College presidents to speak at graduation

Two established school presidents will speak at Florida A & M University’s spring commencement ceremony April 30 at the Leon County Civic Center.

 Norman Francis of Xavier University and Marvalene Hughes of Dillard University will both speak.

Glyndell Presley, the commencement co-chair speaker of sub-committee, said the two speakers were chosen because of what they experienced during hurricane Katrina and the encouragement they have to offer graduating students.

Francis has presided at Xavier University since 1968, and is the longest serving college president in the United States.  

He has been awarded over 30 honorary degrees from various universities.

The overall enrollment at Xavier University has tripled since Norman Francis took the president position and the curriculum has expanded as well.

 Marvalene Hughes is a distinguished president at Dillard University, and is the university’s first woman president. 

At California State University, she was the first woman elected and first president of color.

After Hurricane Katrina, Interim President Castell V. Bryant offered aid to students from Dillard and Xavier who transferred to FAMU.

With the help of the administration, during fall 2005 semester, approximately 57 transfers students were enrolled and 23 continued enrollment for the current spring semester.

 According to the Office of the Registrar, approximately 1,182 students are expected to graduate this spring semester, and as a result, graduation will have to be held in two sessions.

Francis will be speaking at the 9:00 a.m. session and Hughes will be speaking at 2:00p.m.

With graduation approaching, students must plan their future goals after they leave FAMU. DeAldonl Watson, 24, a theater student from Houston, said, “I’m going to grad school and I feel as though my opportunities for succeeding have significantly increased with my degree.”

Commencement Chair, Dean Kirby, said, “It has been challenging, but we have not had any major complaints about the ceremony.”

The weather was initially a major concern, and having it indoors eliminated a lot of problems.

Kirby is personally looking forward to the graduation and feels that the students will gain some influence from what the speakers have to say.

The morning session is scheduled for the following colleges and schools: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, School of Architecture, School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, and the Environmental Institute.

The doors will open to the public at 8:00 a.m., but the graduates are expected to arrive at 7:00 a.m.

The afternoon session will be held for the following schools: College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, College of Law, College of Engineering, Sciences, Technology, and Agriculture (CESTA), School of Business and Industry (SBI), School of Allied of Health Services, and the School of Nursing.

The graduates are expected to arrive at 12:30 p.m., while the public entry is available at 1:00 p.m.

Contact Jermaine Fletcher at