| FAMU President James H. Ammons (right) presents Judge Glenda Hatchett with the President’s Award for serving as the 2008 Fall Commencement speaker.
||FAMU President James H. Ammons (left) presents Roosevelt Wilson with an honorary doctorate degree for his contributions to the field of journalism.
||Perry Brown (center) hoods Tammie Johnson, the first person to be awarded a Doctor of Public Health at FAMU and the first person in the State of Florida to be awarded the degree, as Cynthia M. Harris applauds her accomplishment.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than 700 Florida A&M University (FAMU) scholars transitioned from student to alumni at the fall 2008 commencement including FAMU’s recent alum Roosevelt Wilson.
Wilson, publisher of the Capital Outlook, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree for his contributions to the field of journalism. Wilson is a former member of the FAMU public relations staff and former member of the faculty at the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. He also served as FAMU’s sports information director and director of university publications.
Among the fall 2008 graduates was Tammie Johnson, the first person to be awarded a Doctor of Public Health at FAMU and the first person in the State of Florida to be awarded the degree. FAMU is the first university in Florida to offer this degree. The University of South Florida recently received authorization to begin a DrPH program as well.
Family and friends of the graduates from around the nation packed the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center for the eventful occasion where the Honorable Glenda Hatchett served as the keynote speaker.
“I’m very happy to be at this auspicious occasion and I am well qualified to be standing here today,” said Hatchett. “You see, I am the mother of a Rattler so I know what this means to each of you.”
Hatchett, a judge, author and motivational speaker, explained to students the importance of being the authors of their story. She shared with the audience her Seven Golden Rules:
1. Be clear about who you are and where you belong;
2. Don’t forget to say thank you; honor the past and protect the future;
3. Put high value in yourself; never sell yourself short;
4. You owe a debt to someone; you have to reach back and help
5. Don’t sell yourself short;
6. You are worth it;
7. You have to write your own story
Hatchett opted to share a piece of her story with the crowd.
“I’m almost ashamed to admitted this in an academic arena, but when I was younger I hated school,” she said.
Hatchett explained that while she was very young in school, there was as shortage of books and when she finally received books they were of terrible quality. She immediately refused the moldy, torn and worn-out pieces of literature asking for new books, but to no avail. During those times, black children only received hand-me-down books. Often times the books were in poor shape.
Hatchett turned to her father, a hero figure in her childhood.
“I said ‘Dad, look at this book – it’s old and dirty and used. I need a new book Dad, what am I going to do?’,” said Hatchett. “I thought my dad could do anything. I knew he would be able to get me new books. But all he said was, ‘Glenda, I can’t get you new books, but it is up to you to write your own story.’ ”
Hatchett explained how frustrated she was, and how she could not understand why her father wasn’t able to get her new books. She said as she matured she finally understood his message.
“We are in a new era and a new time,” she said. “Students, you stand at the threshold of a new day and age; it is up to you to write your own story.”
Following Hatchett’s commencement address, the Civic Center roared with applause and cheers as FAMU President James H. Ammons presented Hatchett with the President’s Award for her keynote address.
Students were then presented with their degrees and students in the FAMU ROTC program were administered the Military Oath of Office.
Ammons then congratulated the graduates and offered some words of advice.
“Never forget that the Class of 2008 has the ability to shape history,” he said. “Wherever you go, and to whatever heights you may rise, the mark of FAMU will always be indelibly imprinted upon you. Go forth and make your mark on the world.”
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