Finalist Ammons says he can help school rebuild foundation

Presidential search finalist James H. Ammons said he is ready to implement a new plan for the university.

“You can’t build a house on shaky foundation,” said Ammons, president of North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C. “We need to establish a foundation to build upon.”

Ammons is a former FAMU provost and alumnus who served during the tenure of Frederick S. Humphries. He said the university can surpass that era.

“FAMU’s potential is even greater than the ‘Golden Era’ of Humphries,” Ammons said during his interview Thursday, which was the last interview of a three-day presidential search event. “We already have the programs in place, and we can exceed the accomplishments of that time.”

Many students filled the Grand Ballroom to speak with the finalist.

“I believe that Ammons is the best candidate,” said Whitney Murray, 20. “He has a lot of knowledge of the university.”

The junior political science student from Jacksonville said the event served as a great way to hear Ammons’ plans for FAMU.

“I love that he was interested in involving student leadership in the university decisions,” Murray said. “I like that he plans to make himself readily accessible to students.” Ammons received a doctorate in government from Florida State University. He said he is committed to the physical conservation of the campus. “We have a long way to go with buildings,” he said. “I want to mandate and put in place a maintenance plan for every facility on campus.” Ammons said the plan will definitely be computerized and tracked carefully for every building on campus. His views impressed many students. “He’s an awesome candidate,” said James Bland, 21. Bland, a junior business administration student from Titusville, said Ammons could have the advantage because of his strong knowledge and history of FAMU. When Ammons met the FAMU National Alumni Association, many alumni were eager to hear what Ammons had to say. “I haven’t made a decision on who I am in support of because I haven’t really had a chance to review all of the applicants,” said FAMU staff member and alumna Delores Glover. “I just know FAMU needs to maintain a viable history. We need to form a better collaboration with alumni, faculty, staff, students and the legislature.” Alvin Bryant, national president of the FAMU NAA, said Ammons is his No. 1 choice to fill the president seat. “So far he’s the only president to provide a visional statement, and without a vision you will perish,” Bryant said. “Ammons can fix the problems with faculty morale and fix relationships with university stakeholders, which Dr. Castell Bryant couldn’t.” Bryant said Ammons will be able to rebuild the reputation of the university. Ammons said he owes the university his service. “I owe a debt to FAMU,” he said. “I am in debt to the school because of what the school did for me.” The Board of Trustees could narrow the field down to one candidate as soon as Feb. 1, or the board may wait until March 8 at the official BOT meeting.