Florida A&M University


One of the first issues before FAMU’s Presidential search committee is to decide what kind of candidate it wants to lead the 124-year-old institution. Many of FAMU’s former presidents have been alumni and all have had ties to academia, but some say it might be time for FAMU to look outside the box:

“I think we should reach for a river, for wherever the leadership is that can run the school. We won’t be able to restrict leadership to a given category. That’s my personal opinion," said FAMU Board Chairman Solomon Badger.


Florida A&M University is set to admit its first class of students at its Pharmacy school extension program in Crestview. Pharmacy Dean Michael Thompson says the start of the school is the first of many health-related programs it plans to bring to bring to the rural panhandle city.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities aren’t just for black students. While many of these institutions, commonly referred to as “HBCU’s” have their roots set in America’s segregated past, today they are the college or university of choice for an increasingly diverse array of students.       


Florida A&M University has received a five-million dollar grant to study breast and lung cancer disparities in African-Americans.

FAMU is recruiting doctoral students to be a part of the research team and is partnering with Tallahassee Memorial Health Center to provide mammograms for women who can’t afford them.  

Interim University President Larry Robinson said the grant allows the school’s faculty and students to focus on important health issues.

The grant was provided by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Florida A&M University

Florida A&M’s governing board reached a deal Monday to pay former President James Ammons more than $98,000 dollars in bonuses in exchange for speeding up his resignation date. Ammons was originally set to leave by October 11.  FAMU’s Provost Larry Robinson will serve as interim president at least until the school’s board meets in August. Student board member Marissa West called for Robinson’s appointment saying the university needs some stability:

Update 2:24 pm:  Ammons will recieve more than $98,000 in bonuses per a revised statement from FAMU spokeswoman Pam Tolson:

"The Board agreed to pay the 2010-2011 bonus at the minimum contractual level of 25 percent ($81,250) of his base salary of $325,000.  The 5 percent bonus for 2011-2012 is $17,062 based on his base salary of $341,250."


Update: 12:10 pm:    Ammons will receive more than $100,000 in bonuses in exchange for resigning immediately. From FAMU spokeswoman Pam Tolson:

Florida A&M University is preparing to launch another presidential search. It will be the third time in the in the last decade the school has had to look for a new president, after James Ammons announced he is resigning from the post. FAMU is still dealing with the fallout from a hazing scandal prompted by the death of a drum major. But those problems are only the tip of the iceberg facing the university. 

Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees will meet Monday to discuss how to move forward in the wake of the resignation of the school’s president. James Ammons abruptly resigned Wednesday, about a month after the board issued a no-confidence vote in his job performance. FAMU is still dealing with the fallout from a hazing scandal in its band program. It’s also under fire for incomplete audits and low graduation rates.

Florida A & M University President James Ammons resigned Wednesday in the wake of the hazing death of Marching 100 band drum major Robert Champion and other problems facing the university.

Florida A&M University President James Ammons has resigned as the university continues to deal with the fallout from the hazing death of one of the school band's drum majors.

Just weeks ago FAMU's board of trustees issued a vote of "no confidence" in Ammons over the way the university has handled the case. Ammons said at the time he had considered stepping aside but in the end decided to remain.

Wednesday, Ammons issued a letter to the board stating his intentions to leave the university.

After the forced retirement of longtime FAMU Band Director Julian White in the aftermath of the hazing death of Marching 100 band drum major Robert Champion, the university is looking at the next step:  hiring White's replacement.

Here's the release from the university announcing the search:


Florida A&M University is launching a million-dollar campaign to repair its image after months of bad headlines. The school is weathering several crises starting with the hazing death of a band drum major, audit issues, and low graduation rates.

FAMU spokeswoman Sharon Saunders says the million-dollar campaign is aimed at getting the “good news” about FAMU out to the public. She says her current staff is too small, and has been so overwhelmed with media requests, that it’s left little time for anything else.

