Hailing from Chicago, Bomani H. Spell is Florida A&M University’s new associate vice president and dean of students.
Before his relocation to FAMU, Spell worked at several institutions including Jarvis Christian College, Westminster College and Tuskegee University. Spell has been at FAMU for only a month and says he finds it better than any college he has worked at thus far.
“This is probably the greatest school I’ve ever had the opportunity to work at,” said Spell.
Spell was raised in one of the worst gang-affiliated parts of south-side Chicago, a neighborhood known as Englewood. Despite his unfortunate surroundings, he wanted to further his education. Spell attended Southern Illinois University, where he met one of his notable mentors, Father Joseph Brown, who inspired and molded him into the professional he is today.
“He was the person who if any black people had any problems, you went to him,” said Spell. “I wanted to do what he did. I wanted to be a person that’s going to help all students but especially young brothers and sisters.”
As dean of students, Spell plans on communicating with a variety of students and campus organizations to ensure their voices are heard during policy meetings and anything pertaining to student development.
FAMU psychology student Tabitha Jewell shared her idea on what a dean of students should be and finds Spell a great fit for the role.
“He can relate to us and the problems that we go through and what we need as students,” said Jewell.
Looking back, Spell reflects on how far he’s come from being in one of the worst environments to now impacting the African American community, one student at a time.
“I wouldn’t change a thing. It made me the person that I am today as far as hard work and dedication,” said Spell.
Joshlyn Thomas, the coordinator of student affairs, works alongside Spell daily and finds Spell’s skill set valuable within the office of the Division of Student Affairs.
“It’s great to have a different perspective in the office that can offer insight on how to go about developing students holistically and providing excellent service to them,” said Thomas.
Lifting as we climb, is Spell’s mantra. He correlates it with serving as dean of students. He wants to uplift students to make a difference in their communities and to ultimately surpass him.
“I know I’m in a position by the grace of God that I can help other people,” said Spell. “So while I’m climbing I’m going to lift that next brother and sister up with me.”
As Spell continues to pay it forward he is located on the third floor in Foote Hilyer in the office of the Division of Student Affairs.