Firsts!

Florida State University “Firsts”

Learn about the firsts at Florida State University

First Black Graduates:

Baccalaureate – Male: Maxwell Courtney (1965 – Mathematics)
Baccalaureate – Female: Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker (1966 – Social Work)
Masters – Maxine A. Thurston-Fischer (1964 – Social Work)
Doctorate – Samuel N. Moseley and Robert L. Mitchell (June 13, 1970 – PhD in Chemistry)

First Black Faculty:

Female – Tonya A. Harris (1968): Hired on September 16, 1968, as a Nursing Instructor; and promoted to Assistant Professor in 1972-73. She retired on August 8, 2003, as Associate Professor.
Male – James L. “Jack” Gant (1970): Hired on September 18, 1970, as a Temporary Instructor in Educational Administration, but became a tenured faculty member. He was promoted to Dean of the College of Education, and Associate Professor, on July 19, 1974. He retired as Associate Professor in Educational Leadership in pilot early retirement program on December 31, 1982. He retired as Professor Emeritus on July 26, 1994.

First Black Administrator:

Dr. Bobby E. Leach was hired as the Vice President for Student Affairs in July 1978 and continued in this capacity until 1988.  He died in 1989.  The Bobby E. Leach Student Recreation Center,  opened September 9, 1991, is named in his honor.

First Hispanic Graduates:

Baccalaureate – Lawrence Gonzalez (December 12, 1968 – BS in Marketing. He went on to earn a JD on December 14, 1973.)
Masters – Luis Armando Martinez Perez (June 6, 1968 – Chemistry. He went on to earn a PhD in Science Education on August 18, 1973.)
Doctorate – Jose Cortes (June 10, 1972 in Spanish. He previously earned a masters degree in Music on December 12, 1968.)

Student Body President:

 Charles Leon Thompson was the first Black student to serve as FSU’s Student Body President (1973–1974).  Several other Black students have since served with distinction in this position.

  • Tyron Brown (1984-1985)
  • Sean A. Pittman (1989-1990)
  • Brett D. Cook (2000-2001)
  • Michelle Pletch (2002-2003)
  • Jarrett R. Eady (2004-2005)
  • Christopher S. Evans (2006-2007)
  • Laymon A. Hicks (2008-2009)
  • Rueben Stokes (2012-2013)

Black Student Union:

FSU’s Black Student Union (BSU) was established in 1968.  Horace Gosier was the first President of the BSU.  Fred Flowers served as the second President and John Burt was the third President.  Several other distinguished students have since served in this position.

First Black Homecoming Chief:

Cecil Howard was the first Black Homecoming Chief (1980).  He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from FSU in 1981, and later earned his law degree from Texas Southern University.

First Black Greek Letter Organizations:

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was the first Black Fraternity at FSU.  The Chi Theta Chapter was established in 1967 and chartered on August 1, 1970.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. was the first Black Sorority at FSU.  The Zeta Omicron Chapter was chartered on June 5, 1971.

Florida State University Black Alumni “Firsts”

Reunion – 1983 in Tallahassee; The first reunion was organized by John Burt, Jennifer Woodard Pierce, Ken Williams, Beverly Jones Williams, Al Lawson, alumni of the former Horizons Unlimited Program (HUP) and several other alumni who lived in Tallahassee at the time.

First Newsletter Chairperson – Matthew Carter; Mr. Carter created the “The Drum” newsletter and the “Drum” later became the symbol of the Florida State University Black Alumni Association.

As part of the 1994 Black Alumni Reunion celebration, Kevin D. Carr and Gregory Harris developed the “Prelude to the Drum”, which is one of the prestigious recognitions bestowed by the FSU Black Alumni Association.

First Scholarship Chairperson – Gary Holmes. The first Scholarship Committee included Cassandra D. Jenkins, Gary Johnson and Walter Massey (FSU Foundation). The FSU Black Alumni Association Scholarship was established in the FSU Foundation in 1989-1990 and was fully endowed in 1998.

The FSU Black Alumni and several of its members helped establish the FSU Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship Fund under the Office of Minority Affairs.

The FSU Black Alumni,  in conjunction with the Office of Minority Affairs and the FSU Alumni Association, began hosting the Graduation Reception for Black Students in 1990. The first reception was held in the Longmire Building (Beth Moor Lounge).

First Life Member – Cassandra D. Jenkins; there are several other life members now. For the list, CLICK HERE.  Other alumni are in various stages of completing their life membership payments.

The first web-site was established on August 1, 1999, to provide more timely information that could be readily available to alumni and supporters.  The site grew to where it could be viewed by all alumni and friends as the central source of information for all of our special interests. The new website was launched in 2011.