FAMU was founded Oct. 3, 1887 as the State Normal College for Colored Students. In the beginning, there were 15 students and two instructors.
More than 115 years later, there is no disputing the fact that the University has grown tremendously. It has seen some of the most brilliant, talented and courageous men and women come through and leave and impact the University.
Today, FAMU has an enrollment of more than 13,000 students and the same trend still continues. Leading the pact is our outgoing Student Government Association president, Virgil Miller.
Miller, a 23-year-old graduate student from West Palm Beach, by way of Virginia, has had the opportunity to lead what he calls “the best student body” for the past two years. He said he has been setting goals for himself for a great portion of his life.
In his 2004 inauguration packet, Miller said he wanted to be the first in his immediate family to attend college. Not only did he achieve that goal but he also managed to acquire a lengthy list of other accomplishments.
During the 2003-2004 school year, Miller served as student body vice president under the leadership of Larry O. Rivers in the Blueprint Administration. The administration tackled issues dealing with student parking, housing and the search for a new university president following the retirement of, President Frederick S. Humphries.
After being elected as student body president in the spring of 2004, Miller continued to fight for the students of FAMU.
“I have been fortunate to make a lot of lasting decisions for the University.”
Miller recalled, now serving as a board of trustees member, playing an active role in selecting president Fred Gainous and was also instrumental in the release of the same president this past fall.
Miller admits that he has been successful as student body president, first, because of God, then the support from the student body, his friends and his family.
It has been said that a leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.
“I know that every decision that I have made during my tenure has never been for selfish reasons. My primary concern has always been the welfare of FAMU and the student body,” Miller said.
With graduation less than two weeks away Virgil is setting his sights beyond FAMU.
“If you asked me three years ago, I would have never thought I would be SGA president,” Miller said.
This once drum major, Marching “100” Band president, 11th Episcopal District Young Peoples Division president of the A.M.E. Church and current member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. is looking on to a prosperous year working with a public health agency or a pharmaceutical firm. After one year of working, Miller plans to enroll in medical school.
Virgil graduated from FAMU in 2003 with a biology/pre-med degree and said he will use this year off from school to reacquaint himself with science and prepare his mind for medical school.
Over the course of six months FAMU has gone through many changes. Some would say for the good and some would say for the bad. The University has experienced the release of Gainous, the hiring of an interim president, Castell V. Bryant, the suspension of the director of student activities, Alice Mathis, a whirlwind spring election process and a freeze of university spending. These events could easily leave a bad taste or unsettling feeling in the average person’s mind.
However, Miller is definitely anything but average. He said he looks at FAMU in the calm and positive manner that he always has.
“It’s the first time in a long time that I feel confident in saying that FAMU is headed in the right direction. I can graduate with confidence knowing that FAMU is in good hands and interim president Castell Bryant is making necessary changes to move FAMU Forward”. Miller said.
On April 30 at 7:30 a.m. FAMU will say goodbye to yet another great leader.
Miller will graduate from FAMU’s Institute of Public Health with a Master of Science degree in Public Health.
In an effort to effectuate change, Miller will venture upon another goal that he has set for himself: Serve as the Surgeon General of the United States of America. This is a goal that is definitely not out of reach, nor far fetched, for the 6’3″ leader with the passion, presence and conviction of a “Baptist preacher.”
Contact Willie Fedrick at email@example.com.