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Monday, June 20, 2016



USDA Secretary Reappoints Professor to Key Advisory Committee


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak has re-appointed Dr. Duncan M. Chembezi to serve a third two-year term on the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (ACBFR). The new term expires in 2017.


The Committee advises Vilsak on matters broadly affecting new farmers and ranchers— leveraging best practices to enhance Department goals for new farming and ranching operations. The Committee will also consider goals and Chembezi2016.jpg
objectives necessary to implement its recommendations from the prior term. 
Chembezi currently serves as director of the Small Farms Research Center in Alabama A&M University's College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (CALNS). He also serves as professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Business and Public Affairs (CoBPA).


"My reappointment to the Committee reflects the hard work, dedication and commitment of the entire Committee to the Secretary’s call and charge,” said Chembezi.  “It also reflects the confidence the Secretary has in people like me on the ground and on the frontline tirelessly executing the Secretary’s vision and USDA’s mission of meeting every producer’s farming need, including needs of socially disadvantaged beginning farmers and ranchers.”


Chembezi called AAMU "a national leader in small farms research and outreach, owing in large measure to support from Dean Lloyd Walker. Chembezi currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Council on Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics (C-FARE), a non-profit national organization dedicated to strengthening the national presence of the agricultural and applied economics profession.


The professor has previously served on USDA’s Subcommittee on Land Tenure, Advisory Board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Advisory Council of the Southern Region Risk Management Education Center, and Advisory Committee of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.


He recently completed a three-year grant from USDA/NIFA/Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) aimed at training and growing the next generation of farmers and ranchers.








The Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees will hold its regularly scheduled meeting on June 24, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. on the Campus of the University in its regular meeting location in the Clyde Foster Multipurpose Meeting Room of the School of Business. The purpose of the meeting will be to receive information and consider all matters scheduled to come before the Board at that time.


Notice is also given that meetings of the following committees of the Board of Trustees of Alabama A&M University are scheduled to occur on June 23, 2016 at the following times on the Campus of the University in the Office of the President:


Audit & Investment ................................................................ 8:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Business and Finance ......................................................... 9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Academic Affairs & Research ............................................ 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Lunch ................................................................................... 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Development and Technology ............................................... 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Student Affairs ....................................................................... 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Athletics ................................................................................. 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Since the business to be addressed and discussed in the various committee sessions may affect the overall interests of the University, in addition to Trustees who are members of the individual committees, all members of the Board of Trustees of the University are invited to attend any or all of the committee meetings. Consequently, more than a quorum of the Board may be present

from time to time during such sessions. However, no action will be taken by the Board itself during such sessions.


As always, the public is invited to attend and observe the proceedings of the meetings of the Board and the committees of the Board.



Extension, 1890s Hosting One Health Conference 


The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Urban Affairs & New Nontraditional Programs Unit at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) and its partners cordially invite you to participate in the SerPIE - One Health Conference on Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) to be held June 19-20, 2016, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Huntsville, Alabama.


The One Health Conference is an interdisciplinary conference that brings experts together in the areas of human, animal, and environmental health to discuss current research and Extension activities being undertaken to minimize societal and environmental impacts of PPCPs. It will offer an array of dynamic keynote speakers, presentations, exhibits, and opportunities to discuss current PPCP issues.


This Conference is being hosted in partnership with the AAMU Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Department of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics; Tennessee State University; Kentucky State University; the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG); University of Illinois Extension; and the 1890 Universities Water Center.


We are currently seeking abstract submissions for poster presentations (general water quality topics). To register or submit an abstract, please visit the link provided below to connect to the conference website.


For additional information, contact Dr. Karnita Garner at (256) 372-8331 or Dr. Paul Okweye at (256) 372-4931.  






AAMU Cadet Featured Nationally by Command


         As part of its ongoing 100th anniversary the U.S. Army Cadet Command (ROTC) is featuring  ROTC cadets and alumni around the world during the month of June.  This week, the Command featured AAMU’s Cadet Ryan Glenn of Woodbridge, Va.  Read the story HERE



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AAMU and SBA Sign Agreement


Huntsville, Ala. ---- Alabama A&M University and U.S. Small Business Administration officials formalized an agreement at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 8, that will expand the two entities’ outreach efforts to the area’s small business sector.  

AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., sign a two-year Strategic Alliance Memorandum aimed at assisting the start, maintenance and expansion of small businesses in Alabama.  Hugine was joined in the signing by Thomas A. Todt, district director of the Alabama District Office of SBA, in addition to several other local business partners.

Cassius F. Butts, SBA Region IV administrator, calling in to the signing ceremony, the Alliance will help to ensure that entrepreneurs receive the resources to succeed, and it is another step toward allowing all markets a chance to work with the government.

Butts said that going forward "A&M will be one of the shining stars" as both work together to achieve their objectives for the business community.  Todt added that the memorandum will enable SBA to "grow our own" at the neighborhood level.

The signing also was attended by Dr. Del Smith, dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs; and Dr. Teresa Merriweather Orok, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development (CEIED) in AAMU’s College of Business and Public Affairs; campus officials; several representatives of local business advocacy groups and organizations, as well as the federal sector.

The AAMU-SBA working relationship aims to facilitate the strengthening of small business through the strategic sharing and provision of access to resources, publications, training materials, workshops, speakers and referrals.   


For additional information, contact Dr. Teresa M. Orok at (256) 372-5603.


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AAMU Names New Head Women’s Basketball Coach

                                                                                                by Bud McLaughlin

Alabama A&M Director of Athletics, Bryan Hicks, has announced the hiring of Margaret Richards as the Lady Bulldogs head women's basketball coach.


"We are excited to have Margaret Richards as our new Head Women's Basketball Coach.  Margaret is a rising star in women's basketball," said Hicks. "Her leadership skills, and her enthusiastic approach to the game of women's RichardsMargaret.JPG
basketball will serve our program well. She is recognized as an excellent, relentless and proven recruiter, and we are glad to have her leading our women's basketball program."


Richards comes to The Hill after one season at Clemson.  Prior to that, she was head coach at St. Augustine College (2008-10); assistant coach at North Texas (2010-11); assistant coach at Weber State (2011-12); and assistant coach at Western Kentucky (2012-15).


"I would like to first thank God for this wonderful opportunity. I would also like to thank President Dr. Andrew Hugine and Athletic Director Bryan Hicks for selecting me to lead their women's basketball program," said Richards. "I'm truly looking forward to being a part of the Bulldog family and community. This is such an amazing honor and opportunity and I plan to put in the work, time and energy to enhance the program on the court and in the classroom."


While at Western Kentucky, Richards helped guide the Hilltoppers to two NCAA Tournament appearances, two Conference USA tournament titles and one conference regular-season title. WKU won 20-plus games all three seasons she was there, including a 30-5 record in 2014-15. At St. Augustine, the team won the CIAA Western Division title in 2010.


She was a four-year letter-winner at the University of Nebraska and ranked among the nation's top 25 scorers in her senior season. Richards received her degree in communication studies from Nebraska in 2003.


A native of Louisville, Ky., Richards was an all-state honoree at Louisville Central High School, averaging 35.5 points per game as a senior.




HPAC Holds 15th Leadership Awards Banquet


The Huntsville Progressive Alumni Chapter (HPAC) of the Alabama A&M University Alumni Association, Inc., held its 15th Annual Leadership Awards Banquet in the Ernest L. Knight Reception Center on the historic campus of Alabama A&M University on Saturday, June 4, 2016.  Over 300 guests attended the event. PHOTOS


The Chapter paid tribute to 10 distinguished leaders in the Huntsville-Madison County community. The honorees’ accepted their honors via a video presentation prepared by Alabama A&M University’s Telecommunications Center.


The 2016 honorees and their respective awards are as follows:  (Standing, l-r): Dr. Charles Rodgers, pastor of Hope Community Church, Religious Leadership Award; Mr. Michael Miller, president/CEO, MJT Integrated Systems, Small Business Leadership Award; Mr. Trent H. Griffin, physicist, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Civic and Community Leadership Award; Mr. Erskine L. Valrie, retired chief of the Portfolio Management Division of the Small Business Administration and retiree, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Outstanding Alumnus of the Year; Hon. Anthony Daniels, Alabama State Representative-District 53, Government Relations Leadership Award; Col. William L. Marks II, Garrison Commander, Redstone Arsenal, Government & Industry Leadership Award.   Seated:  Mrs. Alice F. Sams, advocate educator and community activist, William Hooper Councill Distinguished Alumna; Mrs. Cathy Anderson, CEO, Woody Anderson Ford, Corporate Leadership Award; Ms. Tonita K. Phipps, director, Madison County Department of Human Resources, Outstanding Alumna of the Year; and Mrs. Joyce L. Rentz, dean of instruction, J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, Educational Leadership Award.  Resolutions also were presented to the honorees by Huntsville City Councilman Richard Showers.


Dr. Terrance Vickerstaff, regional vice president (Alabama) of the AAMU Alumni Association, Inc., served as the master of ceremonies.  Greetings were extended by AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., and music was provided by Elder Jamel Strong, CEO of Strengths Ministries, and Dr. Reginald Jackson of JRJ Music Productions.


A 2015-16 scholarship recipient Taylor Hampton gave an inspiring testimonial about her college experience. The key focus of the banquet was the awarding of two book to first-time students who will attend Alabama A&M University in fall 2016.  The scholarship recipients are Miss Jordan King-Eason and Miss Aunya Mosley.  Mr. Arthur McDonald chaired the 2016 Leadership Awards Banquet.  Ms. Carla R. Clift is chapter president.



Bulldog “Stomp” Stepping Up This Summer


How do lovers of Alabama A&M show their Bulldog pride and enthusiasm?  A maroon cap or a cowboy hat methodically cocked to the side?  How about donning that maroon and white t-shirt that has become near-transparent?


Well, now, in keeping with the times, there are a few more steps to show that Bulldog Spirit.  And, we mean that literally.


At the appeal of Venita King, assistant VP for enrollment management/director of admissions, an Admissions staffer and drum major began perfecting the “Bulldog Stomp” before the close of the spring semester.  Now the fine-tuned dance is being made available for viewing via YouTube to current and prospective students, as well as all who claim to love AAMU.  Students and parents attending each S.O.A.R. session will perform the Bulldog Stomp with S.O.A.R. team members on The Quad.  The first S.O.A.R. session is scheduled June 27 and 28.


King says she is also considering enhancing the video production to gain more campus-wide support for the dance.  For instance, departments on campus will perform the Bulldog Stomp and post on YouTube using the hashtags: #aamu20, #aamuadmissions, #aamYou.  Alumni, too, will perform the Bulldog Stomp throughout the nation and post.


The Registrar’s office has already claimed a performance victory, while Coach Spady, Head football coach is implying differently,” hinted King.  “President Hugine is learning the Bulldog Stomp and is excited about his cabinet.”


The best performance will be determined at a national level, said King. 




Drum Corps International Returns to "The Hill" for Fourth Year


dci[1].jpgReturning for its fourth year, the Drum Corps International Tour will march through Huntsville on July 15, for DCI North Alabama presented by U.S. Army Bands. Set on Friday July 15, at 7 p.m. (CT), this year’s event will feature a lineup of World Class corps competing at Alabama A&M University’s 21,000-seat Louis Crews Stadium.  The list of talented performing groups includes the following:


Bluecoats - Canton, OH

Boston Crusaders - Boston, MA

The Cadets - Allentown, PA

X Jersey Surf - Mount Holly, NJ

Legends - Portage, MI

Louisiana Stars - Lafayette, LA

Music City - Nashville, TN

 Spirit of Atlanta - Atlanta, GA


ADA seating is located at the top of the lower sections and is General Admission seating. To purchase accessible seating or group tickets, please call the DCI Box Office at (317) 275-1212. Ticket prices range from $20 to $30.  Individual ticket prices do not include $4.95 processing fee per ticket added during completion of order. Group tickets have $2 processing fee per ticket added during completion of order. This results in a total savings of $7.95 per ticket compared to individual purchases.


