Howard Bison Beat February 2021

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BLACK BISON BEAT A Monthly Newsletter from the Office of the President

HISTORY Making Black History

FEB 2021

Dear Howard University Community, The events of January 2021 served as a reminder that history is never behind us. We always carry it with us during the present and into the future. The sight of the Confederate flag being waved and flaunted in the United States Capitol on January 6 might have seemed like an alternate reality or a terrible nightmare. But for the Black community, it was a reflection of the society we had always known brought into the sunlight for all to see. The problems of the 19th century had followed us all the way into the 21st. But only 14 days later, on the very steps the

A presidential moment: President Frederick with then-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris in 2017

insurrectionists used to storm the Capitol, our esteemed alumnae Kamala Harris became the

who created Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in 1908,

49 vice president, the first Black person, first

which Vice President Harris joined at Howard in

woman and first individual of South Asian descent

the 1980s.


to occupy the second highest office in the land. The ascent of a Black woman to the White Despite the unprecedented nature of the

House was not ahistorical or history-making. It

occasion, history was present in that moment: The

was history-affirming. That the work of so many

suffragists who helped pass the 19 Amendment

visionary servant leaders over the course of

in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.

centuries could culminate in this singular moment

The abolitionists who helped pass the 13

should reinforce our belief in the value of the



Amendment in 1865, which abolished slavery.

work we’re doing right now. Progress is often

The founders of Howard University who created

slow, and it is never perfect. But the fruition of the

an institution in 1867, one intended to educate

progress we seek, no matter how long it takes, is

freed slaves and welcome all people regardless

always worth it.

of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. The women

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During this Black History Month, we should spare a look over our shoulders as we continue the forward march of history. We should seek examples of Black excellence throughout American history that speak to us. We should find historical leaders whose work we can strive to further and advance. As we struggle against racial injustice and inequality, we should be humbled and inspired



that we do not have to start at the beginning. We are merely building another layer of the


Campus Happenings


Campus Updates


The 2021 Patricia Roberts Harris Fellows for Public Affairs


Awards and Recognition

brickwork upon a foundation that preexisted us so that others who follow in our footsteps may build upon what we leave behind.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

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

10 Alumna Adana Llanos, Ph.D., MPH, on confronting disparities in biomedicine

Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery PRE SID E N T

11 Ashley Gray, Ph.D., on being the first doctorate of Howard’s new education program

12 Get Vaccinated! Why President Frederick wants people to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

14 The Inauguration of United States Vice President Kamala Harris

16 In Memoriam David Dinkins David C. Driskell

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Campus Happenings Fans tuned into a two-part online event to kick off the film version of August Wilson’s play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The film, released on Netflix in December, featured Chadwick Boseman in his final performance. The Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Virtual Jam Session included a panel discussion about the differences between the play and film versions. It was led by Sandra G. Shannon, Ph.D., president of the August Wilson Society, with actress Phylicia Rashad (B.F.A. ’70); actor, playwright, director and screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson; and recording artist and actress Ebony Jo-Ann. Both Rashad and Santiago-Hudson directed the play versions. The Virtual Jam Session also included an exclusive interview with the movie’s director, George C. Wolfe, and actor Colman Domingo, who played the role of Cutler in the film.

CHECKMATE! HU CHESS CLUB WINS CHAMPIONSHIP Howard’s Chess Club took first place at the 2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship Online Division VI within the 1400-rated category. The tournament was held online this year due to COVID-19 and to allow for international student teams. Howard’s players included club president Michele Bennett, club vice president Malcolm Wooten, Azeezah Muhammad and Toni Anthony. The team received special recognition because Muhammad, a previously unrated player, defeated a 1700-rated player. Bennett noted that this tournament was the most competitive of the season for collegiate players. “I’m so proud of them because they brought their A-game, and we earned our place as champions,” she said.

