Howard University announced Phylicia Rashad as their new Dean of their newly established College of Fine Arts. The legendary actress was selected after the university’s comprehensive national search. Rashad begins her role as dean of the college July 1, 2021. As an accomplished actress and stage director, who gained notoriety after her role as television’s most adorned sitcom mom on “The Cosby Show,” Phylicia Rashad has the experience to continue helping the generations to come in her latest role of Dean. Rashad is an alumna of Howard University herself. Here are a few fun facts about Phylicia Rashad and how she will benefit Howard University students as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts.
1. Graduate of the Fine Arts Department
Phylicia Rashad graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in 1970. The school has bred some of the industry’s most successful actors like Taraji P. Henson, Wendy Raquel Robinson and the late, great Chadwick Boseman to name a few. Rashad’s experience as a former student in the program will greatly benefit the new students as she works to help establish new programs and resources for the department.
2. Well-Rounded Student
The talented actress was a heavily involved on campus outside of the Fine Arts department. She was a member of the Howard University Campus Pals, where she would help freshmen students become acclimated onto the campus before classes began for their first semester. She pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated in 1968 and most recently narrated the sorority’s latest documentary “Twenty Pearls,” which documented the story of the first Black sorority founded in 1908.
Fine arts students across any university can attest to the time commitment of an arts program for an undergraduate student, and especially as a student of one of the most prolific programs in the country at Howard University. It is a wonder how Phylicia Rashad made it happen, but we’ll just assume she’s a super woman.
3. From Broadway to Network Television
The now 72 year old actress looks forward to returning to the school that shaped her theatrical skills, while studying courses like Psychology, French History and Greek Theater which helped her grow beyond the arts. Her experience over the years has earned her this position as Dean to give back to the program that graciously gave to her in her early pursuits of acting.
Rashad began her career on Broadway before moving on to play Claire Huxtable on the 1980’s hit sitcom “The Cosby Show.” As a theater acting major at Howard, it was only right that she began her journey on the Broadway stage.
She is knowledgeable of every facet of the business for an actor on screen and a director behind the scenes.
4. Her Love Runs Deep
Phylicia Rashad understands the value of her education at Howard University as a student who went on to find great success in the business. She spoke to The Washington Post about how studying fine arts is gravely undervalued, “The discipline and study of fine arts are not understood. They are undervalued. And that happens so much around the world. People imagine musicians, designers and actors just wake up and do what we do. And that could be farther from the truth.”
5. Rashad Knows What It Takes To Win
As a working actress, Phylicia Rashad continues to appear in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and widely successful films like Netflix’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. She understands what it takes to win in the business and for her, it starts with the proper discipline which she learned in her undergraduate studies.
Rashad shared with The Washington Post, “The discipline of fine arts was like training for the military.”
Phylicia Rashad is excited to share her wisdom and passion for the arts with the new generation of entertainment leaders. She is one of the many Howard University alumni who have helped transform the arts and entertainment industry through their legendary careers on screen, behind the scenes, in front of the microphone and from within the boardroom. It is Howard University’s continuous dedication to cultivating gifted artists that has had a profound cultural impact throughout history.
“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,” Rashad tells Howard University Newsroom in a recent article about her new position.
Congrats to Phylicia Rashad the new Dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts.