Jacqueline J. Royster, Dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, was featured in Women at the Frontier’s profile series, Atlanta 5×5. The series is in collaboration with InvestAtlanta and The City of Atlanta and highlights 5 role models, influencers, and visionaries in the Atlanta area.
Here is a excerpt from the feature:
Reader. Writer. Talker.
When asked to define her career, Jacqueline Jones Royster responds with these three words. Her voice resonates through the office as she speaks them, each syllable articulated with pure conviction. The words may be simple, but they matter to the distinguished scholar. Later, we learn why. She explains, “Before my mother died, she would ask what do you do. She ended up with her own answer to that. She said I read, write, and talk for a living. And I do!”
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know there’s a bit more to Royster’s resume. She continues to thrive in the academic environment where only 2% of African-American women hold tenured positions.
Royster is the first African-American to hold the Ivan Allen Jr. Dean’s Chair in Liberal Arts and Technology at The Georgia Institute of Technology. As a professor of English in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, her renowned research centers on rhetoric, literacy, and women’s studies. Prior to her role at Georgia Tech, Royster was named the first African-American Dean of the College of Humanities at The Ohio State University (OSU). OSU later appointed her Senior Vice Provost and Executive Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, making her the highest-ranking African-American woman on campus.
In speaking with Royster, one gets a sense she’s more than a list of firsts. Before the accolades, she’s a daughter, friend, teacher, mentor, colleague and passionate storyteller. She’s an academic willing to abandon the ivory tower and share the narratives of her Role Models: nineteenth-century African-American women. Beyond a university administrator, Royster is a teacher whose goal is to “never teach anyone to write,” but “to encourage the creative imagination.”
So, get ready to be inspired. The professor is in, and she’s sharing her story— a tale of wonder, curiosity, conflict, and old-fashioned hard work. We promise not to spoil the ending, but we’ll give you a hint how her story transpires.
For more of the feature, click here!