Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick has an ax to grind, not only with the media — the Black Press included — but also with the alumni and others who refuse to acknowledge what the university represents. Granted, like most institutions of higher education, Howard has experienced its share of problems and challenges, but Frederick is annoyed and offended by those who are willing, but should know better, than to buy into a negative narrative that diminishes the rich legacy and achievements of Howard University’s students, faculty and graduates.
On Saturday, May 13, Howard will hold its 149th Commencement Convocation and for the first time in the institution’s 150 years, all the recipients that will receive honorary doctorate degrees are women.
This is a first for Howard and President Frederick is extremely proud that the honorees reflect the University’s historical commitment to educating women and recognizing their achievements at the highest level. In a statement released by the University, Frederick said, “As we celebrate our Sesquicentennial, we also embrace and recognize the sterling contributions of women all over the world and certainly here at Howard University. These women dedicated their talents and lives to improving the world and all lives.”
The honorees receiving honorary Doctor of Humane Letters are Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the second African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate; and Washington’s award-winning journalist Maureen Bunyan, a longtime news anchor on Washington TV stations. Receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters is Eleanor W. Traylor, a graduate English professor and a scholar of African-American literature and criticism. Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray, civil rights lawyer and the first African-American woman ordained an Episcopal priest in 1977, will be honored posthumously with an honorary Doctor of Laws.
But the story doesn’t end there. The University promotes the fact that over the past 20 years, it has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, over 60 Fulbright recipients, 22 Pickering Fellows and one Schwarzman Scholar. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the U.S. and graduates the largest percentage of the nation’s medical doctors.
Still, the story doesn’t end there either because this year’s incoming freshman class will be one of the university’s largest and academically highest-achieving student bodies which means more great news to report.