President Wayne A.I. Frederick’s State of the University Address detailed the promise of Howard’s future for students, faculty and staff and the campus community. The address conveyed a University with many successes that took place this year yet still present with challenges.
On Oct. 21 beginning at 11 a.m., President Fredrick addressed the University detailing an assorted list of achievements accomplished this year and improvements to be made to the University.
He announced about $670 million would be used for construction of the new buildings such as a Center for Fine Arts, a Health Science complex, renovating the Miner building to serve as a new place for the School of Education and a STEM complex that are expected to be completed by 2026.
In addition to these renovations, President Frederick announced the Howard University Hospital renovation project will be 600,000-square-feet and become established as a 225-bed teaching hospital with a Level 1 trauma center. The center will include a new medical office building and cancer center costing upwardly $650 million and is set to be completed by 2027 with Adventist Healthcare.
President Frederick also detailed an extensive list of ways the University has moved forward with ensuring better student wellness and safety and spoke about how the University’s master plan involves adding an additional 1,500 resident spaces for students and building a housing facility on Sherman Avenue geared towards graduate and professional students. A fusion building is set to come on Georgia Avenue by 2026 that will include housing set on top of restaurants like Subway and Chipotle. There are also plans of adding a recreation and wellness center in that area and a Howard labor union where the School of Education currently sits.
In addition to the new construction renovations, the president reiterated the plan to invest about $785 million in real estate, the largest real estate initiative in Howard’s history including The Oliver, a building outside of Howard’s School of Business which will serve as an apartment complex to house students and act as a gateway to the campus.
“We are also talking to the developers around the opportunity to participate…in a larger way in terms of who lives there so it can primarily be served as more student housing in particular,” President Fredrick said.
Another apartment complex, the Effingham site, is currently being demolished and plans to be replaced by mixed use development residential living spaces, a dedicated University office, conferencing and event space. “When we do these lease deals there’s a lot of confusion that we’re selling land…,” President Frederick said. “We’re trying to get these buildings redeveloped with money that we don’t have, or at least didn’t have.”
Audience members applauded the president’s extensive list of renovations and commended the president on his efforts and dedication to the University following the closing of the address.
Gabriel Grady, an 18-year-old freshman business management major from Brooklyn, New York was one of the members of the audience who “thought that the information was fantastic…,” he said. “I understood everything that he said and he answered every question very clearly. I was concerned about the bombing that he mentioned and how the students were at Banneker…and I hope that we resolve that issue.”
While alumni and members of the audience commended President Frederick for his hard work, there were some areas where alumni were concerned bout the amount of investments being made in relation to Howard selling property and the usage of their funds.
LaTonya J. Pegues, a class of 1992 entrepreneur and business owner, expressed her desire to have Howard’s resources be utilized for investing in Black-owned small businesses.
“I enjoyed the presidential address because I get to hear directly from the president…But I also wanna make sure that we’re using the funds that we have to help other African American owned companies. You gotta make sure, in my opinion, that we are intentional about speaking the funds from our Black institution into Black businesses.”
Randal Mangham, a former graduate trustee and an attorney also commended the president on the updates he heard from the address.“I really wanna applaud the president, he did a fantastic job, he’s elevated the game for Howard University, I really applaud him for that,” Mangham said.
“At the same time in thanking him, I wanna challenge him to create an atmosphere where we can address the real challenging questions that face Howard, including the privatization of our facilities.”
President Frederick mentioned that the next president would be a woman, but did not confirm specifically who she would be and when she would be taking office.
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee