Howard Bison Beat May 2019

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A Monthly Newsletter from the Office of the President

BISON BEAT May 2019 | Volume 8 Issue 3



Dear Howard University Community: The solutions to the world’s most glaring injustices are Howard University graduates. This year during our 151st Commencement Convocation, Howard University awarded more than 2,200 degrees, including 309 master’s degrees, 114 Ph.D.s., and 40 certificates. More than 400 students received professional degrees in law, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry (Howard University still has the only dental and pharmacy colleges in the District of Columbia). Sixty-seven percent of the graduates from the Class of 2019 were women and 33 percent were men. As Howard University has and continues to stand for truth and what’s right, she must remain a hallmark for justice. History has proven that equality assumes everyone is the same, has the same abilities, talents, and the same history. Justice does not. Justice is about making appropriations toward fairness despite past inequalities. Now that the Class of 2019 has officially taken The Long Walk from the Fine Arts building through the Main Yard to Founders Library—a national treasure—it is our responsibility to rally around and remind them that each step they took symbolizes their journey both to and through Howard University. It is a visible testament to their many achievements and the responsibility associated with being a Howard alum.

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We are so proud of our rich legacy and are committed to creating new stories every day. Our history is one of depth. It is multi-layered, it is diverse and unique, it transcends racial, color, gender, ethnicity, class, geographic and educational barriers. And, it requires our faithful focus. The Class of 2019 represents the best and the brightest. They will never compromise their values and they understand the importance of reaching back to pull forward. Please join me in congratulating these students as they embark on the next destination along their journey.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA PRESIDENT


A Momentous Occasion


The HU Dream Factory


Howard University Awards Four Honorary Degrees


Academic Excellence


Dreams Become a Reality


Commencement Flashback


50th Class Reunion


A Record-Breaking Gift to HU


By the Numbers: Class of 2019


Distinguished Alumnus Award


Remembering Howard University Surgeon, Educator, and Civic Leader


The Importance of HBCUs


Howard Alum Takes Lead at ALA


New Appointment MAY 2019 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 3

a Momentous Occasion

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Howard University Awards Four Honorary Degrees Honorary recipients at Howard’s 151st Commencement Convocation included: Frank Bisignano; Norman C. Francis, Esq.; Jeanne C. Sinkford, D.D.S., Ph.D.; and Michael R. Winston, Ph.D. FRANK BISIGNANO was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Bisignano is the chairman & chief executive officer of First Data—one of the largest FinTech companies that provides commerce solutions to businesses & financial institutions across the globe. He joined First Data six years ago, & under his leadership, the company has transformed from a traditional payments processor to an innovative FinTech leader, enabling approximately 100 billion electronic transactions, representing $2.6 trillion in payment volume & equity value over $20 billion.

The HU Dream Factory For the third year in a row, a Howard University alum addressed graduates, alumni, faculty and staff, and attendees during the 2019 Commencement Convocation. Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Howard alumnus and trustee emeritus, lauded his alma mater as a “dream factory for our people.” “Howard was built to be a dream factory for a people—a place where you can come and be a pastor, nurse, a teacher, an engineer, a social worker, a physician, a scientist, a lawyer, a place where if you had the grit and the toughness and the intellect, then your lesson plan could become a dream plan. And that’s what’s happening today,” Reed told the graduates and their families. This year marked the 151st Commencement Convocation, and that is made possible because of countless and fearless leaders in the past who pursued justice, equality and education. “We are the place where if you are an African American lawyer, there is a one-third chance you graduated from Howard,” Reed said. “If you are an African American physician, there is a one-fifth chance that you went to Howard. We are a place that has a unique ability to take raw talent, energy and grit and weave it into a beautiful mosaic.” He applauded members of the Class of 2019 for their decisions to become a part of Howard’s rich legacy of leaders. Reed served two terms as the 59th mayor of the city of Atlanta from 2010 to 2018. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Howard University.

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NORMAN C. FRANCIS, J.D., was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Francis is president emeritus of Xavier University of Louisiana. During his presidency, the nation's only historically Black & Catholic university, more than doubled its enrollment, broadened its curriculum, expanded its campus and strengthened its financial base. Francis, then the longest-sitting university president in the U.S. (since 1968), and an Xavier alumnus, was at the institution for more than five decades as an administrator. He was credited with being the catalyst for nearly every building constructed on the campus during a period of four decades. In 2006, then-President George W. Bush presented him with the nation’s highest civil award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

JEANNE CRAIG SINKFORD, D.D.S., PH.D., D.SC., FACD, FICD, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science. She is senior scholar-in-residence emerita, Office of the President & CEO of the American Dental Education Association. She is professor and dean emeritus of Howard University College of Dentistry, where she served as dean from 1975-91. She is an internationally renowned dental educator, administrator, researcher & clinician. Sinkford finished first in the dental class of 1958 at Howard University before pursuing graduate study at Northwestern University, where she received her M.S. (1962) & Ph.D. (1963). She completed a pedodontic residency at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in 1975. That same year, she became the first woman dean of a dental school in the U.S. She is a life member in the American Dental Association & was elected in 2012 to life membership in the National Dental Association.

