FAMU’s Packer Issues a Charge to Graduates

Photos by Devin Powell  Will Packer posed with FAMU President Elmira Mangum after  receiving the President’s Award at the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on May 2.

Photos by Devin Powell
Will Packer posed with FAMU President Elmira Mangum after receiving the President’s Award at the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on May 2.


By Devin Powell
Outlook Writer

Families and friends packed the Al Lawson Multipurpose Center on May 2 to witness the Spring 2015 graduates’ commencement ceremony.

Tears of joy and ear-to-ear smiles filled the gymnasium as everyone gathered for the joyous occasion.

FAMU Alumus Will Packer served as keynote speaker at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Packer is an American filmmaker and producer. He is the founder of Will Packer Productions.

Packer, being a graduate of FAMU, said he wanted to “keep it real” with graduates. He informed the graduates that they will fail a few times in their post collegiate career, but added that isn’t always a bad thing.

“I know you thought you were going to cross this stage and jump out of the Al Lawson center and fall into your first million, there will be a lot of failure along the way,” said Packer.

Packer took the audience through his journey of one of his biggest failures. He told the story of how he and a friend of his went to Hollywood to pitch a movie idea to all the major studios about a movie involving stepping, Greek life and many other events that occur on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Every studio told him
“ Hell No” without thinking twice about it. They were unfamiliar with Greek life and didn’t know much about HBCU’s and believed the movie wouldn’t be a good idea.

Packer admitted to not getting discouraged with being told no, so they tried again but changed a few things but ended with the same result. It was at that very moment that Packer began to convert into his Rattler mode.

“I remember my FAMU hustle. I had to figure out a way to get it done. That’s what you do at FAMU, figure out a way to get it done no matter what,” said Packer.

With his prior knowledge and experience from FAMU, he was able to do some research and noticed that Sony had a movie by the name of “You Got Served” which is a film about dancing. He informed them about his idea to make a film similar to it, which involved stepping and dancing on a college campus. At the moment Sony said they loved the idea.

The movie was number one in the box office for three weekends and every studio that told him no wanted to work with him once they witnessed his success.

“I found success only when I was told no over and over again,” Packer said.

He informed graduates of how their life has a clean slate now that they are graduates of FAMU.

“You can redefine what you are about, what you stand for and you can even redefine who you are,” said Packer.

Packer left the graduates with a charge, which was to never give up no matter what occurs in your life.

“Success is failure turned inside out. The silver ticked of the crowns of doubt and you can never tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems so far, so stick to the fight when your heart is hit. It’s when things seem worse that you must not quit,” said Packer.

Louis Graham, a Spring 2015 graduate, had this to say about Packer’s speech: “It was a great speech. The things I gained from today’s speech was that you can’t be afraid to fail in order to achieve what we really want in life.”

FAMU President Elmira Mangum verbally informed each graduate how proud she was of them and how she wishes nothing but the best for there future.

“Thank you for your sacrifice and congratulations on yet another important milestone on your lives,” Mangum said.