Academic excellence was recognized during the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Honors Convocation in Lee Hall Auditorium on April 1.
The annual event, sponsored by the University Honors Center, provides an opportunity to recognize all undergraduate students with a 3.0 GPA and higher.
Daria Dawson, J.D., senior manager of governmental relations at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), served as the keynote speaker for the convocation. Dawson encouraged the students to dare to dream with the audacity to follow through with full determination and passion.
“Seek whatever sort of reference you need to stay focused on your dream, to stay focused on your vision, whatever that may be. For me it’s psalm 27, for some of you it might be Beyoncé, but whatever it may be, use it,” Dawson said.
Dawson earned a bachelor’s degree in history, graduating magna cum laude from FAMU in 2001, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Florida in 2004. In her leadership role at SEIU, Dawson helps maintain the Union’s relationship with various caucuses of the United States Congress and coordinates the organization’s federal legislative strategies with partners of other unions and allied progressive organizations.
The focus of the University’s Honors Center is to provide challenging courses and academic enhancement experiences for undergraduate students who excel. In addition to academics, three additional areas are addressed in the program to include the development of leadership potential, community service and cultural enrichment.
Briana Showers, a senior nursing student from New Orleans, La. and president of the Honor Student Association, said she was initially reluctant to become a member of the organization. However, she believes her decision to join and connect with other scholars has helped her excel in and out of the classroom.
“Through the Honors Center we have gained more than just knowledge, we have a renewed meaning of the word, “FAMUly,” Showers said.
After sharing her personal journey to FAMU as a third generation Rattler, Dawson told the students they should cherish their time as students at FAMU.
“Regardless of what made you decide to attend this university you are here, and I assure you that everything you do here, every class you take, every person you meet, every game you cheer at, every time you here our great band perform, Florida A&M University will always be with you,” she said.
While speaking at the convocation, President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., told the students the recognition students the recognition they received during the event was well deserved.
“One of my greatest joys of being president of Florida A&M University is that we pay tribute to the excellence and accomplishments of our students. You always overwhelm me with your scholarship and also with your talent,” Mangum said.
With an emphasis on accomplishing dreams, Mangum challenged the students to always pursue their goals with determination and resilience.
“If you don’t give yourself a chance, and if you give up on yourself, you will never know what you will become. If you think big, you can do it. Own your power, own what you’ve learned and practice what you’ve learned.”