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Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

As we completed the previous edition of Black Issues, we were all still coming to grips with the terrorist attacks that hit this country. With so much going on, I failed to tell you about our new “Faculty Club” section of the magazine. Some of you might remember a section called “Faculty Lounge,” which appeared on occasion in the magazine.
Our goal for “Faculty Club” is that it become a regular-standing feature in the magazine. Reported and written by Kendra Hamilton, a longtime free-lancer for Black Issues and now a member of our staff, Faculty Club will increase the faculty presence in the publication and provide a more in-depth look at faculty and other campus issues.
In this edition, Kendra has provided a snapshot of how various colleges and universities across the country paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The attacks hit very close to home. Howard University English professor, Horace Morris, lost his wife in the attacks. She was working in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the area of the building where she was working. Faculty Club also takes a look at Dr. James Wyche, the newly named interim president of Tougaloo College. Wyche is on leave from his posts as associate provost at Brown University and executive director of the Leadership Alliance to lead the Mississippi college, which historically has shared a close relationship with the Rhode Island Ivy League institution.
We hope you’ll find Faculty Club informative and stimulating. As always, please feel free to share your suggestions of pertinent faculty issues with us.
Our cover story for this edition takes a look at Tallahassee’s Florida A&M University — the nation’s No. 1 producer of Black undergraduates. FAMU is getting closer to entering a new phase in its 114-year history as its president, Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, prepares to step down at the end of this year. Many are wondering about the future of FAMU, as Humphries, who by all accounts has provided strong leadership to the university, will soon pass on the presidential baton.
In July 1997, Black Issues broke the story that FAMU had overtaken Howard University as the No. 1 producer of African American baccalaureates (see Black Issues, July 10, 1997). Soon after, Time magazine-Princeton Review named FAMU “College of the Year.” Earlier this year, FAMU and Harvard University tied as the No. 1 recruiters of National Achievement Scholars, the nation’s top African American high school students for 2000. And last November, the Florida board of regents selected Orlando as the site for FAMU’s new College of Law. Heading up the law school, which is scheduled to open in 2003, is Percy R. Luney Jr.
It is clear that this is a university for which its faculty, staff, students and alumni have much to be proud. Finding a new leader to steer such a university into the future would be a challenge for any university’s board of trustees, particularly a newly appointed board as is the case with FAMU.
Humphries, at the request of the board, has already extended his tenure at the university at least twice this year. As we all need change at some point, it’s understandable that there are other things Humphries would like to pursue.
“It’s unfair for people to expect that I’ll be president forever,” Humphries told the crowd of several hundred media, faculty and students when announcing his resignation in February. “It’s time for me to move on. It’s time for a vigorous young Rattler to come in here and do the job.” 

Hilary Hurd

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