Florida A&M University paid tribute to an honorable Rattler who has assisted the growth of the institution for nearly 25 years: Saundra Jean Roland Inge, former head of the Office of Student Activities. Students, faculty and friends supported a part of a musical celebration in honor of her departure.
“I wanted to be a part of this celebration even though I doubt she will go away,” Nathaniel Wesley, a 1965 graduate of FAMU, former professor for the university and longtime friend of Inge, said.
A variety of student performers took the stage to show their gratitude toward Inge’s service for their organization throughout the years, including the Marching “100,” FAMU Strikers, Mahogany Dance Theatre and Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity.
“I love that they are doing a musical appreciation, because Saundra has a beautiful voice,” Sheila Wesley, wife of Nathaniel Wesley and close friend of Inge’s, said.
Inge’s love for music was exemplified throughout her retirement tribute. She began playing the piano at age five and her teenage years were dedicated to playing the French horn. She has instructed hundreds of children who, like herself, have shown an admiration for music.
“She is the only person that has been able to bring me to tears,” Henry Kirby, the associate vice president and dean of students, and colleague of 31 years, said. “I know she will forever bleed orange and green.”
Her position in the Office of Student Activities has allowed her to meet new students every year and build positive, lasting relationships with students from across campus. Outside of her biological four children, she has taken hundreds of students under her wing as her own.
“I will miss her motherly love the most,” April Parkins, 20, a pre-nursing student from Kingston, Jamaica, said. “Ms. Inge lets it be known to every student she comes in contact with that they can be successful in anything they choose to.”
Parkins has worked with Inge since her freshman year. Her experience with Inge is that, while Inge is warm and protective, she is also strict in trying to mold her workers to be the very best. This from her determination to teach her fellow students that being an asset to society is crucial.
“She has always been excellent with her students,” Wesley said. “She defends them in anything. But, if she doesn’t see things done right, she’s a task monster.”