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FAMU Law Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Spectacular Gala

Major financial supporters honored








pic(Photo: Chris Monts, FAMU Law Alumnus, Deveron Gibbons, FAMU Law Alumnus, Arthenia Joyner, FAMU Law Alumna, and Dr. Nizam Razack, FAMU Law Alumnus. Not pictured: John Crossman, president Crossmarc Services, and Katie Williams, financial supporter)


October 24, 2022               


ORLANDO, Fla – Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law celebrated 20 years in Orlando with a spectacular gala on October 22 at the law school. The anniversary theme is Two Decades: Continuing a Great Legacy.

During the program, major supporters were recognized for their financial contributions to FAMU Law over the years.

The honorees include:

John Crossman is passionate about diversity and education, especially Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As the immediate past chair of FAMU College of Law Dean’s Advisory Council, and chair of the Council’s Fundraising Committee, Crossman hosted more than 50 Meet the FAM lunches at his own expense to introduce the new dean to Central Florida. The lunches took place over 12 months; included more than 160 local business, legal, and community leaders; and led to several major gifts and partnerships for the College. A member of the FAMU Foundation Board of Directors, Crossman is the president of Crossmarc Services, Commercial Real Estate Advisors, and CEO of Crossman Career Builders.  

Deveron Gibbons is a 2016 graduate of the College of Law, and he obtained his MBA from the School of Business in 2020. As the senior vice president for business development and public affairs for Amscot Financial, Gibbons spearheaded the fundraising effort to name Arthenia Joyner as the first inductee of the FAMU Law Hall of Fame. Gibbons is now leading a similar effort to induct the late Alcee Hastings into the Hall of Fame. Through his Gibbons Family Foundation, he has underwritten several FAMU Law events and programs, including the 20th Anniversary Gala. Having recently retired from Amscot, Gibbons now serves as CEO for the Revenue Based Finance Coalition, a group of over 50 financiers from across the US that fund well over $100 billion dollars a year to small and medium-sized businesses.

Arthenia Joyner is a member of the last graduating class of the original FAMU College of Law. She has amassed so many firsts: the first African American woman to practice law in Hillsborough County and the first black person to practice in Polk County. When she retired from the Florida Legislature after 16 years – having served in both the Florida Senate and the Florida House – she was serving as the first black woman Senate Minority Leader. Now, as the first inductee into the FAMU Law Hall of Fame, Joyner has taken the lead in building the Arthenia L. Joyner Endowed Scholarship Fund for black women dedicated to public service into the largest alumni-named endowment. Having recently celebrated her 50th year in practice, “the Senator” as she is fondly referred to, remains the longest-practicing black woman lawyer in the history of Florida. She also serves on FAMU Law’s Dean’s Advisory Council. 

Christopher Monts is a 2006 graduate of the College of Law, and he served on the executive board that produced the first Law Review Journal. While in law school, Monts worked diligently to balance his studies with being a husband and father. After graduating, Monts began hosting workshops for young male law students and he funded an annual scholarship for black male students with families. Monts later funded the Monts Law Endowed Scholarship, becoming one of the first law school alumni to fully endow a scholarship. He has consistently funded events and programs over the years, including Law Review activities and the Classic Tailgate. The founding partner of Monts Law, he also serves on FAMU Law’s Dean’s Advisory Council. 

Nizam Razack is a 2010 graduate of the College of Law who took a nontraditional route to a Juris Doctor degree. Dr. Razack had already earned an MD and was board certified in neurological surgery when he became a law student. Since graduation, he has often stepped up to provide financial support to the law school. He fully funded the first Rattler for Justice Scholarship, which provides full in-state tuition to a law student committed to public or community service while in law school. Dr. Razack has also directly funded other key law school initiatives, making annual donations to the institution. The founder and president of Spine & Brain Neurosurgery Center, he also serves on FAMU Law’s Dean’s Advisory Council. 

Katie Williams is a retired educator in Miami-Dade County who was a friend and sorority sister of the late Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, a member of the Florida Legislature who was a 1965 graduate of the original FAMU College of Law. Williams led the initiative to name the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry Lecture Hall and to endow the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, Esquire Scholarship, organizing the fundraising efforts of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and others in the legal and broader community. The lecture hall morphed into a small courtroom that law students, particularly those in the advocacy program, regularly use. Williams has consistently supported the scholarship to continue Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry’s legacy of service. 

The honorees received a special plaque. They will also receive a photo book which highlights the 20 year accomplishments of the law school. The book is being printed and will include photos from the 20th Anniversary Gala.

The 20th Anniversary sponsors included:

The Gibbons Family Foundation, RumbergerKirk, Rémy Cointreau, 100 Black Men of Greater Orlando, City of Ocoee, City of Orlando, Class of 2013 (Section 304), KMI International, Leon County Commission, Lyons Legal, NASCAR, Orange County Clerk of Circuit Court, Orlando Economic Partnership, Owens Realty Services, Payne Law PLLC, Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund, VASAJ Communications, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association, FAMU Business and Auxillary Services, Cochran Law Firm, and Gilly Vending.

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