TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) Trustee David Lawrence Jr. announced his departure from the Board during the meeting Thursday, Feb. 17.
The former newspaper publisher said he was leaving the Board of Trustees (BOT) to be closer to home and his ailing wife, Roberta, who has Alzheimer’s. Lawrence, who called himself a “Rattler for life,” pledged his continuing support to the state’s only public Historically Black College or University (HBCU).
“I served on a lot of boards but never a board that was more meaningful to me than this one,” said Lawrence, who promised to attend the Orange Blossom Classic rooting for the Rattlers against Jackson State University in Miami Gardens on September 4. “I’ve already made a commitment to help in any way I can. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. It’s been a privilege to be part of a University that makes so much sense for the future of the United States of America.”
Lawrence, of Coral Gables, was reappointed to a second board term in June 2021. He was first appointed in 2015. During his career in media, Lawrence was publisher of The Miami Herald, publisher and executive director of the Detroit Free Press and editor of the Charlotte Observer.
BOT Chairman Kelvin Lawson thanked Lawrence for his “tremendous contributions” to the Board.
“Your commitment and generosity to Florida A&M University as well as FAMU Developmental Research School have been outstanding,” Lawson said. “During your time on the Board, you have made a positive impact and have truly cultivated relationships that will help FAMU for years to come. We will always consider you a part of our family.”
In recent years, Lawrence has devoted his considerable energies to the issue of early childhood development. He is chairman of The Children’s Movement of Florida, is director emeritus on The Everglades Foundation Board of Directors, and a former chairman of the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County and the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe.
FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said Lawrence’s contributions have made a significant difference.
“Trustee David Lawrence has been a tireless advocate for FAMU. He brought his depth of experience and wisdom to the cause of advancing and improving our University. This was matched by his generosity, making, and fulfilling a pledge to support FAMU financially,” Robinson said. “We - faculty, staff, and students - have all benefited from his service. I am also grateful for his counsel. Our prayers are with him as he pursues the next opportunities and challenges in his life.”