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Press Release  
Release Date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 4:02 PM
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Media Contact:
Rachel Mann
Communications Specialist
Former Obama White House Faith Adviser Joshua DuBois
to Speak at Howard University

DuBois presents “A Candlelight Prayer Vigil for Our Nation”
 at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel

Washington (October 28, 2013) – The Office of the Dean of the Chapel and the Friends of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel will present A Candlelight Prayer Vigil for Our Nation, featuring Joshua DuBois, President Obama’s former faith adviser, on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 4:00 p.m. in the historic Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on the campus of Howard University.

 DuBois is the former special assistant to President Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The theme for this year’s event is Renewing the Fabric of our Faith - Renewing the Spiritual Fabric for our Times.

DuBois helped direct the Obama administration's engagement of faith-based and other nonprofit organizations around the country. One of President Obama's longest serving aides, DuBois previously served in then-Sen. Obama's legislative office, and he led the Religious Affairs Department for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. DuBois is an expert on the intersection of religion and public life, and his work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and elsewhere. He came to the Obama world after working on Capitol Hill, and was an associate pastor at a small church in Cambridge, MA. He received a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and a bachelor's degree from Boston University. DuBois was raised in Nashville.

The vigil has been held since 2008 to bring the Howard community together in prayer for our nation and its leaders.  The areas of concern  this year are social justice, responsive leadership and support for those most vulnerable among us.  Students, faculty, alumni and staff are invited to attend  to address these issues in their respective communities. 

“This is a significant and timely event and marks the fifth year of the community engaging in unified pray for our nation and for our national leaders,” said Dr. Valerie Maholmes, chair of the Friends of the Chapel.  “This event is a catalyst that affirms Dean (Bernard) Richardson’s vision of the Chapel’s outreach of deeper in faith - wider in community.”

This event is free and open to the public.  For more information contact the Chapel Office at 202-806-7280.

About the Chapel

Built during the presidency of Jeremiah Rankin (1890-1903), Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel was constructed in 1894-95 and was dedicated in 1896. The Chapel was named after Jeremiah Rankin’s brother Andrew, whose widow contributed $5,000 to the building fund. Today, the Chapel is the center of religious life and religious affairs for the University and is dedicated to fulfilling the spiritual and religious needs of the Howard University community. Through the Office of the Dean of the Chapel and the Spiritual and Ethical Dimensions of Leadership Initiative, the Chapel seeks:  to provide religious instruction and promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation; to deepen understanding and respect for diverse faiths; to establish occasions for religious expression; to nurture diverse faith traditions; and to affirm and strengthen linkages between faith communities and all people of good will.  Additionally, the Office leads the University’s commitment to preserve and celebrate the African-American spiritual and religious heritage which forms the cornerstone of the historic legacy of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel.

About the Friends

The Friends of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel was organized on September 5, 1982 by Mrs. Esther G. Pollard at the request of Howard University President Dr. James E. Cheek. The goal of the organization was to foster and encourage the mission of the Chapel, its campus ministries and outreach, as well as to act in a support capacity to the Dean of the Chapel.

Mr. Paul C. Johnson, III was elected the first Chair of the Friends of the Chapel in 1983. The initial event of the Friends was the 25th Anniversary celebration of Dr. Evans E. Crawford, Dean of the Chapel. Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership the Friends inaugurated the Ethical Forums, which served as an open and critical dialogue on pressing and controversial issues facing the world community and the ethical responses to those issues. Mr. Johnson served until 1993.

Dr. Shirley Graham Evans assumed the chair and greatly expanded the Friends’ mission. A fund-raising activity for the yearlong Centennial Celebration of the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, co-chaired by Dr. Estelle W. Taylor, was initiated and culminated in the stained glass window, designed and installed by Mr. Ron Akili Anderson, with the assistance of the Friends. The window depicts the first three Deans of the Chapel: Dr. Howard W. Thurman, Dr. Daniel G. Hill and Dr. Evans E. Crawford.

Mrs. Anita Moore-Hackney became chair in 1998 and reinstated the Sundays at the Chapel programs, which included the Centennial Celebration of Duke Ellington in collaboration with the Division of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Mrs. Hackney served until 2005.

Dr. Donna Grant Mills was elected in the 2005-2006 academic year and assumed the leadership role until 2008 and continued the legacies of her predecessors with emphasis on the Sundays at the Chapel programs.

Dr. Jackie L. Williams served as Chair of the Friends of the Chapel during the 2008-2010 academic years and under her skillful leadership the Friends crafted a Comprehensive Strategic Plan which focused on increasing membership and building partnerships.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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