A Historical Overview
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University was founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students, and on October 3, 1887, it began classes with fifteen students and two instructors. Today, FAMU, as it has become affectionately known, is the premiere school among historically black colleges and universities. Prominently located on the highest hill in Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee, Florida A&M University remains the only historically black University in the 12-member State University System of Florida.
In 1884, Thomas Van Renssaler Gibbs, a Duval County educator, was elected to the Florida legislature. Although his political career ended abruptly because of the resurgence of segregation, Representative Gibbs was successful in orchestrating the passage of House Bill 133, in 1884, which established a white normal school in Gainesville, FL, and a colored school in Jacksonville. The bill passed, creating both institutions; however, the stated decided to relocate the colored school to Tallahassee.
Thomas DeSaille Tucker [1887-1901], an attorney from Pensacola, was chosen to be the first president. Former State Representative Gibbs joined Mr. Tucker as the second faculty member. In 1891, the College received $7,500 under the Second Morrill Act for agricultural and mechanical arts education, and the State Normal College for Colored Students became Florida’s land grant institution for colored people. The original College was housed in a single white-framed building and had three departments of study and recreation. At about this time, the College was relocated from its original site on Copeland Street to its present location, and its name was changed to the State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students.
In 1905, management of the College was transferred from the Board of Education to the Board of Control. This event was significant because it officially designated the College as an institution of higher education. The name was changed in 1909 to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes (FAMC). The following year, with an enrollment of 317 students, the college awarded its first degrees. In spite of a setback caused by a tragic fire that destroyed Duval Hall, the main building which housed the library, administrative offices, cafeteria and other college agencies, progress was made when a gift of $10,000 was presented to the College by Andrew Carnegie for the erection of a new library facility. This facility held the distinction of being the only Carnegie Library located on a black land-grant college campus. President Nathan B. Young [1901-1923] directed the growth of the College to a four-year degree-granting institution, despite limited resources, offering the Bachelor of Science degree in education, science, home economics, agriculture and mechanical arts.
Under the administration of John Robert Edward Lee, Sr., [1924-1944], the College acquired much of the physical and academic image it has today. Buildings were erected; more land was purchased; more faculty were hired; courses were upgraded, and accreditation was received from several state agencies. By 1944, FAMC had constructed 48 buildings, accumulated 396 acres of land, and had 812 students and 122 staff members. In 1949, under the guidance of William H. Gray, Jr. [1944-1949], expansion, along with reorganization, continued; the College obtained an Army ROTC unit, and student enrollment grew to more than 2,000.
Perhaps one of the greatest achievements came under the presidency of Dr. George W. Gore [1950-1968]. The Florida legislature elevated the College to University status, and in 1953, Florida A&M College became Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Obtaining University status meant restructuring existing programs and designing new academic offerings to meet the demands of producing quality students at the professional and graduate levels. Between 1953 and 1968, the Schools of Pharmacy, Law, Graduate Studies, and Nursing were created.
During the years 1950-1968, the University experienced its most rapid growth. Twenty-three buildings were constructed and renovated with costs totaling more than $14 million. These facilities included the Dairy Barn, Faculty Duplexes, Law Wing of Coleman Library, Gibbs Hall, Tucker Hall, Truth Hall, Agriculture and Home Economics Building [Perry Paige], Student Union Building, Demonstration School Building, Cafeteria, Health and Physical Education Building, Music and Fine Arts Complex, High School Gymnasium, Stadium, and Health and Physical Education Building. The FAMU Hospital was completed and became fully operational in 1956, serving as the only medical facility for Negroes within 150 miles of Tallahassee. FAMU achieved a significant accomplishment by becoming the second Negro institution to become a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Enrollment grew to more than 3,500, and the number of faculty increased by more than 500.
The 50’s and 60’s were times of social unrest and change in the nation. The students of Florida A&M University were integral in sparking a boycott of the buses in Tallahassee that successfully staged integrated the city’s public transportation. As a result of their courage and determination, the students of Florida A&M University established a legacy of social involvement and responsibility as a part of the collegiate experience for future generations of Rattlers.
