Monday, April 30, 2018

Dear Howard University Community,

I am pleased to announce that the University will confer four honorary degrees during the 2018 commencement convocation.

This year’s honorees include actor and alumnus Chadwick Boseman who will deliver the 2018 Howard University commencement address and be awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. A native of South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and attended the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford. After which Boseman began his career as an actor, director, and writer. He starred as T'Challa/Black Panther in the Marvel Studios worldwide phenomena “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Vivian W. Pinn will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. Pinn was the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and was associate director for research on women’s health. She held these positions from 1991 until her retirement in 2011. During that time, she established and co-chaired the NIH Committee on Women in Biomedical Careers with the NIH Director. Since her retirement, she was named a senior scientist emerita at the NIH Fogarty International Center. Pinn came to NIH from the Howard University College of Medicine where she had been professor and chair of the Department of Pathology since 1982, the third woman in the United States to hold such an appointment. She was honored by the College of Medicine as one of its “Magnificent Professors” in 2014.  

Colbert I. King will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. King writes a weekly column that runs in The Washington Post. In 2003, King won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for “his against-the-grain columns that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom.” King joined the Post’s editorial board in 1990 and served for several years as deputy editorial page editor. Earlier in his career, he was an executive vice president of Riggs National Bank, U.S. executive director of the World Bank, a deputy assistant secretary at the Treasury Department, Democratic staff director of the U.S. Senate’s District of Columbia Committee, a State Department diplomat stationed at the U.S. embassy in Bonn, Germany and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Adjutant General’s Corps. King grew up in Washington, D.C. He is married to Gwendolyn King, whom he met at Howard University while they were both undergraduates.

Gwendolyn Stewart King will receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. She is president of Podium Prose, a speaker’s bureau and speechwriting service in Washington, D.C. Prior to the launch of the company, King was senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for PEPCO (now known as Exelon) until her retirement in 1998. From 1989 to 1992, she served as the eleventh Commissioner of Social Security. She held high-level U.S. government appointments in inter-governmental affairs, women’s business enterprise and Social Security from President Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. King graduated cum laude from Howard University and has received the Alumni Award for Postgraduate Achievement. In 2008, she and her husband established the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University.

Excellence in Truth and Service, 
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
President