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Message from President Wayne A.I. Frederick

Congratulations to Howard on 150 years of Excellence in Truth and Service.

On March 2, 1867, the President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, signed into law the bill sent by Congress granting Howard University a Charter, that law created a foundation that provided educational opportunities to those who otherwise would not have access to education.

Wayne Frederick

I am often inspired by the founders of this great institution whose ambitious outlook was reflected in Howard’s first seal and motto which read “equal rights and knowledge for all.” With the creation of its first six departments—normal, collegiate, theological, law, medical, agriculture—as the framework of the new institution, Howard University was a unique undertaking in many ways.

In November 1866, there was a vision for a seminary that trained preachers of color. The second plan, in December 1866, was to establish a normal and theological institution for the education of colored teachers and preachers. These goals—seemingly limited compared to the Howard University that we know today—likely resulted from deeply rooted doubts, based in part upon the lack of knowledge concerning the academic prowess of African-Americans, and that before the civil war, African American men and women could benefit from higher education.

Before either of those plans were brought to fruition, a greater final vision for a “University” for the “education of youth in the liberal arts and sciences,” and other departments was approved--which notably grew to include law and medicine. On May 1, 1867, Howard University opened its doors to the first students and later graduates in the normal department, the only one opened then; those first students were women, the daughters of the members of the board of trustees. This bore witness to the true essence of Howard University and its primary mission to educate those who otherwise would not have access to higher education. Shortly after that, Howard University students and graduates represented a mosaic of races, ethnic backgrounds, and both genders.

As we approach another period of transformative change, I believe that the Howard University community has an important calling to demonstrate to the nation and the world that education remains America’s promise. Even in the midst of the challenges we face, this institution is committed to producing the students and innovative ideas that our nation needs.

Although Howard University is the number one producer of African-American undergraduates who matriculate to earn Ph.Ds. in STEM, the number one producer of on-campus African American Ph.Ds. and the top producer of African-American Peace Corps volunteers, the number one reason that Howard University students do not graduate is the lack of finances. The 17th administration will be intentional with our efforts to engage our alumni and increase fundraising efforts so that we can change that narrative especially as we celebrate 150 years of Excellence in Truth and Service.

“There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now”. – James Baldwin

I invite you to join us for the Charter Day Convocation on March 2, 2017 on the campus of Howard University at the historical Cramton Auditorium and for Charter Day Dinner, Howard’s premiere fundraising event, on March 3, 2017 at the Washington Hilton hotel. For additional details, please visit us online here.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

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