TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., has been invited by House Agriculture Committee Chair John Conaway (R-Texas) to testify before his committee on July 15.
President Mangum is one of six 1890 land-grant university presidents who have been invited to testify before the Committee. There are 19 1890-land-grant universities (LGUs) in the United States. The Second Morrill Act, which was passed 125 years ago by Congress on August 30, 1890, created a network of historically black colleges and universities dedicated to providing educational opportunities for all, through innovative scientific research and community-minded extension programs.
The landmark legislation established the funding mechanism and framework for opening access to education for African Americans. The University’s land-grant status and the federal funding that followed have created ladders of opportunity for FAMU students, specifically those who study and conduct agricultural research.
The hearing coincides with a weeklong series of events centered on the critical role these universities play in promoting research, outreach, teaching, and economic development in this country. Participants include representatives from Fortune 500 companies and agri-businesses, legislators, presidents from the 1890-universities, and agency heads involved in promoting research and development.
FAMU, which was founded in 1887, was designated as a LGU by the State of Florida in 1891. Land-grant status enabled FAMU to teach “agriculture and mechanic arts, including military tactics.” Unlike the 1862 LGUs, 1890 land-grant status did not provide FAMU with any endowment or financial support. However, beginning in 1967, FAMU started receiving federal funds for research and in 1972 for both research and extension. The University started receiving formula funds in 1977 that enabled the FAMU College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) to undertake its land-grant mission and played a major role in FAMU becoming a major research university. Cumulatively, the land-grant programs have contributed significantly to FAMU’s unique academic achievement that set it apart from other LGUs.
During the last 127 years, CAFS has established a reputation for collaborative multidisciplinary research that has greatly benefitted the scientific community, Florida, and the nation. More recently, research programs undertaken by CAFS’ Center for Biological Control, Center for Water and Air Quality, and Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research have made major contributions to the advancement of new knowledge and scientific discoveries, including the biological control of the Varroa mite and small hive beetle – two major pests of honey bees; mitigation and control of the red palm weevil in the Caribbean; mitigation and control of invasive pests; and integrated pest management strategies for Florida fruit and vegetable growers.
The FAMU Cooperative Extension Program, which is a unit of the Florida Cooperative Extension Program and the outreach arm of CAFS, has also achieved major milestones in providing research-based information and direct technical assistance to improve the quality of life for underserved and limited resource consumers, and farmers in Florida.
“I am delighted to have been chosen by the Committee on Agriculture to speak on behalf of the great things we at FAMU and the other 18 LGUs are doing every day to improve the lives of Floridians, as well as lives of people across the country and around the globe through our teaching, research, and extension programs,” said Mangum.
“The research and extension funding we receive is a vital part of our success. The programs funded with these grants also provide significant economic benefits for local communities throughout Florida. The economic impact of our research has contributed significantly to all sectors of the Florida economy.”
“With support from our collaborators such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal and state agencies, our research centers have become Centers of Excellence for conducting innovative research and the development of students that have produced 13 doctoral and 82 master’s degrees during the last decade,” added Mangum.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is one of the largest single-campus historically Black colleges or universities in the nation. The University blends a strong research focus on economic empowerment and community service.
The University was founded in 1887 as the State Normal School for Colored Students. Today, FAMU continues its mission to be a best-in-class, land-grant University with a global reach that focuses on science, technology, research, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics (STREAM).
FAMU contributes to a strong workforce by providing a high-quality, affordable education to students from diverse backgrounds. The U.S. News & World Report lists FAMU as the nation’s top public historically Black college or university (HBCU) for 2015; and recognized among the “Best National Universities” in 2014. It is also listed among The Princeton Review’s “Best in the Southeast” colleges, as well.
FAMU is also one of the top universities for providing a high-quality education at an affordable price in Florida, according to The College Database (2013).