Houston native, Howard alumna Phylicia Rashad named dean of Howard’s College of Fine Arts
Phylicia Rashad (center) in Jingle Jangle.

Houston native and Jack Yates High School graduate, actress Phylicia Rashad is taking on a new role as the dean of the College of Fine Arts at her collegiate alma mater, Howard University.

Phylicia Rashad while a Howard University student.

Rashad graduated from Howard magna cum laude in 1970 with a bachelor’s in fine arts. The institution made the announcement about Rashad’s new position on Wednesday.

“It is an honor to welcome one of Howard’s acclaimed daughters back home to Alma Mater,” said provost Anthony K. Wutoh in a press release.

“In this full circle moment, Ms. Phylicia Rashad will take the training and skills that she honed as a student at Howard and exuded in an outstanding performing career, and she will share those pearls of wisdom with the next generation of students in the College of Fine Arts. Her passion for the arts and student success makes her a perfect fit for this role.”

Rashad s scheduled to begin her journey as a university administrator on July 1.

“I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad,” said Howard University president Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “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,” Frederick added.

Rashad found success both in front of and behind the camera. She is probably most known for her role as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992. She also played other roles, including Diana Dubois on the Fox TV series Empire, Libba Gardner in Pixar’s Academy Award-winning animated feature, Soul, and Dr. Jones in Between the World and Me on HBO Max, among others. She also starred in the 2020 Christmas season hit, Netflix’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.

She also has credits as a stage director and has performed on Broadway in shows including Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean.

Rashad was the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theater at Fordham University. She has also been an adjunct faculty guest lecturer at New York University, Vassar College, Wayne State University, Juilliard and The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Howard.

“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,” Rashard said.