Phylicia Rashad Named Dean of Howard University's Fine Arts College: 'No Individual Better'

Phylicia Rashad famously played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show and also had a recent role in the hit show This Is Us

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Phylicia Rashad was named the dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University this week.

The actress and director will start the position on July 1, more than 50 years after she graduated magna cum laude from the university with a bachelor's in fine arts.

"I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad," Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement announcing the news. "As we reintroduce our campus community and the world at large to Howard's College of Fine Arts, the dean will play an instrumental role in ensuring an auspicious beginning for this reestablished institution."

Rashad, 72, famously played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, and has many other acting and directing credits to her name. She recently appeared on the hit show This Is Us.

"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," she said in a statement, according to CNN.

"I would like to see the work that was established during my time blossom again with a new thrust," she added to the Washington Post.

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Rashad has ties to Howard — a historically Black college located in Washington D.C. — outside of being a student. She also taught there, CNN reported, and one of her students was none other than the late Chadwick Boseman.

After the Black Panther actor's death in 2020, Rashad recalled when Boseman and a group of other Howard students were accepted into the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer program, but couldn't afford to attend.

She placed a phone call to her friend, Denzel Washington, who helped Rashad pay for their attendance.

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As dean, Rashad will focus on teaching, modernizing the school's curriculum, expanding enrollment and designing a more modern fine arts building, Frederick told the Post.

"Given Ms. Rashad's reputation as well as her capabilities and impressive list of accomplishments, she will undoubtedly empower the college to transcend even our incredibly high expectations," Frederick said in his statement.

"Under her leadership," he added, "Howard will continue to inspire and cultivate the artists and leaders who will shape our niche and national cultures for generations to come."

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