Thomasville Times Enterprise

December 17, 2013

Florida A&M makes pitch to local students

Rev. Arthur L. Jones III

THOMASVILLE — A contingent of green and orange recently came north to pay visits to the red and gold, the blue and gold, and the green and white.

Officials from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University conducted a Scholarship and Recruitment Program at Thomas County Central High School, Thomasville High School and Bishop Hall Charter School. Hundreds of interested high school juniors and seniors were in attendance to hear and see what FAMU had to offer them.

The first tier of FAMU’s Scholarship & Recruitment Program occurred at Thomasville High School. The second tier occurred at Bishop Hall Charter School at mid-morning. The third and final tier of the event took place at Thomas County Central High School during the early afternoon.

FAMU was founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students on Oct.3, 1887. One hundred twenty-seven years later, FAMU continues to educate its diverse student body to individually and collectively make a positive impact upon this world.

A slideshow of FAMU’s long and distinguished history was displayed at Bishop Hall. The video presentation touted FAMU’s national championships as a longtime college football powerhouse, the numerous Rattler standouts who were drafted by and played in the National Football League, the awards and accolades the university has garnered for its academic excellence, and the schools within FAMU recognized nationally for the preparedness of their graduates.

Dr. William E. Hudson Jr., vice president of FAMU’s Division of Student Affairs, spoke on the absolute importance of higher learning in the postmodern world. Infusing humor and gravitas, Hudson shared his personal journey with the high school students in attendance. He talked about the adverse effects his parents’ divorce had on him as a small child. His sadness about that development caused him to lose enthusiasm about school. He quickly became a poor student.  Hudson revealed that his grandparents never gave up on himand wouldn’t allow him to give up on himself.

After moving to live with them on their farm, they implemented a rigidly structured schedule of chores, daily responsibilities and study time that drove him to excel academically and socially. He became a high school honors student and respected athlete with numerous scholarship offers. Hudson reiterated over and over that if he could do it, anyone else could.

Carmen Cummings, executive director of FAMU’s Office of Alumni Affairs, inspired and motivated the high school students with her own personal story. She spoke candidly about her profound shyness in her youth. She shared how being a student at FAMU helped her to quickly find her own voice. In her 18 years as a news anchor and Contributor to WCTV 6’s “Eyewitness News,” Cummings’s education at FAMU equipped her to interview such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey, President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Beyonce Knowles.

Other prominent FAMU graduates from different fields were also present — including Dr. Hazel T. Jones, Rev. Jeremy G. Rich, Charlie Ward Sr., Willard Ward, Mazie Wilson (education); and Michael Bryant (politics).

At the various question-and-answer sessions of the Scholarship & Recruitment Program, the students submitted queries ranging from what out-of-state expenses were at FAMU to which Greek letter fraternities and sororities were on campus to admission requirements and standards to be admitted into the University. Hudson and Cummings came to the local high schools bearing gifts — bags for each student containing a preliminary application to FAMU, brochures listing all the scholarships available to prospective Florida A&M students, and Rattler-branded items/keepsakes.

Hudson said: “This was a great day for Florida A&M University. We had a chance to meet some of Thomasville and Thomas County’s brightest scholars. It is my fervent hope that they will seriously consider coming to matriculate upon the highest of seven hills in Tallahassee. I was so impressed with the young people of this community, I am thrilled to announce that this Recruitment & Scholarship Program will now be an annual event.” 

Cummings said, “Thomasville is home for me. I was born at Archbold Memorial Hospital. When I look at such gifted students with such bright and hopeful futures, I think about myself when I was their age. I had mentors who motivated and inspired me then; so I am obligated to give back now. It is my solemn duty and my joyous privilege.”

Rich said: “One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life was to matriculate at the Florida A&M University. FAMU has a long and proud history of producing leaders in diverse fields: from medicine to music, education to engineering, and law to literature. To any high school student desirous of a world-class education and a future filled with promise, I would wholeheartedly recommend my alma mater. I was very excited to be a small part of the scholarship and recruitment blitz here.” 

Any junior or senior interested in attending Florida A&M University can contact Hudson by calling (850) 599-3183. Additional information about FAMU can be obtained anytime at the university’s website: