Larry Robinson was praised Wednesday for his dedication to Florida A&M. The university’s Board of Trustees lauded his work as provost as they unanimously voted him interim president.
A packed room of faculty, alumni and some students stood and applauded Robinson’s appointment to head FAMU.
It has been one month since former President James H. Ammons resigned, and Robinson stepped in. Trustees in July named Robinson the interim president pending an official presentation by him and a formal confirmation. Both of which happened Wednesday.
Robinson called the fallout from last November’s hazing-turned-homicide of FAMU drum major “disheartening for anyone” who loves the university. He repeated his commitment to boosting retention and graduation rates along with hiring top-tier faculty and providing quality equipment to ensure the university can function optimally.
He said he “will definitely not have to start from scratch” and promised to follow through with the university’s multi-year strategic plan and development goals.
Now, Robinson must stand before Florida’s Board of Governors to face their formal approval.
But he is going in with the full support of FAMU trustees.
Faculty Senate President Narayan Persaud thanked his board colleagues for their willingness to place Robinson at the helm, saying that the university’s teaching staff is fully behind. “In the selection of Dr. Robinson, we have both an outsider and insider,” Persaud said. “We are proud to have Dr. Robinson serve as interim president.”
Student Body President-elect Marissa West commended Robinson for making himself available to students in a mini-town-hall meeting days after he was named the “acting” interim president on July 16. “I definitely appreciate that and the students appreciate that,” she said.
Trustee Cleve Warren said, “I have great confidence in his ability to manage the university in this interim period.”
Reminding that “nothing is put on hold” despite FAMU not having an actual president, Trustee Kelvin Lawson said, “I fully encourage you to do the job.”
Also, the Board of Trustees officially opened its search for a new president. Robinson has told chairman Solomon Badger that he doesn’t want the job.
Trustee WIlliam Jennings pitched ideas to assist the search including hiring a head-hunting firm, involving as many stakeholders as possible to share their opinions about the possible new president, developing a timetable for the search, interview and selection processes and creating board and public relations channels to keep the community informed.
Serving as co-chairs of the search committee are trustees Karl White and Spurgeon McWilliams. Other board members appointed to the search committee include Persaud, West, Torey Alston; Belinda Reid-Shannon; and Marjorie Turnbull. Tommy Mitchell, president of the National Alumni Association, and Elizabeth Webster, member of the Florida Board of Governors, were also appointed to the committee.
Badger will serve as an ex-officio member.