What is the path to education and learning? There are many ways to achieve, but all people do not have equal access to them. The Library, however, is one avenue that is open to everyone. That is why Willie and Veronica Artis, staunch advocates for Flint and their community, chose to invest in the Library renovation. From their perspective, the transformed Library will be better equipped to fulfill its mission in support of lifelong learning.
Perhaps no one knows the value of education and learning better than people who have run a successful business. The Artises founded Genesee Packaging Inc. in 1979 as a minority-owned business and sold it in 2015 as a thriving concern. Through economic ups and downs, they never missed a payroll, instead growing the business to encompass multiple buildings and diverse product solutions. Willie was honored by three United States presidents for his business achievements and recognized by Congress on the occasion of the 20th business anniversary. His memoir, “From Jim Crow to CEO: The Willie E. Artis Story,” shares his progress from a humble beginning in Memphis to business success in Flint.
Both Willie and Veronica know that people must have an education and the tools to take care of themselves. Their workplace has been a stepping-stone for hundreds of people on the path to career fulfillment. Their journey proves once again that education, combined with personal integrity and intense focus, can triumph over any and all circumstances.
The Willie E. and Veronica Artis Study Room will remind current and future generations of a black man who came from meager beginnings and, together with his wife, built a legacy of business success and community support. Their name will live on as a testament to the power of integrity, compassion and humility.