Gala raises money for future Rattlers

Robinson shares the stage with his family while giving remarks.
Photo submitted by Jina Gilliam.

Florida A&M University hosted the 2018 President’s Inaugural Scholarship Gala, “Together We Rise,” Friday evening

The elegant event at the Lawson Center included lively performances from Tallahassee Night Live, the comedic stylings of FAMU alumnus and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” correspondent, Roy Wood, Jr., and remarks from corporate sponsors and dignitaries.

“This is a historic occasion. We celebrate this significant moment in time honoring, commemorating and bringing to the forefront our 12th president of Florida A&M University. The funds that we raise tonight will go to deserving individuals that will allow them to pursue the academic dreams that their parents and guardians so want from them,” said Kevin Lawson, chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Larry Robinson, who was officially installed as FAMU’s permanent president earlier Friday, also talked about the importance of providing scholarships for future Rattlers.

“Please give to this next generation of Rattlers so they can go out into the world and do the great things you’ve done. These students need you, the university needs you, together we rise and with your support we will continue to do that,” Robinson said.

During the black-tie affair, the FAMU Foundation whose main mission is to raise and manage funds on behalf of FAMU, presented $50,000 to the president’s scholarship fund. “I myself have been able to benefit from you all’s generous sacrifices,” said Imani Cooper, Miss FAMU 2018-2019. “Every single person here is here because someone has impacted and influenced you to where you are today,” Cooper said.

Preside Larry and First Lady Sharon Robinson.
Photo submitted by Jina Gilliam. 

Robinson also spoke of a donation of $400,000 made earlier this week at the Industry Cluster by several Fortune 500 companies and an additional pledge to triple that amount in the upcoming year. Robinson mentioned that the FAMU Foundation board of directors has contributed to the largest endowment of any public HBCU — $125 million — joking, “Don’t you assume that we don’t need more money. We need a lot more, in fact, and that’s why this gala was conceived, to give you the opportunity,” said Robinson.

The night was filled with congratulatory expressions and well wishes for the university’s new president. “I am very excited about what Dr. Robinson brings to FAMU. You remember he’s filled in as interim three times and this time, he has the opportunity to put a permanent imprint on FAMU. And he’s a man that loves this institution, he cares about students, he cares about the future but most importantly he has a vision for this university. He will continue to lead us in the direction that we need to be in to be viable and continue to be viable,” said Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., a member of the Board of Trustees.

The National Alumni Association conferred Robinson with a Ph.D. in “Famuology” for his character, heart and passion for FAMU and its students.

Robinson acknowledged members in the audience from the Royal Court, SGA and thanked all Rattlers in attendance.

“Congratulations once again Dr. Robinson. You and first lady Sharon are such an inspiration to the student body here. You all are both exemplary scholars and you’re honestly the embodiment of black excellence and we’re really excited to see what you all do to further your legacy here at FAMU,” said Audri Salter, chief justice of the Senate Supreme Court Judicial Branch.