The period following the turbulent 60’s brought unprecedented growth to the University. At a time when federal laws were demanding desegregation, Dr. Benjamin L. Perry, Jr. [1968-1977] was credited with preserving the autonomy of Florida A&M. In 1971, FAMU was recognized as a full partner in the nine-University, public higher education system of Florida. The program and academic areas within the institution were extended to include the Black Archives Research Center and Museum, established as a state repository for Black History and Culture; the Division of Sponsored Research; the Program in Medical Sciences (PIMS), in conjunction with Florida State University and the University of Florida; the development of the School of Architecture; a Naval ROTC unit; establishment of the cooperative programs in agriculture; and a degree-granting program in Afro-American Studies. Enrollment increased from 3,944 (1960) to 5,024 (1970).
The University was re-organized into academic areas instead of departments. The University’s physical plants increased with the addition of the Women’s Complex (apartment-type dormitory), Clifton Dyson Pharmacy Building, new poultry building and dairy cattle resting shed, and renovation of University Commons, Coleman Library and Tucker Hall. The University Hospital, which was closed in 1971, was renovated and became the Foote-Hilyer Administration Center.
During the administration of Dr. Walter L. Smith [1977-1985], the University grew to eleven schools and colleges and a Division of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. In 1984, the University was granted the authority to offer its first Doctor of Philosophy degree, the Ph.D. in Pharmacology. The 80’s also saw the expansion of the Gaither Athletic Center, which included the construction of a new Women’s Athletic Complex equipped with a track, an Olympic pool, men’s and women’s weight training rooms, and softball and baseball fields. Bragg Memorial Stadium was renovated and expanded to provide seating for 25,000 spectators, and a modern field house was erected. The old laundry was converted into the Industrial Education Classroom Laboratory. New facilities were constructed to house the Schools of Allied Health Sciences, Architecture, Business and Industry and Nursing. Construction and renovation projects amounted to more than $34 million. As the University prepared to observe one hundred years of its existence, the Smith administration launched the Centennial Celebration Fund to establish a University Endowment.
In 1985, Dr. Frederick S. Humphries [1985-2001] became the eighth president of Florida A&M University. The Humphries Years were heralded as a time of unprecedented expansion and achievement. President Humphries presided over the University’s Centennial Celebration that began with his inauguration and ended with the burying of a time capsule. During Humphries’ tenure, enrollment soared from 5,100  to 9,551 . And by the 1998-1999 school year, enrollment had reached 12,000 students. Aggressive and competitive recruitment campaigns attracted more talented students, and FAMU consistently ranked nationally among the top five colleges and universities for enrolling National Achievement finalists. In 1992, 1995 and 1997, FAMU enrolled more National Achievement finalists than Harvard, Yale and Stanford. In 1999, Black Issues in Higher Education cited FAMU for awarding more baccalaureate degrees to African-Americans than any other institution in this nation.
During the 110th Anniversary Celebration, Florida A&M University was selected by the TIME Magazine-Princeton Review as The 1997-1998 College of the Year. FAMU was selected from among some of the most prestigious schools in the country to be the first recipient of this honor.
In 2002, as the State of Florida’s education system underwent massive reorganization, Dr. Henry L. Lewis, III, Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences was appointed interim president. Later the same year, on May 17, 2002, the Board of Trustees of Florida A&M University appointed Dr. Fred Gainous [2002-2004], an alumnus, as the ninth president. Dr. Gainous returned to Tallahassee with a vision of creating One FAMU.
On December 14, 2004, the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees made history by appointing Dr. Castell Vaughn Bryant as interim president. Dr. Bryant, an alumna, was the first woman to lead the University in its 117 years of existence. President Bryant came with the mission of revitalizing and restructuring the University for the twenty-first century.
Originally designed to meet the needs of the underrepresented and the underprivileged, Florida A&M University continues to serve the citizens of Florida and the world through its provision of preeminent educational programs. These programs are the building blocks of a legacy for the hallmark of Florida A&M University: “Excellence with Caring.” FAMU, Florida’s “opportunity university,” is committed to meeting the challenges and need of future generations.
On July 2, 2007, Dr. James H. Ammons, became the tenth president of Florida A&M University. Prior to his appointment, he had served as Chancellor of North Carolina Central University (NCCU) from 2001 through 2006 and as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at FAMU. While provost at Florida A&M University, he developed more than 22 bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs, and he worked to reestablish the FAMU College of Law. During Dr. Ammons’ presidency, he built a topnotch, strong leadership team. In addition, he secured accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in which the board voted to reaffirm the College’s accreditation status through June 30, 2010. Under his leadership, FAMU also received its first unqualified audit in three years from the Auditor General’s Office; and enrolled students in a new doctorate program in physical therapy.
On Aug. 15, 2012, Dr. Larry Robinson was named interim president of Florida A&M University. Robinson had served twice as University provost and also had been assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Making history as the first permanent female president in the institution’s 127-year legacy, Dr. Elmira Mangum began her tenure as the 11th president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University on April 1, 2014. She is focusing her administration at FAMU on “Building a Brand that Matters in the 21st Century and Beyond.” A seasoned administrator, Dr. Mangum has served at the executive level of nationally recognized institutions of higher learning for more than 28 years. From 2010 until her appointment at FAMU, Dr. Mangum served as vice president for planning and budget at Cornell University. Prior to that, President Mangum served in various administrative capacities for nine years at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, including serving as senior associate provost.
Florida A&M’s Presidents
Thomas DeSaille Tucker [1887-1901]
Nathan B. Young [1901-1923]
W. H. A. Howard [1923-1924]*
John Robert Edwards Lee, Sr. [1924-1944]
Jubie B. Bragg *
William H. Gray, Jr. [1944-1949]
H. Manning Efferson [1949-1950]*
George W. Gore [1950-1969]
Benjamin L. Perry [1968-1977]
Walter L. Smith [1977-1985]
Frederick S. Humphries [1985-2001]
Henry Lewis, III *
Fred Gainous [2002-2004]
Castell Vaughn Bryant [2004-2007]*
James H. Ammons [2007 - 2012]
Larry Robinson [2012-2014]*
Elmira Mangum [2014-Present]
* Served/Serving in an acting or interim capacity
Florida A&M University, a member of the State University System (SUS), is under the supervision of the FAMU Board of Trustees. The FAMU Board of Trustees is comprised of twelve citizens and one student representative.
The president of the University is appointed by the board and administers the affairs of the University with the assistance of administrative officers, faculty, and staff.
Statements of Purpose
General Purpose: Role of FAMU within the State University System-One of 12 universities in the State University System of Florida, Florida A&M University receives the definition of its role from the Board of Governors, the governing body of the State University System. The University is designated as a general purpose institution with curricular offerings in most of the arts and sciences, business, and education at the baccalaureate level and in some graduate degree programs. Further, the University has been directed to develop a set of academic programs to attract a statewide, rather than a more limited regional, student population, (CF Plans for Equalizing Educational Opportunities in Public Higher Education in Florida, February, 1974, Addenda, pp.7).
Specific Purpose - Within the Board of Governors’ guidelines, the FAMU community endorses a more specific statement of purpose for the University.
Philosophically, the University is dedicated to the traditional ideals of learning, focusing its attention and efforts upon the creation, transmission, and application of knowledge. These ideals dictate that FAMU’s primary purpose is to advance learning and, thereby, contribute to improving the quality of life for its constituents and their society.
Florida A&M University (FAMU) will be internationally recognized as a premier land grant and research institution committed to teaching, research, and service preparing transformational graduates with high ethical values dedicated to solving complex issues impacting our global society (2014-2015 Work Plan).
