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Howard University Celebrates 144th Anniversary
Congress Signed Howard Charter on March 2, 1867

WASHINGTON (March 2, 2011) – Today marks the 144th anniversary of the charter enacted by Congress and subsequently approved by President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867, which established Howard University.

Seven distinguished alumni, including an Academy Award-nominated actress, a distinguished attorney, a leading clinician and business leaders, will be honored for their achievements at Howard University’s annual Charter Day Convocation at 11 a.m. Friday, March 11, in Cramton Auditorium.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will deliver the keynote address marking the University’s 144th anniversary.

Six other distinguished alumni -- Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, attorney Weldon H. Latham, businessman Mark A. L. Mason, businesswoman JoAnn H. Price, engineer Lydia W. Thomas and clinical investigator A. Eugene Washington will be recognized at the Charter Day Convocation and awarded Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement Honors at the 87th Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 12.

The special awards honor graduates who have achieved distinction in their respective professional fields. Charter Day is a time of celebration because it marks the approval of the charter that founded the University in 1867.

The dinner will be held at the Hilton Washington and Towers Hotel. For tickets and additional information, please call 202.238.2349 or email

About the keynote speaker and honorees:

Reed (B.A. ’91, J.D. ’95) was inaugurated as Atlanta’s 59th mayor last year. Since taking office, Reed has worked to improve public safety, create new opportunities for youth and restore financial stability. Prior to his election, he served for 11 years as member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was first elected in 1998 as a State Representative and served two terms. He also served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

As an undergraduate member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment. Reed was appointed Howard University’s youngest General Trustee in June 2002 and remains a member of the Board of Trustees. Reed grew up in the Cascade community of Atlanta.

Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson (B.F.A.’95) is being honored for her work in the field of entertainment. Henson's career began with appearances on “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “ER.” She was later cast in major supporting roles in the movies “Baby Boy” in 2001 and “Hustle & Flow” in 2004. Henson later moved to major roles in the movies “Smokin' Aces” and “Talk to Me.”

Henson was nominated in 2009 for Best Supporting Actress by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Henson recently played the mother of the lead character in the blockbuster remake of “Karate Kid.” She received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Howard.

Weldon H. Latham

Weldon H. Latham (B.A.’68) is being honored for his work in the field of law. He is a senior partner in the Washington, D.C., regional office of Jackson Lewis LLP and the chair of the firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling Group. He represents Fortune 200 companies, government agencies and other organizations in a variety of legal matters, including corporate diversity counseling, employment law and government relations.

He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. Latham holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Howard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Mark A. L. Mason

Mark A. L. Mason (B.A.’91) is being honored for his work in the field of business. Mason is the chief operating officer for Citi Holdings, which comprises Citi’s Brokerage and Asset Management, Global Consumer Finance and Special Assets Portfolios. Since Mason joined Citi in 2001, he has served as the chief financial officer for Citi Holdings, chief financial officer and head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions for Citigroup’s Global Wealth Management Division, chief of staff to Citigroup’s chairman and chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chief operating officer for Citigroup Real Estate Investments and vice president of Corporate Development at Citigroup.

He received a bachelor’s of Business and Administration in finance from Howard University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1995.

JoAnn H. Price

JoAnn H. Price (B.A.’71) is being honored for her work in the field of business. Price is a co-founder and a managing partner at Fairview Capital Partners, Inc., one of the nation’s largest African-American private equity firms. Prior to co-founding Fairview, Price served as president of the National Association of Investment Companies in Washington, D.C.

She serves on a number of national advisory committees and private equity advisory boards, including the Howard University Board of Visitors and the YMCA of Greater Hartford Board of Directors in Hartford, Conn. She is also the vice chair of the Apollo Theater Foundation in New York City and the chairperson of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture in Hartford, Conn.

Dr. Lydia W. Thomas

Lydia W. Thomas (B.S.’65) is being honored for her work in the fields of science and engineering. Thomas is former president and chief executive officer of Noblis, a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization. She is currently a member of the Noblis Board of Trustees and vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs for The George Washington University. At Noblis, she was responsible for general management and direction of the company’s overall technical, financial and administrative activities.

She was selected by her peers in 2003 as the “Black Engineer of the Year.” She is a member of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Toxicology, the National Defense Industrial Association, the Teratology Society and the International Women’s Forum. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Cytology and a bachelor’s of science degree in Zoology from Howard and a master’s of science degree in Microbiology from American University.

Dr. A. Eugene Washington

A. Eugene Washington (B.S.’72) is being honored for his work in the field of medical education. Washington, an internationally-renowned clinical investigator and health policy scholar whose research has been instrumental in shaping national health policy and practice guidelines, is vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine.

A 1976 graduate of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Washington completed graduate studies at the University of California Berkeley and Harvard Schools of Public Health and residency training at Stanford University and received a bachelor’s of science degree from Howard. He worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before joining the faculty at UCSF, where he co-founded the Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse Populations. He also co-founded the UCSF-Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center and from 1996 to 2004, chaired the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

Washington has been awarded the Outstanding Service Medal from the U.S. Public Health Service and elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where he serves on the governing council.

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