By Javon Anthony Lloyd
Special To South Florida Times

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – South Florida’s only historically black college and university will soon be under new leadership.

The Board of Trustees of Florida Memorial University (FMU) announced the appointment of Jaffus Hardrick to serve as the university’s interim president.

Hardrick, who currently serves as an administrative official with Florida International University (FIU), will assume his new duties on July 16, replacing Castell V. Bryant who previously served in the position.

“We sincerely appreciate the service of Dr. Bryant during her time with us,” said FMU Board Chair JoLinda L. Herring, Esq.

“Dr. Jaffus Hardrick is a visionary and transformational leader with 20 years of higher education experience in academic affairs, student services, human resources and diversity and community relations. He has a strong community presence and involvement, and we look forward to his service to our students, faculty, staff and community.”

Prior to his recent appointment as interim president, Hardrick spent 10 years at FIU where he served as both vice provost for student access & success and vice president for human resources.

While at FIU, Hardrick has been credited for providing innovative leadership, helping to promote student success and developing strategic community relations for one of the nation’s top 10 largest universities.

As an award-winning university executive, Hardrick has also contributed to educational policy and practices – both on a national scale and to local communities – through his service on various boards and advisory committees, including the Florida Education Fund, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, Society for Human Resource Management, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and 100 Black Men of America Inc.

(More) FMU 2 Hardrick received his doctoral degree in educational administration from Baylor University and his master’s degree in education in counseling from Prairie View A&M University. He also attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology. Hardrick is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

“My goal for the near future is to transform Florida Memorial University into a premier HBCU that is focused entirely on student success, academic quality, financial solvency, relationship development and operational excellence,” said Hardrick, who spoke exclusively to the South Florida Times. “Although there are challenges that need to be faced, the students and faculty at FMU are doing outstanding work that needs to be shared with the world. Through the extensive use of data and technology, I’m confident that we will achieve our goals and maintain our status as a vital institution for higher learning here in South Florida.”

Founded in 1879, FMU is a private, historically black institution that offers nearly 30 undergraduate degree programs, nine concentrations and three master’s degree programs to a diverse student body.

The university is located in the City of Miami Gardens and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“I honestly love Florida Memorial University because we have a distinct culture and tradition that is very unique,” said current FMU student Zion Gates, a native of Pompano Beach who is studying law and government. “Our university is poised to become one of the best institutions for students to gain a high-quality education, so I’m really hopeful that this new appointment will have a positive impact for years to come.”