Alumni, organizations, donors, athletes, and current students filled the seats of Al Lawson gymnasium as they waited for this year’s homecoming weekend to begin with Homecoming Convocation.
Opening the event, the Marching 100 played their popular song “War Cry.”
Following the band’s performance was the introduction of Rattler Athletic Teams by Athletic Director John Eason and Head Football Coach Willie Simmons. Simmons is the new head coach for the Rattler football team and is bringing in new gear and a new turf for Bragg stadium under his theme “The Willienium.”
Before Eason introduced Coach Simmons to the crowd, he exclaimed his thoughts on the football team and their upcoming game against Norfolk State.
“We need a football team that our band is proud of,” Eason said.
Simmons also announced the team players and their new chrome green face masks that the players will display at Saturday’s game.
Next up, Cori Bostic, the Marching 100’s newest and first female drum major as well as 90.5 radio host, introduced the guest speaker, Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Bottoms is the 2nd female Mayor of Atlanta Georgia as well as an alumna of Florida A&M. She delivered a short speech on how her experience at FAMU shaped her into the strong black female politician that she is today.
“The lesson I learned at FAMU is that nobody will ever outwork me,” said Bottoms.
Bottoms said the way she learned this lesson was after receiving a B in a class that she worked hard to discipline herself in. Although she was offered an A, she was told by the professor that he feared she wouldn’t learn anything from that incident.
“The lesson that I took from that is that I shouldn’t expect anything from anybody if I didn’t work to earn it,” Bottoms went on to say.
This lesson and others molded her into becoming a prize candidate for Mayor. While many organizations and people surrounding Bottoms did not have faith in her campaign, she remained persistent.
“While they were talking, we were still working….You don’t always have to be the smartest in the room you just have to be the most prepared,” said Bottoms.
As a political science graduate, Bottoms encouraged the audience to become politically engaged to make changes in their community.
“When we go to the polls we engage, it makes a difference in our cities and in our communities…if you think for one minute that your vote, your phone call, your social media post doesn’t matter, look at Atlanta,” said Bottoms.
Closing her speech, she received a Distinguished Alumni award from the Dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications, from Michelle Barrett Ferrier.
Preceding the benediction, President Larry Robinson enforced Bottoms political engagement initiative.
“You need to get out and vote. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t believe what you heard. Don’t believe anything you read about who’s winning and who’s losing. Just vote,” said President Robinson.