FAMU Law School Dean LeRoy Pernell; FAMU President Dr. Elmira Mangum; Alabama A&M University President Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr. and Norfolk State University President Eddie N. Moore at The Tom Joyner Foundation Presidents’ Roundtable .
By Gayle Andrews
Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, Florida— The Tom Joyner Foundation Presidents’ Roundtable initiated an important dialog between the nation’s top university education leaders. Florida A & M University President Dr. Elmira Mangum, Dr. Andrew Hugine, President of Alabama A & M University, Eddie N. Moore, President of Norfolk State University and FAMU Law School Dean LeRoy Pernell discussed their efforts to keep their HBCU ahead of evolving trends in higher education.
Funding tops the critical need list for these institutions.
Cuts to financial aid and grants are new hurdles for the universities and students who largely depend on those resources. According to NSU President Moore,” these challenges to financing have to be used to help us redesign and grow.”
FAMU President Mangum laid out plans to increase endowments to be competitive with bigger institutions, reduce student debt before graduation and pointed to the constant battle to increase giving from alumni and corporations. AA&MU President Hugine agreed that alumni need to see “giving back as an investment.”
Innovation and anticipating trends in higher education is the key to growth and survival for Black colleges and universities, and these leaders are focused on agendas that bring results. FAMU Law School Dean Pernell reminded every-one that his school is one of the most diverse in the nation, and graduates the largest number of African American lawyers in the Country.
FAMU continues to be the nation’s largest HBCU.
President Mangum awarded degrees to 2,200 graduates in May. The prominent research and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs at FAMU boast two Fulbright Scholars, and Mangum plans to step it up with her Sustainability Institute to find solutions to global socio-economic, ecological and energy issues. Continuing to increase graduation rates, as has been the case at AA&MU continues to be a priority for the institution.
According to President Moore, maintaining the title of Best Urban Based HBCU for Norfolk state means continued emphasis on research driven programs.
The survival of Black Colleges and Universities has al-ways depended on the very kinds of innovation and foresight offered by these education experts. It has also resulted in lasting benefits for many generations