Howard University

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Howard University
Howard University seal.png
Howard University seal
Former names
Howard Normal and Theological School for the Education of Teachers and Preachers
Motto Veritas et Utilitas
Motto in English
"Truth and Service"
Established March 2, 1867 (1867-03-02)
Type Private, HBCU
Affiliation Non-sectarian
Endowment $460.7 million[1]
Chairman Stacey J. Mobley, Esq.[2]
President Wayne A.I. Frederick
Students 10,000[3]
Location Washington, D.C.,

38°55′20″N 77°01′10″W / 38.92222°N 77.01944°W / 38.92222; -77.01944Coordinates: 38°55′20″N 77°01′10″W / 38.92222°N 77.01944°W / 38.92222; -77.01944
Campus Urban; 500 acres (1.0 km²)
Colors Blue and White with an accent color of Red
Athletics NCAA Division IMEAC
Sports 17 varsity teams
Nickname Bison / Lady Bison
Mascot Bison
Affiliations TMCF
Howard University Logo

Howard University is a federally chartered, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university in Washington, D.C. It is classified as a research university with high research activity.

From its outset it has been nonsectarian and open to people of both sexes and all races.[4] In addition to the undergraduate program, Howard has graduate schools of business, pharmacy, law, social work, medicine, dentistry, and divinity.


Main Hall and Miner Hall in 1868. Miner Hall is located to the left.

Shortly after the end of the Civil War, members of The First Congregational Society of Washington considered establishing a theological seminary for the education of African-American clergymen. Within a few weeks, the project expanded to include a provision for establishing a university. Within two years, the University consisted of the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine. The new institution was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, a Civil War hero, who was both the founder of the University and, at the time, Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. Howard later served as President of the university from 1869–74.[5]

U.S. Congress chartered Howard on March 2, 1867, and much of its early funding came from endowment, private benefaction, and tuition. An annual congressional appropriation administered by the U.S. Department of Education funds Howard University and Howard University Hospital.[6]

Howard Hall was renovated and made a dormitory for women; many improvements were made on campus; J. Stanley Durkee, Howard's last white president, was appointed in 1918.[7]

Howard University has played an important role in American history and the Civil Rights Movement on a number of occasions. Alain Locke, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and first African American Rhodes Scholar, authored The New Negro, which helped to usher in the Harlem Renaissance.[8] Ralph Bunche, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner of African descent, served as chair of the Department of Political Science.[9] Beginning in 1942, Howard University students pioneered the "stool-sitting" technique, which was to play a prominent role in the later civil rights movement. By January, 1943, students had begun to organize regular sit-ins and pickets at cigar stores and cafeterias around Washington, D.C. which refused to serve them because of their race. These protests continued until the administration asked the students to stop in the Fall of 1944.[10] Stokely Carmichael, also known as Kwame Toure, a student in the Department of Philosophy and the Howard University School of Divinity coined the term "Black Power" and worked in Lowndes County, Alabama as a voting rights activist.[11] Historian Rayford Logan served as chair of the Department of History.[12] E. Franklin Frazier served as chair of the Department of Sociology.[13] Sterling Allen Brown served as chair of the Department of English.

Presidents of Howard University
1867 Charles B. Boynton
1867–1869 Byron Sunderland
1869–1874 Oliver Otis Howard
1875–1876 Edward P. Smith
1877–1889 William W. Patton
1890–1903 Jeremiah Rankin
1903–1906 John Gordon
1906–1912 Wilbur P. Thirkield
1912–1918 Stephen M. Newman
1918–1926 J. Stanley Durkee
1926–1960 Mordecai Wyatt Johnson
1960–1969 James Nabrit
1969–1989 James E. Cheek
1990–1994 Franklyn Jenifer
1994–1995 Joyce A. Ladner
1995–2008 H. Patrick Swygert
2008–2013 Sidney A. Ribeau
2013–present Wayne A.I. Frederick

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a speech to the graduating class at Howard, where he outlined his plans for civil rights legislation and endorsed aggressive affirmative action to combat the effects of years of segregation of blacks from the nation's economic opportunities.[14] At the time, the Voting Rights bill was still pending in the House of Representatives.[15]

In 1975 the historic Freedman's Hospital closed after 112 years of use as Howard University College of Medicine's primary teaching hospital. Howard University Hospital opened that same year and continues to be used as Howard University College of Medicine's primary teaching hospital with service to the surrounding community.

