By Maleek Hobdy
Florida A&M University has a lot to brag about, according to President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. The 12th president of FAMU gave highlights of accomplishments around campus during his recent “State of the University” address in Lee Hall Auditorium.
He told the crowd that the state of FAMU is strong, citing graduation rates, the nursing certification exam and major construction projects around campus, among other achievements. FAMU is going through some major changes around campus, and Robinson said he is excited about the progress.
“Every time I turn on this campus, I see greatness. It makes me proud to be the leader of outstanding faculty, staff and students,” Robinson said.
While serving as interim president in 2016, he worked with the Board of Trustees to revisit the university’s strategic plan. As a result, they developed the “FAMU Rising” 2017-2022 Strategic Plan to strengthen FAMU’s competitive position. The plan seems to be working.
FAMU is a top producer of HBCU students who receive bachelor’s and doctoral degrees, and May 2019 graduates of the Master of Science in Nursing program had a 100 percent pass rate for the certification exam.
For the past two years FAMU has increased its graduation rate, rising 5.1 percentage points, reducing the cost to students by $2,840, which is a 30 percent decrease.
Robinson also discussed an anticipated increase in the enrollment of transfer students with AA degrees through FAMU’s IGNITE Program with 17 specializing agreements and two more pending. The two-plus-two agreements provide students an additional pathway into Florida A&M University.
There are nearly 2,000 students in the program. This is important because there was nearly a record number of students who applied to FAMU and almost 8,500 were not admitted. President Robinson and the university are just as concerned about the students who did not get admitted into the university as those who did get admitted.
“We don’t talk about denying students here at this university, we talk about redirecting them,” said Robinson.”
Enhancing the university’s infrastructure such as student housing and other facilities is also a major component of the university’s strategic plan. Robinson said he is unaware of FAMU ever having five major construction projects going on at the same time, including the new 700-bed FAMU Towers. The new buildings are being built to help students and provide improved cultural experiences and community engagements.
Robinson was named president of the university in November 2017. He also served as the interim president three times before that. Maurice Edington, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, praised Robinson at the event and highlighted his unique experience. “Part of the reason his bio is unique is because he has had every senior level position at FAMU twice, including my title.”