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*Photo Credit Netflix


COMMUNAL CONVERSATIONS: “NEW YEAR, NEW WHAT?” In a recent Communal Conversations, a biweekly program coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, students discussed how the chaos of 2020 helped to open their eyes to the myriad ways they could make a difference in the world. The conversation featured seniors David Robinson Jr. and Oluwatobi Mojeed Balogun, and juniors Cymone Rice and Inez Jacobs Hinton. The students discussed their endeavors to create and embrace newness in the midst of the resurgence of racially charged violence and the global COVID-19 pandemic. Balogun, an HUASB site coordinator and HU Day of Service co-director, shared a poignant reflection about President Fredrick’s call to seek “mission over major.” He noted that, most important, is to “make sure that I’m teaching, learning and serving my community.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. SERVICE DAY In celebration of the holiday honoring the life and legacy of honorary Howard alumnus, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Ph.D., the global Howard community joined together during a virtual student-led Service and Justice Day project. Coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel in partnership with the Biden-Harris Inaugural Committee, the opening program included reflections from student leaders on the purpose of service and the impact of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Volunteers designed thank-you cards and wrote letters of thanks to essential employees. “Service creates a space for individuals to establish community, learn about and respond to diverse needs, and engage in deep listening and reflection,” said Andreya Davis, assistant dean for faith-based and community initiatives in the Office of the Dean of the Chapel. “Howard University Bison always respond to the call to serve.”

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QUIET STORM ROUND-THE-CLOCK Listeners can take in a Quiet Storm moment any time of the day, as 96.3 WHUR rolls out The Quiet Storm Station. Formerly WHUR-World, the new Quiet Storm Station on 96.3HD2 plays its slow jams around-the-clock, seven days a week, in the same flavor originated back in 1976 by the late Melvin Lindsey. The station will be programmed by WHUR Music and assistant program director Traci LaTrelle.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT SUMMER INSTITUTE AT HOWARD The Howard University School of Education will host the first Howard University Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI) this Summer. In an effort to increase the diversity of AP educators nationwide, the School of Education is committed to attracting Black and Latinx high school teachers to the institute. The inaugural APSI at Howard University will provide 280 high school educators with over 30 hours of intensive professional development in a virtual setting. Two one-week cohorts will be offered from July 19-23, 2021 and from July 26-30, 2021. For more information, visit https://education.

HOWARD LAUNCHES BACHELOR OF ARTS TO JURIS DOCTOR JOINT-DEGREE PROGRAM Pre-law students entering Howard as freshmen can kick-start their path with the new joint program with the law school. The six-year program allows students to complete their Bachelor of Arts and juris doctor degrees in a time- and cost-effective way. Students are selected based on personal statements, SAT or ACT scores, GPA, extracurricular activities. The incoming class includes 10 freshmen majoring in political science, philosophy or legal communications.

HOWARD SCHOLAR PROGRAM AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY Howard University and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate between students, faculty, events and programs. The agreement includes the Howard Scholar at McCourt program, which provides full tuition to a Howard student or alumnus to one of McCourt’s graduate programs. Howard faculty working on approved research will also have increased access to confidential data housed at Georgetown’s Research Data Center and Massive Data Institute. The Howard Scholar program begins in Fall 2021.


BISON SAFE APP Howard University has paired its pandemic response with the campus emergency alert system. Both are under the goals of Bison SAFE: Supporting our community. Advocating for high-risk populations. Facilitating ethical, culturally sensitive, and inclusive research. Educating the public on best practices for safety. Students, faculty and staff can download the Bison SAFE app to receive alerts, in-app reporting and more related to campus and COVID-19 safety. PAGE 6 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | FEBRUARY 2021

The 2021 Patricia Roberts Harris Fellows for Public Affairs A big congratulations to the eight Howard University students who were recently named the 2021 Patricia Roberts Harris Fellows (PRH), designated for undergraduate scholars interested in the field of public affairs.

The eight fellows selected are: Aissa Dearing, junior, of Durham,

Kenadi Maupin, junior,

North Carolina, studying history and environmental science;

political science with a

of New Orleans, studying minor in English;

Katherine Gilyard, junior, of Albany, Georgia, studying journalism with a minor in biology;

Camille King, sophomore, of Hamden, Connecticut, studying TV and film with a minor in English.

