Top FAMU Official Resigns Over $237M Donation Scandal

( – There’s an old adage that says you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. To translate that, it means to be grateful for what you are getting but don’t look too closely at the source. However, in today’s society, organizations, especially colleges, need to be careful just who they are accepting money from. One vice president at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) found out the hard way that doing your due diligence when it comes to donations is vital. It has now cost her her job.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, aka Florida A&M or FAMU, recently announced what appeared to be a monumental donation from Gregory Gerami, CEO of Batterson Farms Corporation, and the Isaac Batterson Family 7th Trust. The gift took six months to coordinate and was proclaimed to the world at the school’s recent commencement ceremony. This included all the fanfare you’d expect when announcing a $237 million gift. They had a big oversized check and everything.

However, the joy of the life-changing donation was short-lived. School trustees, it seems, didn’t know anything about the gift, which goes against school policy. Investigations were immediately announced, and President Larry Robinson claimed full responsibility, saying, “I saw in this unprecedented gift ways to serve our students…I wanted it to be real and ignored the warning signs along the way.” The Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the school’s fundraising foundation, Shawnta Friday-Stroud was the one who signed off on the gift. She has now resigned over the scandal.

The board of trustees noted that the company and person making the donation were not vetted properly. The company’s stocks were not analyzed to determine their value, a crucial step in setting up a long-term donation. This one was supposed to take place over 10 years. If the company’s financial status isn’t stable and it isn’t able to give as promised, any program counting on those funds would be in jeopardy.

The school has since canceled the donation. This is the second time Gerami has had problems giving his money away. In 2020, his gift of $95 million to Coastal Carolina University was also terminated.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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