Joyce Crossley believes everyone has a purpose. She says one of them is to make people smile.
Known affectionately by UA Little Rock students as “Ms. Joyce,” Crossley greets students personably, making sure everyone who visits her on campus knows they are loved.
“I pray for the students,” she said. “I just want everyone to succeed because God made everyone to have a purpose.”
Crossley has worked many different jobs on campus since joining UA Little Rock’s staff team back in 2001 and has been working at the Library Cafe in the Ottenheimer Library since 2016.
UA Little Rock student and employee Tamerik Pace says students visit the library just to see Ms. Joyce. Sometimes they don’t even buy anything.
“She is just a caring, loving person,” Pace said. “She has a lot of wisdom. Anytime you need advice, just go to her.”
Pace says Crossley has been the mother figure he has needed since losing his own mother.
“She treats me like her son,” he said. “She gives me hugs and tells me she loves me. She is always happy and has an energetic personality. I’ve never seen her mad.”
When asked where she gets her upbeat personality, Crossley pointed to her walk with God. She says God has given her a personality that allows her to spread love to everyone she meets.
“I can’t help the way I am,” Crossley said. “I think He made me this way so I can spread love to other people and let them know that there is a real and true reality in serving a God who invented this whole big world.”
Crossley was born in Jackson City, Louisiana and spent the majority of her childhood in El Dorado, Arkansas. She graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1968 and describes her high school experience as “glorious.” Crossley was a high school cheerleader, exposing her to many different sports. Crossley now refers to herself as a “religious” basketball fan. Since coming to UA Little Rock, Crossley enjoys attending Trojan games whenever she can. She knows the players by name and recently supported the team by attending the Trojan Men’s homecoming game.
“The athletic department here on campus is a part of me,” she said. “I just love it.”
Student athlete Anthony Freeman has had many morning interactions with Crossley. Freeman says Crossley gave him words of encouragement before a final exam last semester. He believes her positivity helped him pass the final with an A.
“I think that lady is walking positivity to be honest,” Freeman said. “I hope when I graduate and get into my field that I can be like her and make people feel as welcome as she does.”
Both Pace and Freeman mentioned several other students touched by Crossley’s kindness. Social media responses have also proved Crossley’s warmth has made a lasting impression. Last October, UA Little Rock’s official Facebook page showcased how new renovations are improving the Library Cafe where one student commented “ain’t no amount of lights going to compare to the amount of joy that Ms. Joyce brings!”
Crossley says that one of her hopes is that her love will be remembered long after she is gone. Testimonials given by UA Little Rock students prove Crossley has done more than make students smile, she has given them encouragement and motivation that has enabled them to succeed.