Alumni: Not Enough Alumni on FAMU Board

By: Lanetra Bennett
January 21, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As new members prepare to be added to the FAMU Board of Trustees, concerns are being raised about the number of alumni represented on the board.

Three out of eleven members on the FAMU Board of Trustees are alumni of the university.

"That always concerns us," said, Tommy Mitchell, the former president of the FAMU National Alumni Association.

The Association says it's been getting calls of concerns about the low number of alumni on the board. They say there should be more.

Mitchell says he believes alumni would be more passionate and would fight harder as board members. "Without a doubt," he said.

The Florida Board of Governors has approved two new trustees to replace Karl White whose term expired, and Spurgeon McWilliams who resigned. Both are FAMU alumni.

The new appointees are businessmen Craig Reed and Thomas Dortch. Only Reed graduated from FAMU.

Mitchell said, "When you have a number of graduates that you can expect them to have those commitments that obviously we as alumni would want to see."

The National Alumni Association president, Col. Gregory L. Clark, says the lower number of alumni on the board does not mirror other universities in the state system.

Clark said, "We have a lot of talented graduates from FAMU. I think we should take a hard look and tap into some of the talent that is out there. All we're asking for is a fair shot at looking at some of our graduates out there to serve on the board of trustees."

The term for current FAMU Board chairman, Cleve Warren, expires in March. He can chose to apply for re-appointment. Warren did not attend FAMU.

There were 32 applicants for these latest positions for the FAMU Board. The B.O.G. could not say offhand how many were graduates of FAMU.

However, they say the board of governors takes into consideration the applicant's background and diversity of viewpoints and perspectives brought to the table.

Clark says he will work with the B.O.G. and the governor to try to get more alumni representation. He says he has no doubt that the people chosen can do the job. He just wants to make sure there's a board that puts students first and allows the university to move forward.

Reed and Dortch still have to be confirmed by the Florida Senate.

A 2010 survey from the Association of Governing Boards shows that among public institutions, approximately half the members (5.9, on average) of public governing boards were alumni of the institution they served. The average number of alumni serving on a governing board varied by type of institution: 1.4 for associate’s, 2.9 for baccalaureate, 5.2 for master’s, 7.5 for doctoral and research, and 7.3 for systems.

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