In 1989, Howard gained national attention when students rose up in protest against the appointment of then-Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater as a new member of the university's Board of Trustees. Student activists disrupted Howard's 122nd anniversary celebrations, and eventually occupied the university's Administration building.[16] Within days, both Atwater and Howard's President, James E. Cheek, resigned.

In April 2007 the head of the faculty senate called for the ouster of Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, saying that the school was in a state of crisis and it was time to end "an intolerable condition of incompetence and dysfunction at the highest level."[17] This came on the heels of several criticisms of Howard University and its management. The following month, Swygert announced that he would retire in June 2008.[18] The university announced in May 2008 that Sidney Ribeau of Bowling Green State University would succeed Swygert as president.[19] Ribeau appointed a Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal to conduct a year-long self-evaluation that resulted in reducing or closing 20 out of 171 academic programs.[20] For example, they proposed closing the undergraduate philosophy major and African studies major.[20]

Six years later, in 2013, university insiders again alleged that the university was in crisis. In April, the vice chairwoman of the university's board of trustees wrote a letter to her colleagues harshly criticizing the university's president and calling for a vote of no confidence; her letter was subsequently obtained by the media where it drew national headline.[21][22] Two months later, the university's Council of Deans alleged that "fiscal mismanagement is doing irreparable harm", blaming the university's senior vice president for administration, chief financial officer and treasurer and asking for his dismissal.[23] In October, the faculty voted no confidence in the university's Board of Trustees executive committee, two weeks after university president Sidney A. Ribeau announced that he would retire at the end of the year.[24] On October 1, the Board of Trustees named Wayne A.I. Frederick Interim President.[25] In July, 2014 Howard's Board of Trustees named Frederick as the school's 17th president.[26]


Founders Library is an iconic building on the Howard University campus that has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

The 256 acres (1.04 km2; 0.400 sq mi) campus is located in northwest Washington.[27] Major improvements, additions, and changes occurred at the school in the aftermath of World War I. New buildings were built under the direction of architect Albert Cassell.[28] Howard's buildings and plant have a value of $567.6 million.[27]

Howard University has several historic landmarks on campus, such as Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Fredrick Douglass Memorial Hall, and the Founders Library.

Howard University has ten residence halls in which students can live: Bethune Annex (female undergraduates), Tubman Quadrangle (female freshman), Carver Hall and Drew Hall (male undergraduates), Cook Hall (co-ed, undergraduates), Plaza Towers West (co-ed, for juniors and seniors only), Plaza Towers East (graduate and undergraduate honor students), Meridian Hill Hall (co-ed, off campus residence), Slowe Hall (co-ed) and Mays Hall (co-ed graduate students).

Howard University Hospital, opened in 1975 on the eastern end of campus, was built on the site of Griffith Stadium, in use from the 1890s to 1965 as home of the first, second and third incarnations of the MLB Senators, as well as the NFL's Washington Redskins, several college football teams (including Georgetown, GWU and Maryland) and part-time home of the Homestead Grays of the Negro National League.

WHUT-TV station in Washington, D.C.

Howard University is home to WHUR-FM 96.3, also known as Howard University Radio. Howard is also home to WHUT-TV, which is a television station located on campus beside WHUR-FM.


The university is led by a Board of Trustees that includes a faculty trustee from the undergraduate colleges, a faculty trustee from the graduate and professional colleges serving 3-year terms, two student trustees, each serving 1-year terms, and three alumni-elected trustees, each serving 3-year terms.[27]


Schools and colleges[edit]


"The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. The MSRC collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources chronicling black experiences.[29]

NASA University Research Center (BCCSO)[edit]

The Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation (BCCSO) is a NASA University Research Center located at the Beltsville, Maryland campus of Howard University. BCCSO consists of a multidisciplinary group of Howard faculty in partnership with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Sciences Division, other academic institutions, and government. This group is led by three Principal Investigators, Everette Joseph, also the director of BCCSO, Demetrius Venable and Belay Demoz. BCCSO trains science and academic leaders to understand atmospheric processes through atmospheric observing systems and analytical methods.[30][31]


Howard University is home to The Hilltop, the award-winning (Princeton Review) student newspaper. Founded in 1924 by Zora Neale Hurston, The Hilltop enjoys a long legacy at the university, providing students with the ability to learn the newspaper industry.

