Commonly known as FAMU, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is known for delivering irreplaceable experiences and valued education.
While the band, athletics department, and sororities and fraternities have all gotten their shine, the university is also known for producing top-tier African-American architects, being ranked as one of the top school’s in America in multiple publications, and — for many years — ranked as the second highest baccalaureate-origin institution of U.S. black male doctorate recipients.
The only public HBCU in the state of Florida, FAMU has provided opportunity for people of color since its inception. Offering an experience unlike any other, the prestigious university has produced quality scholars, astonishing athletes, and incredible entertainers.
Although there are many who could make this list, here are 11 celebrities who were once enrolled at the college.
Though he didn’t graduate from FAMU, rapper and actor Common did attend the historical university and had a strict study schedule while there. It wasn’t until he signed his rap deal that he chose to leave his studies behind.
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Singer and ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ alumna K. Michelle is a proud Rattler. While attending the school on a music scholarship, she became a member of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and won Miss FAMU. The singer went on to graduate with honors and was accepted into many law schools before deciding to pursue music full time.
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Powerhouse producer Will Packer may be a Hollywood heavyweight now, but back in the ’90s, he was just another college kid pushing for a dream. Graduating magna cum laude in 1996 with a degree in electrical engineering, Packer carries his Rattler background with pride.
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Anika Noni Rose
Tony award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose got her start at the HBCU, too. When asked why she chose that particular school over many others, she replied, “I attended FAMU because I liked the fact that the theater department was small and it was somewhere I could have a one-on-one relationship with the people who were teaching.”
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T’Keyah Crystal Keymah
Much like her fellow Rattler alumna Anika Noni Rose, actress T’Keyha Crystal Keymah was a product of FAMU’s theater department. Recently, she was named the first Kellogg Artist-in-Residence for the Essential Theater program at the school and is also the namesake of an endowed scholarship.
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Much like his former partner at Rainforest Films, Will Packer, filmmaker Rob Hardy wasn’t at FAMU to work on film. Majoring in mechanical engineering, the graduate became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and has gone on to receive many accolades from the college.
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Roy Wood Jr.
Though originally from Alabama, comedian and actor Roy Wood Jr. got his start in comedy while enrolled at FAMU and working at a local radio station. He went on to graduate in 2001 with a degree in broadcast journalism.
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While singer-songwriter Rico Love had already decided to pursue a career in rap after he graduated high school, he also decided that simultaneously enrolling in college would be the best thing. Enrolling in 2000, the singer noted that he met fellow singer and Rattler K. Michelle when she was “only interested in singing country western music.”
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Enrolling in FAMU in 1949, legendary athlete Althea Gibson is another alumna of the prestigious school and entered on a full athletic scholarship. Just a few short years after graduating, she would go on to be the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title.
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Famed sportscaster Pam Oliver is another celebrity who got her start at FAMU. Prior to graduating in 1984 with a degree in broadcast journalism, Oliver became an All-American runner in the 400-meter and mile relay.
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Rapper Smitty, who was famously known for his single “Diamonds On My Neck,” is another FAMU attendee. Majoring in journalism, he stated that before attending the illustrious university, he was a poor writer. Thanks to the school’s journalism department though, he learned to perfect his skills.