FAMU BOT elects Harper as chair, Gibbons as Vice Chair

Kristin Harper, the new chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees (left) accept the gavel from President Larry Robinson.
Photo by Glen Beil/FAMU Office of Communications  
Deveron Gibbons was elected vice chair the FAMU Board of Trustees.
Photo by Glen Beil/FAMU Office of Communications  

Special to the Outlook

Kristin Harper was unanimously elected to succeed Kelvin Lawson as chair of the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees. Lawson held the position for seven years.

Harper earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from FAMU. She worked for several major corporations before establishing Driven to Succeed LLC, a global market research and consulting firm for which she serves as chief executive officer.

“FAMU prepared me for this moment. This is one of my greatest honors,” Harper said during the BOT’s meeting last Thursday. “My priority is to do what is best for FAMU. Thank you so much for this honor.” 

Fellow alum Trustee Deveron Gibbons was elected vice chair. Gibbons was appointed to the BOT by the Florida Board of Governors in March. He is a 2017 FAMU College of Law graduate and a 2020 FAMU School of Business and Industry Master of Business Administration graduate.

In his pitch for why he should be elected vice chair, Gibbons touted his experience in higher education, including serving as a trustee of St. Petersburg College. He is also a consultant for Amscot Financial and a retired senior vice president of the company. 

Before the vote and the passing of the gavel, other trustees lauded Lawson’s service. Trustee Belvin Perry Jr. thanked Lawson for helping to steer the university through a dark period in its history. 

“It was midnight and Kelvin Lawson took us on a journey that led us to where we are today,” Perry said. “You exemplify the word leadership. Your unfailing dedication to this university, your unfailing dedication to the FAMU brand takes us to where we are today.

“Often as memories fade and time goes on, we tend to forget about those glorious memories. But the name Kelvin Lawson and what Kelvin Lawson did will not be forgotten.”

During the meeting, President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., recognized Lawson with an award for his “dedicated and outstanding service to Florida A&M University and the Board of Trustees from 2011-2023 and serving as chair from 2016-2023.”

A visibly emotional Lawson said he was “privileged and humbled to serve as chair.” 

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