Dear FAMU Alumni, Students, Faculty, Staff and Friends:
While we continue to pray and look for ways to further assist families and communities imperiled by Hurricane Irma, we extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to the countless Florida A&M University students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends that worked with us to help ensure the safety of our constituents on the main campus in Tallahassee and at satellite facilities in Crestview, Jacksonville, Brooksville, Davie/Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Their dedication and resolve exemplified the true meaning of our motto, “Excellence with Caring.”
Due to the selflessness of our staff, we were able to offer lodging and meals on campus in the Foster-Tanner Band Rehearsal Hall for students in residence halls and students (and their families) living off campus. Food, water, cots, access to computers and entertainment were provided to the 42 students and 17 non-students who rode out the storm with us over the weekend.
Additionally, faculty, staff, students, and alumni volunteered several hours of their time to prepare more than 8,000 boxed meals for our students during the storm. Administrators and staff made rounds daily in our housing facilities to provide comfort and information to our residents.
As Irma churned in the Caribbean, our internal Emergency Management Team and key administrators and staff held conference calls twice daily to ensure that we were taking the appropriate precautions to keep our constituents safe on campuses in Tallahassee and throughout the state. Each day, updates and advisories were sent to students, faculty staff and alumni via essentially all forms of electronic media available to us.
We will continue to provide updates until facilities in Jacksonville, Crestview, Brooksville, Tampa and the Miami area return to normal operations. The Orlando campus reopened today. FAMU Developmental Research School will reopen for classes tomorrow. The Tallahassee campus will reopen on Monday.
In typical Rattler fashion, we welcomed with open arms hundreds of emergency responders from places as far as West Virginia in the Lawson Center for several days and opened the Bragg Stadium parking lot as a major staging area for emergency personnel and other volunteers. Emergency responders were offered access to our dining services in the student cafeteria.
We are also thankful for the support of the Governor and State of Florida agencies, the Chancellor and the State University System of Florida, the City of Tallahassee, Leon County Government, and FEMA. The level of coordination among many of these entities should serve as a blueprint for future crisis management for threats on the scale of Hurricane Irma.
And while we focused our efforts primarily on Irma, the University continued to plan for major events and received yet another round of well-deserved accolades. Even as the storm approached, our Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) team was able to complete and submit our Compliance Certification Document within the deadline.
We announced yesterday that the FAMU Tampa Football Classic will be played as scheduled this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m., at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. In coordination with partners from Tennessee State University, FAMU Athletics confirmed, through the Tampa Bay Sports Authority and City officials, that Raymond James Stadium is in a safe, game-ready condition, post-Hurricane Irma. The game is being dedicated to first responders and Floridians impacted by the storm.
First responders and their immediate family members will be provided complimentary tickets to the game and donations will be collected onsite for the American Red Cross to help Floridians who are still in need of assistance.
Additionally, University leaders, recruiters, students, and alumni are preparing to head to Tampa this weekend with the goal of recruiting the area’s best and brightest high school students.
The recruitment event will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m., at Jefferson High School located at 4401 W. Cypress St. The first 100 high school seniors in attendance will receive a free ticket to the FAMU vs. Tennessee game
Yesterday, U.S. News & World Report released its 2018 “Best Colleges” rankings revealing two new top spots for Florida A&M University. While maintaining our spot as the No.1 public historically Black college or University (HBCU) on the U.S. News & World Report list of the top 311 national universities; FAMU climbed in the rankings – moving from the No. 7 best overall (public and private) HBCU in the country for 2017 to No. 6. The University also climbed in its ranking on the overall “Best National Universities” list and landed in the top tier.
This has indeed been a challenging week throughout Florida and the Caribbean, and there is indeed a lot of work that must be done for many communities to be fully restored. Please know that Florida A&M University and our many constituents are fully aware of our obligation to be of service to those citizens in need wherever they are.
Yours in Service,
Larry Robinson, Ph.D., Interim President