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Phylicia Rashad named dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts

Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Fast Company

(WASHINGTON) — Actress Phylicia Rashad is taking on an exciting new role off-screen.

Howard University announced Wednesday that the award-winning actress will serve as the dean of its recently reestablished College of Fine Arts.

Rashad, who famously played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, previously graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Howard University. She has kept close ties to the HBCU since, serving as a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member at the university.

She will begin her role as the new dean of the College of Fine Arts on July 1, 2021.

In the announcement, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick shared a statement on Rashad’s appointment, expressing how much trust he has in her future leadership.

“I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad,” his statement read. “As we reintroduce our campus community and the world at large to Howard’s College of Fine Arts, the dean will play an instrumental role in ensuring an auspicious beginning for this reestablished institution. Given Ms. Rashad’s reputation as well as her capabilities and impressive list of accomplishments, she will undoubtedly empower the college to transcend even our incredibly high expectations.”

“Under her leadership, Howard will continue to inspire and cultivate the artists and leaders who will shape our niche and national cultures for generations to come,” he added.

The Tony Award-winning actress, 72, said, “It is a privilege to serve in this capacity and to work with the Howard University administration, faculty and students in reestablishing the College of Fine Arts.”

Many took to social media to celebrate Rashad’s appointment. Shonda Rhimes tweeted, “Now I wish I was a college student…go Dean Rashad! ⁦@PhyliciaRashad @HowardU”

Read more about the crucial role historically Black colleges and universities have played in shaping leaders across the United States here.

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