Rattlers packed into FAMU's Lee Hall Auditorium to reflect on the school’s 119-year history.
Interim President Castell Bryant welcomed convocation speaker Meredith Gibbs, great granddaughter of former vice president Thomas Van Gibbs, who served from the school’s founding in 1887, to 1900.
"I have always noticed that among graduates of traditionally African-American colleges there is much more of a sense of family and a sense of pride. There is also a sense of respect and belonging, which is especially critical today," said Gibbs.
Many in Rattler country feel the university is currently in a state of transition and that more than ever, alumni need to support the institution.
"We all need to get behind our leader. She is a visionary, she has done a tremendous job. She has made some tough decisions, but that is what leadership is all about," said FAMU graduate and pastor, Tanya Moss.
"As a family there is supposed to be love, cooperation, harmony, all those good things that make a family. That is why I stick it out," said Hazel Fitz, a FAMU graduate of 1946.
FAMU was recently named the best school for African-Americans by Black Enterprise Magazine. In a few weeks alumni will make their way back to campus as homecoming activities get underway on October 28.