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Howard 1867 - Present

  • Howard has long been the prototypical opportunity University, with an unwavering commitment to the words inscribed on the alma mater’s original seal, which reads “equal rights and knowledge for all.”

    Remember the time to act, learn, give, serve and excel at Howard always has been, and will always be, now. In the words of James Baldwin:
     

    "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."

    --President Wayne A. I. Frederick--

    Enter the Timeline!
  • 18671868

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      CHARLES BOYNTON

      Charles B. Boynton is selected as Howard University’s first president. Mr. Boynton serves from March 19, 1867 to August, 1867. 

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      BYRON SUNDERLAND

      Byron Sunderland serves as Howard University’s second president from 1867-1869. The College of Medicine, the College of Pharmacy and the School of Law are established during Mr. Sunderland’s presidency.

  • 186718681869

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      COLLEGE OF PHARMACY

      Pharmacy instruction at Howard University begins in the “Department of Medicine” in 1868.  The initial program offers students a “knowledge of the art and science of pharmacy”. 

      College of Pharmacy
  • 186818691870

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      OLIVER OTIS HOWARD

       General Oliver Otis Howard serves as Howard University's third president from April 5, 1869 until December 25, 1874. General Howard, for whom the University is named,  was a Civil War hero and commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

      Learn more about President Howard
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      The Main Building

      The Main Building is among the first buildings constructed by the Freedmen’s Bureau for Howard University. It is used for the University’s administrative offices, the Freedmen’s Bureau; and the Theology Department (1871-1929). The Main Building was demolished in 1935. Founders Library was erected on its site in 1937.

  • 186918701871

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      THEOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT

      The Theological Department is organized in 1870. Dr. John B. Reeve serves as the first dean. (Name is changed to: the School of Theology in 1906; School of Religion in 1918; Divinity School in 1981; School of Divinity in 1987.)

      School of Divinity
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      HOWARD'S FIRST GRADUATE

      James Thompson Wormley – “Howard’s First Graduate” – earns a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Medical Department and subsequently becomes the first African-American to own a fully equipped pharmacy in Washington, D.C.

  • 187018711872

    FREDERICK DOUGLASS

    Abolitionist and civil rights activist Frederick Douglass is elected to the Howard University Board of Trustees. He serves from 1871-1895.

  • 187118721875

    CHARLOTTE RAY

    With her nine classmates, Charlotte E. Ray participates in the Law Department Commencement at First Congregational Church and becomes the first African American woman to graduate from any law school in the U.S.  She later became the first woman admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and also the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of D.C.

  • 187218751877

    EDWARD P. SMITH

    Edward Parmlee Smith is appointed as the fourth president of Howard University on December 15, 1875.   Smith dies on June 15, 1876 during a trip to Africa for the American Missionary Association.

  • 187518771881

  • 187718811890

  • 188118901894

    JEREMIAH E. RANKIN

    Jeremiah Eames Rankin became Howard University's 6th president on January 1, 1890 and served until February 24, 1903. Rankin Chapel, one of the University's oldest buildings, is named in honor of President Rankin's brother Andrew Rankin.

  • 189018941895

    DR. DANIEL HALE WILLIAMS

    Dr. Daniel Hale Williams is appointed surgeon-in-chief of Freedman’s Hospital and reorganizes it into two separate departments: medical and surgical. Dr. Williams served in this position until 1898. During his tenure, he established the hospital's school for nurses. Dr. Williams was a co-founder of the National Medical Association in 1895, and in 1913 he became the only African American charter member of the American College of Surgeons.

     

    More information about Dr. Daniel Hale Williams and his work
  • 189418951903

    RANKIN CHAPEL

    Andrew Evarts Rankin Chapel is constructed in 1895.  It is dedicated to Andrew Rankin, the brother of President Jeremiah Rankin. Members of the Rankin family contributed a portion of the building fund.

  • 189519031906

    John Gordon

    John Gordon becomes the seventh president of Howard University. He serves from May 26, 1903 until June 30, 1906.

  • 190319061907

    WILBUR P. THIRKIELD

    Howard University's eighth president, Wilbur Patterson Thirkield, serves from September 1, 1906 to June 30, 1912. Thirkield Hall, the physics building, is named in his honor.

  • 190619071908

    DR. ERNEST E. JUST

    Dr. Ernest E. Just, renowned cell biologist, joins the Howard University faculty. He serves from 1907-1940. During his tenure, Dr. Just initiated the master’s degree program in zoology at Howard University, and served as faculty advisor to the founding chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

    Learn more about Dr. Ernest Just
  • 190719081909

    ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is founded on January 15, 1908 at Howard University and becomes the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women.

