Wayne A. I. Frederick (born June 17, 1971) is a Trinidadian scholar, surgeon, and university administrator. He is currently serving as president of Howard University in Washington D.C. since July 21, 2014.
Wayne A. I. Frederick was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. At birth, Frederick was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. As a result of being hospitalized three to six times a year, Frederick became interested in science. He also accompanied his mother, a nurse, on visits to her workplace.
After graduating high school at the age of 14, Frederick took pre-college courses at St. Mary's College in Port of Spain. Frederick enrolled at Howard University in 1988, at the age of sixteen. As an undergraduate student, Frederick was admitted to Howard University's B.S./M.D. dual degree program. He completed the requirements for both degrees in six years, allowing him to earn both his Bachelor of Science and his medical degree by the age of 22.
During his surgical residency at Howard University Hospital, he was mentored by renowned doctor LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. and Dr. Clive O. Callendar. He was greatly influenced by Leffall (First African-American president of the American Cancer Society in 1978 and of the American College of Surgeons in 1995) to follow a cursus in surgical oncology. He completed his post-doctoral research and surgical oncology fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Frederick began his academic career as Associate Director of the Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut in 2004. Upon his return to Howard University, he served as Associate Dean in the College of Medicine, Division Chief in the Department of Surgery, Director of the Cancer Center, and Deputy Provost for Health Sciences. He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Howard University's School of Business in 2011. Frederick continues to operate and lectures to the second-year medical students of Howard University's College of Medicine. His medical research seeks to narrow the disparity in all cancer-care outcomes, with a focus on gastrointestinal cancers.
On October 1, 2013, following the resignation of Sidney A. Ribeau, Frederick became Interim President of Howard University.
President of Howard University
In 2017, the Howard University Board of Trustees approved the extension of Dr. Frederick's contract as president of the university until June 30, 2024 – a five-year extension of his original agreement.
In January 2019, Frederick unveiled the university’s new strategic plan, Howard Forward, which serves as the blueprint for the institution for the next five years. In April 2019, Frederick began teaching a weekly course designed for first-year Ph.D. students, titled College and University Presidency, as part of the School of Education's Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies (HELPS) Ph.D. program. The course covers the structure and governance of colleges and universities, with a focus on Minority Serving Institutions (MSI).
He established the Bison STEM Scholars program to increase the number of underrepresented students in STEM masters and masters/doctorate programs, keeping with Howard's legacy of providing a diverse pipeline of STEM talent. He launched and expanded the Howard West partnership with Google designed to immerse students in educational and professional experiences taught by Google staff and Howard professors. He was also in charge of managing the school's $1.5 billion real estate portfolio.
Issues during Presidency
In 2014, Frederick was paid $953,104, ranking 45th-best-paid among 510 presidents of private American colleges. In the winter of that year, classes were postponed because the college was unable to heat its facilities.
In February 2017, Frederick and sixty-eight other presidents of black institutions went to the White House to meet with various officials, in the hope of securing additional funding from the federal government. The meeting prompted outrage on campus and a spate of graffiti vandalism that included allegations that Frederick did not care about black people and was a "plantation overseer". Mark Mason, an alum who is chief financial officer at Citigroup and a vice-co-chair of the university's board of trustees, later told The New Yorker that the graffiti was "inappropriately personalized and should not have happened."
In 2018, students asked Frederick for assistance with housing issues after the University was unable to assign dorm rooms. On multiple occasions, Frederick responded that students' emails were inappropriate in tone. After students protested, the housing office was closed and campus police were called. He later issued a statement saying that he had fallen short of student expectations.
In April 2018, faculty returned a vote of no confidence in Frederick. Among the faculty who voted, 61 percent expressed a lack of faith in Frederick's leadership. However, Frederick received a letter of support from the university's Council of Deans, which represents leaders of Howard's schools and colleges. The group wrote that it is "confident that the plans, strategies, programs and activities of the University Board of Trustees and President Frederick are yielding positive results and are on a positive trajectory for a strong and positive future for our beloved institution." The school's alumni association also rejected calls for Frederick to step down. In a letter sent by Nadia N. Pinto, its president, she wrote that it was important to hear the concerns of students and meet their needs, but Frederick had been a capable and effective leader who deserved to remain in his job.
Frederick has conducted research bridging health disparities with a particular emphasis on cancer outcomes among African Americans and other underrepresented groups. He has served as the principal investigator for major collaborations with the National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and local and national minority-serving oncology programs.
At the UConn Comprehensive Cancer Center, he brought a new surgical technique to operate on patients with advanced rectal cancer, and radio frequency ablation for patients with liver cancer.
- Chair of the Surgical Section of the National Medical Association
- Director of the Drew-Walker Residents Forum of the Surgical Section of the National Medical Association
- Vice Chairman of the District of Columbia Board of Medicine
- Member of the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Society of Surgical Oncology (named in 2004)
- Member of the Committee of Young Surgeons of the American College of Surgeons (named in 2003)
- Member of the Ethics Committee of the American College of Surgeons
- Member of the Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on HBCUs
- Since 2020: Chair, Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) Council of Chief Executive Officers (CCEOS)
- Since February 2020: Member of the Board of Directors for Humana Inc.
- Since July 2019: Member of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Since July 2019: Chair, Consortium of Universities of Washington Metropolitan Area
- Since January 2017: Member of the Board of Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
- Since April 2016: Member of the American Surgical Association, known as “the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organization.”
- Since 2015: Member of the Board of Directors of Mutual of America
- 2020: First-ever recipient of Educator Award from Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation, Inc.
- 2019: Honored with Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
- 2018: "Power 100" by Ebony magazine
- 2018: "Super Doctor" by The Washington Post Magazine.
- 2017: Unity Health Care Winter Ball, Jesse B. Barber Jr. Community Health Care Award
- 2017: Washingtonian of the Year by the Washingtonian magazine
- 2017: 100 Black Men of Prince George's County, Inc. 6th Annual Community Brunch and Awards
- 2016: "Power 100" by the Washington Business Journal
- 2016: Distinguished Service Award, Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patients Network
- 2015: "Power 100" by the Washington Business Journal
- 2015: "Male President of the Year" by HBCU Digest
- 2015: St. Mary's College, Port of Spain, Trinidad Hall of Fame.
- 2015: Movement is Life National Caucus on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disparities, Vanguard Award
- 2015: Bouchet Legacy Award, Howard University
- 2015: South West Regional Health Authority, Embracing Leadership Award, Trinidad
- 2015: Minority Business Leader Award, The Washington Business Journal
- 2012: National Institute for Higher Education, Research, and Science Technology Award for Excellence in Science and Technology,
- 2011: Standout Scholar, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine
- 2010: Institute of Caribbean Studies, American Caribbean Heritage Award
- National Association of Health Services Executives' Congressional Black Caucus Distinguished Leadership in Health Care Award
- Congressional Citation for Distinguished Service, presented by Barbara Lee during the Caribbean-American Heritage Month