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“There isn’t a day that goes by, particularly after having kids, that I don’t wonder or worry about whether I’m doing the right thing for myself, for my family, for my girls,” she said.

Pictured: Michelle Obama

Photo by Justin D. Knight

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University News

First Lady Michelle Obama was the guest speaker at a recent panel discussion that focused on the challenges Black women face balancing professional careers and family. The discussion—“Home, Work, Community: The Role of African-American Women as Change Agents”— was held in the School Business auditorium and attended by about 250 students, faculty members and staff.

Mrs. Obama said that it was a topic she has dealt with her entire life. “There isn’t a day that goes by, particularly after having kids, that I don’t wonder or worry about whether I’m doing the right thing for myself, for my family, for my girls,” she said.
Mrs. Obama stressed that there is no one right answer and that choices and decisions change, depending on the circumstances. “So know that in your struggle to figure these things out as women, as professionals, that you have to do what’s right for you at any given time, and that’s going to change—from week to week, from month to month, from year to year,” she said.

Paula Whetsel-Ribeau, Ph.D., the first lady of Howard, made brief remarks to welcome Mrs. Obama. The panelists were: Barbara Lang, president and CEO of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce; Daphne Dufresne, managing director of RLJ Holdings; Charlene Dukes, Ph.D., president of Prince George’s Community College; and Candace Adkins, president of Howard University Transfer Students Association. Florence Bonner, Ph.D., acting vice president for Research and Compliance, facilitated the discussion.

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President Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D., was profiled in the Feb. 15 edition of the Detroit Free Press. The article coincided with President Ribeau’s visit to Troy, Mich., as the keynote speaker for the Southern Oakland County NAACP 8th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner “Empowering our Youth through Education.” Read the full article—“ Howard University president recalls how the right education made all the difference”—by visiting

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Barbara L. J. Griffin Ph.D., has been appointed associate provost in the Office of the Provost and Chief Academic Officer. Prior to being appointed associate provost, Griffin served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. A scholar, researcher and administrator, Griffin holds a faculty appointment in the Department of English.

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Charles J. Gibbs, dean of Residence Life, has been appointed to serve as interim vice-provost for Student Affairs. As dean, Gibbs was responsible for the more than 4,000 students who reside within the University housing system. Before serving as dean, Gibbs served as the director of on-campus housing. In that role, he was selected as the “Administrator of the Year” by the Howard University Student Association for the 2004-2005 academic year.

Elaine Bourne Heath, Ph.D., an educator with more than 20 years of experience in educational management and administration, has been appointed to serve as the dean for Special Student Services, in the Division of Student Affairs. As dean, Bourne Heath will be responsible for Judicial Affairs, Veteran Affairs and Disabled Student Services. Prior to her appointment, Bourne Heath served as an adjunct professor in the School of Communications; dean of Faculty, Academic and Student Affairs at Southeastern University; and chair of the Department of Communications at Bowie State University.

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Award-winning author and Howard alumna Toni Morrison was honored this month at the Department of English’s 15th Annual Heart’s Day Tribute. The event, “A Daughter’s Return: The Fiction of Toni Morrison,” included a one-day conference and an evening gala tribute. Proceeds from the gala tribute are earmarked to support the department’s effort to complete funding for the Sterling A. Brown Endowed Chair. Heart’s Day is a time when the department annually commemorates its intellectual traditions. Past honorees include Edward P. Jones, Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Howard hosted the 4th Annual Hip Hop and Higher Education Symposium. Featured speakers included Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D, author and Georgetown University professor; Debyii Thomas, Ph.D., a Howard professor; and Mya, the Grammy Award-winning singer. The theme of the symposium was “Yes We Can! Young Women United Against HIV/AIDS.” The event also included free HIV testing and exhibits from HIV/AIDS-related organizations.

Howard and the John H. Johnson School of Communications celebrated the life and legacy of media giant John H. Johnson with a salute from media leader Ann Walker Marchant, and by announcing a new communications entrepreneurs center during its annual Legacy Day Celebration.

The School of Pharmacy chapters of Kappa Epsilon and Kappa Psi Pharmacy Fraternities Inc. sponsored their annual Heart 2 Heart Ball, which promotes heart disease awareness among women. Proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association for the “Go Red for Women Campaign.”

At this year’s Give Kids A Smile Day, more than 160 children from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C., received free care from volunteers from the D.C. Dental Society, and students and hygienists from the College of Dentistry at the annual event sponsored by the American Dental Association.

Photo by Ceasar

Howard was highlighted on Inauguration Day on ABC News. Senior Kenya Downs was featured among a list of distinguished panelists. Kenya, a speech communication major, provided analysis and commentary. During the coverage, Afro-American Studies Associate Professor Greg Carr, Ph.D., and eight students were included as a part of a studio audience that offered their reactions and opinions regarding the presidential election process and the inaugural festivities.

School of Education students served as volunteers for READesign, a library makeover project led by the Heart of America Foundation. The event took place at Simon Elementary School in Southeast Washington, D.C. Teachers and education students assisted with painting, refurnishing and the stocking of 2,000 new books in the school library. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and MTV featured the makeover.

Photo by Wolfgang Ritschel
An exhibit featuring artist Wolfgang Ritschel is on display in the Louis Stokes Health Science Library. The exhibit is comprised of 35 paintings and is a striking blend of Ritschel’s love of art and his primary professions as a pharmacist and physician. The exhibit runs until April 3. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ritschel will also conduct a “Gallery Talk” discussing each painting at the library on March 12 from 3-4 p.m. in the Gallery. For more information, contact Marlene Mahoney at 202-884-1727.

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