Tornes finds a home at SJGC

Photo of John Tornes. Photo courtesy: Tornes

John Tornes came to FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication last year with a long history of making a difference in the lives of countless students.

Tornes was part of a military family, and having to move was a big part of his early years.

“My father got assigned to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where I would say I was raised,” Tornes said.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Tornes was the youngest of five siblings. He  stayed in North Carolina for 10 years, until his parents divorced and his mother moved to El Paso, Texas, where she is originally from. Moving back to Texas, Tornes had to finish at another high school and leaving all of the friends that he made in North Carolina.

 “I moved with my mother to El Paso to finish out my last two years of high school,” Tornes said.

Right out of high school, Tornes accepted a football scholarship to play at Cisco Junior College in Texas, where he played for four years.

After Cisco, Tornes was recruited to play at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

 Tornes attended FAMU from 2002 through 2006. Throughout his time at FAMU, he was a football player and a full-time student.

After graduating, he stayed and worked with the football program as a grad assistant coach. He then went on to receive another degree and more accomplishments, earning a master’s in business administration.

 “I am currently working on my Ph.D. in leadership in addition to getting a second master’s in divinity,” he said.

According to an article written by Lorena Castillo about African Americans, approximately 8% of MBA students in the United States are African American.

 Tornes started working at FAMU with the student accounts department serving as the director for the Federal Perkins Loan and institutional loan program. His current job at FAMU in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication is as an academic coach for students who need help making sure they are on the right track with their schedules for graduation. Before this, Tornes worked  at the University of Minnesota.

“I got an opportunity to accept a position in Minnesota at the University of Minnesota as the director for transfer student services. I was there for roughly two and a half years, and  I was able to work my way up to assistant vice president for enrollment management,”

According to, only 37% of students are transfers in Minnesota, so working with that many students can be tough at times. “I have two kids,” he said. “My daughter is in the eighth grade and my son is a junior here at FAMU in the IT program.”

He has many accomplishments and a great story to tell.