Presidential search is underway

The stage is being set to choose a permanent president to replace Interim President Castell V. Bryant.

Although the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees’ Presidential Search Committee will choose the new leader, members say they want to find the best candidate and will not rush the process.

The search committee had a teleconference meeting Oct. 20, in which Chairperson R.B. Holmes Jr., appointed committees and committee members.

The three committees created were the Leadership/Qualification Committee, the Processes and Procedures Committee, and the Focus Group Committee. Each committee was giving specific responsibilities.

The Presidential Search Committee plans to meet again Nov. 30. At the meeting, the committees will turn in reports on information gathered within their fields.

Trustee Pamela Duncan is the chairperson of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee created Oct. 20.

Duncan said there is no timetable for choosing the next president. She said the committees will submit more reports when they meet Dec. 1.

She said the search committee is trying to set a process to choose the best candidate and are not sitting on the issue.

“We are not rushing it,” Duncan said of the committee wanting to take their time.

Although students will not ultimately pick the future president, the committee has solicited student input.

“We want to hear from the students,” Duncan said.

She said the committee recently appointed Andrew Collins, 19, a sophomore business administration student from Atlanta, to the committee.

Duncan’s committee is composed of “stakeholders” or persons with an interest in the University. The committee does not make a decision on who will be president, but influences the process.

Although Bryant has made some positive changes to the University, some students believe a permanent president will bring more stability to FAMU.

Since Bryant entered her position in January, the University’s budget went from being in the red to an $8 million surplus.

“I heard from some students that graduated that she cleaned up a lot,” said Patrick Benoit, 19, a freshman marketing student from Palm Beach. “She’s been cracking down on a lot of problems that (the University) had.”

Shametra Manning said the trustees should look for someone like Bryant.

“When looking for a president, you should look for someone with the same characteristics as Bryant,” said Manning, 21, an education student from Wacissa, FL.

Concerning the candidates for the next president, a number of students said they want someone who is trustworthy and confident. The students also said they want a president who will focus on the student body.

“Don’t be just the president,” Benoit said, “actually be involved with the students.”

Brandon Cooper, 19, a freshman pharmacy student from Clearwater agreed.

“I would like a president that actually cares about the student body,” he said.

“He has to be a people person-patient, organized,” said Octivia Jones, 22, a junior allied health science student from Jacksonville.

The president’s office has had a revolving door since former President Frederick S. Humphries left in 2001. Since then three leaders have sat as president of FAMU from 2001-2003, including Henry Lewis, Fred Gainous, and Bryant.

Contact Emanuel Nicholson at