Roslyn Clark Artis, EdD’10

Lift Ev’ry Voice

Rick Lee

“First-generation students who don’t have cultural capital, who don’t come to the table with college-educated parents or economic resources—for those kids to walk across the stage at graduation makes every single day worthwhile,” says Roslyn Clark Artis of her work in higher education.

In July, Artis became interim president of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, the only historically black university in South Florida. A former executive vice president and chief academic officer at Mountain State University, she earned a doctorate in higher education leadership at Vanderbilt and a J.D. degree from West Virginia University College of Law.

“The one thing I was not prepared for is the unbelievable time commitment for the presidency,” says the mother of three. “It is not an eight-hour day; it’s a 24-hour day. Nothing prepares you in terms of the rigorous time commitment.”

The 134-year-old college now led by Artis is the birthplace of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” (historically known as the Negro National Hymn) and the home of Barrington Irving Jr., the first and youngest pilot of African descent to fly solo around the world.

“We train some of the finest young people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” Artis says. “You could raise a million dollars, but the greatest success is watching kids graduate.”

—CHRISTINA VINSON