Florida A&M students, faculty and alumni gathered at Lee Hall Auditorium Friday for the celebration of the university’s Founder’s Day.
Founded on Oct. 3, 1887 as a school for colored students, FAMU has since grown to include a diverse array of students.
The FAMU concert choir began the program by singing “The Battle of Jericho.”
“It’s so profound that two men and 15 students 122 years later gave rise to all of this, gave rise to change lives,” said guest speaker Alan Williams. “It changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I’m proud to be a small part of that history, a punctuation mark.”
Rep. Alan Williams of Florida’s District 8 reflected on his experience as a former rattler.
“It was very important to be a part of this convocation because FAMU gave me the opportunity to be more than I could ever dream of,” Williams said.Williams said the values upon which FAMU stands have helped make him who he is today.
Williams used the lyrics from the song “Lean on Me” to stress the unity he felt at FAMU when he was a student.
“Lean on me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on for it won’t be long till I’m gonna need a rattler to lean on,” Williams said.Some students were also inspired by the mark that the founders of FAMU left and their continuing legacy.
Bridgett Simmons, 20, a third-year political science student from Dallas said the Founder’s Day convocation is one of the most significant.
“The convocation shows that… you shouldn’t give up on your dreams and that you should keep in mind the goals that God gives you. Stay encouraged and run the race,” Simmons said.
Shameka Hurkes, 18, a first-year music student from Fort Lauderdale and a member of the concert choir said it was a privilege to perform for such an awesome event.
“I was excited to be there and be a part of it. I was glad that I was given the privilege to perform at the convocation along with my fellow concert choir members,” Hurkes said.
The Founders’ Day Convocation highlighted the importance of history and the impact of a legacy that FAMU has continued to create.
FAMU President James Ammons closed the ceremony by reciting a recommitment call and response to the audience: “FAMU today, FAMU tomorrow, FAMU forever.”