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Biographical Sketch

On July 2, 2007, Dr. James H. Ammons, became the tenth president of Florida A&M University (FAMU), which is heralded by Black Enterprise Magazine as being the nation’s top institution for African Americans.

Since Dr. Ammons’ arrival at the University, he has built a top-notch, strong leadership team. In addition, he secured accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in which the board voted to reaffirm the College’s accreditation status through June 30, 2010.  Under his leadership FAMU also received its first unqualified audit in three years from the Auditor General’s Office; and this summer, the University will enroll students for the first time in a new doctorate program in physical therapy.

A native Floridian, Ammons grew up in the heart of Florida’s citrus belt.  He graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in political science from FAMU and earned the M.S. in public administration in 1975, and the Ph.D. in government in 1977 from Florida State University.

He began his teaching career in public policy and administration in 1977 as an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida. He returned to FAMU in 1983 as an associate professor of political science, and in 1984, he was promoted to the position of Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 1989, he was promoted to Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and also served as Director of Title III Programs. At Florida A&M University, he developed more than 22 bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs, and he worked to reestablish the FAMU School of Law.

Prior to his appointment at FAMU, Ammons served as the ninth chief administrator of North Carolina Central University (NCCU). At NCCU, enrollment reached an all-time high during his tenure, climbing from 5,476 in 2000-2001 to 8,675 in 2006-2007 — a 58.4 percent increase.  NCCU became the fastest growing institution in the University of North Carolina System.   NCCU had many successes in fundraising under Ammons’ leadership.  From 2001 through 2006, NCCU received more than $40 million in private gifts to support the construction of facilities, scholarships, faculty development and outreach programs.

Dr. Ammons has chaired accreditation teams for North Carolina Central University, Norfolk State University, South Carolina State University and Clemson University.   He was recently appointed a member of the Board of Directors for “The Conference Board,” which links corporate and academic perspectives on the economy, management and the role of business in society.  He also serves on the board of the National Association of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Title III Administrators, Inc. and is a member of the National Academies Committee of Underrrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce pipeline.  In September 2002, he was elected to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. He also serves as a member of the Board of the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Ammons has received many honors and awards and is actively involved in the community. In 2006, he was the recipient of the Carlie B. Sessoms Human Rights Award from the City of Durham for his efforts to create harmony in the midst of the Duke University lacrosse case and the Willie E. Gary “Making a Difference Award.” In 2005, he received the Bethune Carver Dewy Education Legacy Award from SECME and the Upliftment Education Achievement Award from Upliftment Jamaica, a non-profit organization for his commitment to education. He is the 1995 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Social Sciences of Florida State University; the 1999 Distinguished Alumni Award from Florida A&M University; and, in 2000, he was the recipient of the Millennium Award by Florida A&M University.

He is married to Judy Ammons (Ruffin) and they have one son, James, III.

Revised 04/29/08