Robinson touts FAMU’s rise during annual address

FAMU President Larry Robinson during Wednesday’s State of the University address. Photo courtesy: Jazmin Mackey

Florida A&M President Larry Robinson reflected on the accomplishments of the university’s students, faculty and staff  Wednesday during his annual state of the university address.

Robinson also showcased what “Rattler Nation” can anticipate during the upcoming school year.

FAMU has received a record-breaking number of student applicants for fall 2023, with more than 18,000 prospective students hoping for admittance. That is 10,000 more applicants that FAMU received in fall 2022.

“To support our students, academic affairs and the division of student affairs will work together to ensure that every student who enrolls in FAMU can graduate on time,” Robinson said in Lee Hall.

High school students applying to enroll in FAMU carry a grade point average of 3.98, Robinson said.

“Once they get here based upon their academic profile, all those metrics that we talk about in the performance funding model will likely improve not just because of how they come to us but also what we provide for them once they apply,” Robinson said.

More students are also staying enrolled after their first year. “The vast majority of our first-time full-time freshmen from fall 2021 to 2022 returned with a 91.8 percent for their sophomore year,” Robinson said.

Data driven action plans have been developed in the schools of nursing, law, pharmacy and allied health to improve student outcomes in all these programs. There was a fundraising goal of $15 million for June 30 of this year, and it’s been exceeded with a total of $22 million raised to date.

The university received a $5.4 award earlier this week from the Department of Commerce’s telecommunications and information administration. This award is designated to reduce the digital divide.

Robinson noted that FAMU’s administration put together a competitive proposal that allows the university to work with the south side of Tallahassee to provide residents access to the internet using FAMU’s high speed broadband network.

“We just don’t go after the big funding; we want to go after the funds that allow us to have the greatest impact in those places that mean the most to us,” Robinson said.

Significant changes to the administrative structure of the university were made this year. Maurice Eddington was promoted from provost to chief operating officer as a means to drive productivity and enhance accountability throughout the institution, Robinson said. Allyson Watson, dean of the College of Education, now serves as interim provost.

And last month, Tiffany-Dawn Sykes began her tenure as the new director of the department of athletics.

“Last season we saw the effects of the lack of financial aid for student athletes and their ability to enroll and be eligible for game day,” FAMU student Robert Tucker said. “The changes being made within our athletics department will not only benefit its student athletes but the reputation of FAMU athletics for prospective players.”

Robinson urged Rattler Nation to pay attention on March 7 when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gives his annual State of the State address to kick off the legislative session.

“The university is dependent upon its funding from the state in order to combat financial deficits and continue its efforts to ensure students have the proper tools and resources to graduate,” student body president and FAMU Trustee Zachary Bell said.

Robinson said he is relying on a united effort to lobby the Legislature for funding that is crucial to the university’s success.

“Through the hard work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni and the unwavering support of our alumni I declare that the state of Florida A&M University is strong,” Robinson said.