Renowned actress and Howard University alumna Phylicia Rashad has been named dean of the school’s recently reestablished College of Fine Arts, according to Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick.
Rashad, perhaps best known for her role on the 1980s mega-hit sitcom “The Cosby Show,” majored in fine arts while at Howard and was chosen after a comprehensive national search. She will assume her new role on July 1.
“I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad,” Frederick said in a letter to the Howard community. “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 her reputation as well as her capabilities and impressive list of accomplishments, she will undoubtedly empower the college to transcend even our incredibly high expectations.”
Rashad, who became a household name when she portrayed Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” has also had recent roles in television and film that include NBC’s “This Is Us,” Fox’s “Empire” and the OWN Network series “David Makes Man.”
Her onstage performances include her portrayal of 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.”
Rashad has served as guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member, conducting master’s-level classes at many colleges, universities and arts organizations, including Howard University, New York University, Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon, Wayne State University, Juilliard and The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.
Rashad’s other awards include the 2018 Will Award from Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, the 2014 Mosaic Woman Legend Award of Diversity Woman Magazine, the Texas Medal of Arts, the National Council of Negro Women’s Dorothy L. Height Dreammaker Award, People’s Choice Awards, NAACP Image Awards, AFTRA’s AMEE Award for Excellence in Entertainment, New York Women in Film and Television’s Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement, Dallas Women in Film Topaz Award, and the Pan African Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.