President's Bison Beat May 2015

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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 MAY 2015











Dear Howard University Community: On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered the commencement address to the graduating class at Howard University. The President’s comments addressed the plight of African Americans and the impact of a long history of oppression, disenfranchisement, injustice and abuse. As Howard and our nation reflect on this historic event, many ask why President Johnson chose Howard to make such an important, but racially charged speech. I argue, how could the President justify speaking on this topic anywhere else? In the 1960’s, our nation was again at a critical juncture in its history. The pains of racism and oppression and the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement forced a nation to bend the trajectory of U.S. race relations, at least within its laws and legislative actions. The turn was slow; nevertheless, the Movement marched forward. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and, in due order, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, a southerner from Texas, ascended to become our nation’s 36th President. Many African-Americans had little or no confidence that President Johnson would be concerned with their plight. But the work of countless students, scholars, and alumni from Howard University, and many other leaders in the Civil Rights Movement lifted their voice so all would hear. The President was compelled to listen. After passing the Civil Rights Act in 1964, efforts were underway to pass the Voting Rights Act. Two months before the Voting Rights Act passed, President Johnson identified a platform to further push not only the Voting Rights Act, but to advance the narrative justifying why freedom, equality, equal access to opportunity given the painful recognition of the nation’s grievous history against its own citizens was absolutely necessary. It was politics, but it was necessary. In his address to Howard, and to a nation President Johnson said “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains…bring him to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others. Thus, it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.’” Where else could he go to make such a statement? Only Howard. Fifty years later, the answer is still “only Howard.” In May, we graduated the class of 2015, presenting to the world a new cohort of global citizens, steeped in the history and legacy of the Howard mission and its lauded scholars. Howard still serves as a necessary stop for our nation’s leaders and politicians, because only at Howard will they receive the platform, dynamic engagement from students and scholarly vigor that qualify (and sometimes disqualifies) their efforts. I invite you to enjoy this new edition of the Bison Beat, where you will see a recap of our 2015 graduation and other notable events and scholarly achievements from across campus that occurred only at Howard. In Truth and Service,

Wayne A.I. Frederick President

COMMENCEMENT 2015 XEROX CEO ENCOURAGES GRADUATES TO BUILD A BETTER TOMORROW Excitement filled the air as Ursula M. Burns, chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, delivered the 2015 keynote commencement address to Howard University students, faculty, staff and guests. Sharing insights from her groundbreaking career, Burns highlighted education as the key to her success as the first African-American female CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. Noting the changing landscape of America and opportunities for young African Americans, Burns urged the 2015 graduating class to use their education to pursue their dreams, lead and make a difference in their communities. “All of you will immerse yourselves in a world full of opportunity and challenge. What is amazing to me is that you are entering an America that my generation could barely imagine,” Burns said. “…honor the memory of those upon whose shoulders you stand today and help build a better tomorrow.” In his speech, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., reflected on current events including the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray – young African-American men killed by police officers under circumstances that led to citizen protests. He called on graduates to uphold Howard University’s long history of community leadership. “As Howard University graduates, we challenge you to continue our legacy of being a voice for the voiceless and advocates for the underrepresented and underserved, particularly during a time when social change is the only answer,” President Frederick said. Howard University awarded honorary degrees to award-winning actor and director Morgan Freeman, Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum, as well as philanthropists and Howard University graduates Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown. The class of 2015 has more than 2,400 graduates, including undergraduate, graduate, professional and certification students. This year’s graduates come from 42 states and the District of Columbia and 32 countries across five continents.

To view the full commencement address, please visit: http:// CLASS OF 2015 SNAPSHOT OF 2015 SNAPSHOT ment-2015/

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Dear Fellow Alumni & Friends: Thank you for your generous contributions to the Gift a Senior campaign, which supported 123 undergraduate students as they took the Long Walk at Howard University’s Commencement on May 9. To make monthly re-occurring contributions or any other contribution, please visit, click on the gold “GIVE NOW” box on your left and complete the giving form.


SCHOOL OF LAW RISES IN RANKINGS Howard University School of Law (HUSL) recently rose from No. 135 to No. 110 out of the 149 ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s “Best Law Schools.” The 25-spot climb is the result of a rise in LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point averages of the most recent class. The greatest improvement was an increase in the number of employed graduates within nine months of receiving their Juris Doctorate degrees. “Our law school has a history of placing its graduates in excellent legal jobs in a variety of areas, including corporate law and public interest law,” said Dean Danielle Holley-Walker. “We’re excited that the achievements of our students and faculty are being recognized. My expectation is that the excellence of HUSL will be recorded in many ways as we move forward.” In 2014, HUSL was ranked as one of the top Go-To Law Schools in a report by the National Law Journal & Legal Times (NLJ). It was also ranked as one of the top 20 schools in the United States for producing public service graduates by The National Jurist magazine in 2012. HUSL boasts such notable alumni as Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed and former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. HUSL has been educating legal scholars for more than 145 years.


THREE STUDENTS WIN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIPS Three Howard University students were awarded scholarships at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) annual dinner on April 25. Winners were sophomore Brandi Hopkins, juniors Jourdan Henry and Precious Osagie-Erese. Henry, a broadcast journalism major and sports administration minor, received the Harry S. McAlpin, Jr., Scholarship, named for the first black reporter to cover a presidential news conference at the White House. Henry said he’d found out about the WHCA scholarship program from his mother, who watched the televised broadcast of winners from Howard University a previous year, and encouraged him to apply. Rejected the first time he applied, but not deterred, he submitted again during the following year’s scholarship cycle and won. “I was pretty much waiting that entire year to apply again and thinking about what I’d write in my essay,” said Henry. “I spent over a month working on my essay. So, when I found out, I was ecstatic.” Henry was told of his win in late March, and even now, is in disbelief that he met President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who both attended the dinner. “It was really surreal. I still can’t believe it. And, everybody was talking about, beforehand, how it’s usually kind of noisy when the scholarships are announced,” said Henry. “But, I feel like the attention was pretty much on us the whole time. CNN cut it off (the live broadcast) and went to commercial, but everybody in the audience was respectful and recognized our hard work and achievements. Afterwards, a couple of people came up and talked to us and congratulated us.” Osagie-Erese, a junior from Nigeria and editor of Howard University’s newspaper, The Hilltop, and Montgomery, a sophomore broadcast journalism major and speech pathology minor, received the WHCA scholarship prize at the dinner. “The School of Communications is very proud of Jourdan, Precious and Brandi as recipients of 2015 White House Correspondents’ Association scholarship awards,” said School of Communications Dean Gracie Lawson-Borders. “They are the communicators of the future we look to who will continue the tradition of excellence in their academic and professional efforts.” Henry will be putting his $7,000 scholarship — the same amount awarded to Osagie-Erese and Montgomery—towards the upcoming semester’s tuition, and plans on interning with ONE World Sports for the summer. He will also received the National Association of Black Journalists Larry Whiteside Scholarship award in August. Henry, Hopkins and Osagie-Erese represent three of 27 students from Howard who have received WHCA scholarships since the inception of the organization’s scholarship program in 1991.


HOWARD RECEIVES $1.7 MILLION GRANT FOR LANGUAGE, INTERNATIONAL STUDIES PROGRAMS The Department of African Studies has received a grant of $1.7 million from the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen foreign language instruction and international studies programs. The four-year grant is offered under the Title VI National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) programs. Howard is established as one of 10 National Resource Centers for Africa Studies, along with Yale University, the University of Florida-Gainesville, the University of Illinois-Champaign, Boston University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota. The grant also will provides fellowships to students studying critical foreign languages and will support the addition of two new African language course offerings. “Howard University is a pioneer and leader in the study of Africa and international affairs in the U.S. academy and worldwide, and this grant helps consolidate and expand that legacy,” said Department of African Studies Chair Dr. Mbye Cham. The grant will help the universities strengthen the capacity and performance of American education in foreign languages, international, and area studies, teacher preparation and outreach to K-16, four-year, and community colleges. At Howard, the grant provides FLAS fellowships to select graduate and undergraduate students across all schools and disciplines to undertake African language training and pursue Africa-related course work and research in their disciplines. FLAS fellowships provide academic year tuition and stipends of $33,000 for five graduate students per year and $25,000 for two undergraduate students per year. Up to five summer fellowships of $7,500 for undergraduate and graduate students will be available. Two new African language courses – Zulu and Amharic – have been added in spring 2015 to the existing Swahili, Arabic, Wolof and Yoruba language courses in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. For more information on the grant and the National Resource Center of FLAS fellowship, please contact Dr. Wheeler Winstead at wheeler.r.winstead@ FLAS fellowship application forms can be downloaded at http://

HOWARD UNIVERSITY SENIOR SARAH T. JONES WINS $50,000 UNCF-PHARRELL WILLIAMS SCHOLARSHIP Howard University senior Sarah Jones received a $50,000 scholarship for her commitment to her community by volunteering and making excellent contributions in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) fields. The scholarship is the result of a partnership between the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and music mogul Pharrell Williams’ organization, From One Hand to Another (FOHTA) Foundation. Jones participated in the 2014 HBCU Innovation Summit Hackathon in Silicon Valley and was on a winning team that created a mobile application that exposes the content of an object once a camera phone hovers over it. The application engages children by using science and technology. “I would not have had the opportunity if it was not for Howard University’s Innovation Fellowship. Being a fellow has gifted me with opportunities and exposure that allowed me to participate in the Hackathon and meet UNCF representatives,” she stated. As a result of her UNCF connections, she was elected to be highlighted at UNCF’s signature fundraiser, Evening of Stars, and subsequently chosen by Pharrell Williams as the award recipient. “We are so excited that Sarah Jones will be joining our staff this summer in Virginia Beach. It’s exciting to see her giving back and helping to teach and inspire our kids,” said Williams. Jones’ expected graduation date is December 2015.


Read more here.

Bernard Mair, Ph.D., Named Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Tiesha “Ty” Grace Hired as Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Bernard A. Mair, Ph.D., the associate provost for undergraduate affairs at the University of Florida, was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University, effective May 11, 2015.

Tiesha “Ty” Grace is the newest head coach of the Lady Bison Women’s Basketball program.

Mair, who also is director of the Ronald McNair Program at Florida, served as associate dean of that university’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences during the 2008-09 academic year.

Dr. Hugh Mighty Appointed Dean, College of Medicine President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., announced the appointment of Dr. Hugh E. Mighty as dean of the Howard University College of Medicine and vice president of clinical affairs. In his new role Dr. Mighty will oversee the College of Medicine’s academic programs and provide oversight of its administrative and financial operations. Dr. Mighty will also serve as vice president of clinical affairs, having oversight of the relationship between the academic enterprise and the hospital and responsibility for the development and direction of the Faculty Practice Plan. He will also serve as professor on the faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Read more here.

Grace comes to The Hilltop with impressive credentials, boasting nearly 20 years of coaching experience on every level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) along with a standout career in her days as a student-athlete. Read more here.

Alumnus Dr. David Bowman to Lead Student Health Services David Bowman, M.D., has been named director of Student Health Services at Howard University. He is a Howard alumnus and since 2005 has served on the medical faculty of the University of Maryland. Read more here.


A Moment at the Captsone

This year’s commencement was filled with moments of self -expression. From elaborately adorned mortarboards to joyous moments of choreographed dancing during the choir’s performance of Lord, I Don’ Done’, the 2015 Commencement Convocation was truly one to remember. (Photography by Insana Collins and Justin D. Knight)


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