Howard Bison Beat September 2016

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A Monthly Newsletter from the Office of the President

BISON BEAT September 2016 | Volume 5 Issue 8

Michelle Obama, Seth MEyers, Nick Cannon Host Back-to-School Event September 2016 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 1

Dear Howard University Community, The term “privilege” can be traced back to the 1930s, when W.E.B. DuBois wrote about the “psychological wage” that allowed whites to feel superior to Black people. We can define privilege as a set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a particular social group. Society grants privilege to people because of certain aspects of their identity. Aspects of a person’s identity can include race, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, geographical location, ability and religion, to name a few. It is evident, however, that privilege is a concept that is much more dimensional than its dictionary definition. Those who are privileged are commanded to use their position of privilege in the service of others. They are to share what they have, because they are grateful. The Howard University motto teaches us that we do not have to reach a certain monetary status to give; but, with a spirit of thanksgiving, we can give our time, our services, our knowledge and kindness through grace. We must recognize that of all our privileges—education, class, gender, economic status, religious beliefs and profession—the most important is the privilege that forces us to make each day that we live matter. I live each day with the understanding that I must focus on the advancement of this University, its students and the generations of students that come after.

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I challenge each of you to ask yourselves two questions. First proposed by Dean Emeritus Howard Thurman, the first is “Where am I going?” and the second is “Who will go with me?” I consider it a significant privilege to serve as the president of this storied institution. I challenge myself each day to lead a team that is committed to providing the highest quality of education—with a heavy emphasis on the African diaspora—to those who otherwise would not have access and to have those students use their education to change the world. I am privileged to work with a Howard University team who has worked tirelessly to ensure that we make this school year another magical one. Already, we are moving in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report has highlighted that individuals both locally and globally realize why Howard University is necessary, now more than ever. In fact, we have risen 11 points—the largest leap in the 2017 National Universities rankings. Remember: Opportunity remains America’s promise. Education is the ink with which that contract is written. Howard University is the inkwell. Excellence in Truth and Service,

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


Director of Admissions and Registrar Talks About Degree Works


Howard Celebrates 149th Opening Convocation


Howard Rises in ‘Best Colleges Ranking of National Universities’


Michelle Obama, Seth Meyers, Nick Cannon Host Back-toSchool Event


President Frederick Delivers Chapel Address


Howard Alumna Awarded National Humanities Medal


Howard Volleyball Victorious at Penn Invitational


Rick Watts Appointed Chief Information Officer

September 2016 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 3


Director of Admissions and Registrar Talks About Degree Works Now that fall semester is in full swing, LaTrice Byam, director of admissions and registrar, stresses the importance of Degree Works – a program that allows students to monitor their progress toward their degree and ensure that they remain on track for graduation.

Here are a few facts about Degree Works: It is designed to generate and display a detailed audit of the student record, monitor course demand and indicate to the student whether his or her program requirements have been met. The implementation of this electronic system also seeks to eliminate students enrolling in nonessential courses. DEGREE WORKS FEATURES INCLUDE:

The What-if Analysis

The Look-Ahead Analysis

Displays a calculation of degree progress if the student should choose to change his or her program

Shows an audit of the student’s degree progress for courses that will be completed in the near future.

of study.

Adviser Notes

GPA Calculators

Assists advisers to correctly guide student course selection with clarity, as they now have access to a visual representation of the student's program and course requirements. Notes are also permanent and can serve as reminders of conversations held during

Allow students to determine the average GPA needed to be maintained or achieved in order to reach their desired GPA upon the completion of the degree. Degree Works delivers three calculators in order to assist students with the range of possibilities.

the advising sessions.

NOTE: Degree Works is only available for undergraduate students who entered during or after the fall 2013 semester. For questions or concerns regarding Degree Works, please email PAGE 4 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | September 2016

Howard Celebrates 149th Opening Convocation

September 2016 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 5

Howard Celebrates 149th Opening Convocation President Wayne A. I. Frederick (B.S. ’92; M.D. ’94; M.B.A. ’11) delivered the 149th Opening Convocation address on Sept. 23 in Cramton Auditorium. In the midst of the nationwide police shootings that have claimed the lives of numerous Black men and women, Frederick recognized those in attendance who chose to exercise their right to protest and sit during the National Anthem. “And, let me be clear,” Frederick said, “While I intend to stand while the National Anthem is played, I also will respect and celebrate your interests in protesting.” Frederick urged all in attendance to ensure that their protests do not only result in them sitting during the National Anthem, but also providing solutions. “This is our moral obligation” Frederick said. The Opening Convocation at Howard is a time-honored tradition, officially signaling the start of the academic year. The ceremony is a welcoming event for new students and an opportunity to recognize recent University achievements.

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Howard Rises in ‘Best Colleges Ranking of National Universities’


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Howard University, the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to be ranked on U.S. News & World Reports’ Best Colleges Ranking of National Universities, is No. 124 in the 2017 Edition rankings, which were released in mid-September. This represents an 11-point improvement from last year’s overall ranking of No. 135.

Howard was one of the two institutions that showed the greatest improvement in ranking nationally. The University was one of six universities that went up 10 points or more last year. The latest rankings represent a two-year increase for Howard of 21 points. For more information, visit




Howard University was ranked No. 2 on the Top 10 List of Best HBCUs.

Howard University was ranked No. 82 among Best Colleges for Veterans.

Howard University was ranked No. 83 among High School Counselor Rankings.

The U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings take into account the following categories: Undergraduate Academic Reputation, Student Selectivity, Faculty Resources, Graduation and Retention Rates, Financial Resources, Alumni Giving and Graduation Rate Performance. For more information about U.S. News & World Report’s ranking methodology, visit

September 2016 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 7

Michelle Obama, Seth Meyers, Nick Cannon Host Back-to-School Event First Lady Michelle Obama, Late Night’s Seth Meyers and Howard University student and television host Nick Cannon, were met with cheers Sept. 1 after surprising approximately 250 freshmen with a visit.

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The back-to-school event, held in the University’s School of Business auditorium, engaged students in a discussion about higher education. During the event, Obama promoted her Reach Higher initiative and "Better Make Room" campaign. “One of the reasons why we promote Reach Higher and getting kids to own their future and go to college, if possible, is because it changes your life. It just opens up a world of opportunity,” Obama told the crowd. “Try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar."

By expanding opportunities, the Reach Higher initiative inspires students to pursue an education past high school. The "Better Make Room” campaign supports the initiative by leveraging traditional and new media platforms to celebrate student experiences and the possibilities of a brighter future. Cannon and Meyers added to the conversation with advice on balancing school, pursuing careers and managing success.

your career, why go back to school? And honestly, I’m not here for a degree, I’m here because I have a real thirst for knowledge.” When a student asked Meyers’ thoughts on internships and life after college, he responded, “I will tell you everyone is noticing how hard of a worker you are. And not only do you have to present the best version of yourself here at school, but when you get out into the real world."

“I get the question all the time,” Cannon said. “It’s like, you’re already established in

The segment later aired on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.

September 2016 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 9

President Frederick Delivers Chapel Address On Sept. 4, President Wayne A. I. Frederick delivered his Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel address on privilege. Here are some moments that capture what happened at the event.

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September 2016 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 11

Howard Volleyball Victorious at Penn Invitational Howard Alumna Awarded National Humanities Medal President Barack Obama recently announced Isabel Wilkerson (B.A. ’94) as one of the distinguished recipients of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. Obama awarded the 2015 National Humanities Medal in conjunction with the National Medal of Arts during a White House ceremony on Sept. 22. Wilkerson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and the author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.” She studied journalism at Howard, becoming editor-inchief of the college newspaper, The Hilltop. During her undergraduate years, Wilkerson interned at many publications, including the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

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The Howard University Women’s Volleyball Team went a perfect 2-0 on the opening day of the Penn Invitational. The Bison started with a

3-1 (24-26, 25-16, 25-13, 25-19) victory over George Mason University before sweeping University of Pennsylvania (25-20, 25-22, 25-19) in the nightcap at the Palestra. Howard improved to 6-3 on the season with the pair of wins. For more information on Bison teams’ game schedules and outcomes, visit

Recent appointments

Rick Watts


Rick Watts was appointed associate vice president and chief information officer (CIO), effective Sept. 6. In this position, he is responsible for Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) operations and services and reports to Gracia Hillman, vice president for external affairs.

clients align IT operations to their business objectives. While at Atos, Watts served as consulting CIO to Howard from November 2015 to April 2016. He is also a certified project management professional and Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) professional software engineering master.

Watts brings a broad range of experience to Howard—27 years in the information technology (IT) industry, concentrating his efforts on the business value of IT, complex enterprise system architecture and program management. He most recently served as an IT delivery executive with Atos, a top 5 global IT service provider, where he helped

Watts succeeds Carlos De La Rosa, who served as Howard’s CIO from April 2015 through August 2016. We thank De La Rosa for his commitment to the University and his stewardship of ETS. Please welcome Rick Watts to the University.

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