He had only $20 on arrival at FAMU

Now Jemal Gibson leads foundation board

Jemal Gibson

By Andrew J. Skerritt
FAMU Office of Communications

Nearly 34 years after arriving at FAMU with only $20 in his pocket, corporate executive Jemal Gibson has been elected to a second term as FAMU Foundation Board of Directors chairman.  

In that role, Gibson leads a 31-member board that works with a staff to manage a $142 million endowment – the largest of any public Historically Black College or University.  

Gibson thrived at FAMU and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Today, the resident of Fayetteville, Ga. is vice president of sales for McKesson, a $231-billion revenue generating company that distributes pharmaceuticals and providing health information technology, medical supplies, and care management tools.  

Gibson credits FAMU with transforming and saving his life.  

“I am truly honored to lead such an extremely talented group of individuals, who are passionately connected to FAMU,” said Gibson.  

In 2012, he established a scholarship program that provides hundreds of new suits to FAMU SBI students in need. While serving as FAMU’s commencement speaker in 2016, he pledged a $100,000 gift to fund the Jemal Gibson and Family Endowed Scholarship.  

Gibson’s oldest daughter, Iman Gibson, is a FAMU senior. She said her father has always exceeded her expectations of success.  

“To be a part of his legacy at FAMU is very rewarding, and it allows me to understand that the world is filled with limitless possibilities,” said Iman Gibson. “I love my HBCU.”  

Chairman Gibson’s goal is to spur creative philanthropy along with traditional major gifts to ensure FAMU will continue attracting high-achieving students.  

“Instead of telling somebody what to do, the best thing is for people to ask themselves ‘what can I do to change a life?’  ” said Gibson. “When I started the suit scholarship, someone else started a shoe scholarship.”  

During his first term as Board president (2019-2020), Gibson and Board directors focused on enhancing their engagement, effectiveness and efficiencies. The Board is developing strategic plans that will allow directors to better leverage their knowledge and networks.  

Gibson said he and the FAMU community are fortunate to have FAMU President Larry Robinson at the helm, and appreciates the hard work of University Advancement staff and its Vice President Shawnta Friday-Stroud, who also serves as SBI dean and executive of the FAMU Foundation. 

“It is a pleasure to work with Chair Gibson as he continues to lead the FAMU Foundation Board to greater effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement,” said Friday-Stroud. “But I cannot do it by myself.  I am so thankful for our awesome University Advancement team that works extremely hard to not only meet President Robinson’s fundraising goal, but that works equally as hard to support the work of (chairman) Gibson and the Foundation Board.”   

Gibson and the Foundation Board will meet with its staff and Robinson in May.