Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Troubled FAMU Still Tops for Black Grads

August 5th, 2007 by Ajuan Mance

The last few years have been difficult ones for Tallahassee’s Florida A&M University (FAMU). Traditionally known for it’s excellence in athletics, its comprehensive academic programs, and it’s outstanding marching band, FAMU has recently made headlines for its financial irregularities, high profile hazing incidents, decreasing enrollments, and lower graduation rates.

Despite these challenges, however, Florida A&M University remains the United States’ top producer of Black bachelor’s degree holders. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, “It was followed by Howard University, Georgia State University, and Southern University and A&M College in the ranking.” Florida State University, also based in Tallahassee, was number five.

This ranking is based on information reported by the DOE (Department of Education) for the 2005 – 2006 school year.

In a related article journalist Nicole Hutcheson notes that “FAMU has long been considered among the more successful historically black schools, tying Harvard as the top recruiter of National Achievement Scholars in 2001.” Hutcheson’s article profiles three FAMU families whose membes include both currently enrolled students and alums (as parents, siblings, and other relatives).

Legacy students (the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and siblings of alums) are common at a number of HBCUs, especially on high-profile campuses like FAMU. Indeed, Black  colleges and universities welcome such applicants for their ready-made familiarity with college culture and expectations, for their function as living links to the history of each institution, and for their role as living, breathing testimony to the powerful role of the HBCU in building and perpetuating African American prosperity.

On FAMU and other HBCU campuses,  second-generation college students whose parents attended majority-white institutions and well as their first-generation classmates can draw a sense of pride and purpose beyond their individual achievements from the proud history of these insitutions. The presence of a critical mass of legacy students reinforces the value and relevance of that history today, in the 21st century, and well into the future.

Other good news about FAMU (from the Tallahassee Democrat):

Misha Granado, a spring 2007 graduate, was selected as a Fulbright Fellow.

Cymeia Hill, a spring 2007 graduate, was recognized by the Florida Health Information Management Association as the Outstanding Health Information Management student in the state.

Darius Graham, a 2006 graduate, was named by USA Today to the 2006 All-USA College Academic First Team.

The FAMU School of Nursing achieved a 94-percent pass rate on the national licensing exam that all of its graduates take to become registered nurses. The national mean is 88 percent.

The Department of Physics produced about 40 percent of the physics Ph.D.s earned by black Americans this academic year.

The Department of Psychology was recognized as the number one producer of black Americans with baccalaureate degrees in psychology among HBCUs and among the top 10 of all universities across the country.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in Academia, African American Students, Black Colleges, Black Students, FAMU, Florida A&M University, HBCUs, Higher Education, race

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