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Howard University Appoints Michael Steele as King Endowed Chair in Public Policy

Chairman Steele Official Photo

WASHINGTON – Groundbreaking political figure Michael Steele has been appointed as the 2023-2024 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Chair Endowed Chair in Public Policy.  

In this role, Steele will develop and host a lecture series to engage the Howard University community on several subjects including politics, voting, policy making, and civil service. The first session, entitled “In Defense of Common Sense,” will be held Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Founders Library Browsing Room. 

 “For more than two decades, Michael Steele has been a leading and respected voice in American politics, someone who has been a barrier breaker and advocate for upholding the tenets of our democracy,” said Howard University President Ben Vinson, III, PhD “As the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy, Mr. Steele’s appointment continues our commitment to creating bipartisan discussions that earnestly address some of our nation’s most pressing problems, work that is imperative in today’s society.” 

Established in 2008, The King Chair provides students access to experienced, senior public service executives who have developed and advanced public policy initiatives. The King Chair has brought some of the nation’s prominent thought leaders on government and public policy to the campus community. Previous chairs include former president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Elaine R. Jones, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey, political strategist Donna Brazile and the late U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings.  

“We are very pleased that Michael has agreed to occupy the King Chair this year. He joins a remarkable list of distinguished public officials who have generously shared their time and expertise with Howard University students,” Colby I. King said. 

“The King Chair is also a wonderful way for the surrounding community to gain insight from the talented and accomplished individuals who’ve served in this role,” Gwen King added. “We look forward to what we know will be an incredible and dynamic year of learning.” 

In 2003, Steele made history when he became the first African American elected to statewide office in Maryland, making him the highest-ranking African American Republican elected to office and the only African American lieutenant governor in the nation at that time.  

Following an unsuccessful U.S. Senate run in 2006, Steele was selected to serve as chair of the Republican National Committee, becoming the first African American to lead a national political party, a role he held from 2009 to 2011.  

Steele is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where he received a bachelor of arts in international studies.  He then earned a juris doctor degree at Georgetown University Law School. Steele worked at the Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton International law firm, where he specialized in financial investments. He then founded the Steele Group, a legal and consulting firm. He was a founding member of the Republican Leadership Council and, in 1995, the Maryland Republican Party selected Steele as the Republican Man of the Year.  

A nationally recognized figure, Steele is a political analyst for MSNBC and has contributed writings to several publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Root, and the Grio. 

“It is such an honor to have been selected to hold the King Chair and to be a part of the Howard University community,” Steele said. “Since its founding, the story of America has been about what we aspire to be. I see this as a unique opportunity to challenge and be challenged by students and faculty on what that means in the 21st Century and why it is important to defining how we govern ourselves and understanding what it means to be an American.” 

Registration is not required for the lecture series. Notifications about upcoming sessions will be issued by the University. 


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 two Schwarzman Scholars, four 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 PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu