Florida A&M University's board of trustees made a bold move when it selected the university's new president. Elmira Mangum is the first woman to become the university's permanent president and the first from outside the university's tight circle to take the helm in nearly 40 years. Mangum's selection suggests FAMU is poised to turn the page on recent controversies and tackle the challenges ahead.
A career academic and college administrator, Mangum, 60, comes to FAMU from Cornell University, where she has been the vice president for budget and planning. Her resume is steeped in the kinds of credentials that befit a university leader. A graduate of a historically black college, she also has two master's degrees and a doctorate from the University at Buffalo. She's been a college professor and has held senior administrative posts at schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mangum's selection, which the Board of Governors must approve, was not met with universal support. But the trustees chose wisely, and FAMU and the larger community should embrace her. She represents the start of a new era at the 126-year-old university. FAMU can benefit from her broad set of skills and experience, and it is in best interests of everyone tied to the university that she succeeds.