Howard University

Howard University athletics at a crossroads as presidential change looms

Howard University will have a new leader in 2024. What does the transition of President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick mean for HU athletics?

Howard University is set to undergo big change in the next few years. President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick recently informed the university’s Board of Trustees he’s planning to retire in June 2024, according to a letter from Dr. Laurence C. Morse, Chair of the Howard University Board of Trustees.

Dr. Fredrick, a three-time alumnus of the university, has served as president on a permanent basis since 2014. He served as interim in 2013. 

“I join my fellow trustees in expressing my profound gratitude to Dr. Frederick for his tireless, unwavering efforts to lead our University to greater academic excellence, fiscal strength, and service to our community and country,” Dr. Morse wrote. “Needless to say, given his outstanding performance, the board desired that he would have chosen to remain in office longer.”

Fredrick has overseen the highest enrollment in Howard University history. In addition, the four-year graduation rate increased by 20 percentage points to 60 percent, and the six-year graduation rate increased 8 percentage points to 69 percent. Both percentages are the highest in the university’s history.

While Fredrick’s impending departure will impact the entire university, it will be interesting to see how athletics, in particular, will be impacted by it. Howard University athletics have undergone wholesale changes under Dr. Fredrick’s regime. He brought in Kery Davis to run the department in 2015, and there have been some successes (volleyball’s MEAC dominance, women’s basketball’s recent MEAC title) as well as some miscues (the hiring of Ron Prince). Dr. Fredrick has also been instrumental in helping the MEAC navigate through the loss of several key institutions during the chair of its Council of Presidents. He’s also testified on Capitol Hill about the merits of NIL.

Indeed, Howard’s presence in the MEAC has been a key one now more so than ever before. Multiple conferences (most notably the CAA) have reportedly reached out to Howard to see if it, too, would like to take the leap elsewhere. That interest likely won’t change between now and 2024. How different will the landscape of HU athletics look between now and then? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that all eyes will be on Washington D.C. looking forward. 

Howard University athletics at a crossroads as presidential change looms
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