Back to the Future: FAMU Then and Now

Courtesy of Billboard

The future starts now.

Almost three decades ago, Marty McFly and Doc Brown took their DeLorean time machine to the future to visit McFly’s future children in the movie, “Back to the Future II.” They arrived in the future at 4:39 p.m. on October 21, 2015, making today Back to the Future Day.

A slew of celebrations are set for today, including the re-release of the classic movie in select theaters and thousands of parties recreating the movie.

Kiannah Laurent, a Florida A&M University (FAMU) second-year pre-nursing student from Atlanta, Ga., is a big fan of the Back to the Future series and finds the differences between the movie version of 2015 and the present time interesting.

“In the movie, 2015 looks so futuristic and now we don’t have any of [what the movie projected],” Laurent said.

According to the film, by 2015 people would drive flying cars and individuals would get laid off through fax machines as McFly does in the movie. These things do not occur in present time. However, the cult film did get a few things correct about 2015, such as the use of video calling.

However, 2015 still remains much different from 1989 when the movie was released. Many of these differences are seen at FAMU.

In honor of the 1989 movie, Rattler alumni take a look back at a less technological yet very spirited time to be a FAMU Rattler.

In the year 1989, the FAMU’s notable band, the Marching 100, took their talents to Paris, France to perform in the Bicentennial Celebration of the French Revolution.

The same year, Progressive Black Men (PBM) was founded on the campus of Florida State University and soon came to FAMU where it remains a leading organization on campus.

Saiyed Ahmad, the FAMU Library Supervisor of Cataloging, remembers all of these events vividly. He has worked in the FAMU libraries since 1968 and recalls the year 1989 as a time of growth for FAMU. He remembers the increasing enrollment at the university, which peaked at 13,000 students under the leadership of President Frederick Humphries who served from 1985 to 2001.

Ahmad remembers Humphries as a very charismatic man.

“The way he talked was very appealing to the students. I never heard anybody complain [about him],” said Ahmad.

Ahmad also remembers the expansion of academics at FAMU. He recalls the implementation of the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture and conversations he had with the late Sybil Mobley when she served as Dean of the School of Business and Industry.

While many current FAMU students were not alive in 1989, they still appreciate the changes that have been made at FAMU over the past years and recognize room for more growth.

Dajuh Sawyer, a sophomore senator and second-year business administration student from Saint Petersburg, enjoys serving FAMU and the community. In the coming years, she says she would like to see a worldwide brand developed for the university.

“I would like to see ways that FAMU can do more recruiting on a global level. For example, let’s take recruitment trips out of the U.S.,” Sawyer said.

Ahmad does not see the need for any specific changes at the university, but he believes all change is good.

“We need change. We cannot stay in isolation. What changes? I don’t know. But a change has to come all the time.”

One thing that has not changed is the status of FAMU. Whether it is 1989 or the present, FAMU remains a national leader among universities in the U.S.