New FAMU alumni president wants to make changes

Increasing membership is the top priority for new national alumni president. Florida A&M knows of more than 45,000 alumni in Tallahassee, but currently there are fewer than 7 percent of members in FAMU National Alumni Association. The organization’s new president wants to change that.

“I’m concerned that we have over 45,000 correct addresses of alumni and less than 3,000 members of the FAMU Alumni Association.” said Thomas Mitchell, who was elected January 9, 2010. His primary goal in the National Alumni Association is to increase alumni giving.

He wants to make sure the association successfully implements all of its programs that include image building, fund raising, recruitment of students for the university and members in the association and governmental relations.

Starting with the city of Tallahassee, Mitchell plans to get more alumni involved in the university, where probably the largest aggregation of alumni and supporters live, approximately 15,000. Mitchell said that he would visit all alumni chapters to rally support for increasing membership in the association as well as overall support for the university.

Boosting membership is Mitchell’s main focus. He said he would like to increase communication to alumni, to market the association to improve its image and induce alumni, particularly young alumni. “I believe people support people, more than cause,” said Mitchell.

He wants to convince influential alumni to join the association and personally reach out to individuals that will be influenced by their request to support the association and the university. Amber Scott 22, a senior majoring in pre-physical therapy from Albany, GA said she plans to join the National Alumni Association after graduation. Amber hopes the alumni association is more visible with the work the association does so more alumni are willing to join.

To help decrease the university budget cut, Mitchell goal is to increase unrestricted funds to the university, which would enable the administration to use funds as needed.

“I sincerely hope this is the last time that a 70-year-old has to run for national president,” said Mitchell. He believes SGA president and officers get tremendous experience as leaders and develop the kind of skills and constituency that makes them automatically qualified and capable of being outstanding leaders in the alumni association and yet after graduation they seem to disappear.

As a senior representative on the executive board, Gallop Franklin 22, a 5th year pharmacy student, plans to be financially involved and said he will persuade others to join the national alumni association as well. “I’m really excited for Mitchell. He will do extremely well in the position because of his experience and love for the university.” said Gallop a Tallahassee native.

As the newly elected president, Mitchell said he brings many contributions to the university such as commitment, personality and consensus building skills. Mitchell has worked for the university for 28 years and has experience and knowledge related to alumni relations that include the following: past President of the New York City and Leon County Chapters.

He served two terms as First Vice President of National Alumni Association, FAMU Director of Alumni Affairs from 1979-1990. He also advocated and helped planned for the university’s first endowment, currently over $100 million. Mitchell is a FAMU graduate, former athlete, former faculty member and former member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Mitchell said it’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be elected president of his alma mater’s alumni association. “I will not take their support for granted and will do my very best to maintain their respect as well as their support.”