Florida A&M University (FAMU) will honor the generosity of longtime supporters Bernard and Shirley Kinsey along with the FAMU National Alumni Association (NAA) J.R.E. Lee Chapter of Jacksonville on Thursday, October 4, during the University’s Annual Plaque Unveiling Ceremony.The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m., at the Eternal Flame, where the names of individuals and organizations that have contributed more than $100,000 to the University are inscribed on plaques.
“The event is truly a family affair,” said Bernard Kinsey.The Kinsey’s son, Khalil Kinsey, is also a FAMU alum and will be honored during the ceremony. Bernard Kinsey’s parents, educator Ulysses B. Kinsey and Christine Kinsey also graduated from FAMU and will be honored posthumously during the event.The ceremony will be followed by an opening reception at the FAMU Meeks-Eaton Black Archives, which features the newest contributions from The Kinsey Collection, which contains unique African-American artifacts. The public is invited to enjoy jazz on the University’s Quadrangle after the ceremony until 9 p.m.The Kinseys have donated well over $300,000 to FAMU since 1997. Their gifts include new uniforms purchased in 2017 for the Marching “100,” service to the NAA, donations of art and artifacts to the Archives and support of the Foster-Tanner Art Gallery.As the past co-chair of the FAMU Industry Cluster, Bernard Kinsey helped the University garner millions of dollars in monetary donations and other resources from corporations and individuals.The J.R.E. Lee Chapter’s donation of $100,000 has already helped many students achieve their dreams of attending FAMU. Since 2014, the chapter has presented more than $40,000 in scholarships to 51 students attending the University. The chapter currently has 233 members with 10 standing committees including athletics, fundraising, governmental relations, membership, scholarship and recruitment.“We appreciate the support, enthusiasm and passion that the J.R.E. Lee Chapter and Kinsey Family have shared with FAMU and look forward to honoring them for their generosity,” said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., interim vice president of University Advancement.
Angela Freeman, J.R.E. Lee Chapter president, said she is laser-focused on accomplishing the chapter’s mission, which is enhancing the legacy created by her predecessor, Mia Jones, while continuing to make a difference for FAMU one student at a time.“As positive mentors, role models and advocates for our beloved alma mater, FAMU, the chapter’s goal is to continue to increase membership and scholarship opportunities, as well as transition our local Duval, Clay and Nassau counties future Rattlers,” said Freeman.Former Chapter President Mia Jones echoed those thoughts in terms of creating more opportunities to assist students attending FAMU.“When we are long gone, students from Duval and surrounding counties will continue to get the financial support from the J.R.E. Lee Alumni Chapter that they need in order to achieve their dreams,” Jones said.
The Kinsey Collection comprises historical items relative to the African-American experience. It has been seen by millions and garnered the support of the Oracle Education Foundation with online resources for teachers and students in 13 languages and 11 countries. The collection was the preview for the opening of the Smithsonian’s African-American Museum, enjoyed a multi-year run at Epcot’s American History Pavilion, and recently returned from the University of Hong Kong’s Museum, in one of the world’s most populated cities.