News Headlines
National Alumni Association Honors Distinguished Alumni at Awards Ceremony
April 30, 2013

— The Florida A&M University (FAMU) National Alumni Association (NAA) will hold its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony Friday, May 3 at 6 p.m. in the FAMU Grand Ballroom. Tickets are $100 per person.

The distinguished alumni are as follows:

Lifetime Achievement – Virginia Orr
Virginia Orr was born in West Palm Beach, Fla.  Early on, she had a burning desire to learn.  At a time when the National Honor Society started to admit African-American students in 1951, she was one of the 13 high school students inducted from Roosevelt High School. In 1951, she began her freshman year at FAMU and graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  She then returned to West Palm Beach and taught school for three years and then left for New York City to attend Teacher’s College, Columbia University and received a master’s degree in guidance and counseling in higher education.  From then on her professional life moved very rapidly.  In 1967, she took a position as a personnel management specialist with the United States Peace Corps and remained there until her retirement in 1989.  She is a member of the Washington, DC Alumni Chapter.

Lifetime Achievement (Posthumously) – Juanita Orr
Juanita Orr was born in West Palm Beach, Fla. She graduated from FAMU with a B.S. degree in elementary education and from New York University with a master’s degree in remedial reading. She retired as chairman of the Communication and Arts Division at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, Calif. Orr was a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She held memberships in the NAACP and the FAMU Washington, DC Alumni Chapter.

Business – Linn Ann Jones Griffin
Linn Ann Jones Griffin earned her master of education degree from FAMU in 1966.  She also earned the master of library science degree from Florida State University in 1977. She received a diploma in funeral services from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Services in 1981.  Since that time, Griffin has worked as a licensed funeral director and embalmer at Strong & Jones Funeral Home Inc., where she serves as a managing co-owner.  She is passionate about a life of service, not only in the business world, but also in her church, where she is actively involved as a trustee, an usher and president of the Pulpit Aide Board Ministry, the Women’s Missionary Society and is a Sunday school leader.  She holds membership in many local, state and national organizations  including: Epsilon Nu Delta Fraternity; a Life Recovery Center Board; Mother’s in Crisis and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She has received numerous awards for outstanding service including:  25 Women to Know; 25 Phenomenal Women Making a Difference; Tallahassee Community College Black Calendar Honorees; 100 Black Women in Funeral Service; Bethel A.M.E. Church Mother of the Year and the Church Wall of Faith.

Community Service – Eleanor McCoy Carter
Eleanor McCoy Carter is a Distinguished Toastmaster and magna cum laude graduate of FAMU’s School of Business & Industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in industrial engineering and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in predictive analytics from Northwestern University. She currently works in the education division of the Greater Louisville Metro Chamber of Commerce where she primarily focuses on the promotional and engagement strategy and research initiatives surrounding the Degrees at Work program. In all of her professional roles, she has most enjoyed the analysis, creativity and flexibility often found within the marketing environment. Beyond work, Carter has been active in her church and has served the community on various boards including: the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Tampa Firefighters Museum, It’s All About Kids Inc., Tampa Organization of Black Affairs, Toastmasters International (division governor and District 47 public relations officer). She has also been involved with the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Animal Services (Pals for Paws), and the Junior Women Mission Auxiliaries of the First South Florida Missionary Baptist District Association (president), Progressive M&E Baptist State Convention of Florida (president), and of the National Baptist Convention of America Inc. (vice president). Her most recent volunteer efforts have served SCORE Louisville, the Louisville Asset Building Coalition (VITA program), WHAS’ Crusade for Children, the Network Center for Community Change, AmeriCorps VISTA, the Louisville 55,000 Degrees Program initiative, and the Louisville Kappa Alpha Psi Silhouettes. Carter serves as the FAMU NAA Mid-West Regional vice president and is the FAMU NAA Kentucky Chapter founding president.

Community Service – Floyd Patterson

Floyd Patterson earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial education at FAMU. He then began a career in the optical field. His dream of becoming an entrepreneur was realized when he founded E & I Optical Services after working several years at an optical corporation and receiving an Ophthalmic Science Certification from S.U.N.Y.  The company was renamed and incorporated to Jem-Kei Optical in which he is currently president and CEO.   Patterson has devoted his life to serving his community and his alma mater through many organizations: president of the Township of Union Community Development Advisory Committee; member of the U.T.C.A.O. Inc., a non-profit community organization; membership chairperson of the 100 Black Men Inc.; member of the Township to the Union Charter Study Commission; and a past consultant to the Ophthalmic Science Laboratory Curriculum at Essex County College, Newark, New Jersey. He is a member of the Tri-City Branch of the NAACP; deacon at First Baptist Church; chairperson of the Jeanette Shell Book Scholarship Fund, Inc. Patterson’s contribution to FAMU began when he became a charter member of the New Jersey Alumni Chapter, in which he served as vice-president, president and treasurer.  He also served as Northeast Region Vice president of the FAMU NAA and continues to assist the university with recruiting students in the New Jersey area.   