Howard University is the publisher of The Journal of Negro Education, which began publication in 1932. The Howard University Bison Yearbook is created, edited and published during the school year to provide students a year-in-review. Howard University also publishes the Capstone, the official e-newsletter for the university; and the Howard Magazine, the official magazine for the university, which is published three times a year.

Student life[edit]

Mock Trial[edit]

Howard University was the first team to win two national championships in the same year, both the 1997 National Silver Flight Tournament and the 1997 National Championship. Additionally, the Howard Team has been listed in the Top Ten Teams in the nation over 9 times and won the 2000 National Silver Flight Championship, the 1998 and 2003 Eastern Regional Championship and the 2003 National Division Title. In April 2006, the team placed third in the nation. Howard University continues to qualify for national tournaments.

Greek letter organizations[edit]

Howard University is a home to all nine National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations; however, it is the founding site for 5 NPHC groups. The Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was the first to appear in 1907.[32] The Alpha Chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha (1908), Omega Psi Phi (1911), Delta Sigma Theta (1913), Phi Beta Sigma (1914), and Zeta Phi Beta (1920) were established on the Howard campus.[33] Also in 1920, the Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi appeared on the campus, followed by the Alpha Phi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho in 1939, and the Alpha Tau Chapter of Iota Phi Theta in 1983.

Other Greek letter organizations registered at Howard include Delta Sigma Pi, Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Nu Omega, Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Rho, Gamma Iota Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha, Sigma Alpha Iota, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma and Phi Alpha Delta.[citation needed]


Main article: Howard Bison

Athletic teams compete in the NCAA as a part of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The teams play under the name Howard Bison and use a similar logo to that of the Buffalo Bills professional football team. The swimming and diving team competes under the name "Howard Bison".

Marching band[edit]

The Howard University "Showtime" Marching Band is under the direction of John Newson and Kelvin Washington. The Showtime marching band performs at football games, band competitions, and NFL halftime shows. The "Ooh La La!" dance team is the marching band feature auxiliary.



Howard undergraduates have a mean composite SAT score of 1,082.[27] The students come from the following regions: New England 2%, Mid-West 8%. South 22%, Mid-Atlantic 55%, and West 12%.[27] Howard University is almost exclusively (91.2%) African-American.[4]

As of 2006, Howard's six year graduation rate was 67.5%.[34] In 2009, 1,270 of the 1,476 full-time freshmen enrolled were found to have financial need (86%). Of these, Howard could meet the full financial aid needs of 316 freshmen.[35] Howard's average undergraduate student's indebtedness at graduation is $16,798.[35]

Between 1998 and 2009, Howard University produced a Marshall Scholar, two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, twenty-two Fulbright Scholars and ten Pickering Fellows.[36][37]


Howard faculty include media entrepreneur Cathy Hughes, marine biologist Ernest Everett Just, political consultant Ron Walters, blood shipment pioneer Charles Drew,[38] psychiatrist Francis Cress Welsing, civil rights lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston, Emmy-winning actor Al Freeman Jr.,[39] John Davis, political science professor, Ralph Bunch, Roscoe Bartlett, member of Congress from Maryland and LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., the Charles R. Drew professor of Surgery at Howard University College of Medicine, is a surgeon, oncologist, medical educator, and leader in professional and civic organizations.

