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Chapel Dean Bernard L. Richardson Receives Lifetime Achievement Recognition for Interfaith, Community Work 

On February 5, Dean Richardson of the Chapel was honored during the annual conference.

Dean Bernard Richardson

Bernard L. Richardson, Ph.D., reverend and dean of Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, received the Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award from the Association for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Life in Higher Education (ACSLHE). This award, given during ACSLHE’s annual conference at the University of Southern California (USC), recognizes an individual with an established career in chaplaincy who demonstrates significant leadership on both their campus and in the field of chaplaincy. Recipients exemplify servanthood, devotion to ministry, and a commitment to the well-being of student life on college campuses nationwide.

Dean Bernard Richardson


“Dean Richardson is a stellar example of servant leadership. He is a dean of deans of the Chapel. Members of the chaplain community have learned so much from his style of leadership,” said Dr. Nisa Muhammad, president of ACSLHE. “His work and dedication to students speak volumes.”   

Richardson is a student-centered leader, with a background in theology and counseling psychology as well as certifications in mindfulness meditation. Through his work, Richardson is committed to supporting the spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of the entire Howard University community. A few of Richardson’s programs include the Howard University Mindfulness Training Initiative, The Wellness Collective, and The Howard Thurman Contemplative Justice Fellowship. Richardson is also a tenured associate professor in the School of Divinity.  

Dean bernard richardson

Richardson’s unique approach to spiritual and religious life on campus has allowed him to spearhead and innovate transformative programming grounded in faith, service, and justice. Programs such as Howard University Alternative Spring Break (HUASB) were initiated under his leadership; impacting communities across the nation and internationally since its inception and launch in March 1994. Other University programming includes Chapel Assistants, Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS), the Interfaith Advisory Board, Youth Justice Advocates, which facilitates outreach and mentoring program to youth in detention centers across the Washington metropolitan area, and the University’s first Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School.   

“Dean Richardson has been a monumental leader at Howard. I can see the love and passion that he has not only for the office, but for the University and all of its people,” said Domani Rodriguez, president of the Howard University Chapel Assistants. “He acts not only as a dean, but as a confidant. He is the embodiment of truth and service.” 

Dean Bernard Richardson with the Muslim Student Association

Serving as the fourth dean of the historic Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel for more than 30 years, Richardson continues to honor the legacy of his position as a proponent of wellness.  

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” said Richardson. “I hope and pray that the work that I have done and will continue to do will make a difference in the lives that I have been called to serve.” 

The Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel is revered as one of the most compelling chapels in the country, with global leaders to include clergy, scholars, and public intellectuals serving as guest speakers each Sunday. Many of whom cite Richardson as a confidant and spiritual advisor. 

Under Richardson’s direction, the Chapel and its programming has been a center for groundbreaking leadership development, inspiration, and hope for those who engage in person and through a worldwide weekly broadcast to more than a million viewers across various streaming platforms.