FAMU Day at the Capitol ended with an unexpected visit by Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum.
Presumed to be in the nation’s Capitol for the day, Mangum surprised most by attending the Reception – the last event of the day – and spoke at length to a densely packed room.
Part of her speech included reflections on the National Prayer Breakfast she attended in Washington, D.C. earlier that day.
“The thing that I remember most that President Obama said during his message this morning was about fear. He stated that he has had fear, but he also remembers and drew on his text from the bible that said, ‘god has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind,’” Mangum said.
FAMU Day was hosted by the FAMU National Alumni Association, and drew a large number of alumni, students and attendees donning their orange and green in representation of their university pride.
However, the mission of FAMU Day was clear for Mangum and the NAA: to raise money for the university, both stateside and abroad.
John Michael Lee Jr., Ph.D., is the assistant vice president of the FAMU National Alumni Association, and expounded on the necessity of Mangum’s presence in the nation’s Capitol.
“One of the things we have to do is think about a new age and a new era. In a new era we can’t just be the FAMU that’s in Florida and doesn't go anywhere else. We have to lobby at the federal level, the state level, and all of those things if we plan to survive,” Lee said.
To supplement the university’s request for funding, representatives from varying disciplines set up booths on the second floor of the Capitol displaying the research done in their respective schools.
Mariah Henry, a College of Agriculture and Food Sciences ambassador, conducts research on the health benefits of the Muscadine grape, a fruit native to Florida. Her display included grape honey, grape jerky and new strands of wine. Recruitment of students into the program is essential for the continuation of research.
“We (now) have a lot more students, and we’re opening a lot more doors to undergraduate research, which is what we want to do,” Henry said.
With an increase in funding, FAMU can continue to afford the opportunities to conduct extensive research and achieve the many accolades Mangum noted during her speech at the reception.
Such awards include the Princeton Review’s 2016 Best College by region (Southeast), Forbes Best in South Colleges in 2015 and the National Science Foundation No. 1 HBCU in the nation for total research and development expenditures, just to name a few.
Mangum expressed dedication to university advancement during her much needed speech at the reception.
“Best in class means that we will be a leader in solving the problems of today and tomorrow,” Mangum said.