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Phylicia Rashad appointed Dean at Howard University


Actress Phylicia Rashad has been appointed Dean of Howard University's College of Fine Arts.

Rashad, who is most remembered for her role as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, was announced in the position today.

In making the announcement, Howard University President, Wayne Frederick, welcomed Rashad back to her Alma Mater.

"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 said via a statement.

The actress will begin her role on July 1 and report to Provost Anthony K. Wutoh.

“It is an honour to welcome one of Howard’s acclaimed daughters back home to Alma Mater. 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,” said Wutoh in a statement.

An accomplished actor and stage director, Rashad became a household name when she portrayed Claire Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” a character whose enduring appeal has earned her numerous honours and awards for over two decades.

More recent roles in television and film include appearances as Carol on NBC’s “This Is Us;” Diana Dubois on the Fox TV series “Empire;” Dr. Woods-Trap in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s Peabody Award-winning series “David Makes Man” on the OWN Network; Libba Gardner in Pixar’s Academy Award-winning animated feature, “Soul;” Grandmother Journey in the Netflix holiday musical “Jingle Jangle;” and Dr. Jones in “Between the World and Me” on HBO Max.

Highlights of an extensive career onstage include performances as Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun;” Aunt Ester in August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean;” The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods;” Violet Weston in Tracey Letts’ “August Osage County;” and Shelah in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s “Head of Passes.

“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,” said Rashad.

Rashad has served as guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member, conducting master’s-level classes at many colleges, universities and arts organisations, including Howard University, New York University, Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon, Wayne State University, Juilliard, The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the prestigious Ten Chimneys Foundation established at the Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne Estate.

She also holds the distinction of being the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theater at Fordham University.

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