    More about Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.
  • 190819091910

    FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL

    Freedmen’s Hospital construction is completed.

  • 190919101911

    THIRKIELD SCIENCE HALL

    Construction of Thirkield Science Hall is completed.

  • 191019111912

    Omega Psi Phi

    On November 17, 1911, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity is founded at Howard University by undergraduate students Edgar A. Love, Oscar J. Cooper, and Frank Coleman in the office of their faculty advisor, biology Professor Ernest E. Just.

    About Omega Psi Phi
  • 191119121913

    STEPHEN M. NEWMAN

    Stephen M. Newman serves as Howard University's ninth president from July 1, 1912 until June 30, 1918.

  • 191219131914

  • 191319141916

    PHI BETA SIGMA

    Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is founded on January 9, 1914 at Howard University by students A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse, and Charles I. Brown.

    Phi Beta Sigma
  • 191419161917

  • 191619171918

    THE SEMI-CENTENNIAL

    Howard University celebrates the semi-centennial of its founding. The theme of the 50th anniversary celebration is  “The Significance of the Fifty Years of the History of Howard University, and the Advancement of the Colored Race with which it is Connected.”

  • 191719181919

    JAMES S. DURKEE

    James Durkee serves as Howard University's tenth president from July 1, 1918 until June 30, 1926.

  • 191819191920

    ROTC

    Howard University’s Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) is established on February 3, 1919.

  • 191919201921

    ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY

    On January 16, 1920, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is founded at Howard University.

  • 192019211923

  • 192119231924

    WILLIAM LEO HANSBERRY

    Prof. William Leo Hansberry of the History Department begins to offer “not only a distinctive feature at Howard University, but also a new departure in the educational world” – courses focusing on civilizations of ancient Africa. Three courses comprised Hansberry’s inaugural program:  “Negro Peoples in the Civilizations of the Prehistoric and Ancient World”, “Negro Civilizations in East Central Africa from the Eighth Century B.C. until the End of the Sixteenth Century".

  • 192319241926

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      THE HILLTOP

      Zora Neale Hurston and Eugene King publish the inaugural issue of The Hilltop, Howard University’s student newspaper on January 22, 1924. In 1994 and 2004 the Hilltop was named the “Best Collegiate Newspaper” in the nation by the Princeton Review.

      THe Hilltop Online Archives
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      ALBERT CASSELL

      Albert Irwin Cassell  is appointed University Architect in 1924. During his tenure as University Architect he designed: the 1932 Master Plan; Truth, Frazier, and Crandall Residence Halls; the Chemistry Building; Douglass Hall; Founders Library; and Greene Stadium.

      More information about Albert Cassell
  • 192419261928

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      DR. MORDECAI WYATT JOHNSON

      Mordecai W. Johnson begins his tenure as 11th President of Howard University on June 30, 1926. He was the first African-American to preside over Howard University and its longest serving president with a tenure of 34 years. His presidency was marked by the building of the modern Howard University. Much of today’s physical plant and the full accreditation of Howard’s schools and colleges took place during his presidency. 

      More about Dr. Mordecai Johnson
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      GREENE STADIUM

      Construction of William H. Greene Stadium is completed. It is dedicated to William H. Greene in 1986.

  • 192619281929

    GALLERY OF ART

    The Howard University Gallery of Art is established, by action of the Board of Trustees to “make revolving exhibitions of contemporary arts and crafts available for visitation and study to students.” The Gallery formally opens with a travelling exhibition of oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings assembled and circulated by the College Art Association of America.

    VISIT THE GALLERY OF ART
  • 192819291932

    CHARLES HAMILTON HOUSTON

    Charles Hamilton Houston is appointed dean of the Howard University School of Law. During his tenure, he mentored Thurgood Marshall and a generation of outstanding civil rights lawyers.

  • 192919321933

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      JOURNAL OF NEGRO EDUCATION

      Howard University  launches The Journal of Negro Education (JNE), a scholarly refereed journal. It is one of the oldest continuously published periodicals by and about Black people. 

      Website of the Journal of Negro Education
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      HOWARD THURMAN

      Howard Thurman becomes the first dean of Rankin Chapel  in 1932. He serves in this capacity from 1932-1944.

  • 193219331934

    THURGOOD MARSHALL

    Thurgood Marshall graduates from the Howard University School of Law. He goes on to become the leading civil rights attorney in the United States. In 1967, he is appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Lyndon Johnson.

