So Long Class of 2016

Graduation is upon us, as Florida A&M University, prepares for its upcoming Spring 2016 commencement taking place April 30.

FAMU will be graduating more than 1,200 students with two ceremonies Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, located at 1800 Wahnish Way.

This year’s keynote speakers are U.S. Secretary of Education John B. Jr., J.D. and Ed.D, and former U.S. Representative and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

King was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015 as U.S. Secretary of Defense and will keynote the 9 a.m. ceremony. He is an advent supporter of Historically Black College and Universities. King is a leader in Obama’s initiative, My Brother’s Keeper task force and is the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York’s education commissioner.

The 2 p.m. keynote Putnam has also been supportive of FAMU in its research endeavors, helping FAMU usher in the Brooksville land transfer, the largest to an HBCU. He also commended FAMU for its accomplishments in agriculture and outreach work.

Needless to say, the graduating seniors are excited about graduating. Fourth-year business administration student from Charlotte, N.C. Kayla McCollum and fourth-year music instrumentalist major from Miami Jean Vilpin are excited about starting the new chapter in their lives.

“It is exciting to close one chapter in my life and move on to a new one,” McCollum said. Vilpin shared the same sentiments, adding, “I am really thankful for the experiences that I have had. I can say that I did everything I wanted to do, in college. It’s kind of bittersweet.”

There have been mixed feelings about this year’s keynote speakers. Majority of the graduating class wanted someone with more notoriety, while others hope to get something positive and impactful.

“There have been a lot of complaints from students and I just hope that the students behind us take note of this and are really more involved with the next speaker, so that their input can be heard,” McCollum explained.

Vilpin had a different take on the situation.

“I’m pretty impartial when it comes to speakers. I just want somebody who can keep us engaged and motivated,” she said.

The 9 a.m. ceremony will consist of the following majors: College of Engineering (FAMU-FSU); School of Allied Health Services; School of Business & Industry; School of Nursing; College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences; College of Law; and College of Agriculture & Food Services.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will consist of the following majors: College of Education; College of Science & Technology; College of Social Sciences; Arts & Humanities; School of Architecture & Engineering Technology; School of the Environment; and School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.