Friday, January 10, 2014


Happy Friday!

A little mood music for today - Reflection Eternal's Memories Live. I feel like reminiscing for a minute or two.

I'm really pumped.  My alma mater, Florida A&M University, has just selected a new president.  As a matter of fact, FAMU's Board of Trustees has just selected its first female president.  As one of my classmates on Facebook so eloquently put it, "Girl Power!" Dr. Elmira Mangum makes me proud. I'd been trying to keep up with what was happening with regard to the presidential selection, and from what I'd been reading, she was my first choice.  I'm looking forward to watching her execute her vision.

All the reading about the presidential decision got me to thinking about FAMU, the place that I called home for four extremely critical years.  I always say that I was a good student before I got to FAMU; Florida A&M made me a better person.

I showed up at FAMU as a quirky, first-generation honors student on a full scholarship.  There were lots of other colleges on my list, and I was being pursued by some as well - some HBCU, some Ivy League, some top State colleges, but there was something special about shaking hands with then president, Dr. Frederick Humphries, in all of his full, charismatic glory.  You have to understand, Dr. Humphries wasn't just a man; he was a force.  When he described Florida A&M, his eyes sparkled. Watch him in action.

"We strike, strike, and strike again!"

Dr. Humphries offered me a full scholarship on the spot, and I was S-O-L-D.  I soon after made a campus visit, which further cemented my choice.  I grew up in a pretty diverse community, but it always seemed that I was one of a handful of Black students in my classes.  I saw this as my opportunity to immerse myself in something I'd never experienced - a predominately Black learning environment.  I welcomed the change.

Freshman year outside of my dorm, Diamond Hall
I attended FAMU during an amazing era.  It was named Time Magazine's College of the Year.  It was in a heated competition with Harvard to enroll Black National Merit Scholars.  And FAMU wasn't just excelling in academic areas - it was LIVE (I'm dating myself using live, but it was).  The social scene was uh-mazing! I majored in math in college, and most of my classes met in a building which sat directly across from The Set, the central location where everyone hung out.  It was the heart of campus.  I can remember many a day trying to focus during Abstract Algebra, while listening to the music and the fun going on right outside the window. Like I said, it was live.

I learned a lot, both in and outside of the classroom.  Meeting top Black students from all across the country was exciting and humbling.  I wasn't an anomaly.  I made some extra special friends, and because I love them so much, I will not post any of our college pics! I don't talk to most of them often, but the love never changes.  Looking at my bridesmaids and into the crowd at my wedding and seeing the faces of friends who knew 19-year-old me meant so much. And just to brag a bit, my FAMUly is impressive - all kinds of scholars, scientists, attorneys, teachers and important stuff. But like real Rattlers, we never lose our down-to-earthness.  Just turn on some Luke and we'll show you.

My FAMUly in our Rattler strike poses
My favorite nerds - my math study group in the photo booth at my wedding
My husband and I talk in "what ifs" regarding our future kids.  I don't have many "musts" for future children's lives.  I couldn't care less if they don't want to earn  Ph.Ds.  I don't have any career aspirations that I'd force them to pursue to in order to make me proud.  However, the one thing that my husband and I both want is for them to go to college, not just to get a degree, but to experience what I call the "semi-adult" phase of life.  College is the only time that I can think of where you get to act like you're grown, but 9 times out of 10, somebody is helping you fit the bill.  College isn't all about a degree.  It's an important space for social development.  So while I don't have a lot of demands for my future kids, I want them to experience college.  And, experiencing it at FAMU would make it that much sweeter. FAMU has faced some hardships over the years, but I have no doubt that it will once again secure its rightful place at the top. Hell, we're Rattlers; we strike!

I always knew I'd be a Rattler -
my little sister and I sporting FAMU t-shirts 
To FAMU's new future president: Be good to my alma mater, Dr. Mangum.  You're headed to the highest of seven hills!  Your legacy at FAMU becomes a part of my legacy.  I love Florida A&M from the softest place in my heart.

Other Rattlers will feel this.  Say La La! 

Until next time . . . I'll be over here trying to live out the Rattler motto, "Excellence with Caring."


  1. Um, I think my first comment was eaten by the comment monster.

    But what I'd said was that I don't miss the working hard and studying part of college but I do miss the social aspect. I'll probably never again be in an environment with the social benefits and conveniences of college life. I miss it.

    1. Hey, Nicole!

      Yeah. I dont EVER want to be a student again, but I sure miss the fun, too! You don't realize how good you had it until you look back on the experience.
      Glad you stopped by the blog!

  2. I would rather have a student go to a more prestigious institution like Hampton University.