By: Pernell Mitchell
Interim President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. and the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Board of Trustees hosted United States Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) at the FAMU School of the Environment Feb. 20 for a campus visit.
“Bill Nelson is a true son of Florida” Robinson said in his introduction of the Senator. “His contributions to education in this state and specifically to this institution will last for many, many generations to come.” Robinson went on to further list a few of the grants and funds that Senator Nelson had a hand in bringing to the University.
“That’s what we are gathered to celebrate here today,” said Nelson. “With your STEM education and the grants you’ve been receiving, not only is the sky the limit, but we’re going to punch through to the universe.”
Nelson stated that he was inspired to visit the campus to observe the advances in STEM education here at FAMU.” I want to thank you students for having the interest in, not only what is going to help your career, but what is also very important to the future of our country,” said Nelson in his address to a group of around 100 students, faculty and administrators.
The primary focus of his address to the audience were the stories of Katherine Johnson, whose life was recently portrayed in the Hollywood production of Hidden Figures, and Charles Bolden, US Astronaut and former Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with whom Nelson flew a NASA mission to orbit the Earth in January of 1986.
“You see what [Johnson and Bolden] have done for the course of history of our country,” said Nelson. “That’s what you at FAMU can do too.”
The campus visit included a tour of FAMU’s Environmental science labs in the Fredrick S. Humphries Science Research Center, as well as a short address to the University Board of Trustees, during which, BOT Chairman Kelvin Lawson thanked Nelson for taking the time to visit the campus. “Senator it’s a pleasure to have you here, and we hope to host you again in the future,” Lawson said.
Nelson wrapped up his campus visit with questions and photos with students and a brief meeting with Robinson and newly appointed University Government Relations Director Barbara Cohen-Pippen.