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Florida A&M University
Motto Excellence With Caring
Established October 3, 1887
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment $88 million[1]
President James H. Ammons
Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris
Faculty 620
Students 11,000
Undergraduates 9,500
Postgraduates 1,500
Location United States Tallahassee, FL,
Campus Urban
420 acres (1.7 km2)
Former names Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes
State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students
State Normal College for Colored Students
Colors Orange and Green
Nickname Rattlers
Mascot Venom
FA&MRattlers logo.png

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, commonly known as Florida A&M or FAMU, is a historically black university located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States, the state capital, and is one of eleven member institutions of the State University System of Florida.



On October 3, 1887, the State Normal College for Colored Students began classes, and became a land grant university four years later when it received $7,500 under the Second Morrill Act, and its name was changed to State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students. However, it was not an official institution of higher learning until the 1905 Buckman Act, which transferred control from the Department of Education to the Board of Control, creating what was the foundation for the modern Florida A&M University. This same act is responsible for the creation of the University of Florida and Florida State University from their previous institutions. In 1909, the name of the college was once again changed to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes, and in 1953 the name was finally changed to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Florida A&M is the only publicly funded historically black college or university in the state of Florida.In the September 2006 issue of Black Enterprise Magazine, Florida A&M was named the number-one college for African Americans in the United States.[citation needed] This ranking based on the graduation rate, and the academic and social atmosphere. FAMU is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. In the fall of 1997, FAMU was selected as the TIME Magazine-Princeton Review "College of the Year" and was cited in 1999 by Black Issues in Higher Education for awarding more baccalaureate degrees to African-Americans than any institutions in the nation.


FAMU's main campus is in Tallahassee, Florida, just south of the State Capitol and the campus of Florida State University. It also has a law school campus in Orlando, Florida and the Research and Development Center in Quincy, Florida. The College of Pharmacy has extension campuses in Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa and Crestview, Florida.[2]


National historic district

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College Historic District
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. Historic District
FAMU campus, Lee Hall
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Area: 370 acres (1.5 km2)
Built/Founded: 1907
Architect: William Augustus Edwards; Rudolph Weaver, et al.
Architectural style(s): Colonial Revival, Classical Revival
Governing body: State
Added to NRHP: May 9, 1996
NRHP Reference#: 96000530[3]

The Florida A&M Tallahassee Campus consists of 132 buildings spread across 420 acres. Part of the campus is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College Historic District. It received that designation on May 9, 1996. The district is centered along the section of Martin Luther King Boulevard that goes through the campus. According to the National Register, it covers 370 acres (1.5 km2), and contains 14 historic buildings and 1 object. One campus building, the old Carnegie Library is listed separately on the National Register[3]

Research and Development Center

The FAMU Research and Development Center in Quincy, Florida serves students in animal science, pre-veterinary medicine and veterinary technology. In May 2009, a new New Animal Healthcare Complex opened to support FAMU's pre-veterinary program. The complex was funded by a $1.2 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperative Extension Research.[4]


FAMU has eight fully-funded endowed eminent scholars chairs including two in School of Journalism and Graphic Communications, four in the School of Business & Industry, one in the College of Education, one in Arts and Sciences, and one in its School of Pharmacy.

The university offers 62 bachelor's degrees in 103 majors/tracks. 36 master's degrees with 56 majors/tracks are offered within eleven of the university's 13 schools and colleges. Two professional degrees and eleven PhD degree programs are offered.


Florida A&M University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) since 1935. On June 21, 2007, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the university on probation for six months because the university failed to comply with several core requirements.[5] The university was removed from probation on June 26, 2008.

