Many students, alumni and family packed Al Lawson gymnasium with FAMU spirit, this Friday for the 2022 Homecoming Convocation.
The ceremony opened with the Marching 100 welcoming the audience and setting the joyful tone. It was followed by an opening prayer from Rev. Quincy Griffin of Family Worship & Praise Center.
Greetings were delivered by Curtis Johnson, the 19 president of the FAMU National Alumni Association, as well as Otis Clay, head of FAMU trustees. Clay poked fun at President Robinson during his remarks, assuring the audience the board of trustees has a great relationship with President Robinson, despite the headlines.
Student body president Zachary Bell welcomed the FAMU audience and introduced 88/89’ SGA Vice President presenting our current SGA leaders, emphasizing the importance of their leadership adding, “At FAMU great things happen everyday.”
As this year marks the 20 anniversary of the 2002/2003 Ms. and Mr. FAMU, the title holders introduced our current royal court and acknowledged past title holders as well.
Another selection was played by the Marching 100, preluding Interim Athletic Director, Micheal Smith. Smith delivered greetings touching on multiple happenings within the athletic program this year. “Welcome to the Homecoming experience, and for the last 6 months, yes it has been an experience.”
Smith continued to highlight the great accomplishments student athletes have made on and off the field; congratulating the women’s volleyball team on winning the SWAC championship, the first in FAMU history. He celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, developing the successful women’s teams at FAMU. Ending his remarks supporting FAMU’s trailblazing new athletic director, “I believe FAMU will be in good hands with our new athletic director, what she’s gonna need is your support.”
Head football coach Willie Simmons encouraged the FAMUly to continue to support the football team. Encouraging the audience to not only attend the Homecoming game but participate in the traditional “rattler walk” welcoming the players to the stadium. Simmons also commended the FAMU student section on the intense school spirit shown at every home football game, mentioning the home winning streak of 13.
Notable alumni and speaker, Tiffany Greene was introduced by her husband, also an alum Aaaron Berry. He lovingly described her as stubborn and determined.
As Tiffany Greene took the stage the crowd welcomed her with applause. Greene acknowledged FAMU’s School of Journalism and Communications and its 40 anniversary as well as her family and friends, and her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. She received a bachelor’s in science from FAMU’s SJGC in Broadcast Journalism. Greene’s career consists of many sports journalist positions, with the latest being at ESPN as the first Black woman to serve as a play-by-play commentator for college football on a major network.
Greene’s speech encouraged rattlers to chase their dreams no matter the obstacles and take advantage of every opportunity. She emphasized the importance of FAMU and our connections stating “FAMUly over everything.” She instructed students to speak their dreams into existence but take it a step further and write it down.
Greene used the story of her career at FAMU and post grad to encourage the audience to persevere and lean on your family and FAMUly in times of strife.
Good Morning America anchor, TJ Holems, spoke about the importance of filming Good Morning America on campus; complementing the Marching 100, cheerleaders, and student body for showing up with intense energy at 6 am. Holmes then welcomed ABC president and FAMU alumna Kim Godwin, “The first time I get to say this since Obama was in office, my president is Black.”
Kim Goodwin detailed how thankful she is to be able to be in attendance and give back in a huge way, announcing Disney the parent company of ABC, is committing to donating a $1 million grant to FAMU, establishing the Disney Storytellers Fund.
The huge announcement preceded the recognition of many affinity groups, individuals, and corporate donations, totaling in over $24 million.
Prescient Robinson closed the commencement with the Marching 100 playing the FAMU theme song and the famous rattler strike.
Rev. Quincy Griffin ended with a closing prayer, asking for a fun and safe homecoming experience.