Phylicia Rashad Steps Down as Dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts

Renowned actress Phylicia Rashad has made the decision to conclude her tenure as the Dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at the end of the 2023-24 academic year. This announcement, revealed in a press release by Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, marks the end of Rashad’s two-year stint as dean, during which she was recognized for her valuable contributions to the institution. However, the reasons for her departure remain undisclosed.

Phylicia Rashad, an alumna of Howard University, holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the prestigious institution. Over the years, she has not only graced the acting scene but has also shared her expertise as an adjunct faculty member and guest lecturer at esteemed educational establishments such as New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, SUNY Purchase, Vassar College, and Fordham University. Her vast experience has undoubtedly enriched the minds of countless aspiring artists.

In 2021, Rashad found herself in hot water after expressing her support for former co-star Bill Cosby in a tweet. This came after Cosby’s sexual assault conviction was overturned. The tweet sparked controversy and drew a reprimand from Howard University. While Rashad’s intentions may have been to support a former colleague, the public perception and sensitivity surrounding Cosby’s case led to repercussions for her career at the university.

Phylicia Rashad gained prominence through her iconic portrayal of Claire Huxtable on the legendary sitcom The Cosby Show, a role that earned her nominations for the coveted Emmy Awards. Furthermore, Rashad’s talent transcended television, as evidenced by her Primetime Emmy nominations for her performance as Carol on NBC’s This Is Us in the guest actress drama series category. She also garnered critical acclaim and recognition for her starring role as Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, both onstage and in the film adaptation, earning her an Emmy and SAG Best Actress nomination.

In addition to her notable television roles, Rashad has continued to make waves in recent years. She portrayed Diana Dubois on the Fox series Empire and brought Dr. Woods-Trap to life in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s Peabody Award-winning series David Makes Man on the OWN Network. Rashad’s versatility as an actress shone through in Pixar’s Academy Award-winning animated feature, Soul, where she voiced the character of Libba Gardner. She also captivated audiences as Grandmother Journey in the Netflix holiday musical Jingle Jangle and portrayed Dr. Jones in the HBO Max adaptation of Between the World and Me.

With Phylicia Rashad’s decision to step down as the Dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, an important chapter for both the actress and the institution comes to a close. Rashad’s undeniable impact as an actress, educator, and leader will not be forgotten, and her departure leaves a void to be filled. The legacy she leaves behind serves as a testament to her dedication to the arts and her significant contributions to the world of acting and academia.

Phylicia Rashad’s tenure as the Dean of Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts is coming to an end after the 2023-24 school year. While the exact reasons for her departure remain undisclosed, her extensive career in the arts and her controversial tweet in support of Bill Cosby have left a lasting mark on her journey as an actress and educator. Rashad’s contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered, and her impact on the lives of aspiring artists will continue to resonate for years to come.


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