Former provost Robinson to lead FAMU for seven weeks

Published May 15, 2007

Florida A&M University has another temporary leader.

FAMU trustees voted unanimously Monday to make former provost Larry Robinson the chief operating officer for the next seven weeks. The action was necessitated by interim president Castell Bryant's decision last week to resign ahead of schedule. Bryant's official last day is May 31, but she requested leave time beginning Monday, and acting trustees chairman Bill Jennings said he agreed.

Jennings told trustees he did not think Robinson should be called "interim president, " but did not offer an explanation.

It might be this: Since Frederick Humphries left as president at the end of 2001, the top spot at FAMU has been a revolving door. Humphries was replaced by interim president Henry Lewis III, who was replaced by president Fred Gainous, who was replaced by Bryant, who came under withering fire from many FAMU supporters for her hard-charging style.

Jennings first asked provost Debra Austin to serve as interim leader, but she declined. Austin said she submitted her resignation, effective May 31, "some time ago" and could not deviate from that schedule.

Robinson was hired by Gainous in May 2003 and served until Bryant replaced him with Austin in August 2005. He'll be the head guy until James Ammons takes over as president on July 2.

Jennings said he, Robinson and Ammons will meet today "to make sure we have the right coordination during this transition period."

Ron Matus can be reached at 727 893-8873 or matus@sptimes.com.