Howard University will be saying goodbye to Phylicia Rashad at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The legendary actress and HU alumna will step down from her position as dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts after the 2023-2024 academic year.
The transition was announced by Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, the university’s outgoing president, via email on Monday. Frederick will be stepping down from his position next month.
The message is below in its entirety.
August 7, 2023
Dear Howard University Community, I am writing to express my deep thanks and gratitude to Dean Phylicia Rashad of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, as she has informed me that she will be stepping down as dean at the end of her term following the 2023-2024 academic year.
An internationally acclaimed actor and stage director, Dean Rashad has held a longstanding commitment to arts education and literacy, having served as adjunct faculty, Master Instructor, and Guest Artist/Lecturer and administrator at several colleges, universities and arts organizations which include Howard University, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, SUNY Purchase, Wayne State University, Vassar College, Fordham University, The New School, The Black Arts Institute at Stella Adler School for Acting, and Ten Chimneys Foundation.
Dean Rashad holds the distinction of being the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham University and the inaugural holder of the Toni Morrison Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities at Howard University.
In 2021, Dean Rashad returned to alma mater to lead the re-establishment of the College of Fine Arts as an independent college and to restore it to its rightful place as the center for arts and creativity at Howard University. The college was renamed in honor of world-renowned actor, playwright, director, cultural activist, and Howard alumnus, the late Chadwick A. Boseman.
During Dean Rashad’s tenure, contributions to Fine Arts programming at Howard have increased significantly, anchored by a $5.4 million gift from Netflix to establish The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship, which provides incoming theater students in the College of Fine Arts with a four-year scholarship to cover the full cost of University tuition. Other significant gifts have included contributions from the Capri Holdings Foundation for the Advancement of Diversity in Fashion to establish the Capri Holdings Fashion and Merchandising Scholars Fund; The Microsoft Corporation for programming and facility improvements; as well as a gift from The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, founded by actress Taraji P. Henson to enhance access to mental health services for students, faculty, and staff.
Through the Disney Storytellers Fund, the Walt Disney Company is providing $1.5 million over the next five years to support collaborations among students in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, focused on creative storytelling through a variety of media, including animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design, and virtual reality.
Dean Rashad has also bolstered our esteemed faculty with the appointment of nationally and internationally recognized scholars, artists, and creatives to serve as department chairs, mentors, teachers, and role models for our students.
We deeply appreciate Dean Rashad’s selfless contributions and commitment to our alma mater during her leadership of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and the many contributions she has made to Howard University’s students, graduates, and global community.
We will begin a decanal search for a new dean shortly.
Join me in thanking and celebrating Dean Rashad for her many contributions to revitalize the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and her commitment to our University, its students and our global Howard community.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery