Howard Bison Beat August 2020

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August 2020 | Volume 9 Issue 5

A Monthly Newsletter from the Office of the President

BISON BEAT Inspiring Knowledge

In Our New Normal

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 1

Dear Howard University Community, Worldwide, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted lives medically, economically and has permeated throughout varying aspects of our social life. This pandemic not only has exacerbated the health disparities experienced among Black and Brown populations, but it has also uncovered political and racial disparities within society at large. The complexity of this moment is not lost upon me, as it has implications on our students and their ability to succeed academically. When I formed the Re-opening Taskforce several

development. Further, we have hired additional

months ago, we stated that the paramount

staff, and incorporated software that aided in

consideration for re-opening would be the health

the implementation of a fully virtual academic

and safety of our students, faculty, staff and entire

experience for undergraduate students.

campus community. This has remained the most significant consideration. Nationally, we saw

To further assist in the virtual instructional model, the

COVID-19 cases rise, with an increasing infection

University announced the implementation of a new

rate among young people. It became painfully

initiative to provide faculty and students with the

apparent of the disparate impact of COVID-19

best possible video learning experience, extending

infections, hospitalizations and deaths among

active learning, discussion, and collaboration

people of color, with devastation on the Black

opportunities beyond the classroom.

community. Howard University returned the Fall 2020 semester Primary to the University’s mission is ensuring

with the utilization of Echo360 — an award-winning

academic excellence for all students; in a completely

cloud-based platform designed specifically for

virtual educational model, our efforts focus on

higher education — which enables faculty to live-

an online experience for undergraduate students

stream courses, supplement classroom instruction

that rich and prepares our students for leadership

with short videos, increase student engagement,

in various fields. Our faculty have continued

and identify and intervene with struggling students.

to participate in online training and course

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AROUND CAMPUS With the adoption of Echo360, students have access to a digital learning environment demonstrated to foster a more active learning experience. As students participate in class— virtually or physically—or replay recorded course content, they have the capability to notify instructors on areas of concern and can engage


Inspiring New Knowledge for Staff and Faculty


Welcome Class of 2024!


Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s Transformative Gift to the University

with peers; additionally, this resources allows students to take notes time-synched to the lecture,


Howard University Remembers

and respond to interactive polls to assess their

Congressman John R. Lewis

understanding of key concepts.

Alumnus Chadwick Boseman

The unique nature of the Fall 2020 semester echoes


Support Students Pursuing Entertainment Careers

the significance of being Bison Strong. I send my sincerest thanks for the patience demonstrated as efforts of flexibility and accommodation were made to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. Together, the University will work through this moment and continue forward to sustained health


Howard University Day of Service 2020


Hari Williams: Inspiring Thought Through Laughter


Bloomberg Philanthropies Proves

and wellness. For updates on the University’s response, FAQ’s,

#HowardMedicineMatters Through $32.8 Million Gift


Excellence in Truth and Service,

Moving Research Forward: Ph.D. Student Receives $10K Winslow Sargeant Doctoral Award

and updates on the Fall Re-opening, please visit

HBO Gifts $1 Million for an Endowed Fellowship to


New Appointments & In Memoriam



Wayne A. I. Frederick. M.D., MBA PRE S I D E N T

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 3

Inspiring New Knowledge for Staff and Faculty The University launched its five-year strategic plan, Howard Forward, as a central guiding mechanism to advance teaching, research, service and clinical practice on campus. One of the five pillars of the plan, Inspire New Knowledge, was created to continue Howard’s ongoing commitment to innovation in instruction, promotion of and entrepreneurship in research, interdisciplinary research and crosssector collaboration that inspires Howard faculty and students to change the world for the better. After one year of implementation, the Inspire New Knowledge committee has seen tremendous progress. With the goal to increase College and School-level participation in grant-funded research and study abroad opportunities, Vice President for Research Bruce Jones, Ph.D., who was hired in 2018 for his knowledge in research and grant work, has implemented a number of strategies to bring the goals of the Inspire New Knowledge committee to full fruition. Working alongside the Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Anthony Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph., who also leads the newly established Office of Academic Excellence, VP Jones shares insight on what the newly established Office of Research (OoR) has accomplished the in 2019-2020 academic year, and a few of the next steps for the commitment. "We are truly excited about the accomplishments of the Office of Research over the past year. As it stands, faculty grant productivity is $23 million over what it was at this same time last year,” said VP Jones. “More Colleges and Schools are expressing a desire to engage in grant funded research as the Office of Research places an increased emphasis on systematically matching faculty knowledge and expertise to grant funded research and grant funded professional training needs in the local and national community. Consistent with this emphasis, the Office of Research has been leading and providing incentives for faculty to engage in large-scale interdisciplinary and cross-sector research with the recognition that many of the problems and issues that we face in society require multidisciplinary approaches.”

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Under the leadership of Jones, and Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch, the Interoffice Research Committee (IRC) was established to streamline the Howard University grant development, submission and monitoring process. “The Interoffice Research Committee (IRC) consists of operational representatives from across the Howard campus to include the Office of Research, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Facilities,” said Jones. “Additionally, through the work of the IRC, we established a monitoring and reporting mechanism for communicating more effectively with each of the 13 Colleges and Schools on campus as a means to increase and support grant and contract research.”


With the reestablishment of the Office of Research in 2018, coupled with university investments toward the full development of the Office, Howard University will continue on its quest to regain its status as a Research I institution of higher education. Key to this quest is a need to more than double the number of research proposal submissions to $100 million by fiscal year 2024. Jones believes each of these developments,

“will allow for increased opportunities for our faculty, students and research staff to significantly contribute to Howard's mission to be committed to the development of distinguished, historically aware, and compassionate graduates and to the discovery of solutions to human problems in the United States and throughout the world."

