TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M officially installed their 11th president Friday. The challenge of getting over a string of recent problems that have marred the school has been accepted.
The university had been without a permanent president for nearly two years before Elmira Mangum took over. She is the fourth president for the school since 2001.
Mangum was all smiles at her installation ceremony. The school's first female president waited until the university's 127th birthday to make things official.
"There are many open doors that we must go through and there are many doors that we need to shut," said Mangum. "But most of all we must keep the doors open that lead to a better life and a brighter future for our students."
Mangum comes in at a time when the school could use a stabilizer. The hazing death of drum major Robert Champion crippled the university's musical institution -- the Marching 100 -- for nearly two years. The university's enrollment has also seen a steep decline in the past three years.
Alumni and state Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) said Mangum provides hope.
"We view what happened as some stumbling blocks, but FAMU has not fallen from the mantle," said Joyner.
Mangum took the job just as state senator and next Florida State University President John Thrasher was looking to split the two school's joint engineering programs. She's not settling for a great divide.
"I still need affordable and accessible education in all programs, so I still need engineering, yes I do," said Mangum.
Mangum takes over nearly two years after James Ammons resigned amid the hazing scandal. The former president said FAMU is in good hands.
"This is a perfect match for the needs of Florida A&M University at this time and her skill set," said Ammons.
Mangum said the next step is getting alumni to reinvest in their alma mater.