Howard University made the announcement on Wednesday. “We are pleased to announce that legendary actress and alumna Phylicia Rashad will serve as Dean of the Howard University College of Fine Arts,” the school tweeted.
“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,” Rashad said in a statement.
Debbie Allen, fellow actress, director, dancer, and Rashad’s sister, congratulated her on the appointment. “My sister, the Queen Dean! @PhyliciaRashad YEEEEEESSSS, HU! @HowardU.”
Both sisters are alumni of the historically Black college (HBCU). Rashad graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in fine arts from the school in 1970.
Rashad started her acting career on stage with a string of Broadway credits, including Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (she was Sheryl Lee Ralph’s understudy) and playing a Munchkin in The Wiz. And since has starred in many movies and sitcoms from For Colored Girls to A Raisin in the Sun. In 2004, Rashad became the first Black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, which she won for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun.
But the actress may be best known for her role as the witty mom, Clair Huxtable, on The Cosby Show, which had a stellar run on NBC from 1984 to 1992.
While the actress has garnered much success, she hasn’t allowed Hollywood to keep her away from giving back to the school that guided her along her journey. Rashad is no stranger to working with her Alma Mater or other colleges, for that matter. According to CNN, she’s served as a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member. Rashad has conducted master’s-level classes from Howard University to Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon, and the Black Arts Institue of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.
The actress was also instrumental in mentoring fellow Howard alum, the late Chadwick Boseman, while she was a teacher and he was a student at the HBCU.
Now, it looks like she’ll have the opportunity to mentor more students in her latest position.
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