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 5

Welcome Class of 2024! I’d like to extend a sincere welcome to the class of 2024! Congratulations on being one of the outstanding new members of the Howard family. Your introduction to higher education will be as unique as the unprecedented heights you will reach. You are joining a community of leaders, entrepreneurs and influencers that take the training they receive at the Mecca and go on to change the world. Kudos to you for staying the course in pursuit of higher education. I know that this decision was not made lightly and I’m sure many thoughtful conversations with family and friends took place to bring you to this moment. My goal is to make sure we do our part to create the most meaningful remote learning environment and maintain a safe campus for the day you ultimately set foot on the Hilltop. Howard is exceptional; our diverse community supports a unique life experience, fosters academic excellence and inspires new knowledge through varied instructional models. Beyond our differences, we are connected by the legacy and relevance of this storied institution. Our common thread is one of care for others and demonstrates how service has become the essential action of Howard University. The distinction of this institution is deeply rooted and supported by our concern for one another and is demonstrated through our truth and service. Generations of Bison made it to and through the Hilltop by the prayers, love, advocacy, and encouragement of members of this village.

Class of 2024





average SAT score

Average ACT score


biology PAGE 6 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2020

51 18


Most students are in The College of Arts and Sciences

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s Transformative Gift to the University Howard University is missioned

improve technology. On the quest to

GRACE recipients is 79%, which is

on the primary pillars of truth and

inspire new knowledge, Howard will

33 points higher than those who did

service, and recently, the institution

implement a new faculty development

not receive GRACE funds in the same

became a recipient of a generous gift

plan to provide additional educational


rooted in serving HBCU’s during the

development opportunities for

economic uncertainty resulting from

faculty to increase rigor and quality

“Thanks to Ms. Scott’s gift, and the

COVID-19. This past July, Howard

of instruction, and to promote

accompanying positive publicity, we

University proudly announced the

professional advancement and

hope that other donors will follow her

generous $40 million gift from author

specialized skills training. This gift will

example to lift the financial burden

and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. A

be used to also develop a program

off of deserving students and help

former pupil of Howard alumna Toni

focused on social innovation and

make ends meet so they can focus

Morrison, Scott’s gift marks the largest

entrepreneurship to further enhance

on graduating on time. With this

gift from a single donor in school

the University’s outreach to instill the

unrestricted donation, we now have


importance of financial wellness in our

the opportunity to expedite our efforts

campus community.

and fund the initiatives in a way that

“I would like to thank Ms. Mackenzie

will reap benefits for generations to

Scott for her investment into Howard

Lastly, the Scott gift will be used to

come,” said President Frederick.

University and our 153-year mission

help underwrite a portion of one

of serving a diverse community of

of Howard’s signature retention

“Today’s generous gift from Ms.

dynamic scholars who come here for

programs: the Graduation & Retention

Scott is a direct result of Howard

an education and leave here with

Access to Continued Excellence

University establishing a track

purpose to serve the world,” said

(GRACE) Grant. This need-based

record for being a good steward of

President Wayne A. I. Frederick,

program provides a 100 percent match

our resources, demonstrating our

M.D., MBA. “We plan to immediately

for students who receive the maximum

thought leadership in various areas of

put this eight-figure gift to good

Federal Pell Grant and provides

expertise and recruiting and training

use to support components of

additional funding to students with an

the best and brightest young minds

our 5-year strategic plan to help

expected family contribution of zero

that this country has to offer,” said

students graduate on time, retain our

(EFC $0). Created in 2014, the GRACE

David P. Bennett, vice president of

talented faculty, enhance our campus

Grant is designed to help remove the

Development and Alumni Relations.

infrastructure and support academic

financial barriers to academic success

“Every gift makes a difference in the

innovation and entrepreneurship.”

and encourage on-time graduation

life of an institution and through this

for students who have successfully

unrestricted gift, we’ll be able to tap

With this gift, Howard University

completed their freshman year. During

several facets of the university in ways

will allocate the gift to four areas of

this time, EFC $0 GRACE recipients

that will make an immediate and

need, including on-going campus

saw an average 18 percent increase in

lasting impact.”

infrastructure improvement projects,

retention as compared to non-GRACE

essential renovations to the steam

students. Additionally, the average

plant system, and updates to

4-year graduation rate for EFC $0 AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 7

Howard University Remembers CONGRESSMAN JOHN R. LEWIS

On July 17, 2020, the Howard University community joined the country in mourning the loss of the legendary Civil Rights icon and Congressman John R. Lewis, who died Friday at the age of 80. We were blessed to host Congressman Lewis on campus as he delivered our 2015 Opening Convocation Address to celebrate the beginning of the academic year with students, faculty, staff and guests. Congressman Lewis spoke of his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and urged students to create positive, non-violent change in America’s present-day civil rights landscape.

“I call on members of this university community to get out there [to] educate our young people, to inspire, to give people hope, to stand up… to get into trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble. It is the power of the way of peace, of love, of non-violence.” He addressed the audience with his signature “Good Trouble” call to action, saying:

To the Class of 2019, he called upon the need for each to act as symbols of non-violent change. “If we do our part, our nation, our community will merge as a model and maybe it will serve as a symbol of hope for the rest of the world. Don’t give up, don’t become bitter, and with faith, hope and love, I wish you well during this new school year.” Born on Feb. 21, 1940, Lewis was the third of 10 children of tenant farmers Eddie Lewis and the former Willie Mae Carter, raised outside of Troy, Alabama in the segregated South. As a boy, he was inspired to become an activist and join the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement after following news media coverage of historical events, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and speeches by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. This was the beginning of his rise to civil servanthood and advocacy for equal opportunity and access for all citizens.

