The tones and rhythms of hand bells resounded throughout the Susie C. Holley Religious Center on Thursday, September 6, as Florida Memorial University (FMU) formally welcomed its newest class of freshman into the Lion family. FMU, South Florida’s only historically Black university, performed the empowering ceremony to a standing-room-only audience.
Habits of Excellence and Success
Themed Habits of Excellence and Success, noted scholar Dr. Fred A. Bonner, II., delivered a keynote address that encouraged students to focus on, “Me search,” before they engage in, “research.” Bonner described his self-coined me-search as getting to know yourself. He also challenged students to pursue excellence as a way of life.
“It is really important to have this mindset of focusing on you, your potential and your success,” said Bonner, who is also a professor at another university. “Then, you can use that to help people maximize their potential.”
After boldly declaring, “A new day,” at FMU, Interim President Jaffus Hardrick charged the students to realize that, “character matters.”
“That means our students will compete to sit in the front of the class, strive to invest the necessary hours of study, and work to polish their styles of dress and manner of speaking,” said Dr. Hardrick.
“We strive to make excellence the norm. And, building a new climate so that Florida Memorial University is no longer the best-kept secret in South Florida,” he continued. “We are a proud institution with a 140-year heritage, stellar graduates, a well-prepared faculty and staff and a desire to rank among the best institutions anywhere in the world.”
The interim president installed Jovenel Pierre as student body president. Pierre then performed the oath of office for the executive committee. The event also marked the premiere of the school’s exquisitely dressed royal court.
Lastly, Fall Convocation concluded with freshman committing to the I-ROAR pledge promising to be resourceful and dedicated students. The pledge also included a commitment to graduate in four years. It ended with a benediction from University Chaplain Dr. Jeffrey Dean Swain and University Associate Provost Dr. Denise J. Callwood-Brathwaite officially closed the convocation ceremony.