FAMU committee recommends 2 candidates for presidential post

Two people will be interviewed by FAMU's board of trustees on Wednesday in hopes of becoming president of Florida's only public, historically black university.

The presidential search committee for Florida A&M University decided Monday to recommend two candidates for consideration — Elmira Mangum, a vice president at Cornell University, and John Ellis Price, the former founding president of University of North Texas at Dallas.

The two were chosen after a day of interviews by search committee members in Orlando. Mangum and Price will travel to Tallahassee for one-on-one interviews with the board of trustees on Wednesday morning.

That afternoon, the two job candidates will participate in a public forum with students, faculty and others.

Trustees could name a new president Thursday, a spokeswoman said.

FAMU has been without a permanent president since July 2012, when former President James Ammons resigned amid a growing scandal over drum major Robert Champion's hazing death and widespread criticism about other problems at the school.

About 50 people applied for the president's job. Last Friday, the search committee reviewed applications and picked six people to interview. Only four showed up for interviews, however, because two candidates withdrew their names at the last minute.

At Monday's search committee meeting, former FAMU President Walter L. Smith asked the group to consider hiring interim President Larry Robinson for the post. FAMU's National Alumni Association also has lobbied in Robinson's favor.

Smith said none of the four candidates' qualifications "touched the skills and ability of our present interim president." The committee meeting was adjourned without a response to Smith's plea. or 407-420-5470.

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