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Lewis graduated from Fisk University with a degree in religion and philosophy. During his matriculation, he organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. He also volunteered to become a Freedom Rider in 1961, during which he suffered multiple assaults and beatings by simply sitting in “whites only” sections of diners. Lewis was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), for which he later served as chairman and facilitated the groundswell of organized student activism within the movement. John Lewis’ silent protest walk with other brave citizens over the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, became known as Bloody Sunday. Together with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Hosea Williams, Mr. Lewis led 600 people to the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the edge of Selma before meeting the resistance of police. That day, the Nation watched the televised reports of police in gas masks attacking unarmed men, women and children, many dressed in their Sunday’s best. Mr. Lewis’s endured a skull fracture in the attack and was hospitalized along with 77 other demonstrators. He would later define this event as the day that changed the course of his life. His selfless act of civil disobedience demonstrated his commitment to social justice, which remains steadfast in today’s political climate, upholding the standard for future generations. Mr. Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1982, and to Congress in November 1986. During his tenure, he has served diligently as U.S. representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Lewis was an internationally revered civil servant, orator, lecturer, historian and author. Howard University proudly honored him with honorary degree in 2002, making him a true son of Howard and an exemplar of the University’s motto, Veritas et Utilitas (truth and service). Congressman Lewis will forever live in our hearts a shining example of a life of service and how the use of civil disobedience can impact change in a world of inequity. Over the course of his lifetime, he was arrested at least 45 times, mostly during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. However, he continued to use civil disobedience as a useful tool in his senior years, most recently in 2013 while advocating for immigration reform. As a lawmaker, he was never afraid to get in “good trouble” and be arrested while participating in protests. Congressman Lewis was a giant of a man with impeccable integrity and impenetrable determination and love for humanity. An ideal for all of us to embody in our daily pursuit of a life of service. The work he started for social justice progressed significantly during his lifetime and the baton has been passed forward in a valiant way to a generation of youth who will carry on his legacy confidently.

Rest well, Congressman Lewis.

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 9


CHADWICK BOSEMAN On Aug. 29, 2020, the Howard University community and the world mourned the loss of alumnus Chadwick Boseman who passed away after a long private battle with colon cancer. Although he was only 43, Boseman gifted us a remarkable body of work portraying Black men of honor, purpose and dignity: Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall (Law ’33), and James Brown. This young man’s incredible talent will forever be immortalized in those performances and through his own personal journey from student to superhero! We were honored to have Boseman return to campus to serve as our commencement speaker in 2018. The campus was electric as our own native son took the stage fresh off the blockbuster hit “Black Panther.” In a sense, the real T’Challa had returned home to the real “Wakanda” – The Mecca. During his remarks, Boseman shared his journey of challenges and successes in navigating the Hollywood entertainment industry. He described how he chose to speak out when asked to play characters that belittled the image Black men. He intentionally chose roles that reflected the vision of his people that he wanted to see on screen. Boseman spoke fondly of his days at Howard, calling it “a magical place” and saying,

“when you have reached the Hilltop and you are deciding on next steps, you would rather find purpose than a career. Purpose is an essential element of you that crosses disciplines.” It was Boseman’s desire to see the students of Howard achieve greatness. Together, he and I shared many conversations preparing plans for a project that would bring him back to campus, which was very close to being announced. Although now he will not physically be here to witness the harvest of the seeds he planted, we will continue to water and cultivate them in his memory. Boseman was a man of grace and humility. A deep thinker who had a deep passion for writing and uplifting his people. A staunch supporter of social justice, he did not shy away from using his voice in service to those without one. We now know he was in a fight for his life yet, without missing a beat, continued creating magic for us all. He lived a full life by the magnitude of his example.

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That reality buoys my spirits even in this time of sadness. One of the last times I saw him was at dinner with his mentor, fellow alumna and former board of trustee member, Phylicia Rashad. That interplay captured the essence of Howard University and our truth and service. He always appreciated the opportunity she made possible for him and she remained a source of support! A native of South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and attended the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford, after which he began his career as an actor, director and writer. His breakout performance came in 2013 when he received rave reviews for his portrayal of the legendary Jackie Robinson in Warner Bros’ “42” opposite Harrison Ford. Boseman received the 2014 CinemaCon Male Star of Tomorrow Award, was named one of the Top 10 Best Movie Performances of 2014 by Time Magazine and was awarded a Virtuous Award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for his portrayal of James Brown in Universal Pictures’ “Get on Up.” Boseman famously starred as T'Challa/Black Panther in the worldwide phenomenon Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." He made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the African superhero in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War,” in May 2016. He reprised the role again for Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018. He previously starred in the title role of Open Road Films’ “Marshall” alongside Josh Gad. The film tells the story of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases as the Chief Counsel to the NAACP. His other feature film credits include: the revenge thriller “Message from the King,” Summit Entertainment's “Draft Day” opposite Kevin Costner, independent psychological post-war drama “The Kill Hole” and Gary Fleders’ drama “The Express.” Love is Life and he had an abundance of both. Boseman reminds us that the quality of life is not measured in time, but rather it is measured in how well we live it and what we prioritize. He prioritized his wife, his family, his friends, his craft, and loving others. The characters he portrayed will be celebrated but his greatest gift to us was himself. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

Rest in Power, Chadwick!

