COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy benedict.edu) — The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. hosted its Annual Induction Ceremony on September 23, 2022 and honored alumni of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) for their significant contributions to their respective institutions.
This year, Benedict College celebrated two inductees, its 14th and first female President and CEO, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, and alumnus I. S. Leevy Johnson. Mr. Johnson has been practicing law for over forty years and is recognized as one of the top criminal attorneys.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my alma mater, West Virginia State (College) University, and inducted into the National Black Alumni Hall of Fame, said Dr. Artis. “It is imperative that individuals who have matriculated through HBCUs and achieved a measure of personal and professional success be highlighted as examples of the transformative power and educational quality of these extraordinary universities.”
“The Hall of Fame is dedicated to the growth and development of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” noted Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., chairman of the Hall of Fame Board. “We are committed to securing supplemental scholarships for students attending HBCUs, as well as highlighting the tremendous accomplishments of distinguished alumni of these institutions.”
Dr. Artis and Mr. Johnson join a prominent list of more than 300 inductees who have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame, including Martin Luther King, Jr., legendary opera singer Leontyne Price, Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, TV maven Oprah Winfrey, and Ambassador Andrew Young.
President Artis earned a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from sister HBCU, West Virginia State University. The consummate professional, Dr. Artis also holds a Certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University and a Certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment from DePaul University.
Intentional, professional, and thoroughly committed to the proliferation and transformation of colleges and universities that serve underrepresented men and women of color, Dr. Artis’ leadership has been recognized locally and nationally. In 2018, she was named Female HBCU President of the Year by HBCU Digest. In 2019, Dr. Artis was named to Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s Top 35 Leading Women in Higher Education. In 2020, Dr. Artis was named President of the Year by Higher Ed Dive for her leadership in navigating the unprecedented challenges of 2020.
Under Dr. Artis’ leadership, Benedict College received the 2019 American Council on Education (ACE) Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation. The award recognizes institutions that have responded to higher education challenges in innovative and creative ways and achieved dramatic results in a short period of time. Benedict was also named 2019 HBCU of the Year by the HBCU Digest.
Mr. Johnson, who was inducted as an NBCA Lifetime Achievement Inductee, graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1962 with an associate of mortuary science degree. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1965 at Benedict and went on to graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1968. In 1970, he became one of the first black men elected to the South Carolina General Assembly. After leaving the legislature, Johnson became a member of the board of trustees at then South Carolina State College. At this very first meeting, he was elected chairman of the board. In 1990, he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto and has received every major award including being inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Johnson has received numerous top honors accorded a lawyer in South Carolina. From the South Carolina Bar, he received the Durant Distinguished Public Service Award for illustrious public service, sound judgment, wise counsel and outstanding leadership gratuitously rendered for many years to the legal profession. The University of South Carolina School of Law awarded him the Compleat Lawyer Award for his dedication and support of legal education.
For his unselfish service to his peers of the Richland County Bar, Johnson received the John W. Williams, Jr. Distinguished Service Award. He was awarded the prestigious Matthew J. Perry Medallion by the Columbia Lawyers Association for his contributions to improving the quality of legal services to citizens of South Carolina. In 2002, Johnson was recognized by the South Carolina Association for Justice for being the People’s Advocate. He has also been inducted as a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.
In 2014 Johnson received the Spirit of Excellence award from the American Bar Association. On October 18, 1999, he received the State of South Carolina’s highest award, the Order of the Palmetto. Benedict College, University of South Carolina, Allen University and Morris College have bestowed on him honorary Doctor of Law degrees.