  • 193319341938

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      Graduate School

      The Graduate School is formally established. In 1976, the school is reorganized into its current structure with divisions in the arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, engineering and physical sciences, and social sciences. The school awards its first doctoral degree in 1958 in the field of chemistry. Today, the school offers 28 master’s and 27 doctoral programs.

      More Information About the Graduate School
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      ENGINEERING & ARCH

      The School of Engineering and Architecture is established in 1934. This unit is divided into 2 separate schools in 1970. School of Architecture and Planning is created in 1970. The College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences is established in 1997 as a result of the merger between the Schools of Architecture and Engineering and Computer Sciences. In 2016 the unit is renamed as the College of Engineering & Architecture.

      Visit the website of the College of Engineering and Architecture
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      DR. CHARLES DREW

      Dr. Charles Drew joins the faculty of Howard University College of Medicine.

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      CAMPUS FENCE & GATES

      The campus is enclosed by a wrought iron fence with large brick pillars and iron gates designed by university architect Albert Cassell.

  • 193419381939

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      1ST CIVIL RIGHTS COURSE

      Professor James Nabrit of the Howard University School of Law establishes the first civil rights course offered by an American law school.

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  • 193819391944

    DR. ERIC E. WILLIAMS

    Dr. Eric Williams joins the faculty of Howard University. He is appointed assistant professor of Social Science and Political Science. In 1962, Dr. Williams became the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

  • 193919441953

  • 194419531960

    TONI MORRISON

    Toni Morrison graduates from the College of Liberal Arts (B.A. ’53).  Prof Morrison serves on the faculty of the  English Department at Howard University from 1957-64. She receives the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2000 and Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

    View Toni Morrison's Address at Howard University's 128th Charter Day Convocation
  • 195319601965

  • 196019651967

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      LOCKE HALL

      Classroom Building #2 is completed. It will later be named Locke Hall.

  • 196519671968

    THE CENTENNIAL

    Howard University celebrates its 100th year. The centennial theme is “The University in a Changing Society.”

  • 196719681969

    SCHOOL OF NURSING

    The School of Nursing is established in 1968. The name of the unit is changed to the College of Nursing in 1974. It is merged into College of Pharmacy, Nursing & Allied Health Sciences in 1997. The College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences is established as a single unit  in 2011.

    Learn about the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences
  • 196819691970

    DR. JAMES E. CHEEK

    James Cheek becomes the thirteenth president of Howard University. With a tenure of 20 years (July 1, 1969-June 30, 1989), President Cheek was the university's second-longest serving president and also its youngest elected president at age 36. During Dr. Cheek's presidency, the University expanded fromm 11 schools and colleges to 18, and grew from one campus to five. 

    The Cheek Era at Howard (1969-89)
  • 196919701971

  • 197019711972

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      SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATIONS

      The Howard University School of Communications is founded in 1971. Tony Brown is the founding dean.

      School of Communications
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      SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

      The University officially designates the former Teachers’ College and Department of Education as the School of Education.

      School of Education's Website
  • 197119721973

    HU CANCER CENTER

    The Howard University Cancer Center is established by action of the Board of Trustees. The study of cancer at Howard University began in the early 1950s when Dr. Jack E. White founded the Tumor Clinic in Freedmen's Hospital. The mission of the center continues to be the reduction of cancer mortality in the African Americn community.

    Visit the website of the Howard University Cancer
  • 197219731974

    MSRC

    The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is established at Howard University. Dr. Michael R. Winston is the first director. MSRC is named after the donors of two large collections of publications about Black people—Jesse Moorland, a graduate of the Howard University Theological Department and member of the University’s Board of Trustees; and Arthur Spingarn, lawyer, activist, and head of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People.

    Learn more about the Moorland Spingarn Research Center.
  • 197319741975

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      WEST CAMPUS

      Howard University acquires the 19.4 acre West Campus at 2900 Van Ness St in Northwest Washington and relocates the School of Law to that site.

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      SCHOOL OF HUMAN ECOLOGY

      The School of Human Ecology was established in 1974. Dr. Cecile Edwards is the founding dean. The School is closed in 1991.

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      ALLIED HEALTH SCIENCES

      The College of Allied Health Sciences is established. It is merged into College of Pharmacy, Nursing & Allied Health Sciences in 1997. The College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences is established as a single unit in 2011.

      About the Division of Allied Health Sciences
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      HOWARD UNIVERSITY TELEVISION

      The Federal Communications Comission (FCC) granted Howard permission to operate a new noncommercial educational television  station, which would operate on Channel 32. Initially called WHMM-TV, the name of the station was officially changed to WHUT-TV in 1988.

