Leadership, giving back main convocation themes

“Imagine paying with your life for what you believe in most,” said Florida A&M University professor Keneshia Grant, when opening the 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All-University Convocation. Some students said the convocation, although low in attendance, was inspirational.

Guest speaker Larry E. Rivers, Ph.D., began his speech with a familiar religious saying: “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Rivers, a former FAMU professor and current Fort Valley State University president, spoke on the state of today’s youth.

“Statistics show that first, students decided that getting rich was the main priority in life,” he said. “Second, becoming famous. Third, help someone in need. Fourth, become leaders and work in their community, and fifth, become more spiritual.”

He implored students to give back to the University, and “do what is right.”

“FAMU freshman, promise me to give $1 to the endowment because this is right! FAMU sophomores promise to give $2 to the endowment because this is right,” Rivers said.

For some students, Rivers’ speech served as encouragement.

Ricquel Jackson, 19, a sophomore business administration student from Tallahassee, said she viewed this part of the convocation as the most inspirational.

“I’m really glad I experienced the MLK convocation,” Jackson said. “It encouraged me to become more involved in my community and to be an African-American leader.”

For others, the reciting of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech by FAMU professor James Moran, Ph.D. was most insightful.

“Listening to Dr. Moran recite with power the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech forced me to think about how much progress the African-American community has made, being that we now even have a viable and credible African-American man running for president, who has an equal opportunity to win,” Jackson said.

The convocation also included special award presentations and acknowledgments.

Franchesca Taylor, 22, a senior business administration student from Mobile, Ala., awarded Ammons with a “Commitment of Service” award from the Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Mellori Lumpkin, a third-year business administration student from Bainbridge, Ga., announced that FAMU’s women’s flag football team is currently national champions.

Other awards were also presented to Philip B. Agnew, 22, senior business student from Chicago, who received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Leadership Award. Student Body President Monique Gillum accepted the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership award on behalf of her brother, City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, and Phillip B. Agnew and Vanessa Baden accepted the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Organization for The Student Coalition for Justice.