A Meeting of the Minds: Part 1

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The Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and many other community movers and shakers spent a weekend retreat together in the oldest city in America: St. Augustine.

It was a weekend that included brainstorming on different ideas and issues, along with updates on current Tallahassee and Big Bend-related projects.

For Florida A&M University's interim president, Dr. Castell Bryant, it was another busy weekend speaking first with FAMU alumni in south Florida, then up to St. Augustine to speak with those attending the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce retreat.

Her message to the Chamber is very simple, one she's been waiting and working very hard to give.

Castell Bryant said, "You read about the problems and I guess the best way to summarize the solution is to say that from all appearances at this point we will end the year in the black and we will start the next year with a balanced budget."

Over the past year, Bryant has fired a number of FAMU employees, dealt with problems in the athletics department, including the firing of football coach Billy Joe, and suspended the law school dean. She said all of this had to be done for the betterment of her beloved institution.

Castell Bryant said, "It has been challenging, but it's also been rewarding because I'm a FAMU graduate. It's been challenging, but something that needed to be done. I'm so grateful and blessed I was in a position to do it."

And while not everyone has been thrilled with the interim president's decision, others sing her praises.

Rikkia Rellford, a FAMU student, says, "Right now I'm actually very happy with the way things are going, because she cares. She's trying to get things back on track to where it used to be."

Delmas Barber, FAMU Director of Comm. Development, said, "All businesses have to tighten up. We are fortunate that we have a leader that can get us through that."

Castell Bryant says, "We're thriving and well."