Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, who served as the eighth president of Florida A&M University (FAMU), passed away at the age of 85.
“Dr. Humphries is one of FAMU’s favorite sons. He committed his life to the advancement of higher education, in particular within the HBCU community, and changed the trajectory of FAMU,” said the current FAMU president Larry Robinson in a statement.
While leading FAMU, the school witnessed never-before-seen growth and success. In 1997, FAMU was selected as the first TIME Magazine/Princeton Review “College of the Year.”
“The FAMU and Tennessee State communities has lost a great supporter of higher education. Our hearts are heavy, but our opportunities are brighter based on the life and doors opened by Dr. Humphries. University leadership will be connecting with the family to determine how to best honor his life and dedication to FAMU,” added Kelvi Lawson, chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees
One of Humphries’s key initiatives while serving as the school’s president was to fight for the establishment of the school’s law program — which had been closed in the 1960s. Humphries lobbied the state legislature, and the school was reopened in 2000. It currently resides in Orlando.
“He was brilliant. He was committed to African American students to a degree that I had never seen before. He wanted to prove to the Board (of Regents) that FAMU could compete on the same level with the recruitment of top students anywhere. He was one of the most intelligent presidents,” said Eddie Jackson, vice president for University Relations under Humphries.
In addition to serving at FAMU, Humphries became president of Tennessee State University in the 1970s — where he completed the school’s merger and acquisition of the University of Tennessee-Nashville campus.
— — —