Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., is among about 80 university leaders scheduled to attend the 2019 National Summit for the Sustainability of HBCUs in Atlanta September 26-27.
Robinson will serve as the moderator for a Friday panel on public-private partnerships featuring representatives from Microsoft, Duke Energy, Quest Diagnostic and several nonprofit organizations.
“Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) are engaged in innovative partnerships with private-sector and philanthropic organizations that provide essential services and products to various stakeholders,” said Robinson. “These partnerships not only create educational, research and service opportunities for students and faculty, but they also result in financial gains for the universities and their partners.”
The summit addresses two issues that have been a hallmark of Robinson’s tenure as president – HBCU sustainability and expanding research and internship opportunities for faculty and students.
In August, Robinson hosted the first Florida HBCU Impact Summit, an event during which presidents and administrators from Edward Waters College, Florida Memorial University, Bethune-Cookman University and FAMU discussed the historical importance of their schools, current challenges and opportunities for continued success.
Robinson was closely involved in planning the first HBCU Sustainability Summit in 2018 and with this year’s event. Inaugurated by Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., a member of the FAMU Board of Trustees, and summit co-chair Roslyn Clark Artis, Ph.D., president of Benedict College, the HBCU Sustainability Summit is designed to connect HBCU leaders with corporate executives, foundation leaders and representatives from other national organizations in order to “develop financial resources and clear strategies that lead to the long-term fiscal sustainability” of the nation’s HBCUs.
Dortch said the two-day event in Atlanta will attract presidents, chancellors and CEOs from about 80 HBCUs who will be meeting with executives from Fortune 100 corporations, community organizations, philanthropic organizations, national HBCU advocacy groups, legacy fraternities and sororities, and others to discuss opportunities for HBCUs.
“It’s important for all the communities to come together and understand the value of Black colleges and universities,” Dortch said. “This summit is critical as we explore how we solidify the foundations and ensure the infrastructure of our HBCUs. HBCUs benefit not only this nation, but they benefit the world.”
FAMU has been moving forward with several key public-private partnerships. Recently, the University signed agreements with three firms conducting research in industrial hemp. In March, FAMU signed an agreement with Duke Energy to build a solar farm at the University’s Brooksville property.
Through its Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative (MMERI), FAMU is committed to building a repository of research and other information for medical marijuana education and research and establishing the University as the place to go for information on medical marijuana involving minority communities.
In the last year, FAMU has seen a boom in the number of grant applications for sponsored research. During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, faculty research proposals totaled $99.1 million and nearly doubled to $182.1 million during 2018-2019. Research expenditures also increased from $38 million in 2017-2018 to $49.6 million during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
“The summit provides an opportunity to participate in discussions about the latest and most impactful strategies to continue the extremely important work of HBCUs,” Robinson continued. “This year’s discussions will be facilitated by an impressive group of participants.”
Details of the summit can be found at hbcusummit.org.