Monifa Potter – Education is the Passport to the Future

Monifa Potter didn’t have to look far for role models. They were in her home.

Having graduated from college themselves, Potter’s parents St. Clair and Felicia Potter always told their children that education is the passport to the future, and it is the one thing that no one can take from you.

Potter and her four siblings heeded the advice, and all earned undergraduate degrees.

The mother of two, however, is the first in her family to earn a Ph.D.

She is among the first cohort of doctoral graduates of the Creative Leadership for Innovation & Change program at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).

Attaining the highest postgraduate achievement is a big deal for Potter who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Applications and earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

“My family is educated, so the bar was already set high,” she said. “After becoming the first to secure a graduate degree, I didn’t just want to stop there. The journey was not easy, but I am happy I made it to the finish line.”

Monifa Potter

Told by family members she is good at organizing events, Potter thought the doctoral program would enhance her leadership skills.

UVI collaborated with Fielding Graduate University and Buffalo State University to offer the program that has two specialized tracks.

Potter first selected the Creative & Leadership for Change track then switched to the Organizational Development & Leadership track.

Switching to Organizational Development & Leadership helped things to fall into place.

“I was able to grasp everything I was taught. The other thing that made sense for me to pursue this track is that it helped with my current role at the University.”

Monifa Potter

Since January 2015, she has led the Office of the Registrar, which is responsible for course registration, class scheduling, transfer credit evaluations, and issuing transcripts and diplomas in addition to other

“It is a very challenging role that involves the maintenance of student records and course data,” said Potter. “When you are providing the institution with information, you want to make sure it is accurate.”

Nearly 1,400 students are enrolled at UVI’s St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses.

UVI has become a home away from home for Potter who has been at the public historically Black land-grant university since 1999 when she started her undergraduate program.

Potter was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands and joined the UVI staff in 2007; In 2018, she was the St. Thomas Campus Employee of the Year. Armed with a doctorate, she is unsure of her next move.

“I am considering teaching a few courses in the Organizational Leadership and Development track which starts this summer at UVI,” Potter said. “I also hope to remain in the Registrar role here because I enjoy doing the job.”

In addition to her full-time job, she runs a small business, Paradise Bites VI, that specializes in cookies and mini donuts with exclusive local flavors, including pumpkin glaze and cinnamon.

“I like to be in the kitchen, and I love baking simple things,” Potter added.