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*On this date in 1887, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University was founded in Tallahassee, FL. FAMU is one of over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities in America (HBCU).
Classes started with fifteen students and two instructors. In 1910, with an enrollment of 317 students, the college awarded its first degrees. In 1953, the university staff increased by more than 500, and the college's name was changed by legislative action from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. A four-quarter plan was implemented at the same time, and the school became the first African American institution to become a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In 1971, FAMU was recognized as a full partner in the nine-university, public higher education system of Florida. The program and academic areas within the institution were extended to include the Black Archives Research Center and Museum, established as a state repository for black history and culture; the Division of Sponsored Research; a Program in Medical Sciences in conjunction with FSU and the University of Florida; the development of the School of Architecture; a Naval ROTC unit; cooperative programs in agriculture; and a degree-granting program in Afro-American Studies.
Grants from Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) to FAMU helped the university develop a Ph.D. program in Pharmacology in 1984. FAMU's prowess in producing Black pharmacists is legendary. Now FAMU is establishing its leadership in another area, physics.
Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, and Professional Schools
by Levin Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994