      WHUT-TV
  • 197419751989

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      HOWARD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL

      Freedmen’s Hospital is closed and medical services are transferred to Howard University Hospital. Construction of the new Howard University Hospital building is completed. 

      HUH website
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      DR. JEANNE SINKFORD

      Jeanne C. Sinkford, a graduate of Howard University’s College of Liberal Arts (Class of 1953) and College of Dentistry (Class of 1958), becomes the first female Dean of the Howard University College of Dentistry and thereby becomes the first female dean of a dental school in the United States. She served in that position until 1990. 

  • 197519891990

    HOWARD PLAZA TOWERS

    Howard Plaza Towers West and East are constructed.

     

  • 198919901994

    DR. FRANKLYN G. JENIFER

    Franklyn Jenifer is selected as the 14th President of Howard University (April 1, 1990-June 30, 1994). Dr. Jenifer is the first Howard University alumnus to serve.

  • 199019941995

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      NELSON MANDELA

      On October 7, 1994, President Nelson Mandela of South Africa visits Howard University. Mr. Mandela addresses a Special Convocation attended by over 15,000 people.

      Nelson Mandela's Convocation Speech
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      BETHUNE ANNEX

      Construction of Mary McLeod Bethune Hall Annex is completed.

  • 199419951999

    H. PATRICK SWYGERT

    H. Patrick Sywgert is selected as Howard University's 15th president (August 1, 1995-June 8, 2008). 

  • 199519992001

    iLab

    The University opens the Information Laboratory (iLab) at the Technology Center. The facility features 200 computer work stations, and is open 24 hours.

  • 199920012005

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      STOKES LIBRARY

      The 80,000 sq. ft. Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library is opened.  The facility was conceived as a tribute to Congressman Louis Stokes, who was a longtime supporter of Howard University, and his thirty-year crusade to eliminate health care disparities between the minority and national communities.

      The Louis Stokes Health Science Library Website
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      LAW LIBRARY

      The new Howard University School of Law Library opens. The state of the art facility is four stories and 76,000 square feet.

  • 200120052008

  • 200520082013

    DR. SIDNEY A. RIBEAU

    Selected as 16th president of Howard University, Sidney A. Ribeau serves from August 1, 2008 until December 31, 2013.

    Dr. Ribeau's Inauguration
  • 200820132014

    DR. WAYNE A. I. FREDERICK

    After serving as Provost and Chief Academic Officer for more than a year, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick was selected as Howard University’s interim president in October 2013. On July 21, 2014, the Board of Trustees voted to appoint Dr. Frederick as Howard’s 17th president, after a unanimous recommendation by the University's Presidential Search Committee.

    About President Frederick
  • 201320142015

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      SIMULATION CENTER

      Howard University opens a $5 million medical simulation center in January 2014. The Howard University Health Sciences Simulation Center is a 6,000 sq. ft., state-of -the art simulated learning environment, offering resources to advance a comprehensive healthcare education program. 

      Health Sciences Simulation Center
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      BISON BEAT

      The Office of the President inaugurates the publication of BISON BEAT, a monthly newsletter about university activities.

      BISON BEAT Archives
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      College Hall N & S

      College Hall North and College Hall South, two new residence halls, are officially opened.

  • 201420152016

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      S. Africa Global Initiative

      The Howard University Global Initiative in South Africa is inaugurated. The initiative, a locally registered non-governmental organization based in South Africa, serves as the implementation unit for Howard’s various projects for health, training and capacity-building in the country. (December 2015)

  • 201520162017

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      PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

      United States President Barack Obama delivers the keynote address at Howard University’s 2016 Commencement on May 7. Mr. Obama is the sixth sitting U.S. president to deliver the keynote address at a Howard University commencement.

      President Obama's Commencement Address at Howard University
  • 20162017

  •  

    Howard University has enjoyed a storied past. Founded in the immediate post-Civil War era with the aim to provide for the “education of youth in the liberal arts and sciences,” its impact over the last century-and-a-half has been felt globally, as it provided leadership in scholarly achievement, the professions, creative expression and the pursuit of social justice. The University has been the training ground for citizens of the world and a center for the collection, study and dissemination of knowledge pertaining especially to peoples of African descent. Its contributions to humankind have been immeasurable; its commitment to “truth and service” unwavering. That rich legacy will continue to inspire future generations to be distinguished servant leaders and professionals in their respective fields of study.