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 11

HBO Gifts $1 Million for an Endowed Fellowship to Support Students Pursuing Entertainment Careers In early July, HBO, a division of WarnerMedia, presented a $1 Million gift to Howard University to establish an endowed fund to benefit students pursuing careers in the arts and entertainment industries. HBO first announced the donation in conjunction with its upcoming HBO special event, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME, which is based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a proud Howard Bison. Coates will serve as the executive producer of the project along with fellow Howard alumni Kamilah Forbes, who will direct; and award-winning actress Susan Kelechi Watson. “We are incredibly proud to be a part of creating this endowment which will provide means for students to pursue formative opportunities in the arts and entertainment,” said HBO Programming President Casey Bloys. “We can think of no better partners than Howard University, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kamilah Forbes, and Susan Kelechi Watson in this effort.” Named the Coates-ForbesWatson-HBO Dream Seekers Endowed Fellowship, stipends of varying amounts will be awarded to students to use toward living and travel expenses related to accepting internships in Los Angeles, New York and beyond. Students from a variety of disciplines can apply, including communications, fine arts, business, and law. “We are grateful to HBO for their leadership in establishing the Coates-ForbesWatson-HBO Dream Seekers Endowed Fellowship, which will make it easier for Howard students to make ends meet while pursuing internships and residencies with studios and production companies,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “I’d also like to thank Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kamilah Forbes and Susan Kelechi Watson for their role in recommending Howard for this opportunity. I know that Howard played an instrumental role in their lives to help them become the incredible artists that they are today, and we are thankful that they continue to pay it forward through their time, talent and treasure.”

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Coates, Forbes, and Watson credit their experiences at Howard University for establishing a strong foundation on which they were able to excel and pursue their passions and purpose. In a joint statement they stated, “As products of Howard University, we deeply believe in the responsibility to give as much as was given to us. We are inspired to see that same spirit in HBO’s gift to Howard--an institution which has not just given so much to us, individually, but to all of America.” The awards will be available to students with demonstrated unmet financial need, allowing the recipients the ability to take advantage of opportunities they may not otherwise be able to afford.

“The costs affiliated with living in cities like Los Angeles and New York can push the benefits of accepting an internship out of reach for many college students today,” said Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations David P. Bennett. “The Coates-Forbes-Watson-HBO Dream Seekers Endowed Fellowship will go a long way in closing that gap and make a significant difference among Howard students for years to come.” Coates’ book “Between the World and Me” is a New York Times Bestseller, National Book Award winner, and Pulitzer Prize finalist. First published in 2015, it is written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son and recounts the author’s experiences growing up in Baltimore’s inner city and his growing fear of daily violence against the Black community. The narrative explores Coates’ bold notion that American society structurally supports white supremacy. The stage show based on “Between the World and Me” was originally performed in 2018 as a limited engagement at the Apollo Theater and the Kennedy Center. Kamilah Forbes, the executive producer of the Apollo and a close friend of Coates, is featured in the book as “Aunt Kamilah” and was immediately inspired to adapt Coates’ work to the stage after reading it. The pair met at Howard University, a pivotal time in both of their lives that has been a continued source of creativity and inspiration. Fellow Alumna, Watson, was also a part of the original cast at the Apollo Theater and The Kennedy Center. The HBO special event of the same name premiering this fall will be directed by Kamilah Forbes, who also serves as executive producer; and executive produced by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson. Roger Ross Williams is producing for One Story Up Productions.

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 13

Howard University Day of Service 2020 The Office of the Dean of Chapel Leads the Way with Virtual Community Service Programming 1,000+ students, faculty, staff and alumni register to participate in HUDOS 2020 The University hosted its eighth annual Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS) on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. Incoming students, both national and international, as well as continuing Howard University students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni volunteered together, virtually, supporting the needs of organizations across the nation. Despite grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, being required to leave campus and adapt to virtual learning spaces, and mourning the loss of countless innocent Black people whose lives were brutally taken at the hands of police, the student leaders who organized HUDOS 2020 were determined to continue to serve and meet the needs of Black communities in unique ways.

“After much prayer and discussion at the beginning of quarantine, we decided, as student leaders, being on the frontlines of protest means serving our people. Yes, we’re dealing with attacks on our communities and ourselves in so many ways, but it was never a doubt in our mind that the service had to continue which brought us to HUDOS 2020.” - Denae Carmelino, co-student director of HUDOS 2020. More than 1,000 participants registered for Howard University’s first-ever virtual day of service. Designed as an introduction to Howard’s commitment to service for all incoming students, HUDOS focuses on community building through eight service-learning initiatives addressing: educational disparities, environmental injustices, community health disparities, housing and food disparities, violence, police and community relationships, political empowerment, and youth/elderly outreach.

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WHAT IS VIRTUAL SERVICE? Participants registered hundreds of citizens to vote, wrote letters to essential workers, played games with senior citizens, , drafted advocacy letters, created educational videos for virtual classrooms, and even mapped buildings in Caribbean countries and other surrounding countries impacted by the hurricane season, serving more than 30 service sites including the Poor People’s Campaign, Rock the Vote, Black Benefactors, Howard University Hospital, So Others Might Eat, Hayes Senior Wellness Center, Humanitarian Open Street Mapping, Trees Durham and more. “Witnessing our communities join together following the murder of George Floyd, and even in my own hometown, the Bronx, New York—the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak reminded me of a quote by April R. Silver, a Howard alumna, activist, artist, and social justice leader,” said Oluwatobi Mojeed-Balogun, co-student director of HUDOS 2020. Silver said […] ‘but politically I am clear and always have been, we are worth fighting for, flaws and contradictions galore, we are worth fighting for over and over again.’” With this quote as our driving force and the source of our theme, “We Are Worth Fighting For”, we knew that regardless of what was happening with the coronavirus pandemic, HUDOS 2020 had to happen. Modeled after the University's nationally recognized Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, HUDOS is a service-learning experience allows Howard University students to discover the power of ethical leadership and civic responsibility. This is #GoodTrouble.

