Big name Florida A&M University alumni poured in for the College of Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities Alumni Reunion over the weekend.
On March 31st to April 2nd, FAMU CSSAH hosted events such as a jazz mixer, brunch, and art auction for the distinguished alumni to enjoy.
Dean of the CSSAH, Valencia Matthews, spent countless hours and several months coordinating this annual affair to ensure the reunion weekend went smoothly.
“The first time the university held the Enshrinement Ceremony was in 1987 as part of the centennial, which was during Humphries presidency,” said Matthews.
The Gallery of Distinction Enshrinement Ceremony was also a part of the weekend lineup. The formal ceremony was held in the Grand Ballroom.
The event featured a dance performance from FAMU students, and musical selections from FAMU jazz musicians, alumni, and concert singers.
Dean Matthews expressed her gratitude to the alumni being enshrined with an emotional speech.
“Whatever you do, we are with you…We invite you back because we want to honor you, and we want you to be an inspiration for our students. On behalf of Florida A&M University, I want to say we love you and we want all your dreams to come true,” said Matthews as she held back tears.
Alumni enshrined included Rep. Ramon Alexander, Scotty Barnhart, Mayor Andrew Gillum, Judge Kathy Garner, Mitzi Miller, Tommie Shelby, John Southall, Terry Hunter, Allezo Owens, Larry Richardson, John Pryor, Angela Robinson, and Shaun West.
After the performances, speeches, dinner, and distribution of plaques, the alumni walked to the Galleries of Distinction in each building to see where their plaques had been placed. The trip’s first destination was the music hall, then Foster Tanner, and ended in Tucker.
Artist Terry Hunter was placed in the same gallery as his high school teacher, who also happens to be the one that nominated him for enshrinement. They are the only teacher-student duo to be placed in the same Gallery of Distinction.
Alumna Angela Robinson, a successful actress featured on Broadway and a main character in the hit TV show “The Haves and the Have Nots”, reminisced on her time at FAMU and how it prepared her for her career.
“This is where I learned about self-love, hard work, and faith,” said Robinson.
She also gave a word of advice for aspiring actresses on the hill. Robinson said “don’t give up, study the craft, and never look for short cuts.”
Florida’s District 8 representative, alumnus Ramon Alexander, also spoke about how his alma mater set him up for success.
“FAMU teaches you about the real world and how competitive it can be. Iron sharpens iron. The level of talent is so amazing at FAMU that it brings out the best in you and teaches you how to accomplish any task,” stated Alexander.
When asked about the importance of alumni reunions, Alexander said, “It’s always important for our alumni to come together, your legacy isn’t defined by what you do but by what you leave behind. Any time alumni can come together, give back, and remind us of our responsibility and purpose to do more for Florida A&M University, that is very significant.”