The three finalists are: Thelma Thompson, Ph.D., president of the University of Maryland at Eastern Shore (UMES), Princess Anne, Md.; James Ammons, Ph.D., chancellor of North Carolina Central University, (NCCU), Durham, N.C.; and, Howard C. Johnson, Ph.D., provost of the University of North Texas (UNT), Denton, TX.
“I am very excited about these candidates,” said Trustee R.B. Holmes, co-chair of the search committee. “Two would bring strong presidential experience to the position. The third is a vice president and provost at a large university.”
FAMU Trustee Laura Branker, who co-chairs the search committee with Holmes, said she also feels that the search is on the right track, with three outstanding higher-education executives.
“I am very pleased with our efforts to find the next president of Florida A&M University,” she said. “From my perspective, all three are leaders of well-regarded institutions of higher learning.”
Thompson is the chief executive officer at UMES, where she was elected the “leading president for the University System of Maryland. She also serves as the chief CEO of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Thompson, a Howard University graduate, has 12 years of accreditation experience with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Ammons, a FAMU graduate, is currently the chancellor of North Carolina Central. He served as FAMU’s provost from 1995-2001, after an earlier position of full professor. He has had broad experience with SACS, as well, having served on 10 SACS evaluation teams and chaired committees of four universities including Clemson, South Carolina State, North Carolina Central and Norfolk State universities.
Johnson supervises 10 schools and colleges at his Texas university; he also serves as the top administrator for continuing education, admissions and financial aid, the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, institutional research and several other support units. Johnson served as executive vice provost for Academic Affairs and dean of the Graduate School at Syracuse University (New York). He is a graduate of Chicago State University
Now that the list has been narrowed to the three finalists, Holmes said, the search committee will invite them back to Tallahassee for sessions with key university stakeholders, to include faculty, alumni, students and the community. The stakeholder interviews will take place on Jan. 17, 18 and 19. The next meeting for the trio will be with the full Board of Trustees on Feb.1.
“The search has been an open and deliberative process,” Branker added. “Again, I am quite pleased.”
Holmes concluded: I think we are making great progress in our effort to seat the next president by March 8. We will select that person on or before that time.