Mangum Named Outlook’s Person of the Year
By Christal Searcy
Nearly a year has passed since Florida A&M University trustees named Elmira Mangum the institution’s 11th president and she’s already scaled some key moments during her tenure.
As a result, the Capital Outlook and Live Communications has recognized her as the 2014 Person of the Year.
And what a year it’s been for the university’s first female president. Mangum has recently overcome challenges like maintaining the joint engineering program. The fight to keep the joint engineering program illustrates her willingness to fight for students and their education.
“The biggest challenge I am facing is not my own personal challenge, but a challenge that I have decided to make my own. It is a challenge that each of our students at FAMU and across the state are facing and ultimately it is the challenge facing every government official, administrator, educator, parent, and citizen across the nation,” Mangum said. “This challenge is the declining availability of state and federal funding for low-wealth students, which in turn will limit access to a high-quality, affordable education. Nevertheless, I am focused on providing solutions to the challenges that life often throws our way.”
Mangum has created programs like the Strong Finish Program, which provides encouragement and financial help to graduating students who finish their degree programs in four years. She and her team are also launching more scholarship programs and implementing strategic fundraising programs to help provide resources for the students who need it most. She is reaching out to supporters and alumni such as Sandi and John W. Thompson and Dorothy Terrell, who have graciously provided funding for FAMU students in various capacities.
After Mangum’s live interview during C-SPAN’s visit to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Tour, students discussed internship opportunities. It’s her goal to open various venues for students’ voices to be heard. While helping students at FAMU Mangum is also learning about herself since.
“Each day that I step foot on our beautiful campus and observe the remarkable work of our students and faculty, I acquire a greater resolve to safeguard opportunities for students from low-wealth communities and all walks of life to have access to higher education,” Mangum said. “Higher education serves as the gateway to so many of the opportunities the world has to offer. I am convinced more and more each day, through the various unfortunate events of this day and time, that education is no longer an option, but a necessity. I am committed to ensuring that this need is met for as many students as possible, because I am a product of someone else’s commitment to ensuring equal and affordable access to education.”
Reverend R.B. Holmes Jr., president and publisher of Capital Outlook chose Mangum as person of the year.
“Dr. Mangum has a great responsibility to make sure that Florida A&M University becomes and continues to be one of the best HBCU’s in this country. We sincerely need her to excel and to foster a vision that will position FAMU in a position of unparalleled greatness,” Holmes said.
Outside of Magnum’s role at FAMU, she is a mother. She loves board games, dancing, reading fiction, and hanging out with family and friends.
“My faith is my foundation. FAMU is the perfect example of what faith can really do. We have all heard the story in the Bible about the mustard seed. That story is the FAMU legacy,” Mangum said. “I believe FAMU was started with faith, prayer, two faculty members and 15 students and look where we are today. We have impacted hundreds of thousands. I believe that in order to be a successful leader, you have to be willing to be led by someone else and for me that someone is God. All of my steps are ordered in and by Him.”