MICHAEL R. WINSTON, PH.D., was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Winston is an historian & academic administrator. A 1962 magna cum laude graduate of Howard, he has a long history with the University. Winston was appointed to the Howard University faculty in 1964 & two years later, he became associate director of the Institute for Services to Education, which developed the National Upward Bound Program for the Office of Economic Opportunity during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration. During his more than two decades at Howard University, he served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts, director of Research in the Department of History, director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, & at his retirement from Howard in 1990, he was vice president for Academic Affairs.

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Academic Excellence This year’s Fulbright Scholarship Program award recipients from Howard University includes four graduates, one current student and two faculty members. They will receive awards and other grants for the 2019-20 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Fulbright UK Summer Institute Danurius Williams, a rising junior and environmental studies major, has been selected to attend the Fulbright UK Summer Institute at the University of Exeter in South West England. He will complete a four-week cultural and academic program for students from the United States that is focused on climate change issues.

Anthony D. Wilbon, Ph.D., PMP Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) Award Left to Right: Jamon Thomas, Norman Harris II, Aidan Keys, Danurius Williams

Anthony D. Wilbon, Ph.D., PMP, is associate dean for Academic Affairs and Administration at the Howard University School of Business. Wilbon has been selected for the Fulbright U.S.-France International Education Administrators Seminar Program. As a participant, Wilbon will work in a group seminar designed to familiarize U.S. higher education administrators with France's higher education and research system.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program Destiny Casson, from Indianapolis, Indiana, graduated with honors in 2016 from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and has been selected for a Fulbright Brazil Research Award. Casson will study the extent to which the distinct needs and culture of Brazil's African descendant population are acknowledged in the mental health arena at the Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia.

Norman Harris II, from Memphis, Tennessee, graduated this year with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and has been selected as a Fulbright South Africa English Teaching Assistant. Following graduation, Harris will go to South Africa to teach, where he plans to use his experiences as an African American to offer inspiration to his students.

Aidan Keys, from Takoma Park, Maryland, graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and has been selected as a Fulbright Brazil English Teaching Assistant. After Howard, she plans to become a professor of comparative literature.

Jamon Thomas, from Chicago, Illinois, is a 2019 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in biology and has been selected for a Fulbright Research Award. Thomas will research antibiotic-synergy methods against vancomycin

resistant enterococci at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław, Poland. He aspires to be a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon.

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Melanie Carter, Ph.D. Fulbright Specialist Program Melanie Carter, Ph.D., is associate provost for Undergraduate Studies at Howard University. Carter will join the Fulbright Specialist Program at a host institution in South Africa where she’ll share her expertise, strengthen institutional linkages, hone her skills, gain international experience and learn about South African culture.

Recipients are selected based on academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields. Howard University has produced more than 70 Fulbright award recipients since the program’s inception in 1946. MAY 2019 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 9

Dreams Become a

Morgan Smalls, Ph.D., a first-generation college student, is thrilled to complete her doctoral studies in communications one month after her 31st birthday. Smalls’ aspiration and drive comes from her grandmother, the late Maude R. Smalls, who raised her from a baby and was the catalyst for her dream, which is now a reality.

“It wasn’t until I started working in academia that I realized how impactful and necessary it is for a woman like me to be in academia. As a young, first-generation, black female, I stand in the front of the classroom as a testament to others who come from less than ideal circumstances that they too can navigate higher education. I am also committed to student excellence and count it an honor to teach and learn from the next generation of communications scholars and practitioners.” - Morgan Smalls, Ph.D.

As a critical cultural scholar, Smalls’ research sheds light on the ways traditional and new media can be utilized as a tool to highlight and combat the exclusion, misrepresentation or lack of representation of minorities or those labeled as “others” in society. Her dissertation titled "From Small Screen to Digital Screen: Issa Rae on HBO and Facebook” examined the role that social television (i.e., watching television alongside audience interaction on an additional electronic device) had on constructing the character of Issa Dee, a black female character in the HBO comedy series “Insecure.” The study used textual and thematic analysis to examine the third season of the show and the show’s discussion forum on Facebook. Black feminist thought and participatory culture theories guided the study. While at Howard, Smalls had the opportunity to work in both academic and non-academic spaces. She plans to enter the professoriate to affect the world as a teacher, scholar, activist and communications consultant.

