Students still adore University

In lieu of negative media attention that has plagued the University for the past two years, many students – and prospective students, still think the University is a place where a good education can be attained.

Madkin Kelly, Presidential Ambassador president, said the publicity has increased awareness about the school, causing perspective students to become interested in the university.

“A lot of people are asking questions about the stories that they see on television and have read in the newspapers,” said the 21-year-old broadcast journalism student from Atlanta.

“They are trying to find out the story behind the story.”

Since 2002, a series of events, including the absence of permanent deans in seven of the 12 schools at the University, the reversed decision to go to Division I-A and, most recently, the impeachment of President Fred Gainous, has caused local and national media uproar.

One of the biggest differences that Steve Nance, program assistant for the office of new student orientation, has noticed since the bad publicity is the amount of out-of-state students who come to the University.

“The majority of students who come are Floridians,” he said.

“Generally speaking, some of the people who go on tours (of the University) voice their concerns, but once they’re here, they’re not as concerned about the issues as they are with trying to get an education from a top university.”

Brent Lang, a 16-year-old 11th-grader at the FAMU Developmental Research School, said in spite of the problems occurring at the University, there are still things that entice students to the Hill.

“When I graduate I want to go to FAMU because they have the best pharmacy school and I want to be a pharmacist,” Lang said.

Kelly said when students and their parents ask the Presidential Ambassadors questions about the problems that are going on at the University, he and others share their positive experiences from the University and tell how it can meet their needs.

“I remind them that we are in a transition and that we are growing,” he said.

“I also tell them that we are going through changes right now and that takes time.”

Javares Knight, an 18-year-old senior at FAMU DRS, said while the University is one of the many colleges he is thinking of attending, improvements need to start at the administrative level.

“Without a permanent president, FAMU looks unorganized,” he said. “If there isn’t leadership at the school, people are going to do whatever they want.”

Kelly and Nance both said they believe though the university’s name has been shed in bad light, two critical steps that can be taken to improve its image are to unite and constantly recruit the best students.

“The people who graduate from FAMU will continue to enrich the legacy of FAMU,” Kelly said. “People looking from the outside in are going to see differently but those who graduate (from FAMU) will be successful in the real world.”

Contact Danielle Lewis at