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Al Lawson joins 43 other FAMU president hopefuls


As he promised, former state legislator Al Lawson has applied for the Florida A&M University presidency. He joins a crowded field with 43 others who want the job, including many who applied before the search was suspended in March. And there could be even more by the time the Board of Trustees starts reviewing candidates on Jan. 6. 

Here is the field of candidates in alphabetical order. We put an asterisk by those who were listed as candidates in March, meaning the rest applied since the search resumed last month.

The Board of Trustees hopes to select a winner at its Jan. 9 meeting. Meanwhile, alumni continue to campaign in favor of allowing interim President Larry Robinson to stay on the job.

Here is a list of all 44 candidates in alphabetical order:

Tony Atwater: Former president at Norfolk State University. He was fired abruptly by the school's board in August following news of delayed financial audits and academic issues at the nursing school.

Desa Allen Ballard: Attorney and an adjunct professor at University of South Carolina School of Law.

Barbara Barnes*: Former provost, dean and professor at FAMU. Her name has been in the running the past two times the school was looking for an interim president.

Edgar Berry*: Former vice president for student affairs at Albany State University, but he appears to have be beloved by students.

Carol Blackshire-Belay: Former interim provost at Naropa University, a small Buddhist-inspired liberal arts college in Colorado.

 Eric Bost*: Assistant director of an agriculture and food policy institute at Texas A&M University. Former ambassador to South African under President George W. Bush.

Cristopher Brown II: Recently resigned as president of Alcorn State University, the nation’s oldest public HBCU. The governing body cleaned house at the university after an audit found irregularities in its purchasing practices.

Percy Caldwell: Former athletic director at Grambling State University. He stepped down before the high-profile revolt of the school's football team but amid the same issues of funding and resources.

Michael Casson: Professor and former interim dean at Delaware State University.

Henry Colón*: Director of human resources for a company that operates hotels and other commercial properties. Also a Republican candidate for Congress.

Bruce Committe*: Pensacola-based attorney is no longer eligible to practice in Florida.

Suzanne Crowley: Vice president at Everglades University, a private institution based in Boca Raton.

Chukuka Enwemeka: Dean and distinguished professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Donovan Essen: Stuart-based dentist.

Bernard Franklin*: Executive vice president for membership and student-athlete affairs at the NCAA; former president at Virginia Union University.

Jay Gilbert*: Former president and CEO of an Indiana-based insurance provider.

Hubert Glover: Professor at Drexel University; former department chair at Howard University.

Yash Gupta*: President and CEO of a Canada-based telecommunications company; former business school dean at Johns Hopkins University. During his short tenure, he was criticized for applying for several different jobs.

Andrew Honeycutt: President of Anaheim University, a private for-profit university that focuses on online degrees.

Edward Jackson*: Former chancellor and interim president at Southern University. He is credited with helping clean up a widespread grading and bribery scandal there.

Marcus Johnson: oversees a grant-based program at Palm Beach State College

Walter Johnson Jr.*: Retired professor and administrator at Shaw University.

Al Lawson Jr.: Lobbyist; spent 28 years in the Florida Legislature and was one of FAMU's most vocal advocates.

Kofi Lomotey*: Former chancellor and professor at Southern University. He resigned in 2010 after receiving a no-confidence vote from the Faculty Senate and facing budget woes.

Joseph Madden: Senior manager of a consulting firm in Dallas.

Frankin Mink*: Interim president of a national medical research institute; former president of Great Lakes University. Previous applied for top jobs at Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Amir Mohammadi*: Executive vice president and treasurer at Delaware State University.

Peter Nwangwu*: President and board chairman of a medical device sales company; former president and CEO of a research foundation at the University of Nigeria.

Ronald Nykiel: Provost and vice president of academic affairs at University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Donnovon Outten: Dean of the University College at Hampton University catering to non-traditional students. Previously applied for presidency at South Florida State College.

Darryl Padgett*: Associate dean at the DeVry University campus in Addison, Ill.

John Peterka: Former president of an environmental services company in Ohio.

T. Joan Robinson*: Vice president for international affairs and former provost at Morgan State University.

Patricia Schmaltz: Owner of a consulting firm.

Marvin Scott*: Professor at Butler University. Ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for U.S. House and U.S. Senate in Indiana.

Allen Sessoms*: Former president of the University System of the District of Columbia and former president of Delaware State University. He was fired as president of the D.C. system after complaints about his travel costs, budget pressures and political tension.

Ray Schackelford*: Former vice president for institutional effectiveness and professor at Bethune-Cookman University.

Fawad Shah: Division director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Marie Smith-McKenzie: Contractor hired to score standardized tests; also a classroom equipment saleswoman.

Maurice Taylor*: Vice president for academic outreach and engagement at Morgan State University. Was named a finalist for the president’s post at Central State University in 2012.

Brenda Ward*: Senior assistant general counsel at the U.S. Office of General Services Administration.

Cheng-i Wei: Dean at University of Maryland, College Park.

Helen Williams: President of an education consulting business; former education dean at Azusa Pacific University, a Christian college in California.

Cornelius Wooten*: Vice president for administration and finance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He previously applied for president positions at Henderson State University and Gadsden State Community College.

Seven people who applied in March have now removed their names from consideration. They are:

George Cooper: Was named director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs in September.

Phyllis Dawkins: Was named provost at Cheyney University in July.

Hudson Rogers: Dean of the business school at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Stuart Lord: Former president of Naropa University, was named executive director of a family assistance program in Colorado in May.

 Lesley Lovett-Doust: Former president of Nipissing University in Canada resigned in 2012 after losing the confidenc of faculty. Remains a professor there.

Jag Mohan: Dean at Confederation College in Canada.

Anthony Munroe: President of Malcolm X College, a community college in Chicago.