Upcoming and Ongoing Virtual Chapel Initiatives Sunday Chapel Service (every Sunday Chapel Assistants Virtual Gatherings and Planning Meetings Faith, Service, Justice Coalition Meetings Howard University Alternative Spring Break Virtual Gatherings and Planning Meetings Juvenile Justice Advocates Meetings Muslim Students’ Association Meetings

For more information about the faith exploration, community service, and social justice programs offered by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel at Howard University, please visit or email

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 15

Hari Williams: Inspiring Thought Through Laughter Inspiring New Knowledge is ingrained in the legacy of Howard; through a culturally diverse and research-intensive curriculum, the University is committed to continuing to produce leaders for America and the global community. We support our students by providing a quality enriched academic experience; one that is inspired to use multidisciplinary and multifunctional means of creating new knowledge. In this Alumni Spotlight, we meet Hari Williams, a 2006 graduate of the Fine Arts department who uses his craft of acting, writing, and comedy to develop and inspire new knowledge that focuses on ranging Black experiences. Williams founded Thought Collective Productions. His company produces "Unpacked," a comedy sketch series addressing more serious issues. Williams speaks about his craft his times at Howard and acknowledges that he is a “recipient of a legacy of excellence.”


Q1: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How have your experiences at the University informed your craft: developing and writing scripts, and engaging with specific roles that you have performed? A1: I grew up in a very close, spiritual community outside of Los Angeles that was the embodiment of "it takes a village." I

many facets and also challenge us to be better than we’ve been. NAVI GATI NG THE C U RRE NT M OM E NT AND THE P OW E R OF S TO RY TE LLI NG

was blessed to be introduced to the arts at a very young age,

Q2: As we navigate through this current social moment, discuss

my first time performing on a theater stage I was six and had

your thoughts on the significance of storytelling and how Thought

no idea that I was taking the first steps on a creative path that

Collective Productions supports that. How does the Thought

would guide me for the next several decades. Choosing to

Collective Productions inspire new knowledge: representation, topics

enroll at Howard is unquestionably one of the best decisions I have ever made, and so many friends and experiences can be tied to my time walking the Yard. From the first time I visited campus in my senior year of high school, to joining Gentlemen of Drew Social Club, to Howard Players and Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, all were valuable steps in my growth. As a proud alumnus of Howard's Fine Arts Department with a BFA in theater arts, concentration in acting, I recognize that I am the recipient of a legacy of excellence that is not to be taken lightly. The recent passing of our Howard king, Chadwick Boseman, serves as a reminder to always work to achieve our greatest artistic potential because we never know the impact we may grow to have. Howard as a whole, and specifically Fine Arts, provides fertile ground for Black consciousness to evolve and then we go out and engage in a lifetime of bearing the fruit of that consciousness. In my case that means finding and telling stories that celebrate us in our

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focusing on the Black experience, or varying routes to success? A2: The power of storytelling is life and death. That may seem dramatic, but it is playing out before our eyes. As human beings so much of what we value is rooted in the stories we’ve been told and the ones that we choose to internalize and believe. Facts are important but pale in comparison to the resonating impact of a well told story. The volatility and division of our time can be traced to a false story that many white Americans are now being forced to confront and reckon with. Some have been willing to listen, introspect, and begin the difficult steps to learn a new story that includes the horrific experiences of Black people in this country, while others have resisted, even violently so. Part of my purpose is to use my talents to actively dismantle that story and present a new narrative. The beautiful thing about comedy, more specifically satire, is that it allows the writer to introduce an alternative story without contending with the resistance that so many have when their understanding of the world is challenged.

I look to the tradition of great satirical TV shows like

went hilariously bad, and I never pursued it, but I eventually

The Richard Pryor Show, In Living Color, and of course

wrote a script about it. Life will provide all kinds of inspiration

Chappelle's Show that were able to be both subversive

if you’re paying attention. I would also say to cultivate

tellers of hard truths and incredibly hilarious. Those are the

discipline and take time to get good at your craft, I don’t

shoulders I am proud to stand on. My aim with “Unpacked”

think there is a substitute for that. Take time to get to know

and Thought Collective Productions is to also illuminate

yourself and manage your emotions as this career can have a

challenging realities, and once illuminated my genuine hope

lot of ups and downs. Be steadfast in your vision but flexible

is that it leads us to better value each other's humanity. I am

in how you go about accomplishing it, sometimes progress

unapologetically biased toward progressive movements that

doesn’t present itself in the way you imagined, but still

champion social justice which informs every joke we write on

enjoy the process. In this age of social media and constant

the show, and just as important, the ones we don't.

comparisons, it can be distracting to look at others and try to model yourself after their


perceived achievements,

Q3: How do you maintain balance between addressing very real issues and comedic relief from those same issues?

seek to create something of value, instead of just popular.

A3: It’s really difficult sometimes. The unflinching realities of what we as Black people are subjected to is heartbreaking.


