FAMU Announces BOT Chairman Kelvin Lawson as Summer Commencement Speaker

July 12, 2023
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FAMU Announces BOT Chairman Kelvin Lawson as Summer Commencement Speaker

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees (BOT) Chair and alum Kelvin Lawson will be the keynote speaker for the Summer 2023 Commencement Ceremony.

Lawson, who is serving his third term as BOT chair, will address graduates from all of the University’s 14 colleges and schools. The ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m., Friday, August 4, at the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, 1800 Wahnish Way, Tallahassee, FL 32307.

“I am humbled and honored that President Robinson would ask me to deliver the address. I get to be a part of the single most important day a student can have at FAMU. I am beyond excited,” Lawson said.

A native of Gadsden County, Lawson is a 1985 graduate of the FAMU School of Business and Industry, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  He started his career with a small division of Bristol Myers, Drackett Products.  His professional career has taken him across this country and around the world. 

Lawson is the executive vice president of Business Development for Channel Partners and coordinates the sales and business development efforts for both Apollo Retail and BDS Marketing Connected Solutions. He has an extensive background in both consumer-packaged goods and sale agency organizations, having worked for Johnson and Johnson, Schering Plough and Acosta Sales and Marketing. 

Lawson was first appointed to the BOT in March 2011. During his BOT tenure, he has served as chair of the Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee and chair of the Athletics Oversight Committee. He was the driving force in convincing the Florida Board of Governors to waive its policy on presidential searches, allowing the FAMU Board of Trustee to choose its 12th President. 

Under his leadership and collaboration with President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., the University has implemented a stronger system of accountability, metrics, and dashboards to track and monitor performance.  The University also has a strengthened relationship with the Florida Board of Governors and many other State University System partners.

Chairman Lawson serves on the Board of Truist Bank, North East Florida Region, the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida, and is a founding member of Knots 4 Kids, a mentoring group for young boys.  Due to his involvement with Truist Bank partnering with the FAMU advancement team, the University was able to secure a $1.2 million grant to help drive student success.

Trustee Lawson and his wife Donna Lawson have two daughters. One is a recent FAMU grad, while her sibling is entering her senior year at the University.