Legendary actress Phylicia Rashad has been named dean of the newly reestablished College of Fine Arts at her alma mater, Howard University, the institution announced on Wednesday.   

“It is an honor to welcome one of Howard’s acclaimed daughters back home to Alma Mater,” said Provost Anthony K. Wutoh. "In this full circle moment, Ms. Phylicia Rashad will take the training and skills that she honed as a student at Howard and exuded in an outstanding performing career, and she will share those pearls of wisdom with the next generation of students in the College of Fine Arts. Her passion for the arts and student success makes her a perfect fit for this role."

Rashad, who played the iconic character of Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1970. 

“It is a privilege to serve in this capacity and to work with the Howard University administration, faculty and students in reestablishing the College of Fine Arts,” said the new dean at the historically black university

Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said the new dean "will play an instrumental role in ensuring an auspicious beginning for this reestablished institution."

"Given Ms. Rashad’s reputation as well as her capabilities and impressive list of accomplishments, she will undoubtedly empower the college to transcend even our incredibly high expectations," the president said. "Under her leadership, Howard will continue to inspire and cultivate the artists and leaders who will shape our niche and national cultures for generations to come.”

Rashad, who was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2016, has received several awards throughout her career. Her accolades include a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, BET Honors Theatrical Arts Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Spirit of Shakespeare Award and the inaugural Legacy Award of the Ruben Santiago Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center. 

In recent years, the 72-year-old has starred in shows such as This is UsEmpire and the Netflix holiday movie, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The actress, who has been nominated for five Primetime Emmys, most recently received the honor in 2020 for her performance in This Is Us, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The educator has also served as a guest lecturer at New York University, Vassar College, Juilliard and The Black Arts Institute of the Stella Adler School of Acting. 

The new Howard University dean will begin her role on July 1.