• Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021
Will Packer

I’m honored to give back to the institution that has given so much to me and others over the years

Back in 2019, Florida A&M University announced that its $2 million-dollar amphitheater would be named after a ‘family’ member who contributed $500,000 towards its construction.  Until this month, that donor’s name was anonymous, but it turned out to be Will Packer. 

To honor Packer, FAMU will name its new amphitheater after the Emmy-nominated creative. The ribbon-cutting for the Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater will take place during the historically Black college and university’s homecoming week on Oct. 29. 

“We are excited to have alumnus Will Packer celebrate Homecoming with us this year,” Florida A&M President Larry Robinson said in a statement. “Will has set an example for others to follow and has given back to FAMU in so many ways.  His name on the Performing Arts Amphitheater for the world to see is a fitting tribute to his generosity and commitment to his alma mater.”

FAMU roots

Packer is the founder and CEO of Will Packer Productions, and Will Parker Media. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from FAMU in 1996. He and his former business partner, Rob Hardy, got their start on the ‘Highest of 7 Hills’ with their 1993 short film, “Chocolate City.” 

Today, the St. Petersburg native is best known for movie projects such as “Stomp The Yard”, “Girls Trip”, “Think Like a Man”, “Ride Along”, “Straight Outta Compton”, “Takers”, “Little” and “The Photograph.” His television credits include “Being Mary Jane,” “Uncle Buck” and the remake of “Roots,” for which he received an Emmy nomination.

“HBCU giving has never been more essential than it is today,” Packer said. “I’m honored to give back to the institution that has given so much to me and others over the years. I hope this accomplishment serves as an inspiration for future generations of Famuans who will know the success I achieved has its foundations in the same halls, classrooms, and dorms where they reside.”

Latest accomplishment

Packer is the latest celebrity and HBCU alum, whose alma honor is honoring by naming a building after them. Earlier this year, Howard University renamed its performing arts building after one of their celebrated graduates, the late Chadwick Boseman.

Packer’s contribution to his alma mater is one of many accomplishments the director, screenwriter, and producer is celebrating. Recently he was tapped to produce the 2022 Academy Awards. 

“The power, the beauty, the romance of the imagery in movies has always attracted me,” said Packer to Deadline. “I’m fully embracing the challenge of bringing an ode to one of the most iconic mediums in the world to life. What an honor.”

The 94th Annual Academy Awards will take place on March 27, 2022. 

‘An Epic Return’

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the amphitheater will be a small part of an epic experience for Rattlers far and wide this month. Dubbed, “FAMU Homecoming 2021- An Epic Return, the homecoming will be FAMU’s first official homecoming in two years.

Special guests will include ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith, and Kevin Hart, who will conduct a live taping of his podcast, Straight From The Hart. Rappers Moneybagg Yo and Lil Baby will headline the homecoming concert. 

FAMU is one of the few HBCUs that are having homecoming activities this year. Other HBCUs that didn’t cancel their homecoming include Deleware State, Bethune-Cookman University, Hampton University, and Southern University. Howard University is also having a homecoming but in-person events will be closed to alumni because of rising Covid-19 numbers. 

FAMU’s homecoming takes place from Oct. 23- Oct. 28 in Tallahassee, FL.

destiny ingraham

Destiny Ingraham is a senior Broadcast Journalism student from Broward County, FL. She currently attends Florida A&M University. On her spare time she enjoys writing, spending time with friends, skating, and listening to music.