Florida A&M University received recognition Monday from Black Enterprise magazine as the top university for black students. The list is comprised of the top 50 schools recommended for black students to attend. In 2004, FAMU ranked sixth on the list. This year’s list was based on a survey of nearly 500 professionals and over 1,000 of the best schools in the nation. FAMU ranked higher than third and forth place schools North Carolina A & T State University and Harvard University, among others. FAMU rose above the other four historically black colleges and universities on the list including Howard University, which ranked second. A press conference was held on the stairs of Lee Hall to celebrate the university’s achievement. Alfred Edmond Jr., senior vice president and editor in chief of Black Enterprise, presented FAMU Interim President Castell V. Bryant with a plaque recognizing the university’s success. “FAMU was selected based on two criteria: academic and social environment,” Edmond said. The board also reviewed graduation rates and total black enrollment. Edmond emphasized FAMU competed with schools all across the spectrum. According to the Department of Education, FAMU graduated a total of 1,850 students during the 2004-2005 school year. Enrollment numbers of black students reached 11,117 during the fall 2005 semester and 10,311 in spring 2006. The university also awarded more than 850 academic degrees at the close of the spring 2006 semester. Of those, 545 were bachelors degrees and over 200 were masters degrees and higher. Total enrollment for this school year is expected to reach more than 11,000 students. Student Government Association President Phillip Agnew, 21, attributes FAMU’s distinction to several changes that have been implemented. “We’ve been in transition,” Agnew said. “We’ve been filling vacant dean positions, placing focus on our School of Pharmacy, and we’ve even begun restoring the Black Archives.” Agnew, a fourth-year business administration student from Chicago, feels that FAMU is still highly regarded around the nation and believes that other institutions aspire to reach the university’s status.
Some guests at the press conference included Mayor John Marks, members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and Commissioner John Winn. Carolyn Roberts, Florida Board of Governors chairwoman, said, “FAMU’s commitment to students never changes. We all know that it is No. 1, and we’re gonna keep it No.1.” She added that the board is also building relations with the science foundation and already has 300 active grants in place. Cherline Pierre, 24, from Fort Lauderdale, was one of the students at the conference. “I’m glad to see that after 10 years, we’re still No. 1,” Pierre said. “This shows that our legacy is truly a part of our university.” The Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees search committee, encouraged students to continue to excel. “Wow to the greatest university on planet Earth,” Holmes said. “Students, you are the best. This is a high moment in our history. Let’s continue to strike, strike and strike again!”