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Tony-Award Winning Actor Phylicia Rashad Delivers 142nd Charter Day Convocation Address, March 13, 2009

Tony Award-winning actor television star and Howard University alumna Phylicia Rashad reminded students of Howard’s legacy and challenged them to “rise up, and create anew,” Friday, March 13, during her address at the 142nd Charter Day Convocation,

“Dare to recognize, to acknowledge and to honor the greatness in others, especially those with whom you disagree, and you will discover something marvelous about yourselves,” Rashad told the students, faculty, staff and board members gathered in Cramton Auditorium.

President Sidney A. Ribeau presented Rashad, who became the nation’s favorite mom in “The Cosby Show,” with an honorary Doctor of Humanities for her accomplishments and contributions to the arts.

Ribeau reminded the audience of the University’s role in the lives of its graduates and in the world.

“Today we celebrate the birth of Howard University and all that she has given to America and the world,” Ribeau said. “For beyond it’s tangible role as an institution of higher learning, Howard University has stood as a symbol of our nation’s quest for equality and justice.”

Six other alumni were honored during the day, which celebrates the founding of the University in 1867.

Recognized for contributions in their respective fields were Sylester Flowers, Business and Public Health Service; Dr. Marian C. Johnson-Thompson, Government and Public Service; Dr. William E. Matory (posthumously), Health Education; Dr. Eon Nigel Harris, Medical Research and Education; Charles D. King, Esq., Entertainment Law, and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Humanities, Civil Rights and the Arts.

“The significance of Howard is embedded in their achievements, yet grows daily in the aspirations of our children,” Ribeau said of the award recipients.

The founder’s day ceremony and awards dinner also commemorate the University’s rich legacy of producing leaders.

Howard University is one of 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities and comprises 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, 13 Fulbright Scholars and nine Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Website at

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