Florida A&M University sent another 450 future doctors, reporters, engineers and others to bright futures Friday after the annual Summer Commencement ceremony. Graduates, old and new, praised FAMU for turning formerly “wide-eyed freshmen” into scholars and industry leaders.
“I am so happy to be done,” said graduate Shalanda Scott from Chattahoochee, Fla. “This has been a long road for me but I am ready to represent for rattlers everywhere and to enter the real world a make my mark.” She left FAMU with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice.
FAMU alumna Kimberly Godwin urged Florida A&M’s newest graduates to “define wisdom” in their own ways. The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC) graduate-turned-CBS senior producer commended the graduates and their supporters in her keynote address to the Summer Class of 2011.
“Fall in love with wisdom,” she said, citing beliefs of legendary scholars and historical figures including “Mother Theresa, Socrates, Jesus and even Barack and Michelle Obama.” She said her sheltered life as a child in Queens, N.Y., contributed to her life-long successes and quoting the late James Brown, she urged graduates to earn every opportunity that this presented to them. “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; just open the door and I’ll get it myself,” she said using the late musician’s words.
Godwin said her work has earned her a place among Ivy Leaguers and encouraged the new graduates to take their spots at the top. She continued: “In many of my conferences I am surrounded by people that have graduated from Yale, Harvard and Brown University,” Godwin said “I’m sitting with people that have paid thousands of dollars for their degrees, and there I sit as a rattler – debt-free.”
Godwin’s journalism career includes numerous collegiate and post-collegiate honors, and editorial and story-production stints in all but one of CBS bureaus in the United States. She covered July’s final shuttle mission from Kennedy Space Center.
The crowd cheered as FAMU celebrated the accomplishment of Juanita Isom, a 69-year-old retired nurse and great-grandmother who returned to the university for her Master’s degree in History. She couldn’t walk with her classmates due to recent knee surgery. Godwin paid her special recognition.
Devourelle Wainwright, a former FAMU student, said, “I am so inspired today, as I watch my friends move on in the next phase of their lives. I love FAMU and all that it represents and I am so proud of what everyone has accomplished here today”.
FAMU presented Honorary Doctorates to attorney Warren Dawson and the late inventor and electrical engineer Melvin Triplett. Stacey Triplett tearfully accepted the honor on her father’s behalf.