Elon Stein, sophomore, of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, studying sociology with a minor in business administration;

Makenli Raspberry, junior, of Houston, studying sportsmedicine with a minor in chemistry;

Deanrea Sykes Jr., sophomore, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, studying philosophy with a minor in African-American studies;

The PRH Fellowship provides unique professional development experience to students through exposure and engagement in three major programmatic components: mentorship, internship and the Patricia Roberts Harris Annual Lecture in Public Affairs. Students also receive a stipend that’s applicable to their Summer internship. This year’s fellowship will be virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. Since 1987, the PRH Fellowship has provided a unique professional development experience to Howard students, with more than 200 program graduates around the world.

Brielle Smith, sophomore, of Atlanta, studying public relations with a minor in business administration;

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Awards Recognition SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK DEAN RECOGNIZED FOR INSPIRING STUDENTS Dean Sandra Edmonds Crewe, Ph.D., MSM, of the Howard University School of Social Work, was recently awarded the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for inspiring her students to make a significant contribution to society. The award includes a $25,000 cash prize. Florence Champagne, MSW, founder and CEO of the Open My Heart Foundation, nominated Dr. Crewe and credited her as the inspiration behind the idea and launch of her foundation. Champagne had experienced health care disparities following a heart attack and open-heart surgery and sought to reduce or eliminate disparities among women of color suffering from heart disease. “I was then able to utilize

my social work practice skills to become an advocate for not only myself, but for others in similar situations,” she wrote in her nomination letter.

“One of the greatest honors that one has is to be appreciated by your students and to know that you have made a difference in their careers,” Dr. Crewe said. Crewe has dedicated her career and life to improving the quality of life for African-Americans as well as other underserved and marginalized populations.

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CATHY HUGHES RECEIVES CONGRESSIONAL RECOGNITION Howard alumna Cathy Hughes was recently recognized by Congress for her groundbreaking work in media as her radio company, Urban One, turned 40 this year. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia and Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland both delivered remarks to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, respectively.

“Cathy Hughes has left an indelible mark on the State of Maryland and inspired millions of listeners across the country,” said Sen. Van Hollen. In 2016, the Cathy Hughes School of Communication at Howard University was named for her in honor of her tenure at WHUR-FM, where she eventually became general manager.

KANSAS LIBRARY NAMED FOR HU PROFESSOR The Wichita City Council recently voted to name a new library after HU professor and former department of political science chair Ronald W. Walters, Ph.D.

“Ron was always a brilliant scholar – a person that was always concerned about the underserved and the poor, and that was his total focus throughout his whole life,” said Walters’s wife, Patricia Turner Walters, during a Wichita City Council meeting, where the decision to name the library was approved. Walters was known for his activism and scholarship on issues affecting the African diaspora. Born and raised in Wichita, he started his activism there as president of the local youth chapter of the NAACP and organized one of the country’s first lunch counter sit-ins to protest segregation. He taught at Howard from 1971 to 1996, and at the time of his death in 2010, he was preparing to return as a senior research fellow and lecturer.

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Closing the Biomedical Gap

Howard alumna Adana Llanos, Ph.D., MPH, works to eliminate disparities at a microscopic and macroscopic level. Dr. Adana Llanos (B.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’09) is passionate about inequities in cancer as well as in the science profession. A biology major at Howard with strong writing skills, Dr. Llanos recalls being encouraged by her professors to switch from pre-med to research instead. Today, she is an assistant professor in the department of biostatistics and epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health and was recently named a 2021 Emerging Scholar by the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. During the course of her career, she noted the limited representation of Black participants in biomedical research and among her colleagues – two areas she hopes will change.


Explain what you do as a molecular epidemiologist.


My research focuses on biological and molecular factors that contribute to disparities and in cancer, particularly cancers for which we observe disproportionately high mortality rates among racial/ethnic minorities and medically underserved groups. Much of my work has focused on biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment, but I have been pivoting a bit to examine how social determinants and biological factors interact as a means to better understand the causes of inequities in cancer outcomes. I have an interest in studying these issues in populations of African ancestry given the increasing burden in these groups, including in the Caribbean.


What is something that’s surprised you during your research?


