Students attended a farewell reception Thursday to celebrate the retirement of former dean, James E. Hawkins, Ph.D., of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications.
For 35 years, Hawkins has been a part of the SJGC family. In 1977, Hawkins began his journey at Florida A&M as an assistant professor in broadcast journalism and more than 20 years later, he became the dean.
When asked about the biggest lesson he learned while at FAMU, Hawkins said he learned the most important things are to always put students first. ” Its always about providing high quality education for the students,” Hawkins said.
Katherine Nicolas, a public relations student from Miami, said she felt the reception was a great way to show gratitude.
“Hawkins is extremely passionate and is always doing what he can to help students,” Nicolas said. ” Even as we arrived to the reception, he stood at the door to greet each student and wish them well on their future endeavors.”
Dean Ann L. Kimbrough, the new Dean of SJGC, also attended the reception and shared her thoughts about Hawkins.
” It is an understatement for me to tell you how thrilled and honored I am to succeed such an outstanding journalism educator and professional,” Dean Borough said. “He has always promoted academic excellence.”
Kristen Swilley, a broadcast journalism student from Atlanta, said that Hawkins is one of the reasons she has been able to matriculate successfully through the Journalism program.
“Dean Hawkins encouraged me to continue to do student media, even after I would mess up and everyone told me to quit,” Swilley said. “He consistently encouraged me to continue and never give up.” Swilley is now the weather anchor for FAMU News 20 At Five.
“I’ll miss my students the most,” Hawkins said. “The rewarding part of being an educator is the opportunity to see students become successful”, Hawkins said .He plans to relax for a few months, do some writing and play golf.
While at FAMU, Hawkins received numerous awards including Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.