Dear Howard University Community,
After 34 years as an integral member of the Howard community – as student, faculty member, administrator, and, over the last nine, as president – Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick (B.S. ’92, M.D. ’94, MBA ’11) recently informed the Howard University Board of Trustees of his plan to retire from the presidency by June 2024, committing to remain in place to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. Dr. Frederick began as interim president in 2013 and assumed the permanent position in 2014. I join my fellow trustees in expressing my profound gratitude to Dr. Frederick for his tireless, unwavering efforts to lead our University to greater academic excellence, fiscal strength, and service to our community and country. Needless to say, given his outstanding performance, the board desired that he would have chosen to remain in office longer.
As an alumnus of the University, having earned a dual B.S./M.D. and subsequently a Master of Business Administration degree from the Howard University School of Business, Dr. Frederick is an exemplary model of the generations of leaders and innovators we have produced through quality education and scholarship. Having assumed his role as president in 2014, Dr. Frederick has embodied the strength of will, determination, vision, character and integrity found in our world’s most admirable leaders, qualities that have enabled him to position our institution for continued success for generations to come.
A fuller account of all that our community has accomplished under his leadership will be forthcoming in an upcoming feature in Howard Magazine and The Dig. However, for now, I want to highlight just a few of the many achievements that underscore Dr. Frederick’s singular commitment to the excellence of Howard University:
- Dr. Frederick has led a renewed emphasis on the pursuit of academic excellence and the quality of the student experience at Howard. Under his guidance, the University experienced the highest student enrollment census in our University’s history and significantly increased financial aid to our first-time in college (FTIC) students, achieving a dramatic improvement in student retention and graduation rates. During his tenure, the four-year graduation rate increased by 20 percentage points to 60 percent, and the six-year graduation rate increased 8 percentage points to 69 percent. Both percentages are the highest in our University’s history.
- Across the University, Dr. Frederick was able to recruit, attract and retain numerous world-renowned faculty, furthering academic offerings and investing in new curriculum programs, such as the establishment of the Center for Applied Data Science and Analytics to catalyze applied data science research and instruction; the Office of Digital and Online Learning to oversee online program development and implementation; and the Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership.
- Dr. Frederick has led the University on a momentous rise. U.S. News & World Report increased our ranking by more than 60 spots, placing Howard firmly in the top 100 among national universities. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education completed its decennial reaccreditation of the University, offering only commendations for the herculean efforts displayed by Howard, a first in Howard’s history. Both are extraordinary accomplishments.
- Under Dr. Frederick’s deft guidance and skilled stewardship, the University has achieved an unprecedented turnaround in its fiscal health, and its financial outlook is now overwhelmingly positive. He took the helm at the end of fiscal year 2013-2014, when the combined University and hospital produced an operating deficit. Today, the University has $2 billion in assets and revenue greater than $1 billion, and the University’s past fiscal year bottom line was a robust high of $204 million. Additionally, as the endowment continues to grow toward the $1 billion mark, Howard was able to move $80 million from the endowment to fully fund the employee pension plan during the pandemic.
- Dr. Frederick initiated significant investments in the University’s development and alumni relations infrastructure, leading to dramatic growth in financial contributions from alumni and philanthropic donors. Since 2018, the University has seen an 800 percent increase in fundraising resulting in over $350 million in philanthropic support. In addition, Dr. Frederick has overseen a doubling of our research grants and contracts funding portfolio, positioning the University to regain its status as a Research 1 institution.
- Dr. Frederick’s leadership on the recently announced $785 million investment initiative to improve the infrastructure across campus will have lasting impact on our community. As the largest academic infrastructure investment in Howard’s history and a pillar of the Howard Forward strategic plan, it will visibly transform the University campus over the next five years to provide new and improved facilities for students, faculty and staff alike. This investment is in addition to the already renovated Undergraduate Library (UGL), Blackburn Student Center and Douglass Hall, which significantly enhanced the student experience spaces on campus.
- Dr. Frederick engineered the partnership between Howard University Hospital (HUH) and Adventist HealthCare, which will not only further equip HUH to address the health care needs of our community, but also ensure the continuance of Howard’s 150-year mission of training diverse health care providers that share a common goal of caring for underserved populations. This effort will ultimately culminate in the building of a new 225-bed, state-of-the-art Howard University Hospital on Georgia Avenue NW in Ward 1, building upon HUH’s existing network of care to implement a fully integrated health care system that takes a best-in-class approach to clinical integration.
- Lastly, Dr. Frederick’s leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic remains extraordinary, resulting in deep and profound community impact, including providing free testing on campus and opening clinics in underserved Washington, D.C. communities to eliminate obstacles to accessing adequate health care for the most vulnerable. Following his inspiration and example, the Howard community led the way in participating in vaccine trials to ensure that people of color were included in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
We appreciate that Dr. Frederick has given us ample time to find the next great leader of Howard University and remains committed to fulfilling key components of the Howard Forward Strategic Plan, along with other initiatives on his agenda. Over the next two years, Dr. Frederick will continue to give his undivided attention to advance our collective interests, drive impactful initiatives, and support the people that comprise our growing University community.
The next president of Howard will follow Dr. Frederick’s lead in exemplifying our motto of truth and service by strengthening our legacy, embracing and expanding our community, and building on our strategic plan to prioritize the success of our students, faculty and staff. As we develop and finalize the selection process for our next University president, we will be sure to share more details with all members of our University community as they become available. In the meantime, I invite you to join me and my fellow trustees in celebrating Dr. Frederick for his extraordinary work and thanking him for his longstanding and continued dedication and service to Howard University.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Laurence C. Morse, Ph.D., B.A. ‘73
Chair of the Howard University Board of Trustees