Community Service – Joseph Patrick McMullen
Joseph Patrick McMullen is a proud 1993 FAMU pharmacy graduate and a native of Miami, Fla. He attained a master’s degree in health administration in 2000 from Florida International University.  He has been a licensed Florida registered pharmacist for 19 years and a state clinical pharmacist for the HMO, Wellcare. McMullen served his country as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves from 1989 to 1995. He has also served on the board of directors for the West Orange Chamber, Tri County League of Cities and the Oakland Community Redevelopment Agency.  His community service includes: Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and a Prince Hall Masonic member. He is president and founder of the HAPCO Music Foundation and is a member of the Greater Orlando Alumni Chapter of the FAMU NAA. 

Education – Marvin J. Henderson
Marvin J. Henderson earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from FAMU.  In 1971, Henderson began teaching at Leon High School.  He was appointed assistant principal at Nims Middle School in 1981 and then assistant principal at Godby High School in 1985.  In 1987, he was appointed principal at Raa Middle School; two years later he was appointed principal at Leon High School where he served for eight years.  Henderson was appointed executive director for Leon County Schools in 1997 and remained in that position until his retirement in 2002.  One month later, he accepted a position as director of the Learning Center at Bainbridge College.  After five months, he was promoted to interim vice president for Student Affairs.  Henderson spent three years as director/superintendent of FAMU Developmental Research School.  In June of 2006, he returned to the Leon County School District as assistant superintendent.  Since November of 2006, he has served as the deputy superintendent of Leon County Schools.  Henderson is a member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Leon County Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association (NAA), life member of the FAMU NAA, life member of NAACP, 100 Black Men of Tallahassee, Board of Directors for the National Achievers Society, Florida Association of School Administrators and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Education – Thomas D. Moffett
Thomas D. Moffett received his bachelor’s degree from FAMU in 1963 and a master’s and a doctor of education degree from Auburn University in 1972 and 1981, respectively. Among numerous awards and recognitions, Thomas received the “Gallery of Distinction” award from FAMU (1987); is listed in Who’s Who in American Education (1994); is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment (1998); and received the Lifetime Educational Award from Rainbow PUSH Coalition (2005).  He is a founding member of the West Georgia-East Alabama FAMU NAA. He has served as basileus of his Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. chapter and presently serves as president of 100 Black Men of Columbus, Ga. He is a member of Holsey Monumental C.M.E. Church in Columbus, Ga.

Government - James R. Ford Sr.
In 1972, James R. Ford Sr. became Tallahassee’s first black mayor, and the first black mayor of a state capital city. He was elected to subsequent terms as mayor in 1976 and 1982. In addition, he served 14 consecutive years as a Tallahassee city commissioner. In this office, he played a key role in establishing the Minority Business Department, the Frenchtown Area Development Authority and the Affirmative Action Office, and worked to eliminate segregated practices in the city government and to secure employment for blacks.  Ford is active in the business community. He established WAMN radio station, becoming Tallahassee's first black manager of a radio station. He owns and manages six businesses and acts as the president of CNJ Associates. He has served as the president of Sigma Phi Pi and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternities, Inc., the Tallahassee Urban League and the Tallahassee Chapter of 100 Black Men, and as commander of the Tallahassee Sail and Power Squadron. He has served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, Meals on Wheels, the March of Dimes Big Bend Chapter, the American Red Cross's Tallahassee Chapter and the Florida League of Cities. Ford is a life member of the Capital City Chapter of the FAMU NAA.

Law - Kathy Garner
Alumna Kathy Garner is the first African-American county judge in Gadsden County. She has garnered the legal spotlight as a woman of notable leadership and outstanding accomplishments in law and is dedicated to community service. She takes pride in her efforts to address the challenges of underprivileged youngsters in her community. She has led the way to spearhead community forums to tackle the plight of troubled teenagers.  Garner was educated in the Gadsden County Public School System.  She then furthered her studies at FAMU and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  After earning a juris doctorate from Florida State University, she established the Garner Law Group.  Since her appointment, she has presided over more than 30,000 cases. Garner is a member of the Gadsden County Alumni Chapter of the FAMU NAA.