Dealing with these realities adds stress that can be all around

Q5: So, what’s next for you; any new projects?

draining of mind, body and spirit. We need to be aware of taking time to care for ourselves and each other because it can feel like a daily onslaught sometimes. With “Unpacked”

A5: We are looking to

we aim to be a positive aspect of that care with our comedic

go into production this

point of view. The key to comedy is all about perspective

fall on the full season of

and framing. So, if we write a sketch, the issue itself is rarely

“Unpacked” to be aired on Fox Soul. We’ve got a lot of

ever funny. An important component of the balance is using

really great work that I’m excited to share. In the meantime,

the comedy and jokes as a means to further drive home the

people can follow @unpackedtv on social media for a lot

point. A lot of our jokes are meant to show how ridiculous a

of additional content and info about the show. I’m also in

situation or experience is, and that laughing at it is another

pre-production for the short film version of the historical

way to highlight it and call it out.

action, drama feature centered around the Black Seminoles of Florida. It tells the true story of runaway slaves who found


freedom among Native American Seminoles and how they

Q4: What advice might you share with current students who are interested in directing, writing, and starring in television/film?

coordinated a guerilla war and the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history. It is a little known yet incredible piece of history that really connects to the spirit of uprising that we’re

A4: First, I say that you have chosen a vitally important

experiencing right now. The plan is to use the short film as

pursuit. Study your artistic predecessors, they have left clues

a proof of concept for the full-length film. Aside from that I

and blueprints for us to learn from. Maintain the attitude of

have a few projects in development and I’m always writing

the student and observer of life. Be present for your own

and imagining new ideas. There are so many more of our

journey, wherever that takes you, because there is inspiration

stories yet to tell and they are more needed than ever.

in the most unlikely of places. I went to a job interview once as a Loss Prevention Officer in a department store and it

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 17

Bloomberg Philanthropies Proves #HowardMedicineMatters Through $32.8 Million Gift Howard University and Mike Bloomberg announced that

community, and

Bloomberg Philanthropies is making a $32.8 million gift

the scarcity of

to support scholarships for current College of Medicine

Black doctors

students with financial need. The gift is part of a total $100

practicing in Black

million awarded to the nation’s four historically Black medical

communities is

schools over the next four years to help increase the number

one reason for

of Black doctors in the U.S. by significantly reducing the

it,” said Michael

debt burden of approximately 800 medical students, many

R. Bloomberg,

of whom face increased financial pressure due to COVID-19.

founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg

The gift marks the largest donation to the College of

LP, and three-term mayor of New York City. “More Black

Medicine in its history.

doctors will mean more Black lives saved and fewer health problems that limit economic opportunity. But right now,

“Healthcare disparities exist for a myriad of reasons related

the burden of student debt and lack of financial aid means

to systemic infrastructural issues, not the least of which

that the shortage of Black doctors could get even worse.

is the dearth of Black doctors. Black doctors with cultural

During my campaign for president, I proposed a set of bold

competency are a major part of the solution, but their path is

policies -- which we called the Greenwood Initiative -- to

often hampered by a compromised financial situation,” said

increase generational wealth among Black families and

President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “This gift from

shrink the racial wealth gap. The commitment Bloomberg

Bloomberg Philanthropies is the first stone dropped into a

Philanthropies is making today is just the first step we will

calm lake of opportunity and promise. The ripple effects that

take to bring that work to life.”

it will have on the lives of our students and our programs will carry on for generations.”

With this strategic investment, Bloomberg Philanthropies strives to reduce health and wealth disparities in Black

Currently in the U.S. only five percent of practicing

communities by improving health outcomes for Black

physicians are Black, yet data proves that Black patients

Americans and accelerating the Black community’s ability to

-- who are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white

create generational wealth.

Americans -- have better outcomes when treated by Black doctors. More Black doctors will mean more Black lives

“The Bloomberg Philanthropies gift reaffirms that Howard

saved in America as well as a reduction of the health issues

Medicine Matters and this generosity will change the

that end up suppressing economic opportunity in Black

trajectory of our student’s post-medical school career paths,”

communities. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ grant to the

said Dr. Hugh E. Mighty, dean of the Howard University

historically Black medical schools will provide scholarships

College of Medicine. “Instead of carrying the burden of

up to $100,000 to nearly every medical student currently

thousands of dollars in debt, they will now be able to focus

enrolled and receiving financial aid at these schools over

on practicing their craft and fulfilling their purpose. For

the next four years. This is the first investment of Bloomberg

many students, less debt may create an opportunity to

Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, a new effort to increase

pick a specialty based more on interest and less on which

generational wealth among Black families and address

specialties yield high incomes. This is truly a remarkable gift

systemic underinvestment in Black communities.

for each student and their entire families.”

“COVID-19 has been especially devastating for the Black PAGE 18 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2020

Ph.D. Student Receives $10K Winslow Sargeant Doctoral Award The Ronald W. Walters

interested in ensuring that African Americans are better

Leadership and Public Policy

represented in our "representative" democracy,” says

Center has selected sociology


and criminology Ph.D. student Shannell Thomas for the

During Summer 2019, she received the prestigious Hanes

$10,000 Winslow Sargeant

Walton, Jr. Award for Quantitative Methods Training by

Doctoral Award. This award

the National Conference of Black Political Scientists to

is the first of its kind made

attend the 8-week Statistics Institute at The Inter-university

possible by a gift from Winslow Sargeant, Ph.D. a former

Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the

neighbor of Ronald W. Walters, Ph.D., who wanted to

University of Michigan. She also plans to use this award to

provide financial support to new and continuing doctoral

further advance her sociological and criminological training

students as they prepare to undertake future research

and pursue research and advocacy agendas. She would


be completing her fourth degree at Howard; adding to what includes a Master of Arts from New York University, a

