Larry Eugene Rivers, dean of Florida A&M University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was named president of Fort Valley State University last Wednesday.
He is set to leave March 14 for Fort Valley, Ga.
“We are delighted to have Rivers selected as the new president of Fort Valley State University,” said KatÃ©y Assem, vice president of the Office of Advancement and Research and spokesperson for FVSU. “This is great news and we are pleased with the decision that the Board of Regents has made.”
Rivers graduated from FVSU in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in social science.
In 1974, he received a master’s degree in history and political science at Villanova University.
In 1977, he earned a doctorate degree in history curriculum development at Carnegie Mellon University. But, Rivers said that leaving FAMU is bittersweet.
“I have ambivalent feelings about leaving FAMU. I’m going to miss, most of all, the students at Florida A&M,” Rivers said. “I have gained over the years excellent experience at FAMU that I feel I can take to Fort Valley.
I believe that I have an overall knowledge to improve Fort Valley’s teacher (education) program and I feel I have experience with recruiting.”
The FVSU alumnus also said he wants to improve retention, the graduation rate and involvement in the community.
Co-workers say they know Rivers as funny, passionate and persistent. Valencia E. Matthews, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the director of theatre, said that she is excited about his achievement.
“I am delighted that he has the opportunity to lead his alma mater. I know he’s a very passionate person about Fort Valley and HBCU’s,” Matthews said.
She added that he is the type of person who is able to create an atmosphere that is encouraging.
“In the office he created an environment where people wanted to work and were comfortable,” Matthews said. “It allows you to do what you can do.”
She believes Rivers is the right candidate.
“(He is) willing to move forward to continue the march for Fort Valley,” said Matthews.
As president, Rivers believes that he will be able to help students at Hack’s better.
Glenn Ledbetter, a college friend, agrees.
“I think he was a good choice. I think he has good leadership qualities,” Ledbetter said.
He added that FVSU picked the right candidate because he embodies the characteristics needed to lead; and Rivers, being an alumnus, puts the best interest of the school as priority.
Students at FAMU are also proud of Rivers’ new position.
“I want to say congratulations that he’s excelling in his career,” said LaKelia Alston, 22, a senior theatre education student from Miami. “I think he’s going to add to the enrichment of another HBCU.”
“I think that moving to the new position will allow me to work more closely with the national alumni association. It will also allow me to do direct fund raising and to meet more of a variety of people from all walks of life,” Rivers said.
He has interacted with many of the students at FVSU at homecoming and social sciences colloquium.
But leaving is hard to do.
“I’m really going to miss the many people places and things in Tallahassee. Betty (his wife) and I will also miss our church home, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church,” Rivers said. “We will miss worshiping with the many 730 members.”
Contact A’sia Horne-Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org