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), as an 1890 land-grant institution, is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, resolution of complex issues and the empowerment of citizens and communities. The University provides a studentcentered learning environment consistent with its core values. The faculty is committed to educating students at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional levels, preparing graduates to apply their knowledge, critical thinking skills and creativity in their service to society. FAMU’s distinction as a doctoral/ research institution will continue to provide mechanisms to address emerging issues through innovative research, engaging cooperative and public service. While the University continues its historic mission of educating African Americans, FAMU embraces persons of all races, ethnic origins and nationalities as life-long members of the University community.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University holds the following values essential to the achievement of the University’s mission:
Florida A&M University Non-Discrimination Policy Statement
It is the policy of Florida A & M University that each member of the University community is permitted to work or attend class in an environment free from any form of discrimination including race, religion, color, age, disability, sex, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, and veteran status as prohibited by state and federal statutes. This commitment applies to all areas affecting students, employees, applicants for admission and applicants for employment. It is also relevant to the University’s selection of contractors, suppliers of goods and services, and any employment conditions and practices. Questions concerning this policy and procedures for filing complaints under the policy should be directed to Mrs. Carrie Gavin (EOP Director/University Title IX Coordinator), located in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. Please also see University Regulation 10.103 Non-Discrimination Policy and Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures, and University Regulation 10.112 Consensual Relationships.The Affirmative Action Plan/Program for Minorities and Women is available for review ONLY at the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs by anyone, upon request, during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.).
The Affirmative Action Plan/Program for Veterans and Persons with Disabilities is available for review by anyone, upon request, during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) at the following locations:
|Office of Human Resources
|Office of Equal Opportunity Programs
|211 Foote-Hilyer Bldg.
|674 Gamble Street
|Florida A&M University
|Florida A&M University
|Tallahassee, FL 32307
|Tallahassee, FL 32307
|TDD (850) 561-2998
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s, professional and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia, 30033 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET)
• Computing Accreditation Commission
• Engineering Accreditation Commission
• Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communication (ACCGC)
Accrediting Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (ACEJMC)
American Bar Association (ABA)
American Chemical Society (ACS)
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA)
Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)
Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA)
Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Association (CAPTE)
Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.(IACS)
International Facilities Management Association (IFMA)
National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
Physical Plant, Facilities, Planning and Construction
The University campus is comprised of 156 buildings situated on 423 acres in the heart of Tallahassee. These physical assets are valued at approximately $409,829,000. As the University modernizes and expands to accommodate its increasing academic and professional programs, the physical plant and facilities planning functions continue to grow.
The most recent capital improvement projects completed by the University include: Jones Hall Renovation, $16,558,534; Tucker Hall Renovation, $16,558,534; Sampson & Young Halls Renovation, $8,827,696; Crestview Rural Diversity Healthcare Facility (Site 11), $9,500,000; GORE Education Complex, $10,044,760; Renovation of the University Track Field, $955,749; FAMU Club House Renovation, $350,000; and the 800-Bed Residence Hall (The Villages), $51,150,410.
In addition to the $17 million that the Physical Plant spent in the Phase I utility improvements to support projects and campus developments with electrical upgrades and general infrastructure technology improvements, campus outdoor lighting, walkways and, utility systems and roadway infrastructure systems throughout campus, and general infrastructure improvements; the Physical Plant has also recently begun its Phase II Performance Contract. To date, an estimated $12,500,000 has been expended via this Phase II contract which is funding energy efficiency projects such as steam decentralization system upgrades and controls upgrades. This project is currently ongoing.
Current projects which are either in design and negotiations or on the University’s latest PECO-Eligible Project Requests (2015-2016 Capital Improvement Program) submitted to the Florida Legislature via the Florida Board of Governors include Phase II of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; the construction of a Student Affairs Building; a FAMU-FSU College of Engineering; Dyson Building Remodeling; and an Engineering Technology Building.
Carrie Meek-James N. Eaton, Sr. Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum
In 1971, the Florida Legislature passed a law, Florida Statute 241.477 that established this research center and museum. The center officially opened in FAMU’s historic Carnegie Library, the first Carnegie Library constructed on a Black land-grant college campus. Presently, the entire two-story facility is utilized for museum exhibitions featuring memorabilia on FAMU history and African Americans in the South, especially their institutions and organizations. In keeping with its original mission of historical preservation, efforts supported by the Black Archives resulted in the entire FAMU campus being designated as a National Historic District by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1996.