College of Law

On December 21, 1949, a division of law was established at the then Florida A&M College and the first class was admitted in 1951. The legislature established the school because no "separate but equal" state-supported law school existed for African-Americans at that time.[6] The school's enrollment was limited to African- American male students and was located in Tallahassee, Florida.[6] The FAMU law school was closed through a vote by the Florida legislature in 1965, with the funds transferred to a new law school at Florida State University. In 1966 the institution lost the right to admit students after a decision by the Florida Board of Control, and two years later, in 1968, the last students graduated. 57 students graduated from the school between 1954 and 1968.[7]

The 2000 Florida Legislature unanimously passed legislation establishing a College of Law for Florida A&M University to be located in Orlando and on June 14, 2000, Governor Jeb Bush signed the bill into law. The legislation included three conditions: the school was required to serve "historically underrepresented communities"; it had to open by 2003; and it had to win ABA accreditation within five years. The College of Law admitted its first class in 2002.[6]

The American Bar Association (ABA) granted the Florida A&M University College of Law provisional approval in August 2004, which allowed its first graduates to take the bar exam while the law school continued to work toward meeting ABA standards.

In May 2006, the ABA Accreditation Committee sent a letter to the institution listing several areas of concern, and gave FAMU instructions to bring the school into full compliance within three years, and they had to qualify for full accreditation within eight years.[6]

The school drew media attention because a state-conducted audit found that staff on the payroll were not performing any work for the school. The most controversial case involved Shirley Cunningham, Jr. who had represented a group of plaintiffs from Kentucky in suing the manufacturer of fen-phen, an anti-obesity drug known as that had been withdrawn from the market after it was connected to heart-valve problems. A settlement in 2001 settlement totaled $200 million, of which $107 million went to the lawyers. Cunningham then donated $1 million to establish an endowed chair at the FAMU law school.[6]

This donation brought a matching grant of $750,000 to the school, and Cunningham filled the chair with a $100,000 salary and $25,000 in benefits. A payroll audit in 2005 led to the firing of the dean, Percy Luney Jr., and the conclusion of Cunningham's position. The new interim dean, Castel Bryant, subsequently reported that Cunningham had not undertaken any work at the institution, despite the salary.[6][8] Cunningham was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in response to his involvement in the taking of $94 million that would otherwise have gone to the victims of fen-phen.[9]

The ABA accreditation team returned to the FAMU campus in late October 2007 and found additional problems including a low bar pass rate, students who had filed lawsuits against the school for failing to follow its own procedures, and Clinical faculty carrying heaver teaching loads than the ABA recommends.[6]

In 2008 another scandal emerged when three employees were found to have been tampering with student records. Up to 90 students had paid the employees to change their grades, while others had paid to see their addresses altered in order to avoid hight fees.[6]

Leroy Pernell, who was dean of the law school at Northern Illinois University, was recruited as the new dean in 2007. He fired faculty and recruited 19 new faculty members. Under dean Pernell, the law school created its Center for International Law and Justice, and became the only historically black college accepted into the International Association of Law Schools.[6] Full ABA accreditation was achieved in July 2009.[10]

Today, the College of Law occupies its own 160,000-square-foot building at 201 Beggs Avenue in downtown Orlando. The four-story building was designed by Rhodes+Brito Architects of Orlando. The new building opened to students in 2005. Of the 1,807 who applied to the school in 2009, 630 were accepted and 234 enrolled.[6][11] Seventy-seven percent of the entering class are Florida residents, and 42% are non-minority students. The mean LSAT score of the 2009 entering class was 146.[11]

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

The School of Pharmacy was organized in 1951. It received its present name in 1985 in recognition of the expanded role and mission of the College in professional and graduate education. It is now one of the largest colleges of pharmacy in the country.[2] It offers a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree (PharmD) and also a PhD program in Pharmacy. The fall PharmD enrollement was 1,068, and FAMU has produced over 20% of the nations African-American pharmacists.[12] The Pharmacy School in 2009-2010 graduate student enrollment is 122, with 42 PhDs, 21 DrPH, 45 MPH, and 14 MS candidates. The school has graduated over 60% of African-American PhDs in pharmaceutical sciences, since 1990.[12] In 2003 it was ranked 3rd in the nation for research funding through the National Institute of Health and consistently ranks as one of the top funded pharmacy school in the southeast.[13] It is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) through June 30, 2010.[14]


