A historically black college in South Florida is making history once again.
Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis has taken the helm as the first woman president of Florida Memorial University in the school’s 135-year history.
“It's been a whirlwind of excitement,” she told NBC 6.
A board of 30 members – 22 men and eight women – unanimously decided to appoint Artis as the 13th president of the school in Miami Gardens. That changes the dynamic of an institution historically run by male presidents.
"I think it’s an important move for the institution,” Artis said. “Certainly there's no suggestion that a woman does it better by definition, but two-thirds of our college students today are females. They need role models."
She had been FMU's interim president since July. She was named the school's president on Tuesday.
Artis, a 43-year-old wife and mother of three, practiced law before realizing her passion lies with students and their future aspirations and goals. She then made the transition into academia.
"They need to know that we love them and we care for them and that we're really pulling for their success,” Artis said of students.
She joins a university known for making its mark. It is recognized as the birthplace of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and FMU is also South Florida’s only HBCU, or historically black college or university.
Artis credits black institutions with helping students figure out their identity along with their potential.
"My legacy rests with these students,” she said. “To see our students go on and be successful and say I'm successful because of Florida Memorial University makes all the difference in the world."