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Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C.marker, United Statesmarker.

Today, it is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and is partially funded by the US Government, which gives approximately $235 million annually. From its outset, it was nonsectarian and open to people of both sexes and all races. Howard has graduate schools of pharmacy, law, medicine, dentistry and divinity, in addition to the undergraduate program.


In November 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, members of The First Congregational Society of Washington considered establishing a theological seminary for the education of African-American clergymen. Within a few weeks, the project expanded to include a provision for establishing a university. Within two years, the University consisted of the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine. The new institution was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, a Civil War hero, who was both the founder of the University and, at the time, Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. Howard later served as President of the university from 1869-74.

Congress chartered Howard on March 2, 1867, and much of its early funding came from endowment, private benefaction, and tuition. An annual congressional appropriation administered by the U.S. Department of Education funds Howard University and Howard University Hospital.

Howard University has played an important role in American history and the Civil Rights Movement on a number of occasions. Alain Locke, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and first African American Rhodes Scholar, authored The New Negro, which helped to usher in the Harlem Renaissance. Ralph Bunche, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner of African descent, served as chair of the Department of Political Science. Stokely Carmichael, also known as Kwame Toure, a student in the Department of Philosophy and the Howard University School of Divinity coined the term "Black Power" and worked in Lowndes Countymarker, Alabamamarker as a voting rights activist. Historian Rayford Logan served as chair of the Department of History. E. Franklin Frazier served as chair of the Department of Sociology. Sterling Allen Brown served as chair of the Department of English.

Thurgood Marshall wanted to apply to his hometown law school, the University of Maryland School of Law, but was told that he would not be accepted due to the school's segregation policy. Marshall enrolled at Howard University School of Law instead. There he studied under Charles Hamilton Houston, a Harvard Law Schoolmarker graduate and leading civil rights lawyer who at the time was the dean of Howard's law school. Houston took Marshall under his wing, and the two forged a friendship that would last for the remainder of Houston's life. Howard University was the site where Marshall and his team of legal scholars from around the nation prepared to argue the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.

Presidents of Howard University
1867 Charles B. Boynton
1867 – 1869 Byron Sunderland
1869 – 1874 Oliver Otis Howard
1875 – 1876 Edward P. Smith
1877 – 1889 William W. Patton
1890 – 1903 Jeremiah E. Rankin
1903 – 1906 John Gordon
1906 – 1912 Wilbur P. Thirkield
1912 – 1918 Stephen M. Newman
1918 – 1926 J. Stanley Durkee
1926 – 1960 Mordecai Wyatt Johnson
1960 – 1969 James M. Nabrit
1969 – 1989 James E. Cheek
1990 – 1994 Franklyn G. Jenifer
1994-1995 Joyce A. Ladner
1995 – 2008 H. Patrick Swygert
2008 – present Sidney A. Ribeau

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a speech to the graduating class at Howard, where he outlined his plans for civil rights legislation and endorsed aggressive affirmative action to combat the effects of years of segregation of blacks from the nation's economic opportunities.

In 1975 the historic Freedman's Hospital closed after 112 years of use as Howard University College of Medicine's primary teaching hospital. Howard University Hospital opened that same year and continues to be used as Howard University College of Medicine's primary teaching hospital with service to the surrounding community.

In 1989, Howard gained national attention when students rose up in protest against the appointment of then-republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater as a new member of the university's Board of Trustees. Student activists disrupted Howard's 122nd anniversary celebrations, and eventually occupied the university's Administration building. Within days, both Atwater and Howard's President, James E. Cheek, resigned.

In April 2007 the head of the faculty senate called for the ouster of Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, saying that the school was in a state of crisis and it was time to end “an intolerable condition of incompetence and dysfunction at the highest level.” This came on the heels of several criticisms of Howard University and its management.

On May 7, 2008, Howard announced the appointment of Sidney Ribeau of Bowling Green State University as its new president.

On September 4, 2009, 350 students and union workers protested the failure of the financial aid office to distribute promised funds to students. Students also sought a recycling program, technology upgrades and more on-campus housing. Members of SEIU local 32BJ protested the possible outsourcing of cleaning services to contractors whose wages would undercut Howard's union contract.


