“The constitution stands for what we can do when we are determined to make it work,” said Chief Justice Peggy Quince, who was the keynote speaker at the annual Florida A&M University Black History Month Convocation.
Quince, the first African-American female chief justice in Florida, urged students to support the university against obstacles such as budget cuts.
“Let the legislators know that this is an issue important to you,” she said. “You can’t afford not to get involved. This budget crises should be something you are interested in to keep you going.”
Quince serves both the Florida Supreme Court and one of the Florida District Courts of Appeal. She was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in March 2007.
She added that young people should be active in making a change just as they were when President Barack Obama was campaigning.
“You need to make this a cause just as you made campaigning ” Quince said. “The future is yours as long as you are determined and willing to work hard.”
Quince reminisced about important events that have made major contributions to black history. She said events like the Great Depression, Brown v. Board of Education and the history of FAMU was significant.
“Adversity presents opportunity for those who are determined to succeed,” she said. “Despite all the adversity this university has continued to strive and grow.”
FAMU President James Ammons presented Quince with the President’s Awards for serving as the keynote speaker. The Student Government Association also presented her with a plaque on behalf of the student body.
Towards the end of convocation, Quality Enhancement Plan Director Maurice Edington, informed the audience that FAMU is in the last stage of reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Edington said SACS has implemented the Quality Enhancement Plan, a five-year plan that describes how universities are enhancing education quality and student learning. He said FAMU’s QEP is called Enhancing Performance and Critical Thinking. The plan will improve freshman learning and critical thinking.
“The SACS team will be on campus March 9 asking students and teachers if they know about QEP,” Edington said. He added that FAMU is also developing a critical thinking seminar and out of class summer reading programs for freshman students. Some students said they were inspired by this year’s convocation.
“The message was very informing,” said Kecendra Pittman, 20, a junior elementary education student from Fort Lauderdale. “I think the convocation was very successful and I enjoyed it.”