FAMU celebrates founding with wreath ceremony

FAMU leaders at annual wreath laying ceremony. Photo Courtesy: Frances Stephens

Florida A&M University celebrated its 134th anniversary with a wreath laying ceremony at the eternal flame. This is an annual event that notarizes the birth of the university and its founders.

The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by the Reserve Officer Training Corps, followed by Mister FAMU, Kaleb Levarity, and Miss FAMU, Christelle Haygood, carrying in the ceremonial wreath.

A warm welcome message and prayer was given by SGA Vice President Marcus Thomas.

“Today we connect, reflect and celebrate a striking 134 years of excellence with caring,” Thomas said. “Today, I say welcome; welcome to being a part of a legacy, welcome to an experience you can find no where else than where you stand today. Today we say happy birthday and long live FAMU.”

Originally named the State Normal College for Colored Students, FAMU was founded Oct. 3, 1887 with only 15 students and two teachers.

This ceremony is a constant reminder of what the former college, and now university, has gone through to become the number one public HBCU in the nation and honors its past and present leaders.

For many freshmen, this was a first-time experience that ultimately gave them a new perspective on their beloved university.

“I actually didn’t know the ceremony was happening today…I stopped and listened on my way to class and I’m so glad I did,” said Alexis Jones, a first-year criminal justice student.

“I have a newfound love and appreciation for my university after today’s ceremony,” Jones said. “It lit a fire under me and made me even more excited to one day graduate and become an alumnus.”

President Larry Robinson, Former FAMU President Fred Gaines, University Provost Maurice Edington and SGA President Carrington Whigham led the FAMU Recommitment that gives its respects to the university and those who paved the way.

Jazmin Cook, a fourth-year health administration student, shared her thoughts on the ceremony.

“I love attending the wreath ceremony,” Cook said. “This university has so much rich history and being able to show my respect to the school itself and those before me makes me appreciate being able to go here more than I ever knew I could.”

The ceremony ended with Thomas reading a benediction and encouraging students, faculty and staff to not only take pride in the university but to understand how far the university has come and where we can go.