President James H. Ammons is scheduled to begin his eight-city recruitment tour March 8. He plans to meet with students, parents, business executives and alumni in order to build enrollment, donor and corporate support.
“This is an excellent opportunity for me to personally meet students and tell them why they should attend Florida A&M University,” Ammons said. “Florida is a very competitive market in terms of choice for higher education, and I want students, parents and supporters to understand that FAMU has something very unique to offer.”
Sharon Saunders, spokeswoman for the University, said this is the first time a recruitment effort of such a large scale has been organized. The cities Ammons will visit are Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Miami, Pensacola, Dothan, Ala., Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach and Sarasota.
Sophomore Attendant Demetria Henderson, 19, a sophomore year psychology student from Fort Lauderdale, said the result of the tour will be significant.
“I’m on the Royal Court, and we typically only visit one city at a time,” she said. “This initiative is on an even higher level, so I know there’s going to be a boost [in enrollment].”
Student ambassadors, members of performance group FAMU Connection and Vice President for Student Affairs Roland Gaines will accompany Ammons.
Gaines said there are different components to the tour, but student affairs’ primary focus will be to reach students and parents.
“The tour will be targeted towards high school seniors, but juniors are also welcome,” Gaines explained.
Saunders stated in a press release that various recruitment efforts including fairs, luncheons and dinners will be held throughout the duration of the tour. Some of the sites include the New World Landing in Pensacola; the Greater Beulah Baptist Church in Dothan, Ala.; the Allen Chapel in Daytona Beach and Booker T. Washington High in Miami. Invitations will be sent to surrounding areas to inform the public about the initiative.
At each fair, there will be a performance by FAMU Connection, the University’s recruitment theater troupe. Ammons plans to give scholarships to deserving students on the spot, said Saunders. He will visit the homes of two high school seniors who have been offered full scholarships to attend FAMU for fall 2008 as well.
“I think it is really hands on,” said Marlowe Mathis, 18, a freshman pre-health care student from Birmingham, Ala. “I had friends who probably would have decided to come to FAMU if they’d known a little more about it.”
Mathis went on to name high tuition fees as another reason many students may decide not to attend, but said the tour could help.
“More students would probably apply if they knew they had a chance at receiving a scholarship,” she said. Saunders acknowledged the efforts that will be made toward reaching business executives and alumni. “We will meet with various stakeholders at the receptions and luncheons that we’ve planned,” she said. Saunders said the University had a lot to offer in terms of research, outreach and the building of the state’s intellectual capital. She highlighted the need to showcase FAMU’s accomplishments and the excellence its students will bring to the table as new hires. The president is scheduled to attend corporate luncheons where businesses will be present. He will also meet with the editorial board for the Palm Beach Post along with former Miami Times Publisher Garth Reeves. “Our intent is to find ways to build our relationships with corporate partners, alumni, parents and students,” Saunders said. “We want to use the event as the decision breaker for those students who are not sure what college they will attend.” The tour is scheduled to end March 12. The University plans to make this an annual event.