AAMU Joins Forces with LSCC


Alabama A&M University will take the best of "The Hill" to its two-year sister HBCU in the Magic City.


As the fall session rolls into place in late August, so too will AAMU's off-site campus at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Ala.  AAMU@LSCC  LawsonState.pngwill sponsor evening and weekend classes leading toward degree completion for select undergraduate programs as well as complete curriculums for certain graduate degree programs.


Slated at the undergraduate level are programs in computer science, criminal justice, social work and an online program in management.  At the graduate level are courses leading toward the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Social Work (MSW).


For additional information about this exciting new collaboration, AAMU@LSCC, contact AAMU's Office of Distance Education & Extended Studies at (256) 372-5753 or e-mail



Two Participating in Internship at Brookhaven National Lab


Two AAMU Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholars, Winston Jackson, a biology major, and Antoinette Jackson, majoring in computer science, were selected to participate in the 2016 Brookhaven National Laboratory  Summer Internship program (June 6-August 12).


The students will conduct research in the Sustainable Energy Technology Department to develop a low firing rate fuel nozzle that does not suffer from the drawbacks of current commercial available nozzle.


This project will be conducted under the supervision of the research scientists at BNL and by Dr. Mebougna Drabo, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Jeanette Jones is the AAMU LSAMP Director.




Interview:  Recent Grad Prepares for Harvard Transition

Kevin Ferguson was recently accepted into Harvard Business School, which ranks top in the United States and the world. Harvard Business School has a 12 percent acceptance rate. 


Kevin is a native of Gadsden, Ala., and attended Gaston High School where he was Salutatorian of his class in 2008. Upon graduation, Ferguson received an academic scholarship to attend Alabama A&M University, where
he studied electrical engineering. While at Alabama A&M, each semester he was on the Dean’s List, Honor Roll, and was a President’s Cup recipient. During his sophomore year, he joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. While an undergraduate, Ferguson won “Brother with the Highest G.P.A.,” the “Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest”, the “Keeper of the Light” award, and was the 2013 Southern Region Brother of the Year. 

At the 2011 Student Choice Awards, his peers voted him the “Most Outstanding Male Student” on campus. He has been a student representative, University Ambassador, and was a part of the Honors Program while in college. In January 2012, Ferguson was featured in Source magazine as a Historically Black College and University leader. The former Rosetta James Scholarship recipient graduated summa cum laude from Alabama A&M in December of 2012.


When reflecting on his college experience and the advice he would share with undergraduates, Ferguson stated, “A good friend of mine, Aisha Miller, constantly encourages others to be true to themselves no matter what’s going on around them. I’d like to echo her sentiments.  The undergraduate years will be some of the most wonderful moments of your life.  Study what you are interested in, join organizations you love, and talk to folks who you have absolutely nothing in common with; but, most importantly, be true to yourself.”

The day after Kevin graduated, he and his father launched The Ferguson & Son Scholarship Fund. Since its inception, nine students have been awarded scholarships to pursue collegiate education, and over 50 students have been exposed to engineering and technology through mentoring, workshops and tutoring. By the summer of 2014, Ferguson was among a group of about 60 students chosen from around the world to participate in Yale’s Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program.

Different Paths

“My time at Yale was a light bulb moment for me,” Ferguson said.  “As I combed through and discussed different case studies with my classmates, I realized that responsible enterprises and corporations have the ability to change the world. After that program, my law school dreams faded, and I became infatuated with businesses that made an impact.”

Thus, Ferguson believes his time at Harvard Business School will enable him to build upon his experiences at Yale, as he collaborates with and learns from “the best minds in the world.”  Such a gift will help him gain a plethora of perspectives to solve complex issues.

Still, Ferguson says he is holding the opportunities in check. When asked is he felt an Ivy League distinction would modify any of his previous or current views in regards to African-Americans in America, Kevin commented, “I do not see an Ivy League distinction as an addition or modification to any views I’ve had in the past with respect to blacks in America. For me, an Ivy League distinction serves as an additional tool of hope for little black boys whose American experience I understand all too well. In high school I had coaches who made snide remarks because I would rather take a class than lift weights for football during fourth period. It’s due to these experiences, I can tell young men if you are not blessed with the talents of Cam Newton or cannot rap like Drake, there is a different path for you.”