The importance of considering both biological and social factors (and the combination of them) to understanding disparities. While my Ph.D. is in genetics, I have found that for the most part genetics, and more broadly biology, does not explain why some groups have worse cancer outcomes, but rather how the downstream effects of social determinants of health, such as structural racism, impact disease risk and outcomes.

Q: A:

Why academia? I ask myself that question a lot! I really love the research I’m doing and having the autonomy to choose my research focus. My interactions with students, especially students from groups that are underrepresented in STEM, has also kept me in academia. I think about the possibility of them never seeing faculty and scientists that look like them and how that might impact their desire to pursue these types of careers.


Q: A:

We’d like to think each of our students will contribute to Black history in their own way. What do you think your contribution will be? I hope that my research contributes to closing the disparity gap for breast cancer mortality between Black and white women. I also hope to continue the legacy of Black excellence that was instilled in me at Howard and to make Black history as a role model, inspiring the future generation of leaders in STEM.

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Being First Ashley Gray, Ph.D., the first doctorate of Howard’s new education program, talks about many firsts – for Black women and for higher education. Ashley Gray, Ph.D., became the first person to defend her dissertation in the Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program at Howard. With several years of experience already working in higher education, Dr. Gray focused her research on Black women in the U.S. college presidency. Fresh from her defense, she reflects on what she’s accomplished and what’s ahead.

So, how do you feel?

It’s kind of surreal. I have to remind myself that I’m done. I’m still getting used to the title and the responsibility that comes with it.

Your thesis is entitled, “I’ve Got a Testimony!: Black Women College Presidents' Ascension Barriers Stories.” What are some of the key points? There’s the myth that Black women are not ready for leadership. My research dispels this. I had the privilege of sharing the stories of six very accomplished women who were long ready for leadership before they were given the opportunity. Additionally, Black women have to show we can do the work before we can get the job. While men are often hired on potential, Black women get hired on the work we’ve already done and oftentimes how that work serves others. This means we (Black women) get the opportunities at very different times and without the same support structures as our peers. Only five percent of college presidents identify as “women of color,” so there is little literature on the personal and professional experiences of Black women college presidents. This makes for a lonely position at the top for some Black women because there are so few. Simply stated, my research reminds us that much is to be done to recruit, support and retain Black women in leadership.

What was it like to be pioneering this degree? The most amazing challenge ever. It was challenging for many reasons, from balancing working full-time to expectations from everyone and myself. And there were moments when stopping felt like a reasonable decision, but I pressed through because pursuing was always bigger than my own benefit. I also knew I stood on the shoulders of giants like Frankie Muse Freeman and Lucy Diggs Slowe – dynamic Howard women. And my work is not done.

What are your plans going forward? I just want to do great work that amplifies the voices of Black women. I don’t know what position that will lead me to just yet. Perhaps one day, the college presidency.

Each of our students contributes to Black history in their own way. What’s your contribution?

“My research is a love letter to Black women. It reminds us that we are powerful and prepared to lead.”

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Get Vaccinated! WHY PRESIDENT FREDERICK WANTS PEOPLE TO BE VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19. President Frederick is urging the Black public: When the time comes, please get vaccinated!

Interested in Participating? Volunteers can register to participate in vaccine trials at the national website or the Howard University vaccine study site and indicate “HOWU” as the site code in the registration form. Interested volunteers can also call the national registry site at 1-866288-1919 and request information on the Howard University-managed clinical trial. Eligible participants must be age 18 years or older and the trial aims to recruit people who are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, including people with underlying medical conditions; people with greater chances of exposure at their job; those who live or work in elder-care facilities; older adults (65 years or more); or those who work in jails or prisons. Participants will be compensated for clinical trial participation.

