Convocation kicks off Ammons future plans

President Ammons declared 2008-2009 the Year of the Rattler Friday morning, announcing a five-year plan for FAMU’s growth in eight select areas.

Gaither Gymnasium, which holds more than 3000 people, was filled to capacity during the All-University President’s Convocation, where President James H. Ammons, layed out his goals for the upcoming school year.

“The 2007-2008 school year tells our story in no uncertain terms: We’re simply the best,” he said.

Ammons pointed out accomplishments of the past year, such as the university’s “clean audit” for the past financial year. He praised the College of Pharmacy and the School of Journalism for regaining their accreditation and the School of Business and Industry for its numerous internships on Wall Street.

He also announced Florida A&M University being the first institution to raise $1 million in the Tom Joyner Foundation Scholarship.

But Ammons didn’t dwell on the past.

“I am excited about what we have accomplished, but I am more excited about the future,” he said.

Ammons spoke about a five-year strategic plan to be finished this year, which would improve in eight areas.

Some of the goals were to increase enrollment, along with graduation and retention rates. Ammons said he predicts an increase of enrollment to 15,000 students within five years.

Another goal was to implement strategies to increase fundraising efforts, first by raising $1.5 million in the Tom Joyner scholarship by December.

Ammons touched on six other goals to improve FAMU’s standing as not just “best HBCU but the best institution of higher learning.”

But as Mellori Lumpkin announced during the beginning of the convocation, “…When you’re a Rattler you’ve already won.”

A sense of Rattler pride was conveyed as the University Concert Choir sang DreamGirls’ “We are a Family.”

“In four years I’ve never seen a convocation packed to this capacity,” said Kenneth Gaskin, fourth-year Biology student.

The 21-year-old from Gainesville said he thought he would be able to get a seat. He affirmed the raised morale to Ammons arrival.