Union Bank of Florida Partnership
In 1996, FAMU and the Black Archives embarked upon a collaborative public service endeavor with the Florida Department of State. This led to the opening of the Black Archives’ satellite museum at the historic Union Bank of Florida. The Union Bank, located one block south of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee’s downtown tourist district, is Florida’s oldest surviving banking structure. It was built in 1841, primarily by slave labor, and served as a Freedmen’s Bureau Bank in the years following the Civil War. The Union Bank was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1970s. As a specialty museum, the Union Bank accentuates the State and FAMU’s multi-cultural heritage by helping to welcome visitors of all ages, ethnicities and interests to Florida’s Capital City.
Meek-Eaton Expansion Facility
In the late 1980s, due to its impressive collections, and aggressive recovery and rescue campaign, the center began experiencing serious space constraints. As a response, in 1998, Florida Congressional members, Senators Bob Graham and Connie Mack, and Representatives Carrie Meek and Allen Boyd, sponsored a bill that resulted in the center receiving nearly $4 million in federal funds to help expand the Black Archives into a regional research facility. In 2006, the Florida Legislature named the new expansion facility, which adjoins Carnegie Library, the Carrie Meek - James N. Eaton, Sr. Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum.
Archival and Museum Holdings
The center houses an impressive collection of rare historical memorabilia and unique primary materials relating to the African-American experience. Presently, the center maintains more than 500,000 individual archival records and more than 5,000 individual artifacts. Archival materials include: films, journals, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, sound records, and yearbooks belonging to local and national organizations and individuals.
Faculty and Student Support
The Black Archives is a training facility for undergraduate and graduate students who serve as interns, graduate assistants, student employees and volunteers. Students use this training to pursue careers in the fields of archives, art, museums, public history, business and other areas, especially those related to the cultural heritage industry.
Organization of Instruction
Residence Instruction-In response to changing occupational needs and interests of its students and in an effort to attract a more diversified student population to the University, Florida A&M University has undergone reorganization. The University now has seven colleges and seven schools.
College of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Division of Agricultural Sciences
Division of Naval Sciences
College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
Department of English and Modern Languages
Department of History, Political Science, Geography and African American Studies
Department of Music
Department of Psychology
Department of Social Work
Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
Department of Visual Art, Humanities and Theatre
Department of Military Science and Leadership
College of Science and Technology
Department of Biology
Department of Chemistry
Department of Computer Information Sciences
Department of Mathematics
Department of Physics
College of Education
Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling
Department of Elementary Education
Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
Department of Industrial Arts and Vocational Education
Department of Secondary Education,Technology Education, and Foundations
Florida A&M University Developmental Research School
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department of Industrial Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Law
College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
Division of Pharmacy Practice
Division of Economic, Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Institute of Public Health
School of Allied Health Sciences
Division of Health Care Management
Division of Health Informatics and Information Management
Division of Occupational Therapy
Division of Physical Therapy
Division of Cardiopulmonary Science
School of Architecture and Engineering Technology
Division of Architecture
Division of Engineering Technology
School of the Environment
Center for Environmental Equity and Justice
FAMU Center for Environmental Technology Transfer
School of Graduate Studies and Research
School of Business and Industry
Department of Accounting & Finance
Department of Economics & Professional Leadership Development
Department of Information Systems & Operations Management
Department of Management & Marketing
School of Journalism and Graphic Communication
Division of Graphic Communication
Division of Journalism
School of Nursing
Coleman Memorial Library
University and Developmental Research School Libraries
Academic and Related Service Functions
Academic Computer Service
Instructional Media Center
Test Service Bureau
Title III Programs
Undergraduate Student Success Center
Academic Learning Compacts
FAMU will provide students access to information on Academic Learning Compacts for each baccalaureate degree program. The Academic Learning Compact for each program identifies 1) content knowledge and skills in the discipline, 2) communication skills and 3) critical thinking skills as well as the methods for monitoring the achievement of those skills. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of these skills prior to graduation. Students may obtain copies of Academic Learning Compacts for each baccalaureate degree program from that program’s departmental office or online at http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?Assessment&CurrentALCs