Florida A&M continued its homecoming celebration Friday morning with the Homecoming Convocation.
Alumni, students, faculty and the Tallahassee community filled Gaither Gymnasium as the convocation began with remarks by numerous alumni, including Alan Williams, a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Williams asserted that FAMU is a top institution.
“A world without FAMU is a world where we would all be left behind,” Williams said.
President of the FAMU National Alumni Association Tommy Mitchell also spoke at the convocation.
“Homecoming is a school spirit festival,” Mitchell said. “Alumni come from all over the world to celebrate right here at FAMU. FAMU is still the greatest place on Earth for students to come.”
The convocation also included words from former Student Body President Monique Gillum, former Miss FAMU from 1953 and current Student Body President Marissa West. West emphasized the importance of the university and the efforts it has taken in producing successful and professional students.
“One hundred and twenty-five years of striking from the top of being a premier developer of successful Rattlers all across the country,” West said.
West and Gillum both recited a frequently used mantra for FAMU students – “Forward ever, backward never. FAMU today, FAMU tomorrow, FAMU forever.”
Interim President Larry Robinson introduced the keynote speaker, T’Keyah Crystal KeymÃ¡h, a FAMU alumna, performer, writer, producer and director.
KeymÃ¡h began her speech by reminiscing on the last time she spoke at FAMU’s Homecoming Convocation, which was right after 9/11. She related her speaking then to this year’s convocation. Both were times of hardship for FAMU and the entire country. Then, she stated her method to survival through hard times.
“In all situations we have to survive,” KeymÃ¡h said. “My secret to survival is simply to just stay alive.”
KeymÃ¡h said that love is necessary through all obstacles, especially at FAMU.
“With love, you can weather any storm and live to tell about it so that you can strike, strike and strike again,” Keymah said.
Students enjoyed the KeymÃ¡h’s speech and were inspired by her words.
“I was entertained and motivated by her speech,” said Kevin Lee, a second-year business administration student from West Palm Beach. “I’m glad to have been in attendance.”
Nigel Lascelles, [SO HE’S IN THE MARCHING “100?” THAT’S WORTH BEING ADDED TO HIS ATTRIBUTION] a second-year chemistry student from Ft. Lauderdale, said the convocation was different without the “100.” However, he believed that KeymÃ¡h increased the homecoming spirit.
“Convocation was different without being in the Marching “100,” but I did enjoy it,” Lascelles said. “The speaker was very inspirational. The whole atmosphere added to the homecoming experience.”