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FAMU picks a new president, Elmira Mangum, the first woman to hold job


Florida A&M University will have its first woman president, a top administrator at an Ivy League institution who will be asked to lead the state’s only public black university to stronger academic and financial footing.

Elmira Mangum, vice president for budget and planning at Cornell University, was approved as FAMU’s 11th president during today's Board of Trustees meeting. Her salary and starting date will have to be negotiated, and Mangum was not in attendance for the vote.

Board members praised Mangum for her experience and ability, saying they were convinced she was the right woman for the job ahead.

"She gets it," said trustee Torey Alston before the vote to confirm Mangum. "She is competent. She is strong. Change is tough. But I absolutely stand with Dr. Mangum and I encourage my colleagues to do the same."

But the vote was not unanimous. Trustees Spurgeon McWilliams and Glen Gilzean Jr. vote voted "no" on the 10-2 role call vote. McWilliams said interim President Larry Robinson has more experience than Magnum and that she gave some unsatisfactory answers during the interview process.

McWilliams said he was disappointed to hear Mangum admit that she would not make the short list for a presidential search at her current institution.

"If she's not good enough for them, she’s not good enough for me at FAMU,” McWilliams said.

The other finalist, University of North Texas at Dallas founding president John Price, received little attention during today's discussion.