‘Get Principles, Character,’ the Rest will Come

Graduates walked onto the floor of the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium in their emerald robes, decorated caps and cords that represented organizations and majors.
Florida A&M’s summer ceremony took place this evening attracting family, friends and alumni.
Keynote speaker, Rev. O. Jermaine Simmons Sr., pastor of Jacob Chapel Baptist Church, was welcome with applause and praise as he took the podium.
He said he hoped students gained a sense of “accomplishment, yet accountability,” from his speech.
“My message was about the importance of community, the importance of giving back, opening doors for others. So, that is what I hope was gained from it.”
Simmons said he was aware that the graduation audience is more diverse than his congregation and they might not share the same religious beliefs, so he used mutual principles to write his speech.
“Don’t worry about the position, get you some principles,” said Simmons in his speech to students. “Don’t worry about the cash, get you some character. Don’t worry about money, get you some morals.”
The College of Arts and Sciences had the most graduates with over 150 and the School of Business and Industry was second with 63 and the School of Applied Health third with 57.
Interim President Larry Robinson said he especially enjoyed conducting his first FAMU commencement ceremony because it followed the FAMU Rural Diversity Healthcare Center ribbon-cutting ceremony in Crestview, Fla. that took place this Wednesday.
“It’s wonderful to see these young people walk across the stage to receive their various diplomas. That’s really what it is all about,” said Robinson.
Although there was a consensus of relief and joy during the ceremony, FAMU graduates shared different feelings prior to graduation.
Brandon Anthony, a business administration graduate with a concentration in marketing, said before graduation he was concerned about his future, but now
“That’s what you’re here for, to figure what you are going to do and what’s the next step. But, from my internship experience, I got a job offer in Orlando at this company called Florida Citrus Sports, so me being a marketing major, I’m doing event planning and marketing for them,” said Anthony.
Economics graduate Ariel Floyd said she left school, “kicking and screaming” because she felt classes became harder and she was ready to begin her life and venture the real world.
Ashley Harris, a phycology graduate, said it didn’t register that she was graduating this semester until she heard keynote speaker, Rev. Simmons.
“He reminded me of the struggles and adversities I had to face along the way to get here and it made me think, ‘Ahh, I finally made it.'”
She plans to attend a post-baccalaureate program so she can finish her prerequisites for medical school.