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Focused on the next generation, engineering alumni tap into Florida A&M University tradition to raise money for minority engineers

Story by
Kwame Manu
Engineering bricks at FAMU

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Affinity Alumni Chapter, under the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association (FAMU NAA), recently undertook its most significant fundraising effort to date – the 2018 College of Engineering Alumni Brick Campaign.

LaKeisha Souter

LaKeisha Souter

 Two FAMU Alumni at a doorGroup of FAMU Alumni posing for a photo

Every year, custom bricks are cemented before homecoming in mind of returning graduates wanting to see their legacy literally engrained into FAMU. Many bricks dedicated to students, organizations, staff and loved ones are paved on FAMU campus’ 21 Century Walkway, stretching from the steps of Lee Hall leading to Coleman Library. FAMU engineering alumni who attended the College of Engineering are the latest additions of the historical pathway, nearly completing its stretch to the steps of Coleman. 140 freshly placed, red-tinged bricks now lay near the parallel fountains and will be a part of FAMU history forever.

The Alumni Chapter focused this year’s campaign on engineering alumni who originated from The Hill. The organization reached out to 1,800 of FAMU’s alumni from FAMU-FSU Engineering to purchase bricks.

“The belief of the engineering alum of FAMU NAA is that STREM—‘R’ is for research—education matters,” said Stacey Payne-King, a mechanical engineering alumna from Chicago, now based in Michigan.

Reaching back to the students of Florida A&M is the alumni organization’s primary objective. The money raised is used to support the education of FAMU engineering students in ways such as funding research, scholarships, equipment and projects. 

In addition to seeing their new bricks, many engineering alumni returned to The Hill and the college during 2018 FAMU Homecoming. Some lent their support by speaking to current students in an Intro to Engineering class. Other alumni were speakers in panels. During the week, alumni members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) returned to the college to discuss chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, as well as ways students can maximize their possibility of success as engineers.

“FAMU has a need to grow this population of students to compete in corporate America, government agencies, engineering research and entrepreneurship,” said Payne-King. 

She says this is what continues to drive her and other alumni to engage in ongoing fundraising efforts. Their next goal is creating an endowment scholarship of $100,000. 

The FAMU Alumni Association Fundraising Committee consists of LaKeisha Souter, Tracey Payne-Tellis, Stacey Payne-King, Sherman Whites and Nia Clarke. The campaign goal was $35,000 to contribute to the FAMU engineering alumni scholarship fund. With the inaugural launch of the 2018 Brick Campaign, the alumni were able to raise nearly $20,000 to FAMU for the college. Other engineering alumni donated to increase the total contribution to $28,000.