Speaker praises University

During homecoming convocation speakers acknowledged the recent news of the University’s $8 million surplus.

“We’ve had the benefit of having what some would call difficult times,” keynote speaker, Daryl Parks, said. “But we had someone come in and fix the finances and meet the deadlines.”

Parks, a 1992 graduate and co-owner of Parks & Crump law firm, urged alumni to change the dynamics of the University by giving back.

“I believe alumni are the only hope,” he said to a crowded gymnasium. “We’ve got to find ways to make giving paramount at the University.”

Dr. Alvin Bryant, president of the National Alumni Association, said there is joy in coming home to FAMU.

“We have returned for fun and an assessment of our University,” he said. “I hope we also have returned to leave some of our dollars for an investment in FAMU’s future.”

In reference to recent problems, Parks said that Rattlers should stop feeding into the negativity of the University.

“FAMU is not about people who are trying to get personal gain,” he said. “It is not about people who are trying to play politics.”

Instead, Parks suggested, the University is about a vision.

“FAMU always has been about a vision of hope and opportunity.”

He added that the University is the only place where people from small towns such as Quincy and Gadsden County can become University or Student Government Association presidents.

At the end of his speech, Parks asked the audience to join him in thanking Interim President Castell V. Bryant.

Parks continued as the audience stood and applauded Bryant.

“Thanks to your work everyone will be clear as to what their job is,” he said. “I’m a supporter. That’s my only job.”

While students, faculty, staff and visitors sat in the non-air-conditioned Gaither gymnasium during the homecoming convocation, Interim University President Castell V. Bryant announced Florida A&M University will soon build a new gym “with air conditioning.”

Parks and other speakers also took a moment to recognize the second Miss FAMCEE Bernice Gordon Greene, Dr. LaSalle Leffall, Moses General Miles, head football coach Rubin Carter, and Black Enterprise Chief Executive Officer of the Year and FAMU alumnus John Thompson.

As Mr. and Miss FAMU 2005-2006, Hasan Flake and Kimberly Brown, greeted the audience, they also met Rattlers with a challenge.

“Marion Jones was a champion through speed,” Brown said. “Maya Angelou was a champion through literature. Martin Luther King Jr. was a champion through perseverance.”

“We challenge all Rattlers to be champions through God, academic excellence and making your mark one strike at a time.”

The theme for homecoming 2005 was “Making our mark … one strike at a time.”

Contact Diamond Washington at diamondw02@yahoo.com