Thomas impressed the selection committee with

Master of Education from University of South Florida, and

her doctoral dissertation which focuses on the

a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from University of South

disenfranchisement of African Americans, and those


stripped of their voting rights due, in large part, to the criminal justice system. "The selection committee was very

Thomas hopes to serve as an ambassador of Ronald W.

impressed with Shannell's strong research background,

Walter’s legacy by “encouraging the black community to

both courses taken and practical experience,” says Elsie L.

recognize and assert the dynamism of its individual and

Scott, Ph.D., director of the Ronald W. Walters Leadership

collective political voices.” Her current work focuses on

and Public Policy Center.

black political power, and black political movements that arise in response to America's criminal justice system. “In

“I am delighted that her dissertation study on voter

the future, I hope that my dissertation research will prove

disenfranchisement of convicted felons aligns with

useful to those criminologists, sociologists and politicians

Dr. Ronald Walters' interest in voter rights and voter

who are interested in ensuring that America’s promises

suppression. In addition, her study is timely and related to

of liberty and equality remain at the forefront of political

research that the Ronald W. Walters Center conducts during

discourse,” says Thomas.

every national election cycle. We look forward to having her join the Walters Center team."

“With the support of this generous award from Dr. Sargeant, I will have the opportunity to be guided and

“By working on research projects, engaging in community

mentored by political powerhouses like Dr. Elsie Scott as

service, and participating in public policy discussions at the

I expand my knowledge of black socio-politics and my

Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, I

network of like-minded scholars.”

expect to acquire skills and knowledge that will help me to achieve my ultimate career goal: serving as a role model and advisor for students and community members who are AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 19

New Appointments & In Memoriam A PPOINTMEN TS Laurence Morse, Ph.D. The Board of Trustees appointed Laurence C. Morse, Ph.D., as chairman for the 2020-21 fiscal year. His previous contributions to the board as a leader, advocate and supporter have been a tremendous asset to Howard University and I look forward to working with him to move Howard Forward during his term. Trustee Morse was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2014 and most recently served as a vice chair of the University’s Board from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. During his tenure, he has served as chair of the Development and Alumni Relations Committee, vice chair of several committees, including Audit and Legal, Compensation and Succession and Executive as well as co-chair of the Howard University Hospital/Adventist Ad Hoc Committee. He also served as a member of the Finance and Student Life committees. Trustee Morse is a co-founder and managing partner at Fairview Capital Partners, a private equity investment management firm. Prior to co-founding Fairview, he held positions with TSG Ventures, Equico Capital Corporation and UNC Ventures. He serves on the advisory boards of a number of venture capital partnerships, including U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), Battery Ventures, Sierra Ventures and Trinity Ventures. Trustee Morse is a member of the board of directors of Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE: WBS) and the board of trustees of Harris Associates Investment Trust (the Oakmark Mutual Funds). He is a former member of the board of trustees of Princeton University, and served three terms on the board of the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO). Trustee Morse graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University, having spent his junior year at The London School of Economics and Political Science as a Luard Scholar. He earned a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Frank Tramble The University appointed Frank Tramble as the new Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer (CCO)Tramble joined the leadership team to oversee our University branding and strategic communications plan, he will be responsible for executing Howard’s marketing, brand, media relations, crisis communications, and reputation management initiatives. Over the past six and a half years, Tramble served in a series of communications leadership positions at Georgetown University. Most recently, he led the Office of Advancement’s Communication Strategy and Operations as senior director, where he oversaw all high-level strategy and execution for 300+ projects annually, including high-visibility signature events and marketing campaigns.

PAGE 20 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2020

He most recently created the “50 years of caring” campaign to celebrate the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 50th anniversary. Tramble successfully rebuilt the operational structure of the advancement communications team, which fully supports the $200 million yearly fundraising arm of the institution. He also serves as an adjunct faculty capstone advisor for the integrated marketing communications graduate program at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. Tramble received his bachelor’s degree in advertising management from Michigan State University and his master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Georgetown University. He also completed a certificate program in executive business leadership from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Mr. Tramble’s experience in team building and managing high-visibility campaigns in the higher education arena will be a tremendous asset to our campus. I look forward to working with him to advance the work of the Howard Forward Strategic Plan and continue to create a vibrant and sustainable academic institution of exceptional quality.

Robert T. Muhammad Howard University named Robert T. Muhammad as the new Director of Financial Aid. In this role, he is responsible for the effective management of financial aid resources and the administration of Federal Title IV. He oversees all administrative functions and institutional aid programs related to financial aid services for students, including student loans, financial aid, scholarships and student employment. Reporting directly to Anthony E. Jones, associate provost and assistant vice president of Enrollment Management, Muhammad will supervise as well as strategically plan, assign and evaluate the work of the Office of Financial Aid staff for effective operation and results of the unit. Muhammad joins the University after serving as director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina since 2011, where he strategically led an 11-member student financial services team and was responsible for the long-range planning strategy and oversight of daily operations of the student-facing office. While at Winston-Salem State, he evaluated the existing Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid policies and programs, made substantial improvements and implemented new procedures to advance office effectiveness and efficiency. Muhammad's efforts resulted in an increased awarding of financial aid year-over-year, additional student financial aid opportunities, a higher financial aid verification completion rate and a significant increase in overall constituent satisfaction. Muhammad earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from UNC Charlotte and a Master of Business Administration from Winston-Salem State. He has served as a member on a variety of professional associations including the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASFAA), Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA), the UNC Financial Aid Advisory Group and the Strategic Long Range Planning Committee, among others.

