President's Bison Beat April 2014

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A Monthly N e ws l e tte r f r o m the O f f i c e o f the P res i d en t APRIL 2014




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Howard University presents world premiere of “Hamdan:Through the Gate of Tears”

Dear Howard University Community: As the spring semester comes to a close, we reflect on a promising period in the University’s history-a history marked by its continued advancement through scholarship, research, cultural enrichment and global engagement. The graduating seniors have completed the first step of their professional journey and are about to begin the next.The University will confer more than 2,500 degrees to another extraordinary class, the Class of 2014. Preparation of TheYard for graduation is well underway, with the bleachers being erected and the stage to follow.Without question, Commencement is my favorite time of the year.There is something special about seeing students develop and fulfill their dreams. I will also mark my 20th anniversary with classmates from the College of Medicine Class of 1994.This year is particularly special as I am humbled to serve as our alma mater’s interim president. I am excited to welcome our Commencement speaker and honorees: entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Combs;Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor; Clive Callender, M.D., pioneering transplant surgeon; Benny Golson, internationally renowned jazz legend; and Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo. They are an exemplary group of trailblazers in the fields of journalism, the arts, business and medicine. I recently had the privilege of greeting members of the Class of 2018 during Accepted Student Day on April 4.We are pleased that they chose Howard University as the place to pursue their higher education. This month, we also welcomed back to campus First Lady Michelle Obama and students from Chicago’s public high schools. Mrs. Obama visited as part of a White House initiative to increase college enrollment. I am happy to report that the 27 high school seniors who participated in the visit have all committed to enrolling in Howard University in the fall. We thank Mrs. Obama for her leadership in advancing collegiate education. We were joined this spring by the celebrated trumpeter Hugh Masekela as part of a semester-long tribute to the life and lessons of Nelson Mandela. Earlier this month, we also named Phillip Gyau as the new head coach of men’s soccer. I attended the opening night of the Fine Arts Division’s modern dance ballet, “Hamdan:Through the Gate of Tears.” This excellent event was part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s multiyear series of programing. The production featured Howard University students, faculty and alumni. I encourage you to support our Fine Arts Division with a donation to advance arts education. Finally, I would like to thank the Jordan family for their continued support of Howard University. Because of their generosity, eight Howard University students will receive tuition scholarships. To give to the Bridging the Gap Campaign, visit www. I look forward to seeing you at the 2014 Commencement ceremony. In Truth and Service,

Wayne A.I. Frederick Interim President


FIRST LADY VISITS HOWARD Howard University hosted First Lady Michelle Obama and high school students from Chicago Public Schools as part of an initiative to achieve the President’s “North Star” goal - to increase the percentage of high school students going on to college. “No longer is high school the bar. That is not enough,” Mrs. Obama told the students. “You have to go to college or get some kind of professional training.” Mrs. Obama met with high school juniors and seniors as they began a fourday visit to Howard called “Escape to the Mecca,” sponsored by the Chicago People’s Union (CPU). The program is designed to immerse talented high school students in a college campus environment. The First Lady joined the students on a campus tour, followed by a roundtable discussion with approximately 90 students. During the discussion, the First Lady under-

scored the value of college tours and exposure to college. Shad Moss, better known by his stage name Bow Wow and co-host of BET’s “106 & Park,” joined the tour and moderated the First Lady’s discussion with the students. “The only reason I saw a dorm was because I visited my brother once when he was in college,” said Mrs. Obama. “That was the only exposure.” Mrs. Obama added that she had applied to Howard, which she called “one of the finest universities in the country,” along with Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison when she was considering her higher education options. She went on to attend and graduate from Princeton University and Harvard Law School.


The Howard University Research Day 2014 was a tremendous success. More than 300 undergraduates, graduate students and faculty presented research projects from diverse academic disciplines on April 4.

AROUND CAMPUS UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES 2014 SPEAKER, HONOREES Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Combs will deliver the 2014 Commencement address at Howard University on Saturday, May 10. The University will award degrees to more than 2,500 students. Combs, who attended Howard in the late 1980s, will receive an honorary doctorate in humanities at the convocation—one of five individuals receiving honorary degrees at the graduation ceremony. Representing an exemplary group in the fields of journalism, the arts, business and medicine, this year’s honorees also include: Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor; Clive Callender, M.D., pioneering transplant surgeon; Benny Golson, internationally renowned jazz legend; and Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo. In selecting the individuals who will be awarded honorary degrees, Howard University continues the tradition of identifying leaders whose work has clearly contributed to the advancement of their fields and the betterment of humanity. (Read More) The event “Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa,” was made possible by a $1.8 million gift from the sultanate of Oman.The dance featured choreography by Ray Mercer, principal dancer for Broadway’s “The Lion King” (NYC). Howard University’s Department ofTheatre Arts was awarded $275,000 as a dance commission. The production featured Howard University students, faculty, alumni and professional dancers.


“Hamdan:Through the Gate ofTears” is a modern ballet celebrating one man’s journey from his homeland of Oman to East Africa. Oman, which lies on the southeast coastline of the Arabian Peninsula, is a land filled with wadis, deserts, beaches and mountains. Using modern dance and contemporary Afro-Arabian music, Hamdan tells the story of his momentous decision to leave his country and set sail aboard a dhow headed to Zanzibar for a better life. This ballet presents modern dance styles as it explores the folktale of Hamdan’s journey which are, steeped in the cultural traditions of Oman and East Africa. Mercer’s choreography brings this impassioned tale to life.

Howard University’s Department ofTheatre Arts recently presented the world premier of modern ballet “Hamdan:Through the Gate ofTears.”



The Howard University Debate Team recently competed against rivals from Harvard University in an exhibition debate about the legalization of marijuana. The match up marked the second time a Harvard team has traveled to the Howard campus for a debate.

Howard University alumnus Phillip Gyau (B.A. ‘87) was recently named head coach of the men’s soccer team. Gyau brings more than 20 years of experience to the position as a respected coach and a former U.S. National Team player.

“Howard is excited to continue this historic event,” said Angela D. Minor, Esq., director of Howard University’s MLK Jr. Forensics Program. “Audience members witnessed an entertaining and educational debate.”

Since 1998, Coach Gyau has placed 20 players on Youth National teams. He has played in six National Championships, winning four. The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference also named him Coach of the Year in both 2007 and 2011. Gyau’s many years as coach and player culminated with his induction into the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Howard team included seniors Abraham Williams, Radiah Shabazz, Jennifer Brook and Tashiana Hudson.


NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FELLOWS Nailah Seale, a senior chemical engineering major, and Daril Brown, a senior mechanical engineering major, were awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships.

Seale and Brown will pursue graduate studies at the University of California, San Diego, and will each receive three years of financial support.The fellowship supports graduate study in a field within NSF’s mission and that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree.

Since 1952, NSF has provided fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program continues to be a critical part of NSF’s overall strategy in developing the globally engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation’s leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation.


Nearly 1,850 undergraduate students are eligible to graduate on May 10. Please consider donating to the Bridging the Gap campaign to assist those with outstanding balances so that they too can cross the finish line. The average balance for graduating seniors is $2,000.


HOWARD UNIVERSITY STUDENTS NAMED 2013-2014 JORDAN SCHOLARS This year, eight Howard University students were selected as the 2013-2014 Jordan Scholars; each will receive a one-semester, full-tuition scholarship. The Jordan Scholarship is a family fund established in memory of Bishop Frederick Douglass Jordan and Artishia Wilkerson Jordan to support the educational and spiritual development of current Howard University students. The fund awards eight scholarships to promising undergraduate students who are involved in campus religious life. To date, more than $340,000 has been contributed to the University for this purpose. The 2013-14 scholars are: Trikeria Johnson (sophomore), Alyssa McCall (junior), Joshua Narcisse (sophomore), Alexandre Pendergrass (junior), Ashton Ragsdale (senior), Ebony Richardson (junior), Derrick Spencer (junior) and Jordan Stewart (senior).

