by Jessica Jones
Alabama A&M’s President, Dr. Andrew Hugine Jr., accepted a position as president in 2009 after his time at South Carolina State University came to an end.
Hugine said he was stuck by the potential he felt the university possessed, as well as the graduate record. In addition to the school’s potential, he was also drawn to it because of its title as an HBCU.
“I believe in the mission and the purpose of HBCUs,” Dr. Hugine said. “So all of my work has been done in an HBCU, with the exception of maybe three years. HBCUs are dear to my heart.”
Dr. Hugine finds that the importance of HBCUs is in what they have been able to offer to the community from their inception.
“HBCUs have always been committed to access, opportunity and affordability,” Dr. Hugine said. “Those criteria, those philosophies and the tenets there have nothing to do with race; they have everything to do with being sure the individuals, irrespective of their background, may have opportunities and access to education…. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with economics.”
As president, Dr. Hugine takes pride in the success of his school, and for him, the school’s success is based on the success of the students, especially its graduates.
“Our students are working in forestry in the U.S. Agriculture Department… [they’re] lawyers and attorneys in some of the most prestigious law firms in the nation. So when we begin to talk about what is it about A&M—A&M is really an expression of the students that come through. That I’m very, very proud of. ”
The success of the school is unsurprising considering the school’s commitment to its students, particularly the dedication of Dr. Hugine.
“My priority is always on the students,” he said. “Making sure that we are providing for our students, providing for them the educational environment they’ll be successful in, providing scholarship dollars so they can continue to pursue their education, enhancing the school environment, enhancing the technology that we provide and, being sure that our elite programs that we offer are on the cutting edge.”
With the Magic City Classic approaching, Dr. Hugine sees the Classic as good advertisement for Black universities in addition to the opportunity for socializing and its economic benefit.
“The Classic is an excellent marketing tool for all HBCUs, but particularly for Alabama HBCUs, Alabama State University and Alabama A&M,” Dr. Hugine said. “It’s an opportunity for us to use that venue to promote our institution so people can see our tremendous work of the institution which we have. [It’s a] time for our graduates to come together and to advocate support for our institution and of course it’s a time for football.”