The campus is located in northwest Washington.Major improvements, additions, and changes occurred at the school in the aftermadth of World War I. New buildings were built under the direction of architect Albert Cassell. Howard's buildings and plant have a value of $567.6 million


Schools and colleges

The Howard University School of Law

Though founded in 1879, the School of Law was accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1931, and in the same year the school was granted membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Today, Howard School of Law confers an average of 185 Jurist Doctorate and Master of Law degrees annually to students from the United States and countries in South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. It has a faculty of approximately 50 full-time and adjunct professors. From its humble beginnings, the school has grown in size, structure and stature under the leadership of its deans. Among the more nationally noted are Charles Hamilton Houston, 1930-1935; William H. Hastie, 1939-1946; James M. Nabrit [46152], 1958-1960; Spotswood Robinson III, 1960-1963; and Wiley A. Branton, Sr., 1978-1983.

In 1872, the law school graduated the first black woman lawyer, Charlotte E. Ray. She is also recognized as the first woman to be admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. James C. Napier, another 1872 graduate, was the Registrar of the United States Treasury, 1911-1913, and a member of Howard’s Board of Trustees, 1911-1940. Other graduates who have received merited recognition and distinctions include Thurgood Marshall, the first black United States Supreme Court Justice (LL.B. 1933); Vernon Jordan, Jr. former president of the National Urban League, (LL.B. 1960); Damon Keith, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, (LL.B. 1949); William Bryant[46153], Judge, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, (LL.B 1936); Spottswood William Robinson III, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, (LL.B. 1939); Douglas Wilder, former Governor of the State of Virginia; Sharon Pratt Kelly, former Mayor of the District of Columbia; and Adrian Fenty, current Mayor of the District of Columbia.

Research Centers

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. The MSRC collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources chronicling black experiences.


The University Libraries System has resources incorporating virtually every discipline, supported by information specialists and technical personnel. It holds more than 2.5 million volumes, over 16,000 current serial titles, 4.2 million microforms, and a rich multimedia collection.

The collection is housed in central library complex that includes the Founders Library, the contiguous Undergraduate Library building, and branch units in the Schools of Architecture and Design; Business, Divinity, and Social Work. Other campus information and resource facilities include the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, the Law Library, the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, the Afro-American Studies Resource Center, and the International Affairs Center Reading Room. The Founders Library, named in memory of the seventeen founders of the University, and designed by Albert I. Cassell, opened in 1938.

In 2001, the University opened two new 80,000 square foot digital libraries: The Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library on the Main Campus and the School of Law Library on the West Campus. The Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library is a research facility for health professionals in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, as well as the Howard University Hospital. The Law Library supports legal research and instruction in the Law School.

Student body

Howard undergraduates have a mean composit SAT score of 1,082. The students come from the following regions: New England 2%, Mid-West 8%. South 22%, Mid-Atlantic 55%, and West 12%.

Student activities

Mock Trial

Howard University was the first team to win two national championships in the same year, both the 1997 National Silver Flight Tournament and the 1997 National Championship. Additionally, the Howard Team has been listed in the Top Ten Teams in the nation for over 9 times and has won the 2000 National Silver Flight Championship, the 1998 and 2003 Eastern Regional Championship and the 2003 National Division Title. In April 2006, the team placed third in the nation. Howard University continues to qualify for national tournaments.


Howard University is the publisher of The Journal of Negro Education which began publication in 1932.

Greek letter organizations

A number of student organizations were founded at Howard University, including:

Howard is considered to be a historic site for several National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations. The Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was the first to appear in 1907 and establish itself amongst the male students of Howard University. The Alpha Chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha (1908), Delta Sigma Theta (1913), Omega Psi Phi (1911), Phi Beta Sigma (1914), and Zeta Phi Beta (1920) were established on the Howard campus. Also in 1920, the Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi appeared on the campus, followed by the Alpha Phi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho in 1939, and the Alpha Tau Chapter of Iota Phi Theta in 1983.


Athletic teams compete in the NCAA as a part of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The teams play under the name Howard Bison and use a similar logo to that of the Buffalo Bills professional football team.


Howard University has conferred over 99,318 degrees and certificates in its 140-year history. . Notable alumni include: choreographer/actress Debbie Allen,Edward Brooke (the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate), the Premier of Bermuda Ewart Brown and Roland Burris, United States Senator, State of Illinois. Other notable graduates include actor Ossie Davis, David Dinkins (first African-American Mayor of New York City), Mike Espy (first African-American U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) and Adrian Fenty (Mayor of the District of Columbia). The 1990s R&B group Shai was formed on the campus of Howard University.

Prominent faculty



External links

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