FMU Media Day highlights a future, a promise
By Derek Joy
FMU unfolded a dynamic presence in the world of institutions of higher learning at its inaugural media day program.
It is the only one of 120 Historically Black Colleges and Universities located in Miami Dade County and South Florida.
Media Day is another in a series of bold strokes under the leadership of Interim President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, who was appointed to the position July 15, 2013.
And so it was, the FMU Motto: A Promise. A Future. It was embodied in the program, among the student body and throughout the campus.
“We don’t measure our worth in terms of money earned, we measure our worth in terms of character, leadership and service. Our students are making a difference. We train our students to give back,” said Clark Artis.
“Students are our future. We want you to see the wonderful treasure we have here. We want everyone to know about FMU and the quality of education we have here. We train our students to go out and make a critical difference in the world,” added Clark Artis, who practiced law for eight years before entering the professional ranks of academia.
The West Virginia native has juggled many positions, including a noted fundraiser, while managing the life of wife to Selby Artis and mother of three – Christopher, Jayden and Jocelyn.
A part of that treasure cited by Clark Artis was found in its history as told by Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs, assistant professor of history.
“Florida Memorial University began 134 years ago. It came about the Emancipation Proclamation became official on May 20, 1865. There were 62,000 African Americans in Florida freed from bondage.
“The Bethlehem Baptist Association founded Florida Baptist Institute in Live Oak, Florida, in October 1887. The 91 students were 53 men and 38 women,” said Bradley Hobbs, while noting that the institution has been located in two other cities.
Racism and discrimination was a factor, as evidence by shots having been fired at the campus in Live Oak, which prompted the school to re-locate to St. Augustine on Sept. 24, 1918.
It functioned on two campuses until a merger in 1942 in St. Augustine.
So, from the Florida Baptist Institute, to Florida Baptist Academy, and then Florida Normal College, came the present day Florida Memorial University.
The move to Miami was made in 1968 after having bought 45 acres of land in 1965. Thus FMU flourishes with 1,567 students in its third of three cities in the state of Florida.
Those 1,567 students, according to Dr. William Hopper, hail from 32 states and 10 countries. They graduate 239 students per year.
One such graduate is Barrington Irving, who in the not too distant past, became the youngest person to fly solo around the world.
He was highlighted in a news video reported by WFOR/CBS 4 News Reporter Michelle Gillen who reported on freshman Michael Williams.
The piece focused on how Williams, who grew up in the Liberty City neighborhood of the Liberty Square Projects in Miami, turned his life around through education.
After expressing a desire to meet Irving, Gillen arranged the meeting. And after learning of Williams’ ambition of becoming a mechanical engineer, Irving arranged a work study summer program for Williams in Wichita, Kansas.
“I like the rich history they have here,” said senior Sanders Dor, a Haitian American studying computer science. “I want to leave my mark among the up and coming young Lions.”
Krystal Rozier, a freshman from Fort Lauderdale, who is an elementary education major, likes the atmosphere and the quality of education at FMU.
Both Dor and Rozier are actively involved in the student government that was very prominent in hosting the media, being guides and spokespersons on Media Day.
“Our programs, bar none, are among the best in the country,” said Clark Artis. We’re one of the few HBCU’s that has an MBA and Aviation Program. We want every employer to know we are here.”