In August, that path will take Ferguson and his wife Devin to Cambridge, Mass., where he will shed his Chevron cape to become a full-time student or as he likes to put it,  “I’ll be eating Ramon noodles and begging my wife to take me out to dinner.” Ferguson says that although the MBA will likely be the last academic degree he will seek, he will nonetheless keep learning from others and through the creation of an impactful life, which he will always allow enough room for God to structure for him.

In the past, God has provided structure and guidance by sending several people into his life.  “I have so many AAMU mentors that I truly cannot narrow it down to one individual,” he said.  “These people include Dr. Dorothy Huston, Stoney Massey, Dr. Brandon Wolfe, Wiley Henderson, Eddie Morrow, Gerald Vines, former AAMU trustee Robert Avery, and the list goes on.”

Ferguson said he recalls telling Dr. Huston, an AAMU alumna, former administrator and business owner, that he wanted to study at Harvard, and she told him, ‘You can do it.’  “It was a feeling I’ll never forget,” he recalled.  “I vividly remember feeling like this was the first time someone truly believe I could achieve something worth celebrating outside of my wife, pop, mom and sister.”

The Light

As we further discussed the role God has played throughout his journey, Ferguson stated that although he has grown up in church his entire life, he did not feel as if he had a relationship with Christ until he was 24.  His “awakening moment” as he describes it, came during a Baptist church service in Midland, Texas, when he heard a minister mention the verse John 15:5.

“I went home and read that verse, which describes God as the vine and everyone else as branches,” he said.  “It was at that moment that I realized my purpose is much larger than myself, and I’m nothing more than an imperfect instrument. Christ is integrated into everything I do.”

When asked what he would do entirely differently if given a chance, he answered that he would have carved out time to study abroad.  “As the world continues to become flatter,” he reasoned, “it’s important that our business leaders and policy makers are able to work across multiple cultures and collaborate with people who do not look or think like them.”

by Jerome Saintjones






 Makes Way for New Construction 


Alabama A&M University began its early steps toward setting the stage for a massive residential complex on Meridian Street when it transported the pre-fab HRBuilding.JPG
structure used to house its Human Resources personnel to another location. The removal of the structure from its former location north of the Wellness Center will clear the way for construction of a new residential complex.


The HR offices are slated to be moved to the northeast side of campus, near the rear side of the Councill Federal Credit Union. HR personnel are temporarily operating from the Patton GravittApt.JPG
Hall administrative building. To further make way for the new residential facility, the University also will demolish the Gravitt apartments on Meridian Street, according to Brian Shipp of the University's physical facilities unit.


Work is also being done to the parking lot of the Morrison Fine Arts Building, MorrisonParking.JPG

northeast of Legacy Lake.  Faculty and staff have been asked to avoid parking in the area during the repair and paving period, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-June.


Renovations to the main science building, Carter Hall, are 30 percent complete, says Shipp, and all labs are set for completion by August 1.  However, availability to administrative areas in the building will be later.  Shipp added that the summer clean-up of residence halls is on target, along with the re-opening of Hopkins Hall.

- J. Saintjones 



NSF Funds REU Again


REU2.jpgREU1.jpgDr. Padmaja “Paddy” Guggilla, associate professor of physics (PI), and Dr. Tianxi Zhang, professor of physics (Co-PI), received $270,000 for the third time from NSF to facilitate the Physics-Research Experience for Undergraduates program at AAMU for next three years.

The Physics REU Site at AAMU is a 10-week summer program that provides research opportunities to 24 talented undergraduate students from institutions with limited or no access to basic research in science and engineering. The project broadens the participation of members of groups that are underrepresented, especially women in STEM disciplines.

The program attracts physics undergraduates from minority-serving institutions with limited opportunities to be involved in active research. The participants will gain experience in technical writing and presenting their research work to a variety of audiences, including dissemination of their results at local, regional, and national scientific conferences focused on undergraduate research, and publishing in refereed journals.



