Trustees mingle with students at event

The Student Government Association hosted the Student Achievements Reception Monday evening in the Architecture Atrium.

The catered event was originally scheduled to be held in the President’s mansion. However, due to the threat of bad weather, SGA officials decided to move the reception to the Architecture building.

The reception was held to honor the students that have received outstanding awards for the 2003-2004 school year. It also served as an open forum for the general student body to meet and question several members of the Board of Trustees. Eight of Florida A&M University’s 14 trustees were in attendance and seated among the students.

“This reception shows that no one here is unreachable,” said SGA Secretary of State Dominique Johnson. The fourth year student from Los Angeles said the is an event where students can feel free to ask trustees and other faculty any and all questions they may have concerning University business.

SGA President Virgil Miller said the event served as an opportunity to bridge the gap between students and FAMU officials.

“The number one focus is to give our students the opportunity to meet the major decision makers of this University,” said Miller, who also serves on the Board of Trustees. “We make major decisions that ultimately impact students” lives, and I wanted to give the students a chance to pick the minds of board members, get to know them and express any concerns they may have.”

The event started at 6 p.m. with an informal meet-and-greet session between students and FAMU officials. Students took full advantage of having an open venue to freely question trustee members.

Tyrone Smith, a freshman business administration student from Miami, said the reception was a very eye-opening experience for him.

“I just basically had some questions about how the University was (run), what direction were they looking to take it in and what’s on their agenda for the next couple of years,” Smith said.

“I was impressed with the trustees that I talked to. They answered my questions directly, without trying to beat around the bush.”

After the meet-and-greet session, University first lady Madie Gainous was given a standing ovation as she made her way to the stage to deliver the opening remarks.

SGA Vice President Keneshia Grant gave a speech acknowledging the recipients of several awards that were given throughout the 2003-2004 academic year. Grant also made note of Florida A&M University being acknowledged at a national level for having a 92 percent voter registration rate, which is one of the highest of any university in the nation.

After the reception, many trustees stayed behind to talk with students.

University trustee and Faculty Senate President Mary Diallo said, “I had an opportunity to talk with students about degree programs, accreditation, faculty attendance, faculty evaluations and what have you.”

In his speech, Larry Robinson, the University provost and vice president for academic affairs, pointed out that it was important that students recognize achievement. Not just in one or two areas, but in a broad spectrum of areas in their lives.

Robinson said having faculty mingling with students in a setting like the reception was a tremendous idea.

“Students are so vital to the overall educational process here, and for them to understand the process better by interacting with the board of trustees is a great idea.”

Contact Anthony Moore at