TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When Dr. James H. Ammons stepped into the spotlight on July 2nd of 2007 as Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) tenth president, he knew there was much work to be done. Instead, on his first day in office, James Ammons graciously asked for 500 days.
Since then, Ammons has accomplished much and has made impressive strides toward reducing the school’s vulnerability and moving it in a positive direction. Admittedly, there are major hurdles that remain, but the FAMU community is convinced that it is safe now to at least begin the planning for the official inauguration of Dr. James H. Ammons as the school’s tenth president. And, believe it or not, it will take place very close to the 500th day.
Scheduled for Friday, October 31, the installation ceremonies for Ammons will take place at 10:10 a.m. in the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center with all the pomp and circumstance befitting the return of a native son who many believe arrived just in the nick of time to save the institution from ruin. There will be no tricks or treats on that day. Instead, a steering committee comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, local business leaders, and even a few FAMU retirees, has been formed so that every detail for the occasion will happen without a glitch. FAMU Trustees R. B. Holmes and Pamela Duncan and Senator Alfred “Al” Lawson, Jr. have agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs.
“I am honored to serve as co-chair for this special occasion,” said Rev. R. B. Holmes. “Dr. Ammons has certainly accomplished many of the things that he outlined upon his arrival, and I am impressed with the energy and professionalism that he has brought forth.” Holmes believes that all stakeholders are ‘at the table’ and will benefit from the excitement that is generated on campus by Dr. Ammons.
“We are planning a festive and up beat celebration to honor Dr. Ammons who has made good on the promises made to students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders,” said Sharon P. Saunders, chief communications officer. “He said that he would restore the public’s faith in the university and over a nine-month period he has accomplished that task and more. We are excited about officially installing Dr. Ammons as the 10th president of FAMU.”
This inauguration won’t be just any inauguration. Themed “Preserving a Legacy of Excellence in a New Era,” this will be a seven-day celebration, and will highlight some of the major thrusts that are part of the Ammons 10-point plan: education, community service, health and the arts. On Sunday, October 26, Inaugural Week will kickoff with the unveiling of an art exhibition. A gospel concert featuring Pastor Shirley Caesar is scheduled for Monday of the inaugural week. This celebration of the arts will continue on the Wednesday night of Inaugural Week when students in the performing arts will showcase their talent in an evening tribute to Ammons.
“We want the community and local businesses to be a part of this event and they can play a major role by serving as sponsors of some of the events and activities,” said Saunders. “During these tough economic times we are being frugal planners while making sure the celebration is one that Dr. Ammons will be proud to claim.”
FAMU students played an integral part in both the planning and promotion of the inaugural week and the activities that will take place. PRodigy, the university’s student-run public relations firm, has been retained to provide the publicity and promotional work for the week of activities. About 10 student associates with the company have spent the spring semester brainstorming ideas and laying the plans to promote 10 different activities for the week.
“We call him the talented tenth,” says Angelica Washington, a junior public relations student, referring to the school’s tenth president. “He’s a president that all of us feel we can relate to because he cares about students first and foremost.” Washington says she has had a lot of fun working on the inauguration account as an associate with PRodigy.
Inaugural Week will take place October 26 - November 1, 2008. Planned activities include:
• Art Exhibit and Reception
• An Evening with the First Lady
• Gospel Concert featuring Shirley Caesar
• Academic Forums for FAMU Students and Faculty
• A Night Celebrating the Arts
• Installation Ceremony and Reception
• Inaugural Ball
• President’s Inaugural Barbecue
For more information about the FAMU Presidential Inauguration and for regular updates, visit the official website at www.famu.edu/inauguration2008.
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