Finance Grad "Finds Need" in Public Schools


A recent Alabama A&M University finance graduate has turned down three job offers to devote his earnest attention to a program he founded to help students from low performing public schools get on track for brighter academic futures.


“There is more to life than a dollar,” commented Kyle King, who declined offers from Barclays, IBM and BMW because of a compelling desire “to serve and build communities.”  About a year ago, he started Project SHINE, a Huntsville-based Shine2.jpg
501(c)(3) operation in response to what he saw as a growing need for tutorial and other support of underrepresented students from low-resource public schools.  King believed that, with a comprehensive educational process, these students could enter a collegiate business program and become “globally competitive business leaders.”


His passion was fueled by his volunteer work as a tutor at six local schools for two years. He joined a team of fellow volunteers who donated significant hours weekly to assist students improve math and reading skills.   In the process, he picked up on some discrepancies and systemic issues negatively impacting student success that the students, and often their parents, could not deal with on their own.  The lack of access to resources, he found, was very real, and new approaches would be needed to cultivate the community’s next generation of leaders.


Project SHINE, endorsed by AAMU’s College of Business and Public Affairs, will target 16 students at three Huntsville, Alabama, high schools and Tucker High School in Tucker, Ga., and expose them to an intense four-year program that places them on a path toward becoming successful business leaders.  The program includes pairing the prospective students summer programs and business mentors.


For additional information, visit

- Jerome Saintjones





AAMU Formally Launches FEAST Project


Alabama A&M University’s College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences and Meridianville Middle School introduced the FEAST Project to the public via an open house on Thursday, May 12.  The FEAST acronym stands for “Fostering Environmental and Agricultural Scientists for Tomorrow.”  PHOTOS


The brief activity was held on AAMU-owned land that is part of the Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station ("The Farm").  The land is immediately adjacent to Meridianville Middle School, which is located at 12975 Hwy. 231/431 North.


According to Dr. Ernst Cebert, manager of WTARS, the FEAST Project is AAMU’s effort to engage with local schools—even at the elementary level—to expose science students to the scientific aspects of agriculture and its fitting place among the STEM areas. 


Cebert added that since the AAMU agricultural research facilities share property lines with the school,  land has been set aside upon which a donated a greenhouse allows field work and agricultural-related learning experiences.


Joining the middle school students were several University and Madison County Schools (MCS) officials and teachers.  Among the MCS representatives were Superintendent Matt Massey; current principal David Manning; former principal Tom Highfield; assistant principals Sandra Austin and Lori Shotts; and science teacher Shannon Moore.  Representing AAMU officials were President Andrew Hugine, Jr.; Dr. Daniel Wims, provost; Dean Lloyd Walker of the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences; Dr. Ernest Cebert of WTARS and FEAST Project coordinator; and several current and retired faculty members.


For additional information, contact Dr. Ernst Cebert at (256) 828-2114. PHOTOS




AAMU Prez Delivers Commencement Address at LSCC


LawsonState.pngThe President of Alabama A&M University recently delivered the commencement address at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Ala.  See Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr.'s presentation at LSCC, made available through the Telecommunications Center, by clicking the following link:  VIDEO



Campus Historic District Key Part of Local Preservation Efforts


Members of the Normal Historic Preservation District Association (NHPDA) were on hand at the Depot in downtown Huntsville Tuesday, May 10, as Mayor Tommy Battle proclaimed May 2016 as National Historic Preservation Month in the city of Huntsville.


During the brief press conference, Battle highlighted the projects throughout Huntsville, while Jessica White-Blatter, historic preservation consultant for the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission, discussed the heritage development plan for AAMU.


The more than 30-member NHPDA held its last meeting on May 18 at the Edmonton Heights Family Center.


ABOVE:  Mayor Battle (center) is pictured with NHPDA members Dr. Chinella Henderson, Dr. Bernice Richardson, Mrs. Patricia Bullard and preservation consultant Jessica White-Blatter. 