“The one thing that drives me is family, especially my grandmother. Although she died before I began my program, she was the catalyst of this dream becoming a reality,” said Smalls. “In our home, she created a loving environment

that celebrated my academic achievements early on and nurtured my intellect, while stressing the importance of faith, humility and service to others. She prayed for me every step of the way. It is bittersweet to have accomplished one of the biggest goals in my life and not have her here, but I know I’ve made her proud. Smalls earned her bachelor’s degree at Columbia College, a private all-women’s institution and a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a public research University. While Smalls was working as a Speech Coordinator and Professional Speaking Consultant at North Carolina Central University, her supervisor, a Howard graduate, encouraged her to apply to Howard. He informed her that Howard changed his life and it would have a similar impact on her.

“Four years later, I can say that he was right,” said Smalls.

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Twenty-four years ago, Dr. Frederick took The Long Walk for the third time to receive his medical degree from the College of Medicine.

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A Record-Breaking Gift to HU The Class of 1969 returned to Howard for Class Reunion Weekend to not only celebrate their 50th reunion, but to also give to the University the largest gift raised by any class in the history of class reunions.

As of May 14, 2019, the Class of 1969 raised $1,128,098 in gifts and pledges.

Class Reunion

There were 128 class members in attendance, who were energetic and happy to return to The Capstone. Attending Howard during the height of social changes and fights for justice, they took that experience into their lives, becoming doctors, lawyers, social workers, business men and women, artists and professors. Thank you to the Class of 1969 for your continued support and your recordbreaking gift to the University.

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By the Numbers: Class of 2019

More than

professional degrees in: LAW

Howard University awarded 2,293 degrees, including:

400 students received




Howard University has the only dental and pharmacy colleges in the District of Columbia.


master’s degrees


Ph.Ds., and









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Distinguished Alumnus Award 67 percent of the total


graduates were women; 33 percent were men.

Earlier this month, President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick served as the keynote lecturer for fellows and faculty of The University of Texas MD Anderson Center’s 23rd Annual Trainee Research Day. During the ceremony, he also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, an honor given to prominent individuals who’ve made distinguished contributions in their respective fields. As a former trainee at the cancer center, where he completed his post-doctoral research and surgical oncology fellowships, Dr. Frederick was selected from nominations received by the institution’s faculty.

“It is indeed an honor to be recognized and honored with the MD Anderson Distinguished Alumnus Award for leadership and a fulfilling career in surgical oncology.” “I was humbled to return as the keynote lecturer for this event and I was honored to share how this esteemed program prepared me for leadership and my journey in surgical oncology.” The Distinguished Alumnus award was first introduced in 1980, and since that time, notable researchers and scholars have received the prestigious award.

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Howard University Surgeon, Educator, and Civic Leader

Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., who was an icon of Howard University and the medical community, has passed away. He was a surgeon par excellence, oncologist, medical educator, civic leader, and mentor to many.

Dr. Leffall was also the first African American president of other national organizations, including the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Society of Surgical Chairmen, and the American College of Surgeons. He lectured at more than 200 medical institutions across the country, taught more than 6,000 medical students, and trained more than 300 surgical residents. His teaching honors are unmatched in the University’s century-and-a-halflong history, including the prestigious honored faculty award during the College of Medicine’s Honors and Oath ceremony more than 30 times. His prolific academic contributions include more than 150 publications, three books, visiting professorships at more than 200 institutions internationally, 14 honorary degrees from universities in America, and honorary fellowships from six international college of surgeons. He was named the Charles R. Drew Professor in 1992, occupying the first endowed chair in the history of Howard’s Department of Surgery. The great heights reached by Dr. Leffall never kept him from being accessible to students, patients, and staff in a manner that was marked by unconditional love and selflessness. He was a good listener, slow to give or take offense, and always encouraging others to find the broader lesson in seemingly quotidian situations.

An exceptional student since his early childhood, Dr. Leffall, from Tallahassee, Florida, graduated from high school at 15 years old. He went on to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Florida A&M) and graduated summa cum laude in 1948. He trained at the Howard University College of Medicine and ultimately graduated first in his class and completed his surgical training in 1957 at Freedmen’s Hospital (now Howard University Hospital).

His towering intellect made each interaction edifying. In one moment, he might correct your grammar before pivoting to discuss some complex idea or concept. Dr. Leffall might even share a few thoughts in German, given his fluency in the language. The breadth of his academic pursuits was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

In 1962, Dr. Leffall began his tenure at Howard University as assistant professor, and only eight years later, became the chairman of the Department of Surgery—a position he held for 25 years.

The Howard University community extends its most sincere sympathies to Dr. Leffall’s wife, Ruth, Dr. Leffall’s son, LaSalle Leffall, III also known as “Donney,” his sister Dolores C. Leffall, their family, friends, his staff, and mentees. We will keep them all in our hearts during this difficult time.

