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Former FAMU President Frederick Humphries Dies At 85

Pictured here is Frederick Humphries seated in a black suit. In his hand is a microphone.
Florida A & M University
file photo
Former Florida A&M University President Frederick Humphries passed away yesterday at 85-years-old. He is remembered for his efforts to help FAMU rise to national prominence.

Florida A&M University faculty, students and alumni are mourning the death of former university president Frederick Humphries. He served as the school's eighth president from 1985 to 2001. Humphries died in his Orlando home on Thursday at 85-years-old. He is remembered for his efforts to help FAMU rise to national prominence.

"The dark clouds have indeed gathered on the horizon," said FAMU President Larry Robinson in a statement. "Dr. Humphries is one of FAMU's favorite sons. He committed his life to the advancement of higher education, in particular within the HBCU community, and changed the trajectory of FAMU."

Eddie Jackson remembers Humphries as, in his words, "larger than life." Jackson served as Director of Public Relations for FAMU starting in 1987 and says he worked closely with Humphries over the years.

"We called the Humphries years the golden years because he did things that were never achieved before," Jackson says.

When Humphries became president, Jackson says he made it a goal to beat Harvard University in recruiting National Achievement Scholars.

"FAMU beat Harvard in recruiting National Achievement Scholars, which was a major achievement and one of the key factors that led Time magazine to name FAMU college of the year in 1997," Jackson says.

Jackson says Humphries was also a master fundraiser. He says under his leadership, Humphries secured $50 million for the college's endowment fund.

"He raised the consciousness-level of other Black college presidents on what was possible, what could be achieved. And I think that's one of the greatest legacies any one person could have," Jackson says.

U.S. Representative Al Lawson in a Twitter post called Humphries' passing "a tremendous loss."

"He was one of the most beloved presidents who has ever served FAMU," Lawson wrote. "He was committed to the personal success of every student, and faculty member he came in contact with."

Humphries is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.