‘The State of FAMU Is Strong’ – President Robinson

February 23, 2023
President Robinson
‘The State of FAMU Is Strong’ – President Robinson

Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., highlighted strides the institution is making in student success, fundraising, research expenditures, operational accountability, and other areas in his 2023 State of the University Address Wednesday.

Robinson, who has served as FAMU’s 12th president since 2017, praised the University’s resilient history and present strength.

“From the hostilities of the post-Reconstruction era to the defiant Civil Rights era to today, they stood fearlessly in the gap to ensure that there would be a graduating Class of Spring 2023 and an incoming class designated to graduate in 2027. Resources were limited indeed, but there was an endless supply of hope, tenacity, ingenuity, and a vision adopted that would ensure 135 years and another 135 years,” Robinson told an audience of faculty, staff, and students in Lee Hall Auditorium. “I stand before you all this afternoon to declare that the state of FAMU is strong through a historical lens and through the work that we do today that is our foundation for the future.”

State of the University AddressFAMU President Larry Robinson delivers the State of the University Address, as Faculty Senate President Ann Marie Cavazos (left) and Interim Provost Allyson Watson (right), listen, on Wednesday Feb 22, 2023.

Robinson reiterated the University’s strategic priorities and goals, which include aspiring to become a leader among the State University System (SUS) in performance-based funding outcomes; a top 100 national public university; ranked in the top 10 for social mobility; a Carnegie Research 1 institution; and a top talent producer in STEM, health, and business.

“Our aspirations are being realized through our actions in year one of our strategic plan as some accomplishments have been achieved in each of the five strategic priorities,” Robinson said. “I am pleased with the progress we have made and could not be more optimistic about our bold future together.”

Among the highlights, FAMU saw an impressive retention rate for fall 2021 first-year students returning for their sophomore year. The University also expects an increase in the graduation rates from the Fall 2018 and Fall 2016 cohorts, respectively. That improvement requires a team effort, Robinson said.

“To support our students, the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs are working together to ensure every student who enrolls can persist and graduate,” said Robinson, who cited a record-setting 18,000 applications submitted for Fall 2023 as an indication of the strength of FAMU’s brand. It also means the University is attracting students with a solid academic profile – the Fall 2023 newly admitted students have an incoming grade point average of 3.98.

“The vast majority of the first-time, full-time freshmen from Fall 2021, 91.8 percent, returned to FAMU for their sophomore year – this bodes well for our future graduation rates,” Robinson said. “We have developed licensure pass rates action plans for nursing, law, pharmacy, and physical therapy, which apply a data-driven strategy to improve student outcomes in all of these programs.” 

Robinson said that the University is also setting records in fundraising, research and development spending.

Private and corporate donations have surpassed $20 million, and research spending has topped $59 million with four months remaining in the fiscal year. Robinson, who is the principal investigator for a $30 million, five-year award, lauded the efforts of faculty for their commitment to classroom instruction and research. “We are not just going after the big bucks, but we are going after funding that allows us to have the greatest impact on communities that mean the most to us,” said Robinson.