Dr. Shelby R. Chipman is one of the premiere and foremost music educators in the United States. He has been an educator for 24 years in the State of Florida, and has served the Department of Music at Florida A&M University since 1998. Dr. Chipman received the Bachelor of Science Degrees in Computer Sciences and Music Education at Florida A&M, the Master of Music Education (MME) Degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Music Education from The Florida State University. Dr. Chipman has served as a mentor to thousands of students over his education career, and has served as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor throughout the United States. Dr. Chipman's steady leadership and expertise has led to his election as the State of Florida Collegiate Adviser for The National Association for Music Education, as well as him being appointed by Dr. James Croft (Former Director of Bands at The Florida State University and former President of The College Band Directors' National Association), to lead the Big Bend Community Orchestra in Tallahassee, Florida.
While serving as Director of Bands and Fine Arts Coordinator at Miami Central High School in Miami Florida from 1989-1998, Dr. Chipman grew his band's membership from 40 to 275 members. Furthermore, Dr. Chipman's leadership and vision allowed for his band to be selected to perform in the prestigious National performances, such as the 1997 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the 1998 Bands of America National Concert Band Festival. As tenured Associate Professor of Music at Florida A&M University, Dr. Chipman's students have become some of the most sought after music educators in the Southeastern United States, serving as a testament to his teaching ability.
Recently, Dr. Chipman was one of four finalists to be selected as the Director of Marching and Pep Bands at Florida A&M University. Of the four final candidates, Dr. Chipman was the only candidate to present a tangible strategic plan to combat the many important issues the University is currently battling; as well as an effective and relevant restructuring plan for the Division of Bands in the FAMU Department of Music. Unsatisfied, Interim President Robinson has decided to reopen the search for the Director of Marching and Pep Bands, stating that "[FAMU's] goal is to continue the tradition that has made the Marching '100' great, but to also ensure that students are able to thrive in the right environment free from outside pressure and influence." The students, supporters, and alumni of Dr. Chipman believe that the administration is making the decision to reopen the search and NOT hire Dr. Chipman BECAUSE of outside pressure and influence. Furthermore, Provost Wright stated that the University is looking "to do what is in the best interest of the university and students." As students who have witnessed the integrity, character, and dedication to educate from our mentor and professor, we firmly believe that Dr. Chipman is the ONLY educator capable of leading our famed Marching Band.
We as students and supporters firmly believe that Dr. Shelby R. Chipman is the clear and unequivocal choice to not only lead the Florida A&M University Marching "100" but the entire Division of Bands, leading and setting the example in Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Pep Bands, and Jazz Bands. Dr. Chipman has been endorsed by not only the current University band students, but important FAMU alumni such as senator Al Lawson and Bernard Kinsey.
We request Dr. Shelby R. Chipman be given the highest and upmost consideration, not just as Director of Marching and Pep Bands, but as Director of Bands at Florida A&M University.