that the University must confront internally and externally,” Miller said. “It will take courage, strength and trust, but I think we can handle it.”
Despite the unprecedented climate on campus, the sentiment of Miller and Grant remain positive and both have enjoyed their experience.
“We’re tired, but we made it!”
Contact A.C. Burkins at firstname.lastname@example.org