Sorority shows academic appreciation

Each year students celebrate Rattler Appreciation and Founder’s Day. Now, there is something just for the instrumental engineers of this institution. This year, the first Professor Akappreciation Week was launched.

The Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., in conjunction with the FAMU NAACP and National Council of Negro Women chapters and the senior class, made an effort to acknowledge the value of FAMU’s professors during the first Professor Akappreciation week.

The week, held from Sept. 20 to Sept. 23, ended with a dedication ceremony that recognized professors from various colleges within the university.

Throughout the week, every professor held center stage but on Thursday night, the awarded instructors stepped into the spotlight.

Teachers received awards for demonstrating knowledge, having quality of character and exhibiting practical judgments based on truth, fairness and appropriateness.

During the reception-style program, professors were praised by speakers and serenaded by AKA member Erin Washington.

Professors that received the most votes from students in their schools and colleges received awards.

Many students attended the event to show support.

“I’m here to support the teachers and the teacher I nominated, Dr. Bereket (Mochena),” said Leida Ferguson, a sophomore pharmacy student.

The 20-year-old from Fort Lauderdale said she nominated Mochena, a chemistry professor, because she is an excellent teacher, willing to help students in and outside of the classroom.

Zesarae Bodie, a 21-year-old senior biology education student from Nassau, Bahamas, said she had many reasons to participate in the event, but also came to support the professors.

The purpose of the event was to show professors that their value does not go unnoticed and many professors said they were pleased.

“I feel very fortunate because it validates that students do care, and what we do as professors is really appreciated,” said Velma Roberts, an assistant professor of Health Care, who won distinguished professor of the School of Allied Health Sciences.

Other professors agreed.

Fran Close, who rearranged her schedule to attend the program, said she felt the esteem when she won the distinguished professor nod for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“I definitely feel honored; I will cherish this forever and hang it in the office,” said George Wiggins, a math teacher in the School of General Studies, who won teacher of the year in mathematics.

“This is better than being honored by your peers. That’s the highest honor to be honored by your students,” he said.

Students said the event was entertaining and decorative.

“It was a really nice setup, very organized, the singing was good,” said Danyell Russ, a 22-year-old junior health care management student from Tallahassee.

The night ended with plans to have the event next year.

Sheree Mayfield, an AKA, said she thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it was a great opportunity to appreciate educators who don’t always know the contributions they give and impact they have.

“I have no regrets, and I hope next year will have a larger professor turnout so they can see the impact they have in general,” said the 21-year-old from Chicago.

As members of the participating organizations packed chairs and tables away, they commented on the evening and looked forward to the next time it would occur.

“I thought it was really wonderful and professors seemed to really enjoy (the event) and were overwhelmed with appreciation,” nursing student and AKA Tia Bradwell said.

Bradwell, a 21-year-old from Quincy also has suggestions for the next year.

“I want us to have more people come and try to have it a different week that doesn’t conflict with the Atlanta Classic,” Bradwell said.

Marie Triche, a senior criminal justice/pre-Law student from Miami and member of AKA, who served as the director of the week, said Professor Akappreciation week was created not only to recognize teachers for their hard work, but also to close the gap and bring closer relationships between students and faculty.

Contact Royce Wynn at