Notable alumni[edit]

Howard is the alma mater of several notable individuals, including Ben Ali, co-founder and owner of Ben's Chili Bowl, the famous restaurant in Washington, D.C.; choreographer, actress and singer Debbie Allen; the first Nigerian president Nnamdi Azikiwe; NFL player Antoine Bethea; Congressman Elijah Cummings; actor Ossie Davis; former Malian prime minister and NASA engineer Cheick Modibo Diarra;[40] David Dinkins, the first African-American mayor of New York City; Mike Espy, the first African-American U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Former Mayor of the District of Columbia Adrian Fenty; Patricia Roberts Harris, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and first African-American woman United States Ambassador, actress Taraji P. Henson; Shauntay Hinton, Miss District of Columbia USA 2002, Miss USA 2002; Gus Johnson, sports broadcaster; attorney Vernon Jordan; television personality Ananda Lewis; Thurgood Marshall, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Toni Morrison; actress and singer Phylicia Rashad; Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia Kasim Reed; educator and writer Josephine Turpin Washington; recording artist Crystal Waters; Tom Joyner Morning Show producer Nikki Woods; and United States Ambassador Andrew Young.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. 
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Facts 2010" (PDF). Howard University. p. 6. 
  4. ^ a b "Howard University Demographics". 
  5. ^ "Brief History of Howard University". Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Department of Education funding of Howard University". 
  7. ^ "Woodson at the Library of Congress". 
  8. ^ "Biography of Alan Locke.". 
  9. ^ "Biography of Ralph Johnson Bunche.". 
  10. ^ Murray, Pauli (November 1944). "A Blueprint for First Class Citizenship". The Crisis.  reprinted in Carson, Clayborne; Garrow, David J.; Kovach, Bill (2003). Reporting Civil Rights: American journalism, 1941–1963. Library of America. pp. 62–67. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Biography of Kwame Ture.". 
  12. ^ Dec/ai_66191212 "Biography of Rayford Logan.". [dead link]
  13. ^ "Information on Edward Franklin Frazier.". 
  14. ^ "University of Texas speeches archieve". 
  15. ^ Johnson, Lyndon B. "To Fulfill These Rights". What So Proudly We Hail. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  16. ^ Stanley, Alessandra; Jacob V. Lamar (March 20, 1989). "Saying No to Lee Atwater". (Time Warner). 
  17. ^ Susan Kinzie and Keith L. Alexander (March 10, 2007). "Ouster Sought of Howard President". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  18. ^ "Howard University". Washington Post. May 21, 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  19. ^ Strauss, Valerie (May 8, 2008). "Bowling Green President Named to Top Position". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  20. ^ a b de Vise, Daniel (December 14, 2010). "Howard prepares for test of its future". Washington Post. p. B1. 
  21. ^ Jack Stripling (June 7, 2013). "In Ominous Letter, a Trustee Blasts Howard U.'s President and Board Chair". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  22. ^ Nick Anderson (June 7, 2013). "Howard trustee says university in 'trouble'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ Nick Anderson (July 1, 2013). "Howard academic deans allege 'fiscal mismanagement'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  24. ^ Nick Anderson (October 16, 2013). "Howard faculty group votes no confidence in key Board of Trustees committee". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Howard University Press Release". Howard University. October 1, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  26. ^ Emma Brown and Wesley Robinson (July 22, 2014). "Wayne A.I. Frederick named 17th president of Howard University". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b c d e "Howard Facts 2009 (PDF)". Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  28. ^ Clifford L. Muse, Jr. (1991). "Howard University and The Federal Government During The Presidential Administrations of Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1928–1945". The Journal of Negro History (Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, Inc.) 76 (1/4): 1–20. JSTOR 2717406. 
  29. ^ "Howard History". 
  30. ^ "About". Howard University Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  31. ^ "Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation (BCCSO)". Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  32. ^ Wesley, Charles H. (1981). The History of Alpha Phi Alpha, A Development in College Life (14th ed.). Chicago, IL: Foundation. p. 43. ASIN: B000ESQ14W. 
  33. ^ "Campus Tours". 
  34. ^ "Howard University 2009 Performance Plan". US Dept. of Education. Feb 14, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  35. ^ a b "College Search – Howard University". College Board. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  36. ^ Three Howard Seniors Awarded Fulbright Scholarships, Howard University. April 8, 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  37. ^ "Competitive Scholarships". Howard University. 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  38. ^ Starr, Douglas P. (2000). Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce. New York: Quill. pp. 111–117. ISBN 978-0-7515-3000-1. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Mali's new prime minister via Microsoft and Nasa". The Telegraph (London). April 17, 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 

External links[edit]