Academic Year-End Photos

(Free Download - Images by Jerome Saintjones)


President’s Founder’s Day Community Breakfast


Founder’s Day Convocation


Founder’s Day Gravesite Ceremony 2016


Spring Commencement 2016


Annual Black Tie Gala




AFC Scholarships:  Alabama Farm Credit (AFC) of Cullman, Ala., recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships to students enrolled in the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (CALNS) at Alabama A&M University.  Pictured (l-r) are:  Wendy Tysinger, director of marketing and public relations, AFC; Sierra Marks, CALNS student; Walter Jones, CALNS student; Ralph Stewart, executive vice president/chief credit officer, AFC; Dr. Lloyd Walker, dean, CALNS; Ben Gore, AFC president/CEO; Candace Moore, CALNS student; Hena Mahood, CALNS student; and Kadia Cosby, CALNS student.  (AFC previously awarded scholarships to D. Johnson and G. RIchardson)


Nanostructure Design:  The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded nearly $1 million for an HBCU-RISE  proposal on the “Design of Nanostructures for Energy Efficient Devices.”  Housed in the Department of Physics, the three-year project, funded for $999,866, will run from April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2019.  The principal investigator is Dr. Rami R. Bommareddi, and the co-principal investigators are Drs. Ashok Batra, Satilmis Budak, Matthew Edwards and Vernessa Edwards.  Drs. Padmaja Guggilla and Michael Curley are senior scientists on this project, Dr. Lydia Davenport is the project evaluator.  A public lecture will be given annually on research opportunities at AAMU.


Pictured (l-r):  Drs. V. Edwards, R. Bommareddi, P. Guggilla, M. Edwards, C. Glenn, L. Davenport, S. Budak, M. Curley and A. Batra.




AAMU Sixth Among State's Best Value Colleges

Alabama A&M University is ranked sixth among Alabama's colleges and universities in terms of value.  SmartAsset recently released its second annual Best Value Colleges study


Top performing schools were ranked as a result of their performance in categories including scholarships provided, starting salary, tuition, living costs, and retention rate.





Understand the Past, Empower the Future

by Cadarris Rucker '10


This February, my students are joining their peers across the country to celebrate Black History Month. They’re reading authors in the Black tradition, studying brief biographies of both famous and lesser-known African Americans, and diving into the poetry of Langston Hughes. And if I teach the lessons these historic figures have left us honestly, as my students learn about the struggles of the past, they’ll Cadarris2.jpg
begin to recognize them in their own present – when a cashier squints suspiciously when they walk into a store, when they turn on the news and see another person who looks like them lose his life to senseless violence. These lessons are anything but history.


This came painfully to life last year, when I took my fourth graders on a field trip to the capital in Montgomery.  While touring the state house, we were led into a section of the building in which we could look down and view the seats in which the representatives sit and vote on various issues. My colleagues and I asked the tour guide if our kids – all of whom all African American – could walk down to get a better view of the legislative process. Our tour guide informed us that this part of the building was off limits to student groups. Later in the day, we watched as another fourth grade class of white children proceeded to go exactly there, to sit in the representatives’ chairs and do a mock vote on the issues of the guide.


Perhaps in an effort to improve the situation, their tour guide then informed us that we were welcome to sit in as the "audience" to the other class’s activity. Needless to say, we chose to move along.


This is just one of many examples my kids have seen of the power of privilege among their more affluent and white peers. In the face of this them, we have no time to waste. This school year marked the first in which the majority of public school students are minorities. Our generation has a responsibility to work to ensure that each and every one of them is moving through a system that affirms their identities, shows them they’re valued, and allows them access to the opportunities they have been denied for far too long.


My kids are young, but they know how stacked the odds are against them. After reading the book, "Freedom Box," my scholars began to engage in a powerful dialogue about slavery.  At the height of an intense conversation, I posed a question: "Slavery has ended. Do you feel that African Americans are truly free?" My expectations for their responses were low – my kids are seven, after all. So imagine my surprise when one of my scholars raised her hand: "Mr. Rucker, I don't think we're 100% free. Not just black people, but our whole country. I mean, look at what's happening! Black people still kill other black people in New Orleans all the time. There are also some white people who don't like black people, and there are black people who don't like white people as well. Look at Trayvon Martin; he didn't deserve to die! Sometimes I feel like it’s still slavery when we do stuff like that."


