She begins July 1 and will report to Provost Anthony K. Wutoh. An alumna of Howard University, Rashad graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in fine arts.
“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.
“It is an honor 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.
“I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “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.”
Rashad became a household name when she portrayed Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, a role which earned her two out of her five Emmy noms.
Over the last two years, Rashad earned two Primetime Emmy noms for playing Carol on NBC’s This Is Us in the guest actress drama series category. She also received an Emmy and SAG movie best actress nom for her turn in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun as Lena Younger, a role which she also played on stage.
Other recent TV and film credits include Diana Dubois on the Fox 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.
Other stage credits include 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.
She made her critically acclaimed directorial debut at the Seattle Repertory Theater with August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. She has also directed Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street at the Signature Theatre; The Roommate at Steppenwolf Theatre; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (winner of the 2014 NAACP Theatre Award for best director) at the Mark Taper Forum; Immediate Family at the Taper and Goodman Theatre; Fences at the Long Wharf Theatre and McCarter Theatre; A Raisin in the Sun at Ebony Repertory Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre and Westport Country Playhouse; and Four Little Girls at the Kennedy Center.
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, 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.
Rashad holds honorary doctorates from Howard University, Spelman College, the University of South Carolina at Columbia, Tuskegee University, Brown University, Bennett College, St. Augustine College, Providence College, Barber Scotia College, Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, Carnegie Mellon University and Fordham University.
She has received the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, BET Honors Theatrical Arts Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Spirit of Shakespeare Award, the inaugural Legacy Award of the Ruben Santiago Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center, and the Lucille Lortel Award. In 2016, the actress was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Among the other awards that decorate her walls and shelves are 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.