Florida A&M University honor students lined up Wednesday morning in front of Coleman Library and proceeded into Lee Hall for the University’s annual Honors Day Convocation.
The keynote speaker was Bernard Kinsey, a 1967 FAMU graduate. Kinsey is the president and founder of KBK Enterprise, Inc. He is also a former Xerox Executive and former chief operating officer and co-chairman of Rebuild Los Angeles.
Kinsey gave an array of advice for FAMU students to live their lives by.
“Learn, use, teach,” Kinsey said. “Begin to acquire new skills, use them and then teach them to someone else. Inspect (what they are doing) and give it to someone else to use.”
Kinsey said he also believes people should become successful and help others get to the same level of success.
“Leave the door open and the ladder down,” he said. “You need to push to get ahead and turn around and bring someone else.”
Kinsey encouraged students to give back after they graduate.
“Think about ‘how do I become the blessing for someone?’ ” Kinsey said. “Think about, ‘how can I be a blessing to you’ versus ‘you being a blessing to me.’ “
The convocation program showed that Kinsey has raised more than $22 million for HBCUs and $350,000 for FAMU.
“That’s why Shirley and I have made it our business to support all black colleges, not just Florida A&M,” Kinsey said.
He said he and his wife, Shirley Kinsey, live their lives by two principles.
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” Kinsey said, “and a life with no regrets.”
During President James H. Ammons’ closing remarks, he praised students for their honor status.
“Your diligence and accomplishments made it possible for you to have a seat here,” he said. “I want you to continue to uphold ‘Excellence with Caring.’ Best wishes for continued success.”
Ammons said he wants students to consider FAMU for graduate school.
“As you think of grad school, I want you to remember that FAMU offers 30 master’s degree programs and 12 doctorate degree programs,” he said.
Honor students said it takes a lot of dedication to earn and keep a 3.0 and above GPA.
“You have to make your degree your main focus,” said Scarlett Williams, 21, a junior business administration student from Jacksonville. “Sometimes you have to give up spending time with your friends, a few parties, and going home that one weekend and look at the big picture. I know that earning my degree is the big picture.”
Garreth Hubbard, 19, a freshman animal science student from Macon, Ga., said he felt fortunate to be at the convocation.
“I work hard for my GPA,” he said. “I’m glad someone realizes what it takes to get a 3.0 or better. It makes you want to continue to work hard.”
Williams agreed with Hubbard.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized for all of my hard work,” Williams said. “Sometimes you do all this work and you don’t think people notice, so I feel blessed.”