Florida State University students can expect to pay about 13-percent more for their classes this year, and FAMU students can expect a 12-percent increase. But that’s not what the two schools wanted.  The increases are a compromise of sorts between members of the state board that oversees Florida’s public universities.  And over the course of a two-hour meeting Thursday, votes over tuition increases were all over the place.

Florida A&M University has the lowest graduation rate out of all the state’s public universities. And the board that oversees those universities is not pleased.

Did you ever see the mid-80s movie “Children of the Corn”?

It was a Steven King story, so it was creepy and scary.  Much of the action involved homicidal young people who hid out in a big corn field.  But most cornfields are neither creepy or scary.

Agriculture is still Florida’s number two industry, right behind tourism.  And corn makes up a large part of the state’s farm production.  Some cutting-edge research is underway that could make corn even more of a cash crop. And that’s sparked the interest of aspiring food scientists.

Florida A & M University President James Ammons is under increasing pressure to resign and that pressure went up another notch this week.  At a meeting of FAMU’s board, trustee’s issued a vote of no-confidence in the embattled president. The move is the latest stemming from the hazing death of one of the school’s drum major, Robert Champion.


Florida A&M University President James Ammons is under increasing pressure to resign and that pressure ratcheted up another notch Thursday. At a meeting of FAMU’s board, trustee’s issued a vote of no-confidence in the embattled president. Lynn Hatter reports the move is the latest stemming from the hazing death of one of the school’s drum majors.

Update  1:21 pm:  The Florida A&M University National Alumni Association President, Tommy Mitchell, will address the media regarding the recent newspaper articles implying FAMU problems are so severe that FAMU President, James H. Ammons, should resign or be fired. The rally will focus on the outstanding achievements of FAMU and the recognition the university continues to receive in spite of the media’s focus on the Robert Champion Tragedy.

The pressure on Florida A & M University continues to mount in the run-up to its board of trustees meeting set for Wednesday and Thursday.  In advance of the meeting, the chairman of the board that oversees all of Florida’s public universities issued a letter to FAMU’s board of trustees Chairman, seeking greater input into the evaluation of University President James Ammons.


Florida A&M University’s College of Education been re-accredited under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The NCATE is the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teaching schools.

FAMU is one of only four universities in the state of Florida whose College/School of Education has received continuous accreditation since 1954.

Two defendants have pleaded no contest to lesser charges of misdemeanor hazing in the beating of a fellow Florida A&M University band member. Police say fellow band members beat Bria Shante Hunter on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

After their pleas in Tallahassee, Aaron Golson and Sean Hobson were sentenced Thursday to 30 days in a work camp followed by 12 months of probation.

Action in the case of a third defendant was delayed.

Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band will remain under suspension for at least another year. Lynn Hatter reports the university’s president says the band will need to undergo a restructuring phase before it can be allowed back on the field.

Florida A&M University President James Ammons says the decision to keep the band under suspension was not made lightly.


Dr. Julian White has spent more than 50 years at Florida A&M, first as a student band member, then later on, as a music professor under the band’s founder, Dr. William Foster. White was promoted to director of bands and Chairman of the school’s music department. At almost every milestone in the band’s history, from the 1989 Bastille Day Parade in France, to winning the prestigious Sudler award—even playing super bowls and presidential inaugural parades, White has been there.

The fallout from the hazing scandal at Florida A&M University continued today: First there was news that after 40 years, the band director was stepping down and then there was news that Florida's top university official asked the university to keep the Marching 100 band off the field.


Update 9:45 am:  University President James Ammons issued the following statement regarding Dr. Julian White's retirement:

“We wish him well in his retirement.  Given his position as department chair and director of bands, we must focus on moving forward with changes to the music department and the marching band.”

The director for the Florida A & M Marching 100 band is retiring after more than 40 years at the university. The news is the latest in the fallout from the hazing-death of one of the band’s drum majors.