Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad has been chosen as dean of the newly reestablished College of Fine Arts at Howard University following a nationwide search, effective July 1. The new position will be a homecoming for Rashad, who is an alum of the historically Black university in Washington, D.C.
"I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad," says Howard President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “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."
A star of stage and screen, Rashad is probably best known for her run as Claire Huxtable on TV's The Cosby Show. Her Broadway resume includes early-career appearances in the original productions of The Wiz and Dreamgirls, subsequently returning after her success on television as The Witch during the original run of Into the Woods. Since then, she's starred in Broadway productions of Jelly's Last Jam, Gem of the Ocean, Cymbeline, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and August: Osage County, winning a 2004 Tony Award for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun. Rashad is also an accomplished director, helming productions of Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Repertory Theater, Our Lady of 121st Street at Signature Theatre, The Roommate at Steppenwolf Theatre, and others.
This appointment won't be Rashad's first foray in the educational world, having served as guest lecturer and an adjunct faculty member at such colleges, universities, and organizations as Howard University, New York University, Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon, Wayne State University, and Juilliard.