Florida A&M University Halts $7.75 Million Contribution

Amid concerns about the actual valuation of stock gifts, Florida’s A&M University decided to pause a $237.75 million donation after a media outbreak. FAMU (Florida A&M University) President Larry Robinson conducted an emergency board meeting to counter the doubts regarding the legitimacy of the gift. On May 4, 2024, FAMU’s commencement ceremony was held, where the announcement about this biggest donation ever made in history captured media attention and made headlines. 

“A decision that was made yesterday to put a pause on this activity—a hold, is more or less, is the language that was used—pending some additional information that has come to my attention,” 

– FAMU President Larry Robinson

    CEO of Texas hydroponic hemp farm company Batterson Farms Corp., Gregory Gerami, the 30-year-old, presented a $237.75 million stock gift via a check in the ceremony to university administration members, including Robinson. Thereafter, the president recognized this gesture as the most generous step and praised it through a press release on the donation day. However, the donation news came out as a shock for major committee members, and they showed their frustration and dissatisfaction about the news. 

    Several members, including the FAMU Foundation Board of Directors and Deveron Gibbons, the vice chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, reveal that they were unaware of anything about the donation earlier until it was a surprise to them to know about the donation at the ceremony event. 

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    Gibbon said to CNN in an interview, “We are talking about a transformational, largest in HBCU history donation: big check on stage, with press involved and big PR campaign push after the fact. If that doesn’t show that we must step back and get our house in order, I don’t know what else does.”

    The next revelation and turning point about the controversial donation has yet to be made to clarify the validity of these millions of donations. 

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