WOODROW WILSON FELLOW Lennex Cowan, a Howard University mathematics and Africana studies senior, has been awarded the prestigiousWoodrowWilson Teaching Fellowship after a competitive selection process.The fellowship addresses the critical need for educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM disciplines. Fellows are required to make a three-year commitment to teaching in high-need secondary schools. Cowan will receive a $30,000 stipend to cover living expenses at the University of Cincinnati where he will pursue a master’s degree in education. He also received a scholarship directly from the university. A native of Lima, Ohio, Cowan said he plans to teach high school math in Ohio while in graduate school. He said he aspires to hold senior leadership roles in education and eventually become a university president.

The Jordan family celebrates a strong legacy of Howard alumni, including the scholarship fund’s namesakes, whose undergraduate terms at Howard overlapped from 1918 to 1921. As a student, Frederick Jordan was part of the committee to form the first college branch of the NAACP, on Howard’s campus, and became the treasurer of the university’s first student council. Both Frederick and Artishia were actively involved in campus life, as members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, respectively, the Intercollegiate Debate Team (Frederick) and the French Club and YWCA (Artishia). In 1952, Frederick Jordan was elected to the position of Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. The fund’s current president, Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, Ph.D., is also a Howard alumna and a former instructor who has been honored by the university.

RANGEL FELLOW Brenda Duverce, a Howard University alumna (B.A. ’13) and current Fulbright Fellow, was awarded the 2014 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship following a rigorous nationwide selection process. The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who seek careers in the U.S. Foreign Service. Duverce will receive approximately $90,000 in benefits over a two-year period to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs. As part of the program, Duverce will work for a member of Congress on issues related to foreign policy. In the summer of 2015, the Department of State will send her overseas to work in a U.S. embassy to get hands-on experience with foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service.


HU-ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS SET TO BEGIN MULTIYEAR CLEAN WATER PROJECT IN EL SALVADOR The Howard University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-HU) has undertaken a project to provide access to potable water, decrease waterborne illnesses and reduce bottled-water expenses for residents of Agua Caliente, a rural town located near El Salvador’s northwest border. The multi-year effort to implement a series of water enhancement projects is driven by a group of young Howard engineers, led by EWB-HU President Matthew Clarke and team leads Ariel Ward and Attiyah Lanier. EWB-HU is partnering with the Communal Administrative Association of the Water System of Agua Caliente, a local non-governmental organization. This project falls under the EWB mission to support community-driven development programs worldwide by collaborating with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects while creating transformative experiences and responsible leaders.

HOWARD UNIVERSITY STUDENT SELECTED AS NATIONAL UNIVERSITY INNOVATION FELLOW Howard University junior Attiyah Lanier, a systems and computer science major in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences (CEACS), was selected as a University Innovation Fellow, a prestigious national program that supports peer collaboration to catalyze innovation and venture activity on college campuses. The University Innovation Fellows program is administered by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a partnership between Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. There are 110 fellows on 78 university campuses across the country. Through the program, students are empowered to dream, design and deliver innovations that solve real-world problems.


CHICAGO SUN TIMES At Howard U, Michelle Obama to meet Chicago public high school students

HBCU LIFESTYLES Howard University College of Pharmacy Students Receive Global Training

THE WASHINGTON POST Gyau begins rebuilding the Bison

JAMAICA OBSERVER Howard comes to Jamaica

AFRO Howard University Explores Business and Economic Development in South Africa

JOURNAL OF BLACKS IN HIGHER EDUCATION Howard University’s College of Medicine Names New Head of Pediatrics

THE WASHINGTON INFORMER Howard University Health Care Symposium

VOICE OF AMERICA US Anti Apartheid Movement Helps Bring Change to South Africa

CBS NEWS Sean Combs to give commencement speech at Howard University US NEWS & WORLD REPORTS 10 Historically Black Colleges Where Freshmen Return



WASHINGTON INFORMER Prekindergarten Learning Fair MEDILL REPORTS Heart disease screening a must to curtail top killer of U.S. women

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