“I feel a lot of science has gone into this, and it’s the best thing to do.” – JERREN


Noting coronavirus’ significant impact on communities of color, Dr. Frederick wants to reassure people of those communities that the vaccines are more than 90 percent effective to protect against COVID-19. As a doctor, educator, father and person living with sickle cell disease, Dr. Frederick was among the first to receive the vaccine at Howard University Hospital, as seen in a public safety announcement video, in hopes that his example would encourage others to do the same. “The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on communities of color, and that narrative won’t change until we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from exposure,” he said. Nationally, African-Americans are almost three times as likely to die of COVID-19 as whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Washington, D.C. alone, AfricanAmericans have comprised 75 percent of the COVID-19-related deaths, while making up only 46 percent of the city’s population. Public health officials and academics are pointing to underlying health conditions for the severity of the virus in vulnerable populations. Now, as vaccines are being rolled out, he stresses the importance of vaccinations to protect the general public. “We can’t get to the other side of this pandemic

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without you,” he said. “Wear a mask, keep your social distance, wash your hands and, when the time comes, get vaccinated.” Since March 2020, Dr. Frederick has been leading a number of efforts to confront the pandemic, including closing the University, setting up COVID-19 testing sites in urban communities and cochairing Mayor Muriel Bowser’s ReOpen DC subcommittee to address equity and vulnerable populations. He has also emphasized the necessity of including more people of color in vaccine trials and encouraging them to be vaccinated. His colleagues agreed. “I understand there is a lot of hesitancy in minority communities across the country when it comes to health care, but this is not an American experiment on Black people,” said Howard University Hospital CEO Anita Jenkins as she received the vaccine. “We want the public to know that we trust the science, we’re leading by example and taking the vaccine will help us end this pandemic and the tragic loss of life.”

Howard evaluates safety of new vaccine through phase 3 trial Dr. Frederick has noted that while communities of color have suffered the most during the pandemic, they have not been well represented in the vaccine trials to date.

In order to reach these more vulnerable populations, Howard recently began participating in a Phase 3 COVID-19 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new COVID-19 vaccine developed by Maryland-biotechnology company, Novavax.

“Nobody wants COVID. That’s the most important reason. I’ve been seeing people who are much younger than me and in better health than me succumb.” – ELLA POLLEN-COLE (B.S. ’74), VACCINE RECIPIENT

This clinical trial expects to include proportional representation among diverse populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 distributed across race/ ethnicity, age and those living with co-morbidities.

“Our goal through participation is to ensure a safe and effective product is developed to address the needs of Black, Latino and other minority communities,” said Dr. Frederick. Dr. Siham Mahgoub, medical director of the Center of Infectious Diseases Management and Research and principal investigator for Novavax trial at Howard University, notes that Black and Latino communities already face an unequal burden of chronic health conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and hypertension. Oftentimes, people have more than one of them. “If the vaccine trials include significant numbers of people with these diverse medical histories, we can have greater confidence that vaccines will be safe for people with a wide range of health conditions,” she said.

“You could have the test today and still contract it the same day. You just really don’t know. I would rather be on the 95-98 percent of having my immune system elevated to fight it off rather than not having any safeguard for myself.” – JOAN TAYLOR-GOUGH, VACCINE RECIPIENT

Fighting COVID-19 at Howard University Hospital Number of COVID patients assessed and treated at Howard University Hospital (HUH) in 2020:





Total number of vaccines provided by HUH employee COVID-19 vaccine clinic*

First dose






TOP: Dr. Frederick talks with a recently vaccinated resident about his experience. BOTTOM: Jerren Holdip (left) and his fatherin-law display their vaccination cards

*as of February 1, 2021 Photo credit: Justin Knight

FEBRUARY 2021 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 13

The Inauguration of United States Vice President

Kamala Harris

Photo by: Carlos M. Vazquez II

It is with tremendous pride that I offer congratulations on behalf of the entire Howard University family to one of our own, Kamala Harris, in honor of her inauguration to become the 49th vice president in the history of the United States. Harris’ ascendance is a powerful symbol of the progress our country has made. To be sure, that progress has been inconsistent, and our country is far from perfect. But we would be remiss to overlook the significance of what Harris’ inauguration represents. That a Black woman can rise to hold the second most powerful office in the entire country, especially in the midst of continuing inequality, injustice and intolerance, is a decisive testament to our country’s values and its future trajectory. Let us all take a moment to congratulate and thank Vice President Harris. The struggles she had to endure to reach these unprecedented levels within our nation’s government have blazed a trail for others to follow. We need only point to Kamala Harris when telling our children that anything they can imagine, they can achieve. – President Wayne A.I. Frederick

