Howard and Tuskegee: Gen X takes leadership of America’s two most prominent historically black universities

July 28, 2014

Did you know?, Educational

Howard and Tuskegee: Gen X takes leadership of America’s two most prominent historically black universities

Baby Boomers began their tenures as presidents of America’s colleges and university starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

On July 21, 2014 Howard University’s Board of Trustees named interim president Wayne A.I. Frederick, a 43 year old cancer surgeon, as the school’s 17th president. The board voted to appoint Frederick on Monday evening, accepting the unanimous recommendation of a search committee chaired by longtime D.C. lawyer and power broker Vernon E. Jordan Jr.

Source: The Washington Post

On April 29, 2014 Tuskegee University’s Board of Trustees announced that Brian Johnson, Ph.D., was unanimously selected to become the 7th president of Tuskegee University. Dr. Brian Johnson, age 40 at the time, assumed the role of president on June 15, 2014.

Source: Tuskegee University

Many of the presidents who took office in the 1980s are now retiring. This excerpt is from an EBONY magazine article dated December 1984. This was a time when Baby Boomers were becoming college and university presidents.
New Generation of Black College Presidents 1984-EBONY

Video: Interview of Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick when he was still interim president
Washington NBC 4 Viewpoint

Click link below for video: Interview with new Tuskegee President Dr. Brian L. Johnson

Dr. Brian L. Johnson

Howard University
Howard University

Howard University Hospital
An Act to incorporate Howard University
Howard University Articles of Incorporation 1867

Howard University Articles of Incorporation 1867

Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University

Tuskegee 1881

Tuskegee Charter 1880

Tuskegee 1881

Tuskegee Charter

Tuskegee Hampton

Tuskegee Charter 1985

A few of the young presidents who have led Howard and Tuskegee during challenging times

Mordecai Wyatt Johnson- Age 36
Dr. Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Dr. Mordecai Wyatt Johnson
At the age of 36, in 1926, Dr. Mordecai Wyatt Johnson became Howard’s first black president. At the time University was comprised of 8 schools and colleges, none of which held national accreditation.

Johnson received his B.A. from Morehouse College in 1911, and second bachelor of arts degree from the University of Chicago 1913. In 1922 Harvard University presented to Mordecai the degree of Master of Science in theology. In 1923 Howard University presented to him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Dr. James E. Cheek age- 36

Dr. James E. Cheek Dr. James E. Cheek

Dr. James E. Cheek, at the age of 36 , was appointed president of Howard University. His tenure lasted from 1969 to 1989 where he steered the University through one of its greatest periods of growth and expansion.

During his tenure, the student population grew by 4,000 and the University’s budget increased from $43 million to $417 million, as the federal appropriation went from $29 million to $178 million. The University also expanded the number of schools and colleges to 18 from 11 and quadrupled the number of faculty members to almost 2,000.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan presented Dr. Cheek with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

-Source: Howard University

Howard itself was in financial and educational disarray when Dr. Cheek was chosen as president from among 16 finalists for the job. It was a time when the nation’s predominantly white colleges were increasingly opening their doors to the brightest black students.

In his inaugural remarks in April 1969, Dr. Cheek pledged to make Howard, long considered the nation’s pre-eminent black research university, “a bold and vivid contradiction to the belief that black men and the institutions which serve them are inherently, intrinsically and generically inferior.”

When Dr. Cheek arrived at Howard, students had protested living conditions and educational policies for the preceding two years. He himself had shown no reluctance to assert his views as a young man, when, according to The Washington Post magazine, he argued with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about a policy of strict nonviolence in the face of brutality during civil rights demonstrations.

But Dr. Cheek, who sometimes wore a dashiki, soon became a voice for order on the Howard campus. At the start of the 1969-70 academic year, he said he would “not attempt to administer under intimidation, violence or coercion of any kind.”

In 1983, he became a target of protest when students demonstrated against his expulsion of the editor of the college newspaper over her handling of articles about a university official’s sex-discrimination complaint against another official. (Dr. Cheek later reversed the decision.) Students also had grievances over housing conditions, crime and what they called “mediocrity on campus.”

More fierce protests shut down the campus for five days in 1989. Students, who took over an administration building and staged sit-ins, were again angry over housing and academic issues and criticized Dr. Cheek as inaccessible.

Source: The New York Times

Tuskegee’s first president was Dr. Booker T. Washington, who began his tenure at the age of 25

Dr. Frederick D. Patterson- Age 34

Frederick D. Patterson

Fredrick D. Patterson

Dr. Luther H. Foster- Age 40
Dr. Luther Foster

Dr. Luther Foster
Both universities have seen crises with their hospitals

Tuskegee’s Veterans Administration Hospital and Tuskegee’s John A. Andrew Hospital (now closed)

Howard’s Freedman’s Hospital and Howard University Hospital

The Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital opened in 1923 on 300 acres of land donated by Tuskegee Institute (Tuskegee University). It was the first and only veterans hospital staffed by African American professionals.

1926 Tuskegee Hospital

Tuskegee’s John A. Andrew Hospital

John A. Andrew Hospital aerial

John A. Andrew Hospital

Aerial view of John  A. Andrew Hospital with its 1972 additions

A1972 Tuskegee Hospital expansion

John A. Andrew Hospital 1984

1984 Tuskegee Hospital
An Act to establish a teaching hospital for Howard University, to transfer Freedmen’s Hospital to the University, and for the other purposes

Howard University Freedmen's Hospital 1961a

Howard University Freedmen's Hospital 1961

Howard University Freedmen's Hospital 1961

Freedmen's Hospital

Howard University Hospital 1970

Howard University Hospital 1975

Howard University Hospital 1975

Howard University Hospital aerial

In 2010 Howard University submitted a $1.1 billion plan to move its hospital and health sciences operation to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus after the facility closes and the District assumes control of its more than 62 acres from the federal government.
Howard wants to use all 62.5 acres to house its hospital as well as its colleges for pharmacy, medicine, nursing and allied health sciences.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Howard University’s credit rating to Baa3, in July 2014, for the second time in less than a year, citing a “precipitous deterioration” in the financial condition of the university’s teaching hospital. A major problem, Moody’s said, is an estimated $37 million operating loss for the university-owned hospital in the fiscal year that ended June 30, a result of declining patient admissions and other financial strains. –Source: Washington Post

Howard University says it soon will have two proposals for hospital partner. The university last year tapped an advisory group to find a buyer or major partner for the hospital. University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said Howard made progress toward finding a “viable” course for the hospital. “We are actively charting a viable and sustainable course for the hospital that will allow us to continue to serve the most vulnerable citizens of the District of Columbia,” Frederick said in a statement. “We are approaching this endeavor with great urgency.” –Source: July 8, 2014 Washington Business Journal
Colleges and Schools

Tuskegee University
College and Schools

Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science

College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences

College of Arts and Sciences

College of Engineering

College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing & Allied Health

Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science

School of Education

Howard University campus
College and Schools

College Arts and Sciences

School of Business

School of Communications

College of Dentistry

School of Divinity

School of Education

College of Engineering, Architecture & Computer Sciences

Graduate School

School of Law

College of Medicine

College of Nursing & Allied Health Sciences

College of Pharmacy

School of Social Work

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