President Larry E. Rivers, Ph.D. of Fort Valley State University tells Florida A&M University (FAMU) that it is time for motivation and rededication during FAMU’s Annual Martin Luther King Convocation.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Students, faculty, staff, administration and guests took their seats as the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Wind Ensemble serenaded the audience with a beautiful rendition of “Total Praise” at FAMU’s 31st Annual Observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All-University Convocation.
Outside the air was cold and unwarranted, but inside the Jake Gaither Gymnasium, Rattlers, past and present, greeted each other with warm smiles as they listened carefully to FAMU’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs, Cynthia Hughes Harris, heart-felt welcome.
“We’re gathered here today to celebrate one of our most revered sons,” Harris said. “We should all take it upon ourselves to not confine the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to January and February, but to transform it into a way of life.”
Following the words of Harris, the Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. awarded FAMU President James H. Ammons with a Commitment to Service Award and Mellori Lumpkin, president of FAMU’s 37th Student Senate, recognized the FAMU Lady Flag Football team for their recent national championship.
Baby Rattlers, in the first through third grades from the FAMU Developmental Research School, took the stage and left onlookers awe stricken by singing “Dr. King.”
After an explanation of the occasion by Keneshia Grant former Student Government Association (SGA) vice president and current professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Ammons took the stage to present the keynote speaker.
Rivers kept Gaither Gym enthused as he spoke of a time for “motivation and rededication.” He said that with the country in an economic, health care and education crisis, this was indeed a time for action.
“One of the biggest challenges and problems is the shortage of people willing to perform community service,” Rivers said. “Rattlers, should everything come with a price? There is something disturbing about the value we put on service. It is time Rattlers, it is time to be leaders, Rattlers.”
Rivers spoke of the importance of giving back through community service and encouraged students to get in the habit of giving back by starting on the highest of seven hills.
“All the freshmen in the audience should donate $1 to the FAMU endowment. All sophomores should give $2, while the juniors donate $3 and seniors need to go ahead and donate $4. In fact if you are a graduate student, march down to Lee Hall and donate $5,” Rivers said. “This way you’ll be in the habit of giving to this beloved institution, and won’t have a problem doing so after graduation!”
Evan Nottege, a sophomore English major, matched Rivers sentiments.
“This convocation turned out to be an enlightening experience,” Nottege said. “I actually plan on donating my $2 to the endowment and doing my part to build on an already great institution.”
Prior to Rivers’ speech, James Moran, of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, performed Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, while faculty vocalist Arletha Kilgore and the FAMU Vocal Ensemble dazzled the crowd with “Amazing Grace.”
During the convocation, Ammons presented three special awards to two individuals and an organization for their contributions and leadership. Phillip Agnew, the 2006-2007 SGA president and former university trustee, was presented with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Leadership Award; Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee City Commissioner, was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award; the Student Coalition for Justice was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Organization Award.
- 30 -