Dear Howard University Class of 2026,
As you begin your life here at Howard, I have many hopes for your journey. I hope that you develop confidence in yourself. I hope that you find faculty, friends and mentors who will encourage you, inspire you and challenge you. I hope that you think more about your mission than your major.
But above all, I hope that Howard becomes a home – for you and your peers.
A true educational experience must take place in an environment where you feel comfortable and supported. You cannot hope to achieve your full potential unless you feel safe to explore your identity and express your true self. I hope that you feel secure enough to find your voice and to use it.
Of course, here at Howard, we do more than hope for your best – we have taken decisive and deliberate action to ensure that these outcomes will be met. Our illustrious faculty members have come to Howard not only because of the knowledge they possess and the truths they seek to reveal; they are here because they care about mentoring and educating the next generation of students. Your faculty members will instill you with confidence to persevere and ensure you have the skills and knowledge you need to go out into the world to pursue and achieve your life’s mission. We offer a contemporary education that is steeped in history so that you can understand the context of your modern-day circumstances and explore the breadth and depth of your identity. Howard also has numerous student- and staff-led resources and organizations that create safe and supportive spaces for all individuals in our University.
Generations of students have come to the Mecca to find their community. Whether you’re looking for people who look like you, who aspire to the same levels of excellence as you, who have a similar background and upbringing as you, who have encountered similar struggles as you, who share the same passions and interests as you, I am sure you will find them right here on our campus.
The moment you arrived at Howard, everything you needed to find a safe and caring space had already been put in place. But for Howard to definitively become your home requires action on your part.
To build a home for yourself, you need to prioritize building a home for those around you. As much as your educational journey is one that you undertake as an individual, it is also the time in your life where you will cultivate a sense of responsibility for others. The safety, security and comfort of your peers is just as much your concern as theirs.
To amplify the humanity of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and the strangers in our midst, is our highest calling in life. The knowledge you will acquire and the skills you will develop here at Howard hold little value if they are not deployed in service of others.
When we are attempting to navigate an unfamiliar space, when we are adapting to a new life and striving to push the boundaries of what we are capable of achieving, our care and consideration for those around us often suffers as a result. But Howard has been a unique space for 155 years because it continues to be a home for our students, a place where all people may feel comforted by the support they receive and the support they give.
Never forget that your passion for service is what drew you to the Mecca. In these early days on our campus, and throughout your time at Howard, I hope that you remember that service is not just about changing the world but building a stronger home right where you are.
My very best wishes to all of you for an enlightening year. May you all be healthy and safe.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery