Actress icon Phylicia Rashad was named dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts on Wednesday (May 11). The multi-award winning actress is a 1970 graduate of Howard, and was selected after a national search, Variety reported.
“It is an honor to welcome one of Howard’s acclaimed daughters back home to Alma Mater,” Provost Anthony K. Wutoh said in a statement. “In this full circle moment, Ms. Phylicia Rashad will take the training and skills that she honed as a student at Howard and exuded in an outstanding performing career, and she will share those pearls of wisdom with the next generation of students in the College of Fine Arts. Her passion for the arts and student success makes her a perfect fit for this role.”
Ms. Rashad will start her new role on July 1 of this year as the University re-establishes its Fine Arts College.
“I never saw myself as a dean,” the actress said in an interview with Variety. “But then, I’ve never thought of myself as many things that I’ve been. It’s a privilege to be part of the re-establishing the College of Fine Arts… it’s exciting to think about building towards a future with… Howard University,” she added.
This won’t be the first time she’s been in higher education. Ms. Rashad, 72, has served as a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member at Howard, and taught the late Chadwick Boseman, and her This Is Us co-star Susan Kelechi-Watson during her time.
Her sister, legendary actress and entertainer Debbie Allen also graduated from Howard.
“I would like to see the work that was established during my time blossom again with a new thrust,” she said. “I would like to see a program contemporized without losing knowledge. I would like to see faculty empowered to create and produce and design robust systems and a robust program.
"I would like to see students engaged in the disciplines of fine arts as they participate and engage in the university at large….I would love to see us be a premier program at the university… not only re-established, but see it exulted.”
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