Florida A&M University commemorates Founders’ Day

Photo by: Nathaniel Price/The Famuan

Florida A&M University assembled in Jake Gaither Gymnasium for the Observance of Founder’s Day, honoring fallen Rattlers on Thursday.  

James Moran, Ph.D., assistant director of advancement and alumni affairs welcomed students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“Welcome to the college of love and charity, welcome to the opportunity; the university. Welcome to the home of trailblazers such as nationally acclaimed cancer surgeon, Dr. LaSalle D. Lefall; Microsoft first African-American chair John W. Thompson; Wimbledon’s first African-American woman single crowned winner; Althea Gibson; and the first Black Supreme Court Judge, Joseph W. Hatcher.”

FAMU was founded on Oct. 3, 1887 beginning with 15 students, two instructors, one building and the late Thomas DeSaille Tucker serving as the first president.

Oct 3. will mark the groundbreaking 128th year of FAMU, “The college of love and charity.” As of today, the campus is encompassed with more than 150 buildings and 400 acres implanted on the highest hill of Tallahassee with Dr. Elmira Mangum serving as the university’s first female president.

A Wreath Laying Ceremony was administered by the Army ROTC to honor fallen Rattler, Dr. Sybil C. Mobley, the founder of FAMU’s School of Business and Industry (SBI), who passed on Tuesday.

President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., former Interim president, Dr. Larry Robinson, President of the National Alumni Association, Tommy Mitchell, received the ceremonial wreath.

Tonnette Graham, trustee and Student Government Association president, gave greetings followed by a poem recital by the Voices of Poetry Group titled “Age of Distraction.” The FAMU Connection provided the selections.

Also, reflections of the beginning of FAMU’s legacy by former presidents’ relatives, Kanei Tucker, the grand-nephew of Tucker and Dr. Katherine Lee, granddaughter of John Robert E. Lee, Sr.

“In honor of the hardworking sacrifices done by past presidents who are no longer with us, we’d like to pour libation,” said Tucker. “Use this time to discover yourselves, realize that the greatest vehicle to bring about political, social and economic change is through an education.”

Lee reflected on the legacy that her grandfather left at FAMU. This is the first time she has come to FAMU in many years.

“I’m very excited and happy to be here today,” said Lee. “My grandfather learned at an early age the value of education and he never deviated from the conviction that a good education was the key to advancement of African-Americans. He dedicated his entire life to educational pursuits as a student.”

Before Mangum’s closing remarks, she paid her respects to recent fallen Rattler and SBI founder, Dr. Sybil C. Mobley.

“I would like to pause and pay homage to the life and legacy of school of Business Industry dean emeritized, Sybil C. Mobley. Dean Mobley’s passion and dedication to the success of our students has sparked a movement of Rattlers around the world who have a profound impact on not only Business Industry but society as a whole. For that, we are eternally grateful.”

When FAMU was founded as the State Normal College for colored students, it had many challenges to face, including how to accomplish its mission with limited resources.

“As we celebrate the University’s 128th birthday, let us honor our founders and declare our commitment as a Rattler and as a family that we will never give up or give in,” said Mangum. “So I’ll give it to you like Jay-Z did, ‘You may have had 99 problems but access and opportunity ain’t one, you may have had 99 problems but commitment is not one, you may have had 99 problems but quality is certainly not one.’”

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