Charlie Crist appoints FAMU alumnus

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed a recent Florida A&M graduate to the university board of trustees on Monday. Torey Alston, 25, a 2007 business administration/marketing graduate and chief of staff for Broward County Commissioner Al Jones, succeeds board member Laura Branker. She served as a deputy chief of staff for former Gov. Jeb Bush, who appointed her to the FAMU board of trustees.In a statement released from his office, Crist expressed confidence in Alston’s abilities. “[Crist] appointed Torey Alston because he believes Torey is capable and will serve with integrity, honesty and in a compassionate manner,” the statement said. “[Crist] is confident the new appointees…will work diligently to maintain the university’s stature and serve with the best interest of FAMU students, faculty and administrators.”Crist reappointed Solomon Badger III, whose new term runs until 2015. Corey Alston, Alston’s brother, served on the board in 2006.Alston said he is humbled by the appointment and feels honored to be given the opportunity to serve his alma mater. He said Crist appointed him because of his consistent commitment to FAMU and strong leadership skills and overall track record.“I think he saw someone who had a love for the university, someone who was committed to the university prior to having an interest to serve on the board of trustees,” Alston said. “Having served as a class president for two years, senator for two years [and] president of the student national alumni association, he saw someone with a passion to serve.”Alston said while on the board he plans to listen to “[his] colleagues, the president, his staff, faculty, students and the alumni of the university.” SGA President Gallop Franklin said he supports Alston in his new position, and is glad to see such a hard-worker appointed to the committee. “I’m looking forward to his leadership on the board and him doing great things for the university. It’s great to see young alumni committed to wanting to participate, protect and preserve the rich tradition and legacy of the university,” Franklin said.The self-described “independent thinker” said he hopes that fellow young alumni would use his appointment as an inspiration to “speak up, speak out and give back to the university.”Alston said he does not feel as if his age will make a difference in his performance or interaction with his fellow board members. He said his age would actually be a positive.“The governor did not select me due to my age; he selected me because of my track record,” he said.FAMU Alumnus and former SGA president Larry Rivers disagrees with Crist’s appointment.“His age isn’t really an issue, there’s nothing wrong with having someone young,” Rivers said. “However, I was just a bit taken aback because there were some very good people who have applied for the board of trustees for quite a long time and have a very good track record of contributing to the FAMU community who didn’t get a chance to serve.”Rivers felt that Brodes Hartley would have been a better candidate because of his experience stemming from years of service to the university. While considerably younger, Alston says his age will help him relate with students as well as the current board members.“I think that it’s a positive,” he said. “I think I could be that voice for both the young rattlers and the seasoned rattlers on the board of trustees.”Alston is active in Republican Party circles and with the NAACP. He also volunteers counseling young black men. Alston said the position would allow him the opportunity to represent the diverse population of FAMU rattlers.