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FAMU College of Law Opens Hall of Fame with Florida Sen. Arthenia Joyner Portrait Unveiling

Money Raised for Minority Female Law Student Scholarships

ORLANDO, Fla. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) College of Law held its inaugural Hall of Fame Portrait Unveiling, honoring Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner on Friday, Nov. 20, in the atrium of the law school.

A member of the class of 1968, the last graduating class of the original FAMU College of Law in Tallahassee, Joyner was recognized for the legacy she has established in the legal, educational, legislative, business, and political arenas. Joyner was the first inductee into the FAMU College of Law’s Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon alumni and friends who have distinguished themselves in their profession, made significant contributions to the success of the FAMU College of Law, or who have enlisted constituents to support the law school.

Joined by dozens of family, friends, and colleagues from the Florida Legislature, Joyner said the FAMU College of Law holds a special place in her heart, not only because of its history, but because of its endurance – a testament to the spirit of every student who sought a better quality of life for themselves and their communities.

“I am proud to have been a part of that legacy, and to be honored with my portrait being hung  at the law school’s new campus in Orlando,” she said. “It not only bears witness to my efforts on behalf of this esteemed institution, but to every other student in my final class who once witnessed these doors close and vowed, like me: “never again.”

Darryll Jones, interim dean of the FAMU College of Law, praised Joyner for her impact on the state of Florida, calling her a “living legend.”

“We are very proud to pay tribute to Senator Joyner – a leader, a legislator, and a lawyer who has made a huge impact on our community,” Jones said. “She has truly demonstrated extraordinary service to our University, the law school, the citizens of Florida, and indeed, the nation.”

Jones noted that Senator Joyner has recruited dozens of students to attend the FAMU College of Law since it was reestablished in Orlando in 2002. In addition, she has hired several FAMU Law graduates to work in her legislative and law offices; and she has established a scholarship for women law students committed to advancing the mission she shares with the law school – to serve the underserved.


Florida Representative Mia Jones, Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner, and FAMU President Elmira Mangum in front of Inaugural Hall of Fame Portrait unveiled at FAMU College of Law.

The portrait unveiling was part of a campaign to raise $100,000 for the Arthenia L. Joyner Endowed Scholarship by Dec. 31.The Arthenia L. Joyner Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide financial support to a minority female law student who has demonstrated a commitment to social justice, human rights, women’s rights, or civil rights advocacy.  The recipient also must have demonstrated dedication to public service while possessing strong character and leadership abilities. The recipient must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

More than a dozen organizations and law firms have contributed to the Joyner scholarship fund, which now totals $70,000. The first scholarships will be awarded when the fund generates sufficient earnings.

Joyner is the first African-American woman to lead the Senate Democratic Caucus, where she is responsible for advancing the 14-member legislative group’s positions. She was elected to the Senate in 2006, representing a district that includes parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties. She served as Minority Leader Pro Tempore during the 2010-2012 legislative term and Minority Whip, during the 2008-2010 and 2006-2008 terms. Previously, she served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000-2006, holding Democratic Policy Chair, Democratic Floor Leader and Democratic Whip positions.

Joyner’s rich history of civic engagement dates back to her days at FAMU, where she was jailed twice for taking part in civil rights demonstrations. Over the years, she has amassed a vast list of honors and awards that runs the gamut, from the Governor’s Distinguished Black Floridian Award in 1987 and the George E. Edgecomb Bar Association-Francisco Rodriguez Award in 1993 to the Florida Watch Action Middle Class Champion Award and The Florida Bar Legislative Award in 2013. She is affiliated with dozens of organizations, having served in leadership roles to include Delta Sigma Theta Inc., national legal advisor (1985-1992); National Bar Association president (1984-1985); and  Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association president (1974-1976).