Howard Celebrates 139th Year

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Charter Day commemorates the signing of the University's charter, which was enacted by Congress and subsequently approved by President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867. During the 82nd Annual Charter Day Gala at the Hilton Washington and Towers Hotel on Saturday, March 4, the University honored Potomac Electric Power Company with the 2006 Corporate Award.

Howard University's 139th Charter Day Convocation was held Friday, in Cramton Auditorium with Suzanne de Passe, chairperson and chief executive officer, de Passe Entertainment, as keynote speaker. Charter Day Convocation proceedings was broadcast live on Howard University's WHUR-96.3 FM and WHUT-TV, the first African-American-owned public television station in the nation. Suzanne de Passe began her career at Motown Records as creative assistant to company founder Berry Gordy and rose to the position of president of Motown Productions.

Charter Day commemorates the signing of the University's charter, which was enacted by Congress and subsequently approved by President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867. During the 82nd Annual Charter Day Gala at the Hilton Washington and Towers Hotel on Saturday, March 4, the University will honor Potomac Electric Power Company with the 2006 Corporate Award. Also featured will be Jessye Norman.

Five alumni were honored for outstanding contributions in their respective fields: Dr. Joseph E. Harris, in the fields of Education and International Studies; The Honorable Kamala D. Harris, in the fields of Law and Public Service; Mr. Kenneth L. Lattimore, in the field of Entertainment; Dr. Accie M. Mitchell, in the fields of Medicine and Community Service; and Mr. George S. Willie, in the fields of Business and Community Service.

Dr. Harris is a preeminent scholar, world-renowned expert on Africa, Howard University Distinguished Professor of History emeritus, lecturer, and author. He created the field of study known as the African Diaspora and has championed that Diaspora across time and geography. The Honorable Kamala D. Harris was elected District Attorney of San Francisco on December 9, 2003. Her election is historic on many fronts: the first woman to serve as District Attorney in San Francisco; the first African-American woman to serve as District Attorney in California; and the first Indian-American woman to serve as District Attorney in the United States. She was born in Oakland and raised in Berkeley, California. Her parents, both professors, were active in the Civil Rights Movement and instilled in her a strong commitment to justice and public service.

Mr. Lattimore was born in Washington, DC, and became a music aficionado at an early age, and performed publicly throughout his high school years at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. He attended Howard University—one of his musical idols, Donny Hathaway, had spent three years at Howard—where he studied architecture. Music was always his passion and, after leaving Howard, he joined the group Maniquin, and recorded one album in the late 1980s.  He left the group in 1990 and became a popular writer for other soul artists, including Glenn Jones and Jon Lucien.

Dr. Mitchell began his elementary school education in San Francisco and attended the prestigious Lowell High School, where he was one of four African-American students. His academic strengths were quickly recognized by the teachers and administrators, as was his tenacity and willingness to question the status quo. After graduation, he attended the University of San Francisco and received his Bachelor of Science from San Francisco State University in 1960.

He was accepted into the Howard University College of Medicine and, in August 1961, took the long train ride from California to Washington, DC. As a struggling student he succeeded in overcoming the difficult challenges of financing his education with the most able assistance of Mrs. Runners in Dean Robert Jason's office. Dr. Mitchell is a founding member of the National Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation, and has testified before Congress about the need for research funding. He is a member of the National Medical Association, Los Angeles Urban League and NAACP; a founding member of the Los Angeles Guardsmen; a former board member of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities; and a strong supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

Mr. Willie is the managing partner of Bert Smith & Co. and has over 30 years of public accounting experience. He has substantial experience in the audits of federal, state, and local governments, not-for-profit, and healthcare and private sector organizations.

His professional memberships include: the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA); AICPA Benevolent Fund; AICPA Financial Accounting and Reporting Subcommittee; and AICPA Accounting Research Association, Inc. He also serves on the U.S. Government Accountability Office Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards, and the Board of Visitors for the Howard University School of Business.

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