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Hugine Accolades Soar at Roast

Hugine Roast
December 13, 2021

Hugine Accolades Soar at Roast

Hundreds gathered in the T.M. Elmore Building on Saturday, December 11, for the retirement celebration and roast of Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., the 11th president of Alabama A&M University.  Hugine will retire from his 12-year position on December 31.     PHOTOS (Unofficial)

A more than three-hour program of greetings, oral and video tributes, a roast, along with special presentations, was ably coordinated by comedian, television host, actor radio personality Rickey Smiley. Music was provided by R&B Vibes Live.

Hugine, First Lady Abbiegail Hamilton Hugine, and attendees received greetings from a slate of supporters representing the University’s various constituencies.  The list included Dr. Jerome Williams, president pro tempore, AAMU Board of Trustees; AAMU President-elect Daniel Wims; Dr.  Jeanette Jones, president, Faculty Senate; Malcolm Brasher, president, Staff Senate; Mary Jones Moore, president of the AAMU Alumni Association, Inc.; Austin Smith, executive president, Student Government Association; and members of the Hugine Family.

A former president of South Carolina State University, his alma mater, Hugine has been extensively credited for his role as a transformative higher education administrator.  Upon his appointment as president of AAMU, Hugine dealt with the University’s probationary status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and led the removal of the University from SACSCOC’s sanction in December 2009; developed a financial plan to address the university’s budgetary issues; reorganized the five academic schools into four colleges: College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences; College of Business and Public Affairs; College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences; and the College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences; established the division and position of Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management/ Director of Admissions; expanded institutional advancement to provide increased emphasis on marketing and communication; and increased funds from external sources by 146 percent. 

Rev. Maurice Wright, II, pastor of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, gave the invocation and grace and was followed by video presentation highlighting the Hugine Era (2009-2021) and a prepared video of reflections from Dr. Carl Harris Marbury, former AAMU president.

After dinner, the Hugines received tributes from state and local officials, including the Office of the Governor via Atty. Nichelle Nix, director, Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs; State Representatives Laura Hall (District 19) and Anthony Daniels (District 53); Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle; and County Commissioner Violet Edwards (District 6).  Dr. Charles McClelland, commissioner, Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), praised Hugine for his leadership role in the SWAC and for bringing the conference into financial solvency and ownership of its facilities.

Additional tributes were presented by Dr. Belle Wheelan, president, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Dr. Quinton Ross, president, Alabama State University; Dr. jimmy Hodges, president, Calhoun Community College; Dr. Patricia Sims, president, J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College; Deloris Brown, sister, The Hugine Family; Jasmine Brown, goddaughter/niece, The Hamilton Family; and Brother Perry Caudle, Nu Epsilon Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.  Dr. Deborah Frazier, Hugine’s sister-in-law, concluded the segment by singing Andrae Crouch’s “My Tribute.”

Throughout the festive event, Hugine received accolades for his impact on AAMU’s development, as well as for posturing the 146-year-old institution for future success.  For instance, Hugine secured a $96 million funding package at AAMU, a portion of which funded a 580-bed residence facility that opened in 2018. The last funding package from HBCU Capital Access entailed $70 million to construct the University Event Center (groundbreaking was held in 2020). Additional construction underway through Hugine’s December 31 retirement date includes a Welcome Center and the William Hooper Councill Memorial Plaza.

A “roast” segment included some humorous reflections from former board president pro tem Odyyseus Lanier; AAMU General Counsel Angela Debro; Dr. Allen Vital, interim vice president for Marketing, Communication and Advancement; Dr. Gary Crosby, former vice president for student affairs; Clayton Gibson, former senior vice president for finance and administration; Dr. Andrea Cunningham, former executive assistant, President’s Office; and Dr. Kevin Rolle, former executive vice president; former student worker Matthew Goodman; Kevin C. Simpson, nephew, Hamilton Family; and Benny Short, cousin, Hugine Family.

Dr. Hugine and his wife Abbiegail of more than 40 years have an adult son, Andrew Hugine, III and a daughter-in-law, Karen; an adult daughter, Akilah Hugine-Elmore and a son-in-law, Quincy Elmore; grandsons, Amir and Kal-el; and a granddaughter, Nylah.

AAMU Trustee Chris Robinson chaired the Retirement Planning Committee, while Dr. Malinda Swoope, special assistant to the president for strategic planning and initiatives, served as co-chair.


CAPTION:  President and First Lady Hugine seated center stage Saturday, December 11, at celebration and roast, part of the stellar retirement event held at the T.M. Elmore Building.  (Photo by J. Saintjones)