UNCF Government Affairs Committee
Roslyn Clark Artis
Dr. Roslyn Artis is the 14th President of Benedict College. She is the first female president in the college’s 147-year history. Dr. Artis brings an impressive mix of higher education and corporate experience.
As the former president of Florida Memorial University, she led an unprecedented academic innovation of several programs, expansion of online courses, and developed new majors in high-demand fields. Additionally, she created academic centers of excellence and updated the university’s technology infrastructure and website. She led the development of the University’s Five-Year Strategic Planning Process and increased grant writing productivity. Since assuming the presidency in 2013, unrestricted gifts increased 20% (year over year), restricted gifts increased by 38%, and revenue from grants and sponsored research increased by 22%. Dr. Artis is also credited with soliciting and receiving the largest gift from a single donor ($3.8 M) in the institution’s history. She completed construction on a state-of-the-art Science Annex and a comprehensive Athletic Facility and Wellness Center on campus. Dr. Artis initiated and consummated strategic partnerships and collaborations between the University and external public and private entities for the purpose of revenue generation and the visibility for the institution.
Dr. Artis is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a doctoral degree in higher education leadership and policy. She also holds a juris doctorate degree from West Virginia University College of Law, and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from West Virginia State University. Additionally, she has a Certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University and a Certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment from DePaul University.
Dr. Artis is married to Selby Artis and is the mother of three, Christopher, Jayden and Jocelyn.
Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr.
Herman J. Felton, Jr., is the 17th president of Wiley University.
Prior to joining Wiley in December 2017, Dr. Felton served as the president of Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private HBCU and UNCF-member institution, since July 2016. During his tenure, he successfully secured $3.8 million in programmatic grants to strengthen the institution’s master’s degree program; increased career placement through advisement; and created an intramural complex with a $50,000 grant secured from the Home Depot Retool Your School Campus Improvement Program. As a result of Dr. Felton’s engagement efforts, alumni support grew significantly, with $458,000 in gifts being garnered at the 2017 Wilberforce University National Alumni Association Conference. Dr. Felton also secured $350,000 to create the Dr. Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Good and Transformational Leadership.
Before his appointment to Wilberforce University, Dr. Felton served as senior vice president, chief operating officer and vice president of institutional advancement for Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC. He also was the director of development while serving as a lecturer in the Government, Law, and International Affairs Department at Murray State University in Murray, KY.
Dr. Felton earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UNCF-member institution Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL, and earned his J.D. from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
He is co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.), an organization ensuring that a pipeline of transformational, highly skilled and principled leaders are identified and cultivated to meet the needs, challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. Dr. Felton served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years.
Dwight J. Fennell is the 23rd president of Texas College (Tyler, TX). He is a native of Miami, FL. Following graduation from high school, he immediately enrolled in Saint Augustine’s College (now Saint Augustine’s University) in Raleigh, NC, where he completed the baccalaureate degree in history and government. He pursued and completed the master of arts degree in history at Atlanta University, and a second master of science degree in education at Florida International University in Miami, FL.
He received the education specialist and doctor of philosophy degrees from Florida State University in Tallahassee. He has completed post-doctoral work in educational leadership with the American Council on Education as an ACE Fellow at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Fennell began his professional career in higher education at Florida International University, where he worked in various capacities including community service initiatives, adult and continuing education and as assistant director of the honors program. He also worked at Florida Atlantic University as director of the Student Retention Program.
After leaving the State University System of Florida, Fennell taught at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, and later at Saint Augustine’s College (his alma mater). While at Saint Augustine’s College, he became a tenured associate professor of history and later vice president for academic affairs, a position he held for seven of the 11 years he spent at the institution. Fennell relocated to Dallas in 1998 to become provost of Paul Quinn College with the responsibilities of both academic affairs and student affairs. He was appointed interim president of the college in 2001, and in 2002, he received the unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees to become the 32nd president of Paul Quinn College.
During his tenure as president, the college experienced an increase in enrollment, increased student retention, enhanced community collaborations, increased funding of student scholarships, renovations to the campus buildings and increase in the college’s endowment. Fennell served as Executive Director of Project Development in 2005 at The Potter’s House Incorporated with the ministry of Bishop T.D. Jakes for two years. He held the overall responsibilities for design, development and construction of Capella Park, a residential subdivision featuring more than 1,000 single-family homes. He also had responsibility for the administrative oversight of Clay Academy, a private, Christian college preparatory school. Fennell led the preparatory school to accreditation, scholarship funding, enrollment and grade level growth.
As president of Texas College, Fennell leads with a focus on “student centeredness.” This means that his primary direction is with creating an educational environment and processes that lead to student learning in an atmosphere that is conducive for such. Fennell’s approach to leadership is that of “shared governance,” and he holds his team to accountability, integrity and productivity. Fennell’s “student centeredness” focus has been embraced by faculty, staff and students. The results of this focus have led to facility improvements, academic program refinement, accreditation enhancements, enrollment growth, and growth in the college’s endowment along with enhanced relationships with the local communities.