“To know that she went to the same university that I attend, took the same types of classes as me, stayed in the same dormitories I’ve lived in – it is really inspiring to see her now becoming one of the most powerful women in the world.” – KENADI MAUPIN (JUNIOR)

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HOWARD CELEBRATES HISTORY IN THE MAKING Bison presence was strong at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20. The Howard University Showtime Marching Band, featuring the drumline, the Flashy Flag Squad and the Ooh La La dancers, performed a special drum cadence in the parade leading Harris to the White House. Alumnus Michael Bearden (B.M. ‘86) had arranged Lady Gaga’s music for the National Anthem and conducted the orchestra that accompanied her.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” – U.S. VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS (B.A. ’86)

Back on campus, the chapel bell tolled 49 times for Harris as she became the 49th vice president of the United States. In homes across the nation, the Howard community donned Chuck Taylors and pearls, both staples in Vice President Harris’ ensembles, as they cheered their fellow Bison. Online, the Howard University Alumni Association was in full celebration later that evening at the Blackburn Virtual Inaugural party, with special performances by alumni Eric Roberson (B.A. ’97) and Tracey Lee (B.A. ’93). Howard University also joined other HBCU leaders, members of the Black Congressional Caucus and the Divine Nine, and other entertainers to welcome the new administration at the “We Are One” event, where Dr. Frederick delivered remarks.

Photo by: Justin Knight

FEBRUARY 2021 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 15

Photo by: Jerry Glaser

Photo credit: Zella Jones/ Flickr

In Memoriam David Dinkins

Former mayor of New York City and Howard University alumnus David Dinkins lived our institution’s values of truth and service. In all he did, he acted in accordance with the needs of those around him. From 1990 to 1993, Mayor Dinkins served as the first and only Black mayor of our country’s largest city. He took over the helm of New York at a time when the city was besieged by crime, corruption and racial division. While his election might not have ushered in a new era of peace and harmony, his ascendance represented a significant moment for the country. When Mayor Dinkins was elected, it was an important signal that the interests of the city’s African-American population and communities of color must be taken into account. It also demonstrated the power and relevance of civic engagement and the importance of mobilizing during elections.

In order to enact change, Mayor Dinkins, who had worked in government for years before rising to become mayor, proved the importance of working within our democratic systems and structures. As mayor, he was dedicated to serving all of New York’s many diverse populations and making his government as inclusive as possible. He appointed African-American, female, Hispanic and openly gay individuals to important posts. Mayor Dinkins was also determined to serve the interests of the city’s impoverished and underprivileged, including New York’s homeless populations.

“I intend to be the mayor of all the people of New York,” Mayor Dinkins said after his election. “This administration will never lead by dividing, by setting some of us against the rest of us or by favoring one group over others.” Mayor Dinkins passed away on November 23, 2020 at the age of 93. His beloved wife Joyce Dinkins, a fellow Howard graduate, died fewer than two months before him. The two met while they were undergraduates at Howard; Mayor Dinkins studied mathematics and Mrs. Dinkins studied sociology. In 1991, he also received Howard’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in the field of politics. In 1992, he served as the opening convocation speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Laws.

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David C. Driskell David C. Driskell devoted himself to preserving the rich heritage of African-American visual art and culture. His contributions as an artist, scholar and curator laid the groundwork for the study of African-American art history. He is viewed as one of the primary people responsible for bringing African-Americans into the mainstream of American art. Born in 1931 in Eatonton, Georgia and raised in North Carolina, David Driskell joined the Howard family as an undergraduate. He completed his degree in liberal arts in 1955. He later returned in 1962 as part of Howard’s faculty for four years and in 2010, received an honorary doctoral degree.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton selected Dr. Driskell as a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. He was also asked by President and Mrs. Clinton to choose artwork for the White House. Speaking at the time, he emphasized his reverence for the past. “The

humanities for me are the basis for the whole learning experience. They inform us so much about the past,” he said. Dr. Driskell was gracious with his time and his talent always. He was a true gentleman and a very generous spirit; a shining example for these times that we are traversing. Howard University remains grateful for Dr. Driskell’s contribution to African-American art and cultural history, a contribution which will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations.

He also completed the art program at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and obtained an MFA from Catholic University. Over the years, he has received 13 honorary doctoral degrees in art. Dr. Driskell taught at various universities, including Talladega College, Fisk University, Bowdoin College, the University of Michigan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. He joined the Department of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1977 and served as chair from 1978-1983. In 2001, the University of Maryland established the David C. Driskell Center in his honor. In 1976, he curated the landmark exhibition, “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750-1950.” An avid collector of African-American art and artifacts dating from the era of slave ships to modern times, his own collection also toured as an exhibition, “Narratives of African-American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection.” Dr. Driskell lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other museums, and curated numerous other exhibitions. He was the recipient of numerous fellowships, awards and prizes, including three Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships and a Harmon Foundation Fellowship.

Photo credit: University of Maryland

FEBRUARY 2021 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 17


Alumni Giving In the spirit of “paying it forward,” young alumni are giving back to Howard for supporting them through their not-so-long-ago collegiate years and inspiring their peers to do the same. One such gift was from actress Ashley Blaine Featherson (B.A. ’09), who collaborated with the HU Office of Development and Alumni Relations to create the Ashley Blaine Featherson Early Career Grant. The $25,000 grant is directed at theatre arts graduating seniors looking to pursue an acting career. She hopes students can reach their dreams of becoming actors by helping to fund their relocation for acting work. She also wants to spark a new wave of first-time donorship to Howard, particularly among alumni who graduated between 2009-2019. Only 15.6 percent of alumni who have graduated since 2009 have given gifts to Howard, according to Sharon Strange Lewis, director of alumni relations. “We hope that this gift will inspire other young alumni to give back and pay it forward to the next generation of Bison leaders.” Featherson, a graduate of theatre arts, remembers what it was like when she was graduating and starting out on her own. “In reflection of my own path to this point in my acting career, I wish I had more financial support,” said the actress, who is known for her work in “Dear White People” on Netflix.

“I was fortunate to be able to extend an uplifting hand back to support Bison pursuing their dreams of acting post-graduation with this gift.” Seniors must apply for the award during their final semester and will be selected by the chair of theatre arts in consultation with department faculty. Recipients will be chosen on the basis of their acting accomplishments during their matriculation as a Howard student, the strength of their application, their commitment to acting as a profession and ability to benefit from the award, as determined by the chair. Each recipient is eligible for only one award. In addition to Featherson’s gift, the Howard University’s Class of 2014 established the Class of 2014 Endowed Scholarship Fund in anticipation of its 10-year reunion. This scholarship will help graduating seniors who are in need of financial assistance. Alumni can make a contribution to this scholarship fund by visiting Alumni around the country and throughout the world can give and become new or renewed donors by visiting

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Enclosed is my gift of $

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

Name: _____________________________________________________________ Title: ______________________________________________________________ Company/Organization: _____________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip: ______________________________________________________ If new address, please check: ¨


“The Journey” Last month on the podcast “The Journey,” guests included Monique McClung, president of the Howard University Staff Organization; Okianer Christian Dark, associate provost for faculty development at the University and professor of law at HU School of Law; Dr. Dawn Williams, professor and dean of the Howard University School of Education; Dr. Maureen Bell, the chair of emergency medicine at Howard University Hospital; Roy Dunlap, the director of environmental and guest services at Howard University Hospital; and award-winning actress Cicely Tyson, a replay from a 2016 conversation.

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The conversations highlighted discussions surrounding the pandemic, including campus resources, support and vaccines. Dr. Frederick also discussed what the new presidential administration means for education and how to elevate the University through its students and faculty.


My and/or my spouse’s employer will match my/our gift. For online giving, visit: DIVISION OF DEVELOPMENT & ALUMNI RELATIONS HOWARD UNIVERSITY 2225 GEORGIA AVENUE NW, ROOM 901 WASHINGTON, DC 20059

Will you answer the call? FEBRUARY 2021 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | PAGE 19

PAGE 20 | Bison Beat Monthly Newsletter | FEBRUARY 2021

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