Miami’s 1964 FAMU graduates celebrate golden anniversary

Special to The Times | 5/15/2014, 9 a.m.

Evidences of greatness were demonstrated for the university during the Spring 2014 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s (FAMU) Commencement exercises on Saturday May 3. It marked the 50th anniversary of FAMU’s Class of 1964. Commemorating the golden anniversary during the weekend were more than 50 alums, which included Miamians Emma W. Curry, Baljean Smith and Frances Young Boulware. The weekend was dedicated to those in attendance who were treated royally with activities that were impressive and passionate. Activities kicked off with registration and wine tasting hosted by the


John W. Thompson

College of Agriculture and Food Sciences on Thursday May 1. The evening commenced at the Charles Winterwood Theater with zealous welcomes and a magnificent performance of “Gaslight Renaissance” featuring the FAMU Essential Theater. This dynamic audience-involved performance was followed by an enthusiastic curator who provided an in-depth tour of the Black Archives which provided an intensive experience of our Black history.

Friday, May 2 another rigorous wonderful day found the group on a tour of the campus which highlighted the magnificent growth and educational advancements that have occurred over the years.


Elmira Mangum

One could only say “growing and still growing.” The Memory Lane Luncheon opened the intellectual and sensitive hearts of the honorees and many, many memories were shared which had the entire group reminiscing about the “good ole days” resulting in musical and dancing joyous moments, gigantic smiles and visualizations of days gone by. The Class of 1964 demonstrated that they are not ready for the rocking chair yet — they “cut a rug” just as they did 50 years ago. You name the dance and they did it — including the latest line dances.

Attired in their finest, this grand evening epitomized the glamour and dedication of those alumni who have given their all to the orange and green. The National Alumni Association presented its Distinguished Alumni Awards, during which a fabulous dinner — fit for kings and queens — was served.

On Saturday May 3 at 9 p.m. the Golden Anniversary Alumni Class of 1964 adorned in green robes, caps and gold medallions with orange cords were first to march into the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium with their heads high, marching proudly to the music and to the cheers, thunderous applause and standing ovation of the audience; this signaled the beginning of the commencement program.

The class of 1964 witnessed President Elmira Mangum’s first commencement exercise at the helm of the university; the emotional homecoming of Microsoft Chairman and FAMU alumnus John W. Thompson who delivered the commencement address and it marked the 50th anniversary of FAMU’s Class of 1964.

It was an exhilarating experience and one that will be remembered forever by all who participated in the spectacular event. The honorees responded with enthusiastic expressions of gratitude and appreciation. Even the most minute detail was addressed and left honorees with substantially more FAMU pride.

This activity once again demonstrated the significant love and devotion that our FAMU has for its students/graduates as it expressed sincere gratitude for the outstanding contributions to our communities. Thanks to our FAMU Office of Alumni Affairs and others involved for the magnificent endeavors to make the “Weekend of Rededication” a marvelous success. Remember the Rattlers will strike, strike and strike again!