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 21

Robert Clark Robert Clark, CIA, CCEP, CBM, was named the new Chief Compliance Officer. Clark brings more than 30+ years of experience to the University, having served in extensive compliance leadership roles at MIT, Georgia Tech and Clark Atlanta University. Clark most recently served as chief compliance officer and chief audit executive at Clark Atlanta University since March 2010. During his 10-year tenure, he coordinated all compliance oversight and internal auditing for the university, including federal research, information systems, NCAA athletics compliance and Department of Education regulations. He implemented a robust Compliance Risk Matrix which has helped the university effectively navigate through a variety of complex areas of risk. Under his leadership, the compliance function was featured in Compliance Week magazine as a best practice and the U.S. Department of Education is using materials he developed as a best practice to share with other colleges and universities. Clark received his bachelor of business administration from Gordon College. He is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Business Manager (CBM). He is the past president of the Association of College and University Auditors; past president of The Institute of Internal Auditors – Atlanta; and past chair of the Security Task Force Risk Assessment for EDUCAUSE. Clark previously served as a teaching faculty member of the College Business Management Institute through SACUBO, the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers; an instructor on information systems auditing for MIS Training Institute; and has received numerous industry and leadership awards for his contributions to the profession of compliance and auditing in higher education. He is highly sought as a keynote speaker and trainer and is a member of the National Speakers Association.

Morris Thomas, Ph.D. Morris Thomas, Ph.D., was named as the new Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (CETLA). He brings more than 17 years of experience in higher education to the University with a background in both academic and student affairs, as well as with academic credentials and experience in online education. Director Thomas is highly skilled and has an impressive background in facilitating learning and the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SOTL) across modalities (face-to-face, hybrid-blended, and online). Most recently, he was associate professor and the inaugural director for the Center for the Advancement of Learning at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). During his time as director, he created a robust professional development model that significantly increased faculty engagement.

PAGE 22 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2020

This professional development model contributed to more than 500 faculty being trained to teach and or build online courses. In addition, he worked with programs at UDC to implement full online programs such as the Professional Science Master’s program. This program, and others, rely on Quality Matters, a nationally recognized, peer-review process used to ensure the quality of online and blended course design. Thomas holds several Quality Matters certifications, including Master Reviewer, Peer-Reviewer and Quality Matters Coordinator. Through the Quality Matters organization, Thomas serves as a PeerReviewer for newly built online course for universities across the United States.

Director Thomas received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Morgan State University, a M.A. in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in instructional technology management from LaSalle University, a M.M. in classical vocal performance from New Jersey City University and a B.A. in music from Fisk University. He also completed post graduate studies at Cornell University and Georgetown University in project management and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification with the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI).

In Memoriam Zaniyah Griffin

Aaron “AJ” Sutton

The Howard University Community remembers

We remember the life or Mr. Aaron Sutton,

the life of Ms. Zaniyah Griffin. Zaniyah was a

affectionately known as “AJ.” AJ was a

sophomore student in the College of Arts &

rising sophomore at Howard University,

Sciences, majoring and excelling in biology.

an aspiring engineer and a resident of

She was well thought of and respected by her

Charles R. Drew Hall. AJ leaves behind his

faculty, who involved her in research projects.

mother and sisters. They and other family

Additionally, as a resident of Wheatley Hall,

and friends remember him as a creative

Zaniyah was a member of the Step Team and

and driven person, gifted in both the arts

had a positive impact on the Quad community.

and sciences. AJ’s presence will live on at

Her vibrant presence will be missed, and she will

Howard through the connections he made

be mourned by friends and family alike.

with each of us.

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 23



C HADW I C K B OS E M AN It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of alumnus Chadwick Boseman who passed away. His incredible talent will forever be immortalized through his characters and through his own personal journey from student to superhero!

"Sometimes you need to get knocked down to understand what your fight is." - Chadwick Boseman

M A RCH ON WASHI NGTON In 1963, history was made as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream� speech during the March on Washington, just steps away from our campus. 57 years later we continue to dream, march and make history. #MarchOnWashington #MarchOnWashington2020


PAGE 24 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2020

K A M ALA H ARRIS We are experiencing an extraordinary moment in the history of America and of @Howard1867. Senator @KamalaHarris’ selection as the Democratic vice presidential candidate represents a milestone opportunity for our democracy to acknowledge the leadership Black women have always exhibited, but has too often been ignored. We are proud to call Howard University alumna Kamala Harris a member of our HU Family. As Senator Harris embarks upon this new chapter in her life, and in our country’s history, she is poised to break two glass ceilings in our society with one fell swoop of her Howard hammer! The HBCU community and I will be watching.

R E - OP E NI NG We have made the very difficult decision to move all undergraduate courses for the Fall 2020 semester fully online, and nonresidential. Please see my full letter to the @HowardU community here: Re-Opening Decision Update

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 25

Howard University Alumni Association Emergency Scholarship Fund The University’s tradition of providing a first-class education for people of diverse backgrounds dates back to its founding in 1867 when the institution began to prepare leaders to address some of the most urgent needs of our nation and beyond. When you give to Howard, you have the power to contribute to research that saves lives, graduates who become leaders in their professions, and policies and programs that have and will better communities on every continent of the globe. Many Howard University alumni have already reached out asking how they can help support students. Howard University encourages all alumni and friends of the University to contribute to the HUAA Emergency Scholarship Fund right away. All contributions, big or small, make a difference.

GIVE NOW Ways to Help:

PAGE 26 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | AUGUST 2020

AUGUST 2020 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 27

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