Powerful, poignant revelations like that are the reason I joined Teach For America and the reason I teach. Despite the educational opportunity and the many institutional prejudices that I experienced growing up as an African American in Alabama, several excellent educators supported me, along with my family and community. As a teacher, I get to pay that forward, serving as an example of what's possible with faith, consistency, hard work, and a solid education.   


We have a long way to go as a country before we truly achieve justice for all. To fix the systemic oppression that has created the gross inequality of the present will take the hard, dedicated work of countless leaders and change-makers – many who have experienced it first-hand, others who bear witness to it from further away. We must work toward these long-term changes as well as the immediate, urgent opportunities to change the way our students view themselves and their futures.


As teachers, we can play a central role in this. Every day, we can remind our kids that their thoughts, ideas, identities and opinions are important. We can share our own stories so that when our kids look to the front of the room, they see a little bit of themselves reflected back. We can remind them that they matter, that they always have and that they always will.


Cadarris Rucker is a 2010 alum of Alabama A&M and Teach For America-Alabama. He currently teaches at KIPP Believe Primary in Greater New Orleans.




Board, AAMU Enter Focus 2025

Huntsville, Ala. ---- Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine, Jr., today presented a case today that properly aligned the 141-year-old institution with the path set by a new strategic plan that will span through 2025. 


The “Blueprints to Excellence” strategic plan concluded in 2015, and Hugine provided the board and public an overview of AAMU’s state of affairs when he first NewDormSmall.jpg
assumed office in 2009 and continuing through the official close of the old plan in 2015. 


Fiscal improvements and dorm renovations of nearly $6 million aimed at tackling deferred maintenance  were made under the “Blueprints” era, as well as the development of a master plan that has led to a $96 million refinancing package out of which will emerge a 600-bed residential as part of phase one.


Hugine’s report further detailed the school’s achievements under the previous strategic plan in the several areas, chief among them program viability and advancement; quality of student life; fundraising; enhanced physical resources; fiscal stability; outreach; student enrollment, retention and graduation; institutional effectiveness; and technology integration.


Student Government Association President Aaron Dixon focused on efforts his organization are taking to improve student life, from providing opportunities for students to be socially engage to setting up a student food pantry to raising funds to assist students who need help traveling home.


In the area of academic affairs, trustees approved the realignment of departments and degree programs within the College of Business and Public Affairs and the college’s push to require business students to take on an internship or co-op.   The board also okayed the renaming of the Center of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) to the Center of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development (CEIED) and the formation of the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership from combined departments under the umbrella of the College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences.


The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m. 


NOTICE OF NEXT MEETING:  The next regular meeting will be held on Friday, June 24, at 10 a.m. in the Clyde Foster auditorium of the College of Business and Public Affairs.




AAMU Proud Supporter of United Way Campaign


An Alabama A&M University team stood proudly and announced donations totaling $17,000 at the celebration of the 2015 United Way Campaign results on Tuesday, February 9.  Over 350 faculty and staff opened their hearts and their wallets to support needy children and adults of Madison County.  The focus of this year’s campaign was education, income and health. 


The AAMU campaign steering committee is very grateful for support from President Hugine, and representatives of colleges and offices around the campus.  Twenty-nine academic and administrative units had 100 percent participation.  This campaign exhibited Alabama A&M’s commitment to the Huntsville community.


Representing the University and shown on the picture above are, from left to right, Mr. Cooper Green, Loaned Executive; Ms. Ursula Brooks, Steering Committee; Dr. Barbara Jones, Campus Coordinator; President Andrew Hugine, Leadership Giver; Dr. Delores Price, Steering Committee and Leadership Giver; Dr. Chance Glen, Major Donor; Mrs. Abbiegail Hugine, Leadership Giver; Ms. Tarsha Lockhart, Steering Committee; and Ms. Amber Cline, Steering Committee.



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Content Type: AAMU Content
Version: 2425.0
Created at 7/11/2013 11:45 AM by JEROME SAINTJONES
Last modified at 6/20/2016 8:40 AM by JEROME SAINTJONES