BY PRESIDENT LARRY ROBINSON, Ph.D.
TALLAHASSEE – It’s an exciting time to be at Florida A&M University. The key academic and accountability indicators are pointing in the right direction. We are on the rise.
For the fourth consecutive year, FAMU remains the highest-ranked public Historically Black College and University (HBCU), according to U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 Best Colleges ranking of Top Public Universities.
FAMU is ranked 103 among Top Public Universities as we continuously strive toward the Top 100, which reflects our commitment to student success. We are ranked 23 nationally on the Social Mobility Index, the truest measure of FAMU’s ability to alter the economic trajectory of our students, alums, and their families.
We are the leading producer of African American graduates in several disciplines at the baccalaureate, professional, and graduate levels. As a leader within the State University System (SUS) in affordability and providing access to first-generation and low-income students, FAMU continues to serve critical needs for Florida and the nation.
FAMU has had nearly 20,000 applications for the fall 2023 semester representing a 110 percent increase compared to a year ago. Ultimately, what it all means is our brand is highly respected and students not only want to come to FAMU; they are coming.
In recent years, we have made considerable progress in improving student success outcomes in areas such as six-year graduation rates and have developed comprehensive plans to address improvements in first-time-in-college (FTIC) four-year graduation rates, FTIC retention rates, and licensure pass rates in nursing, pharmacy, and physical therapy.
These gains demand steadfast commitment and investment of resources. We are requesting $15 million in recurring funds to elevate and sustain student success. This will help address these issues, which supports the SUS Strategic Priority to increase student success and access; enables FAMU to be more impactful in enhancing the socioeconomic status of first-generation and low-income students; and fulfills critical workforce needs in Florida.
As part of our push for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) excellence, another priority is support for the Chemical and Biological Research Laboratory Center. Our $20.4 million funding request would enable interdisciplinary research in STEM and health-related disciplines to expand the University’s research infrastructure. It will also enhance our push toward Carnegie Research 1 status.
As we assess the University’s needs, we are acutely aware of our aging infrastructure, such as Howard Hall. It has been the home of the FAMU Rattler Battalion Army ROTC since 1948. Our $13.5 million PECO request would support renovations for the first time in nearly 70 years. Modernizing Howard Hall would go a long way in boosting our recruitment and matriculation of the best and brightest to serve in our military.
FAMU continues to be a wise investment for Florida taxpayers. The University remains an indispensable community partner in the Big Bend region and throughout the State thanks to our main and satellite campuses. The Legislature’s fiscal support is a reaffirmation of the mission and purpose of the “College of Love and Charity.”
Larry Robinson, Ph.D., is the 12th president of Florida A&M University.