Fennell is married to Angelia, and they have one son, Dwight, Jr.
Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr.
The Livingstone College Board of Trustees named Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., the school’s 12th president in 2006. A longtime educator and administrator, Dr. Jenkins was chosen from among five finalists.
Jenkins most recently served as president of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL, from 1997 to 2005. During his tenure, the college expanded its faculty and broke ground on its first new building in decades while reducing its debt from $8.5 million to $500,000 in three years and growing its enrollment from 300 students to 1,300 students. Recently, Edward Waters named this new building after Jenkins as a tribute to the tremendous progress made under his leadership.
Prior to his tenure at Edward Waters College, Jenkins served as a chancellor of Elizabeth City State University from 1977 to 1995, becoming the first alumnus to serve as its CEO. While there, he secured the support of the State Legislature of North Carolina for construction of six major buildings on campus. He also launched a $5 million capital campaign, completing the fundraising a year ahead of schedule. He was honored to have the then newly constructed science building named in his honor.
Jenkins earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Elizabeth City State University, teaching certification in biology from Howard University, and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in biology education from Purdue University. He is married to Dr. Faleese Moore-Jenkins, and they have three children: Dr. Lisa Lopez, attorney Ginger Cartwright, and Jimmy Jr., a graphic artist and college lecturer.
Dr. Walter Kimbrough
A native of Atlanta, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough was his high school salutatorian and student body president in 1985, and went on to earn degrees from the University of Georgia, Miami University in Ohio, and a doctorate in higher education from Georgia State University. He has enjoyed a fulfilling career in student affairs, serving at Emory University, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University, and Albany State University. In October of 2004, at the age of 37, he was named the 12th president of Philander Smith University. In 2012 he became the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college. Recently he has emerged as one of the leaders discussing free speech on college campuses. Kimbrough also has been noted for his active use of social media. He was cited by Education Dive as one of 10 college presidents on Twitter who are doing it right (@HipHopPrez), and in 2015 he was named by The Best Schools.org as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents. In 2020 he was named by College Cliffs as one of 50 Top U.S. College and University Presidents.
Dr. Kimbrough has forged a national reputation as an expert on fraternities and sororities, with specific expertise regarding historically Black, Latin and Asian groups. He is the author of the book, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities, and has served as an expert witness in a number if hazing cases.
Dr. Roderick L. Smothers
Dr. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., was named 14th president of Philander Smith University on October 1, 2014, and began his tenure in January 2015. A dynamic scholar, transformative leader and forward-thinking visionary, Smothers is committed to building upon the institution’s strong and historic legacy, while advancing its mission to new levels of excellence. His focus is on strengthening academic programs, enhancing the college’s local and national presence, growing enrollment, increasing donor giving, and better equipping graduates with the qualifications, skills and resources that will allow them to compete in the globalized 21st century marketplace.
Previously, Smothers served as vice president for institutional advancement at two historically black universities: Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX, and Langston University in Langston, OK, where he was responsible for university development and fundraising, sponsored programs, marketing and public relations, external affairs, community engagement and alumni affairs. As an accomplished fundraiser, he has worked extensively with individuals, non-profit organizations, corporations, and foundations along with federal, regional and state agencies, and holds a cumulative fundraising/grant writing record that exceeds $60 million.
While at Langston, Smothers also served as the associate vice president for academic affairs, assistant dean of the school of education and behavioral sciences and assistant professor of education. Years prior, he was on the faculty of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and was dean of enrollment management at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette. His higher education career began at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he spent eight years as an administrator in academic and student affairs. As a higher education professional, he is also experienced in conducting scientific and applied research, facilitating data-driven, community-based interventions, and training educators aspiring to leadership roles in elementary and secondary school administration. His research agenda includes the past, present and future of historically black colleges and universities; the transformation of toxic urban school districts, strengthening the secondary and post-secondary educational pipelines for African American males; effective mentoring programs; the access dilemma in higher education for minority students; and the effectiveness of state merit-based tuition programs.
A native of Vidalia, LA, Smothers earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in public administration (with a concentration in higher education administration), and a doctoral degree in educational leadership, research and counseling, all from LSU. He also holds a certification in fundraising management from The Fund Raising School at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Initiative. Additionally, he has served as a U.S. Air Force reservist with active-duty time spent during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Smothers holds membership in several professional organizations, including the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), American Association of Governing Boards (AGB), Research Association for Minority Professors (RAMP) and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). A strong youth, community and civic proponent, he currently serves on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Board of Directors. He formerly served on the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., National Board of Directors as its Southwestern regional vice president, and remains active at the local, regional and national levels. He looks forward to becoming engaged in service with the Central Arkansas community. In his leisure time, Smothers enjoys college sports, fishing, reading and traveling. He is the proud father of five children: Roderick Jr., Joshua, T’Keira, Wilson and T’Keyah.
Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy
ICB Advisory Committee
Government Affairs Committee