FAMU Receives $164,000 Donation from Rattlers in Arms

September 17, 2021
Rattler in Arms
FAMU Receives $164,000 Donation from Rattlers in Arms

On September 11th,  as Florida A&M University (FAMU) kicked off its home season and the nation observed the 20th anniversary of the most deadly terror attack on American soil, a group of Rattler veterans, retired Lt. Col. Rick Kinsey, retired Lt. Col. Maurice Pickett Sr., Ed.D., and retired Col. Keith Stubbs, and their children made a $164,000 donation to the Florida A&M University Foundation.

The donation includes $95,165 for the Rattlers in Arms Endowment, which began with a commitment by Kinsey, Pickett and Stubbs and two other fellow veterans and graduates of the FAMU ROTC program who each committed to raising $20,000. For the past three years, the group, which includes retired Col. Miciotto Johnson and retired Col. Sam Driver, raised money from personal donations and contributions from family, friends and other supporters.

The $164,000 donation includes $57,442 for the Mary Herring Endowed Scholarship for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets. Herring was an administrative assistant in the ROTC office for more than three decades. Another $12,151 is for the Cadet Te-Andre Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund. Brown drowned in 2020 while trying to save a fellow student during spring break in Panama City.

“It’s always about the students who attend Florida A&M University. That was once us. By serving in the military and doing the things we did, we knew we had to do something of significance,” Kinsey said. “You hope by being endowed it will outlive us and give other kids an opportunity. Their struggle is real.”

Long Friendship

Kinsey, Pickett and Stubbs’ friendship spans more than 38 years. The three met while attending FAMU and participating in Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Throughout the years, their paths have crossed many times while serving actively in the military and in retirement.

Kinsey and Pickett are both former Army logisticians, who served in multiple logistic positions within the Army, DoD Joint Commands, and Army staff.  Kinsey and Pickett were also graduate school classmates at the Florida Institute of Technology, Fort Lee, Virginia campus, and both completed active-duty assignments and worked as civilians for U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill AFB, Tampa.

Stubbs, a military policeman, served throughout the globe but reconnected with the others while assigned to United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), MacDill AFB, Tampa.

Since retiring from the military, the three have been busy supporting the Tampa and Plant City communities and FAMU.

They have provided more than 20 scholarships to Tampa Bay students through personally supported and financed scholarships in their name since 2017. They are consistent givers to FAMU Athletics and huge supporters of the football and golf programs.

In addition, they have established several endowed scholarship funds at FAMU currently totaling more than $175,000. They are life members of the Plant City Chapter, FAMU National Alumni Association, Distinguished Alumni awardees, and 2020 Brigadier General (retired) Leroy Bell Leadership Legacy awardees for their continued support in their communities and the University.

“These veterans have stood with us students in an exemplary way. They have shown the way in supporting our students,” said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the FAMU Foundation. “We can’t thank them enough.”

Reflecting on their personal history, Kinsey and Pickett recall the mutual family support provided to each other. Pickett’s oldest daughter baby-sat the Kinsey’s kids during their Fort Lee, Virginia, and Fort Stewart, Georgia, assignments. Additionally, when the three officers reconnected in Tampa Bay, they claimed to be the uncle of each other’s children. 

Kinsey, Pickett, and Stubbs each takes credit for the others’ children choosing to attend FAMU.  Pickett has four children, with all attending FAMU, two of who are FAMU graduates.

His son, Maurice Pickett Jr., is currently a senior in the School of Business and Industry and is scheduled to graduate this fall.

Three of Kinsey’s children graduated from FAMU, and a daughter, Jansen Kinsey, is a senior at FAMU. Stubbs’ son, Jeremiah, attends King High School, is a future Rattler and will be in the freshman class of 2024.

If you would like to make a tax-exempt donation to support students at FAMU, go to https://my.famu.edu/donation/rias