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Howard University Appoints Joe Leonard, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President of External Affairs

Dr. Leonard

WASHINGTON – Howard University is pleased to announce the appointment of Joe Leonard, Ph.D., as the assistant vice president of external affairs, effective immediately. For more than two years, Leonard has served as director of the Howard University Community Association, focused on enhancing the University’s relationship with surrounding communities. Leonard replaces Paul Monteiro, who served in the position since 2019. 

“I am happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Joe Leonard as assistance vice president of external affairs,” said Rashad Young, senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “Dr. Leonard is a long-term community advocate who brings a bevy of experience and knowledge to the Office of External Affairs. He will guide the University by maintaining and building relationships with local, state and federal government officials. I would also like to thank Mr. Paul Monteiro for nearly three years of dedicated service to Howard University as assistant vice president for external affairs, and I am confident that Leonard will continue to help propel Howard Forward.” 

Leonard previously served as the chief of staff to the senior adviser for the mayor of Washington, D.C. Leonard also served as assistant secretary for civil rights at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 2009.  

“I want to personally thank President Frederick, SVP Young and AVP Paul Monteiro for the faith and confidence they have provided me since I joined Howard University,” said Leonard. “Having worked alongside AVP Monteiro the past two years I feel uniquely blessed to continue the mission of the University.” 

Before joining USDA, Leonard served as executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). While at the CBC, Leonard managed the daily activities of the Caucus and helped guide the legislative policy for its 43 congressional members. Prior to his role at the CBC, Leonard served as executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, an umbrella organization of 32 member groups that together work to develop and implement public polices for African Americans in urban and rural America. He also served for five years as the Washington, D.C. bureau chief of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and director of the Arthur Fleming Institute of the Center for Policy Alternatives. 

Leonard is a native of Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in American history with a specialization in civil rights history from Howard University, a master’s degree from Southern University, and a bachelor’s degree from Huston-Tillotson University. Leonard and his wife, Natasha Cole-Leonard, Ph.D., are proud parents of their 19-year-old son, Cole. 


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. 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, visit www.howard.edu.