Florida Board of Governors (FBOG) Chairman Brian Lamb issued a $100,000 challenge to his alma mater Florida A&M University Developmental Research School (FAMU DRS) to further science technology, engineering and math (STEM) and Science technology, engineers, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) educational opportunities for students.
Lamb spoke during the “Governor Brian Lamb Day” at FAMU DRS to an auditorium of students, his parents, Deloris and Eugene Lamb Jr., relatives, close friends, FAMU administrators, including President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., and Provost Maurice Edington, Ph.D. and deans. In making the challenge, Lamb addressed FAMU DRS Superintendent Micheal Johnson.
“JP Morgan Chase and our Advancing Black Pathways Center of Excellence is willing to take on a challenge with you Superintendent Johnson, if you are willing to take on a challenge where we can invest $100,000 into helping our Baby Rattlers engage deeper in the programs you have around STEM and STEAM engage deeper around the work that you’re doing with your labs and create pathways for your students for their futures so that they will be positioned to shoot the ball,” said Lamb. “I’ll leave you with that $100,000 challenge and you’ve got my commitment to deliver on it.”
In response to the challenge, Johnson said his goal is to build a STEM lab in a nearby field.
“It sounds like we are $100,000 closer to that goal right now,” Johnson said. “In two years, we will have a building built.”
Lamb’s challenge came after he used a basketball analogy to inspire students. The former 30 points per game scorer, recalled winning a state basketball championship in the 1993-1994 season ending a nearly 25-year drought for the DRS boys’ basketball program.
He went on to play basketball at the University of South Florida, where he also earned a bachelor and master’s degrees. Lamb was a senior executive with Fifth Third Bank before joining JP Morgan Chase, where he is Global head of Diversity and Inclusion.
He recalled that when he played in high school games, a voice in the stands would always yell, “Brian, shoot the ball.” It was the voice of his father, then a coach at Amos Godby High School in Tallahassee.
“At the time, I thought he was just talking about basketball; at the time it would have made sense that he was just talking about on that court. When I had that opportunity and the chance presents itself, just like it will for all of you to achieve greatness,” said Lamb, who lives in New York with his wife and three children. “He wasn’t just talking about shooting the ball on the court. He was talking about shooting the ball in life; he was talking about- for those of you who are thinking about your careers and thinking about what you want to do next in those dreams and aspirations, whether it’s starting your own company, going on the ‘Hill’ and graduating from the great FAMU or achieving whatever thing that gets you excited and passionate each and every day,” said Lamb, who held a basketball as he spoke.
“What he was talking about is shooting that ball of courage, shooting that ball of confidence, shooting that ball of preparation that means you have to be ready; you can’t just shoot the ball at any time; you have to be thinking about when that opportunity might arise.”
In his closing remarks, President Robinson praised Lamb as an inspiration and role model for generation of FAMU DRS students.
“We always tell our students, ‘you can get there from FAMU. Today, we can say, you can get there from FAMU DRS. Gov. Lamb is living proof of that. You are the Brian Lambs of our future,” said Robinson, who pledged to support Lamb in his role as chairman of the governing body for the state’s 12 public universities.