FAMU’s annual research funding currently exceeds $54 million. Research is funded by grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.[15] For 2007-2008, the largest source of funds was $15.1 million from the US Department of Education, followed by $6.1 million from the Department of Agriculture (most of which is allocated to FAMU by virtue of it being a land grant university.) [16] FAMU's two largest research areas are agriculture and heath sciences.[16] The Pharmacy College's research funding for 2009-2010 is $22.5 million ($21.0 million in federal, $1.1 million in state support, and from $325,046 private industry support) with over $37,301,715 committed through 2012.[12]

Student life


Florida A&M University student enrollment population consists primarily of undergraduates. Ninety percent of the schools enrolled students are African-American. The next largest demographic group is White (non-Hispanic) students at 5%. Native Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans round out the remaining 5%.[17]


2009 MEAC football standings
     Conf       Overall
Team W   L     W   L
#8 South Carolina State 8 0     10 2
#23 Florida A&M 6 2     8 3
Norfolk State 5 3     7 4
Morgan State 4 4     6 5
Bethune–Cookman 4 4     5 6
Delaware State 3 4     4 6
Hampton 3 5     5 6
North Carolina A&T 2 5     4 6
Howard 0 8     2 9

† – Conference Champion
Rankings: The Sports Network FCS Poll

Florida A&M University is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and participates in NCAA Division 1-AA. FAMU's sports teams are called the "Rattlers." FAMU offers men's sports in baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming , tennis and track and field. It offers women's sports in basketball bowling, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field and volleyball.[18]

From 1938 to 1961, the football team won the Black College National Championship eight times, including six times under head coach Jake Gaither, in 1950, 1952, 1954, 1957, 1959 and 1961. When Gaither retired after 25 years of coaching in 1969, his FAMU teams had a 203-36-4 (wins-losses-ties) record, for a .844 winning percentage. Thirty-six players from Gaither's teams were All-Americans, and 42 went on to play in the National Football League. During his 25 years as head coach, FAMU won 22 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships. Gaither was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975. FAMU went on to win the first NCAA D1-AA National Championship in 1978 after defeating the University of Massachusetts. The Rattlers meet the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats every year in the Florida Classic on the third weekend in November. The Rattlers lead the overall series with Bethune Cookman University, 45-15-1.[citation needed] One of the most notable wins in FAMU football history came when they defeated the University of Miami in 1979.

On November 15, 2008, Florida A&M football received national attention when ESPN's College GameDay was broadcast live from the campus. FAMU became the first historically black college or university campus and is one of two FCS schools to ever host the program (the other being the University of Pennsylvania).[citation needed]

The men's basketball team has twice qualified for the opening round game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament (2004 & 2007).

The Marching 100

The FAMU Marching "100" under the direction of Dr. William P. Foster, was invited by the French government to participate in the Bastille Day Parade as the official representation from the United States. This event was held in celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution.

The Marching "100" was named the "Best Marching Band in the Nation" by Sports Illustrated (August 1992).[citation needed] The band received national recognition in January 1993 when it performed in the 52nd Presidential Inauguration Parade by invitation of Bill Clinton. The band has also performed in the Super Bowl and in the 56th Presidential Inauguration Parade.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Overview". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  3. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  4. ^ "Ribbon-Cutting for New Animal Healthcare Complex". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  5. ^ "Actions taken by the Commission on Colleges". Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kay, Julie (Jan. 1, 2010). "Saving the School". American Bar Association Journal. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  7. ^ "History FAMU College of Law". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  8. ^ Karp, David (June 4, 2005). "FAMU chair filled by its donor". St. Petersburg Times: p. 1A. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  9. ^ Van Voris, Bob (17 August 2009). "Diet-Drug Lawyers Get 20, 25 Years for Stealing Funds". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  10. ^ FAMU College of Law homepage
  11. ^ a b "1L Class Profile". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  12. ^ a b c "Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  13. ^ "NIH Rankings". 
  14. ^ "Accreditations". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  15. ^ "Research". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  16. ^ a b "Summary of Federal Contracts & Grants Awards Listed by Federal Sponsoring Agency". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  17. ^ "Enrollment Summary, Fall 2009" (PDF). FAMU. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  18. ^ "Official Website for FAMU Athletics". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 

External links

Coordinates: 30°25′04″N 84°17′04″W / 30.417814°N 84.28447°W / 30.417814; -84.28447


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