Lifestyle | October 18th, 2023

FAMU Freshman Class of 1983’s 40th Reunion: Coming Home and Giving Back

By: Danae Daniels
FAMU Freshman Class of 1983’s 40th Reunion: Coming Home and Giving Back

At Florida A&M University (FAMU), students arrive with lofty dreams and aspirations for their futures, but many are confronted with the harsh reality of financial hardships and limited resources. The path to success can be incredibly challenging for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students like FAMU students. 

Recognizing these obstacles, the Freshman Class of 1983 at FAMU was inspired to take action. As they prepare to celebrate their 40th reunion during FAMU Homecoming 2023, this distinguished class has rallied behind a scholarship campaign that embodies the spirit of community and support, driven by their shared experiences of financial adversity and the desire to uplift the next generation of Rattlers.

 The story begins with Colette Glover-Hannah, a proud FAMU Freshman Class of 1983 Rattler and Executive Committee member for the scholarship campaign.

“Being a part of the FAMU Freshman Class of 1983 scholarship campaign has been one of the proudest efforts I have been engaged in,” she remarked passionately.


“These endowed scholarships have the potential to impact student lives and, therefore, generations to come when a student can get a scholarship to assist with their educational needs.”

 Symone Wright, a second-year Business Administration scholar at FAMU, played a pivotal role in the campaign as an intern and call advocate. Her part involved ensuring that alumni were not only excited but also willing to participate in giving back to the next generation of Rattlers while celebrating their achievements.

The experience of working with Colette Glover-Hannah and Nelson Grillo “was an amazing eye-opener to how strong the Rattler bond is,” Wright explained. ‘Seeing that even 40 years later, the Freshman Class of 1983 is continuing the legacy at FAMU is incredibly inspiring… It is important to know that classes before us are still connected because of FAMU and how we are grateful to continue the legacy they set for us.”

 Glover-Hannah’s vision for the generational legacy at FAMU goes beyond scholarships. She hopes to inspire future Rattlers to model the Freshman Class of 1983’s behavior in giving back and returning to their beloved institution.

 “The more we do those things,” she emphasized, “the better our university will become. The bar for a greater FAMU is rising each year, and we expect future generations to keep pushing it even higher,” Glover-Hannah hopefully proclaimed.

 Serving as an Executive Planning Committee member for the Freshman Class of 1983, Nelson Grillo, an esteemed contributor, has previously helped to raise over $750,000 in scholarship funds for the university alongside Frenita Combs-Sams and Lisa LaBoo, who is Chair of the FAMU Foundation Board. Like Glover-Hannah, Grillo is committed to nurturing dreams amid adversity and carrying forward the FAMU legacy.

“It’s important for younger ‘FAMUly’ to be involved in the alumni association and other FAMU alumni organizations,” Grillo stressed so that their “unique perspectives and points of view are represented.”

 To Grillo, “Being involved in FAMU fundraising campaigns and the Alumni Association has been a source of joy and immense satisfaction.” Grillo added,

“Every time I participate in a FAMU project, it reminds me how much of a difference FAMU has made in my life and how important it is for alumni to support our alma mater.”

 The Freshman Class of 1983’s scholarship campaign and the involvement of dedicated alumni like Glover-Hannah and Grillo underscore the enduring spirit of giving back and supporting the dreams of future generations at FAMU. In their commitment to nurturing dreams amid adversity, they exemplify the profound impact of alum engagement and the power of scholarships in paving the way for the next generation of Rattlers to achieve their dreams and carry forward the legacy at FAMU.

 As FAMU Homecoming 2023 approaches, the Freshman Class of 1983’s scholarship campaign is a shining example of the university’s unwavering commitment to its students and the values of community, legacy, and perseverance. The 40th reunion for the Freshman Class of 1983 represents the everlasting strength of the Rattler spirit and the boundless potential of FAMU students, both past and present, to overcome challenges and follow their dreams.

For those inspired by the Freshman Class of 1983’s dedication to nurturing dreams and carrying forward the FAMU legacy, they are encouraged to take part in this remarkable journey.

Contact Nelson Grillo at or Colette Glover-Hannah at for additional support to participate in the Freshman Class of 1983’s pursuit of their $200,000 goal. Donations toward the scholarship campaign can be made by texting FRESHMAN1983 to 71777 on your mobile device or by visiting the website.