Dr. Leffall was the first African American to serve as national president of the American Cancer Society, where he focused attention on the increasing incidence and mortality of cancer among Black Americans, creating an innovative program to address cancer disparities among ethnic populations.

Even after retiring from performing surgery, he remained on the faculty as a lecturer and resource at Howard University. His numerous awards and achievements only begin to highlight his extraordinary contributions to the field of medicine. Dr. Leffall was a true son of Howard and a loyal exemplar of the University’s motto: “Truth and Service.” He leaves behind a legacy of service and benevolence to the University as a long-standing donor who created opportunities for subsequent generations of students through his generosity.

“I will always cherish that the first procedure that I conducted as a fully-accredited surgeon at Howard University was alongside Dr. Leffall in what was ultimately his final operation before retirement.” - Dr. Frederick

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The Importance of HBCUs During The Atlantic’s Education Summit earlier this month, President Frederick sat down with reporter Adam Harris to discuss the importance & relevance of HBCUs in higher education & the incredible impact they have in the U.S. & globally. He made the case that there is no need to question whether HBCUs have a critically important role to play, the data speaks for itself. “The question isn’t why [HBCUs] still exist; the issue is really, how excellent can we be? We are an essential part of the fabric of higher education because of the contributions we make to diversifying many fields. Clearly, the outcomes from the HBCUs speak for themselves. So, what we have to do is make sure they’re as strong as possible, so they can fulfill and continue to fulfill that role as strongly as possible,” Dr. Frederick said. Minority-serving institutions have historically been underfunded, but as Dr. Frederick said, “because the diversity of what the 102 HBCUs provide is so strong the federal and state governments should have an interest in seeing them thrive.” Howard University and Meharry Medical College produce 40 percent of the black dentists in this country—the federal government should take an interest in making sure that those schools thrive so that we can boost that. “It is a danger to the national interest to not invest in these institutions,” Dr. Frederick said. During the discussion, President Frederick also addressed the historical underfunding for HBCUs and the gentrification surrounding the Howard campus.

To listen to the full interview or read the transcript, see The Atlantic’s “Why America Needs Its HBCUs.”

Howard Alum Takes Lead at ALA Howard alumnus Julius C. Jefferson Jr., section head of the Congressional Research

Service at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has been elected president of the American Library Association (ALA). Jefferson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Howard University and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland, is scheduled to take office as president at the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago after one year of service as president-elect.

The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, founded in 1876, with the mission of providing “leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

Jefferson is one of a small number of African Americans to serve as ALA president within the association’s 140-year history. PAGE 18 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | MAY 2019

New Appointment Howard University’s College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA) named John M. M. Anderson, Ph.D., as its interim dean. Anderson assumed his new duties on May 13, 2019. Anderson previously served as a professor in CEA’s Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, with a specialty focus in the areas of signal & image processing & medical imaging. Prior to joining Howard University, Anderson was a faculty member at the University of Florida & a visiting professor at the University of Maryland. In addition to his experiences in academia, Anderson served as a health science administrator for the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health & as an associate editor for the Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers Signal Processing Letters. He has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Brown University, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia. Anderson replaces the current Dean of CEA, Achille Messac, Ph.D., who will return to the college as a professor, following a sabbatical leave that began at the end of the academic year. A search committee will begin the formal process of selecting a permanent dean for the college.

On Beat with @HUPrez17 HOWARD SCHOOL OF LAW ranks No. 1 on the “Top 25 National Law Schools for Black Students,” which was released by the nonprofit Lawyers of Color in their annual report. THE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK hosted a workshop on human trafficking to educate participants on sex trafficking, provide training on how to identify victims of sex trafficking and provide information on community resources to address the problem. ANDRIA SMYTHE, Ph.D., professor of economics, was recently selected as a visiting scholar at the Institute of Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the 2019–20 academic year. HOWARD UNIVERSITY JOINS VERIZON INNOVATIVE LEARNING, an initiative of the Verizon Foundation, for the second consecutive year to offer minority male middle school students summer intensive courses in science, technology, engineering and math. CATHY HUGHES SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATIONS Assistant Professor of Media, Journalism and Film Jennifer Thomas served as the keynote speaker of the 2019 U.S. Speaker Program on Press Freedom and Free Speech in Lagos, Nigera—a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Consulate General Lagos.

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“The Journey” **Join us next time on “The Journey,” a weekly 15-minute program hosted by Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, 17th President of Howard University. A family man, scholar, surgeon, leader, servant of the world, Frederick engages in dynamic dialogue with local and national guests, learning about their journeys and their thoughts on a full range of issues of the day. Listeners can hear conversations about raising boys to manhood, encouraging women in leadership, detecting cancer, mentoring youth, preventing domestic violence, the value of a village and much more. Tune-in here: jlatta/

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Will you answer the call? MAY 2019 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 21

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