Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnus Jemal Omar Gibson will return to his alma mater to address nearly 700 graduates during this week’s fall commencement ceremony. The event will take place on Friday, December 9, at 6 p.m., at FAMU’s Alfred Lawson Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, located at 1800 Wahnish Way.
Gibson is a talented author, international motivational speaker, corporate executive, career coach, and philanthropist. In his award-winning book, “Drugs: My Curse My Savior,” Gibson recounts how he arrived at FAMU with $20 in his pocket, no financial aid, no housing, and a dream. The book is a motivational memoir, which chronicles his life from childhood through adulthood, navigating the world of illegal drugs and the legal drug industry. His second book, “The 3 Spirations,” is an inspirational self-help book due to be released in 2017.
Born to drug-addicted parents in 1969, Gibson was shuffled through six different homes and eleven schools, before attending and graduating from high school. His compelling story has served as an inspiration to thousands, and has been used to inspire people around the world to overcome the obstacles they may face.
Despite his tumultuous childhood, the Chicago native, became a stellar student and graduated with honors from FAMU’s School of Business and Industry in 1993. After graduation, he served as an infantry officer in the United States Army and completed the elite U.S. Army Ranger and Airborne schools.
He established the Jemal Gibson Suit Scholarship for the FAMU School of Business and Industry, which helps to provide professional attire to students in need. Along with his family, Gibson has supported many organizations around the country that focus on uplifting families and children, especially those impacted by drugs and addiction.
“I’ve had the privilege of speaking all over the country and some parts of the world, but this is an extremely special honor because I’m coming back home. FAMU has been a blessing to me,” said Gibson. “It’s an honor to return the blessing.”
Gibson has spent the past 22 years in the pharmaceutical industry, working with some of the best companies in the world, including Pfizer and AstraZeneca. He has managed billions of dollars in sales and is currently a pharmaceutical executive with Alkermes Inc., where he leads the Southeast region.
He is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Leadership Award, Florida A&M University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and is a FAMU School of Business and Industry Hall of Fame inductee.