The Conversation: Mangum’s record shows she’s transforming FAMU
By Delaitre J. Hollinger
Special to the Outlook
Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum is transforming the 128-year-old institution step-by-step. When she applied for the position, she proved herself to be the most qualified applicant to the post.
Mangum, FAMU’s 11th President, and the first woman to hold the office, has worked assiduously to rebrand Florida’s only public Historically Black University, inventing the innovative mantra “Building a Brand that Matters in the 21st Century and Beyond.”
Mangum has withstood baseless attacks, and the micromanagement of a Board of Trustees whose credibility is now seriously in doubt. Recent memos have revealed that Mangum had nothing to do with more than $400,000 in renovations to the university president’s home; an issue for which trustees tried unsuccessfully to terminate her three year contract.
During the Mangum administration, a solid decline in the student populace has manifest into a steady incline of new student enrollment. On her second day in office, the President successfully defended against a proposal that would have severed the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Shortly thereafter, she established the Sustainability Institute, as a part of ongoing campus Go-Green initiatives, which included the grand opening of a new recycling center and dedication of a new park.
It was during Mangum’s presidency that Microsoft Chairman and FAMU School of Business and Industry graduate, John Thompson, presented her with a $5,000,000 check; the largest single donation in the university’s history. Recently, Mangum signed a deal with the USDA, transferring 3,800 acres of land to FAMU; solidifying the largest such transfer of any HBCU in the nation’s history.
In an effort to ensure that FAMU is on solid footing years down the line, Mangum has appointed a Task Force composed of students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders to reform the university’s current Strategic Plan. She has appointed former interim president Larry Robinson to chair the initiative.
Since taking office, Mangum has raked in awards by the boatload, including being named to the EBONY Power 100 List, HBCU Female President of the Year, Oasis Center Trailblazer, Capital Outlook Person of the Year, and the Women of Distinction Global Leadership Award, just to name a few.
In addition, Mangum and Provost Marcella David have built a top notch leadership team, including hiring new associate provosts for faculty development and graduate education; a new dean of law; and vice presidents for research, advancement, communications, and administration.
Mangum has committed her administration to brand building on a global scale. She has tirelessly scouted international talent, hammering out partnerships with the likes of China and Kenya. Her valiant efforts will attract quality students from an array of diverse backgrounds, boost enrollment, and position Florida A&M University as a model for other comprehensive/doctoral research universities to follow.
Elmira Mangum has been a God-send, whose talent, energy foresight, brilliance and honorable leadership are greatly needed during this critical time in the university’s history. Keep “striking” Madame President!
Delaitre Hollinger is Executive Director of the National Association for the Preservation of African-American History & Culture.