Owusu-Ansah Agyapong was the heart and soul to the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.
Kirshner Saintil, a graduate assistant from Miami, described his former professor as "a guy who loved life and a man who encouraged his students to love life as well."
He was "always happy, literally," Saintil said.
Agyapong was in a car accident Jan. 24, 2011 that left him paralyzed. However, this did not halt his lessons or his happiness. Saintil said that even when Agyapong was in a wheelchair the professor was still laughing as though nothing had happened.
Agyapong died Aug. 25 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. He was 61. Agyapong instilled in his students to always be compassionate, never judge and to be all that you can be.
Carolyn Dixon-Agyapong said that her husband of seven years was sick and had trouble breathing. She said he was an encourager. He always esteemed others higher than himself, and he understood what it meant to put somebody else first.
"That’s what everyone loved about him, his smile," Carolyn said.
"He was just a person who loved people," Carolyn said. "He was an international man. He had siblings all over the world that he traveled to see."
Agyapong was a native of Adankwame, Ghana, and he had lived in the U.S. for more than 40 years. The professor did both his undergrad and graduate work at Florida State University.
Agyapong loved dancing, entertaining and cruising, his widow said.
Jacqueline Perkins, director of internship and special projects for sociology, said Agyapong expected the best from his students.
“He would tell the students ‘get to class', 'pull your pants up, I'll call your mama', and 'aye', men don't wear hats inside,’" Perkins said.
People who knew him said Agyapong wanted to empower everyone.
Felecia Dix-Richardson, associate professor of criminology, said Agyapong was an exceptional and warm human being.
"He took a personal interest in all of his students and was a dedicated faculty member to this university," Richardson said. "He certainly exemplified excellence with caring with everything that he did."
Richardson said after his accident he was still determined to come back and teach, and that’s what she meant by dedicated to this university.
There will be a memorial celebration of Agyapong's life and legacy on Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium. His viewing will be Sept. at Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home on Riggins Rd from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. followed by his home going celebration Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. in FAMU's Lee Hall auditorium.
Agyapong is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his daughters, Nana, Ama and Ema, and 14 siblings.
Students and friends can post tributes and words of inspiration to a Facebook page created in memory of him: “Dr.Owusu Agyapong memorial tribute.”