Law – Joseph K. Moore, Esq.
Attorney Joseph K. Moore is a 1985 graduate of the FAMU School of Business, where he attained a bachelor’s degree in accounting with honors.  He also holds an MBA in finance from the University of North Florida.  Following a 20-year career in the U.S. Navy, Moore enrolled and completed a juris doctor from the University of North Carolina.  During law school, Moore was awarded the Gressman-Pollitt award for oral advocacy and served on the editorial staff of the North Carolina Banking Journal.  Following law school, Moore was a staff attorney with the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, DC.  Later, he became a supervisory attorney with the Department of Navy’s Acquisition Integrity Office. Currently, he is the chief legal adviser for the Naval Audit Service. Moore is a life member of the National Alumni Association (NAA), and has served the NAA in various capacities including financial secretary, vice president and president of the Washington, DC Alumni Chapter and as a member of the National Elections Committee.

Religion – Jerrlyne J. Allen Jackson
One month after receiving her bachelor’s degree at FAMU, Jerrlyne J. Allen Jackson was employed as a secretary at FAMU.  After five years and completion of her M.Ed, she was asked to teach in the Department of Business Education at FAMU. Born into a Primitive Baptist family, she has been active in the Primitive Baptist Church at all levels—local, district, state and national.  She currently serves as editor of the quarterly newsletter for the Old West Florida Primitive Baptist District and president of the Florida Primitive Baptist Convention Women’s Congress. She is past director of the National Primitive Baptist Publishing Board and editor of The New Clarion magazine, its official bi-annual publication, which she revitalized after a 12-year hiatus. During her first year as president for the Florida Women’s Congress, she initiated a 24-Hour Women’s Retreat in January in Daytona Beach.  She recently created a website for the Florida Primitive Baptist Women’s Congress.  Jackson is a life member of the FAMU NAA and a member of the Leon County Alumni Chapter.

Science  - Arthur Edwards
Arthur Edwards, a Marianna, Fla. native, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from FAMU and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Miami.  He also holds a certification and training in industrial engineering and occupational safety.  Edwards has more than 45 years of experience supporting manned space flights at Kennedy Space Center. His diverse career includes supervising the space shuttle Digital Processing Group connected to electrical/avionics engineering assignments and the installation of the remote manipulator system on the second space shuttle flight, which his most significant accomplishment. As the director of the Shuttle Launch Processing System, Edwards provided critical leadership in preparing the space shuttle ground processing systems for Y2000 impacts. Each endeavor resulted in awards and recognition for his leadership and technical contributions.  In addition, he was trained and sworn in as safety specialist supporting OSHA as a Special Government Employee on VPP Work-Site Evaluations over a 10-year period and for several companies including divisions of two Fortune 500 companies.  His recent awards and recognition include: Kennedy Space Center Executive Safety Forum Certificate of Recognition; NASA Headquarters Achievement Award for Safety/VPP; National Space Club Lifetime Achievement Award; United Safety Council Certified Occupational Safety Specialist Excellence Award and Black Engineer of the Year. Edwards is a life member of the FAMU NAA and a member of the Broward County Alumni Chapter.  He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the NAACP.

Technology – Allen L. Hankinson

During more than 46 years as an information technology professional, Allen L. Hankinson was chief architect of the federal government’s open systems environment initiative and an effective advocate for concepts and technologies that enable open, distributed, heterogeneous computing.  Recognized as a strategic thinker, he was an effective agent for change within the national and international information technology standards community. Hankinson established an extensive network of collaborative contacts with federal policy officials, senior executives within large commercial organizations, and information technology professionals within the international community.  He was frequently invited as a featured speaker at national and international information technology venues. Hankinson was the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Rank Award and the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Metal Award.  He was selected as a member of the U.S. Federal Senior Executive Service, elected to the Board of Directors of the IEEE Computer Society, and twice selected for the Federal Computer Week’s Top 100 award. Hankinson is a member of the Washington, DC Chapter and a life member of the NAA.

- 30 -

FAMU Headlines View Archives

Contact Info

1601 South Martin Luther King Blvd.
Suite 100
Tallahassee, Florida 32307

P: 850-599-3413
F: 850-561-2626

FAMU Events

Temporarily Unavailable