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Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick was named Howard University’s 17th president after the Howard University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint him to the leadership position Monday evening. Frederick has been serving as interim president ever since October 2013 when President Sidney A. Ribeau abruptly announced his retirement.

Over the years Frederick has held other top-tier jobs at the university, serving as Howard’s provost and chief academic officer. It’s his medical background, though, that has earned him many accolades throughout his career.

Frederick has long been a part of the Howard community. He enrolled at the university at the mere age of 16 from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, traveling to the U.S. for an education in order to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. It seems as if his intellect combined with his passion and sheer determination to succeed served him well, with Frederick earning a dual B.S./M.D. degree at 22, leading him to enter a surgical residency at Howard University Hospital. He went on to complete a post-doctoral research fellowship and a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and earned yet another degree from Howard: Master of Business Administration.

Clearly accomplished, Frederick was a natural selection for Howard, according to the Board of Trustees.

“Selecting a university president is one of the most critical decisions a Board of Trustees is entrusted to make, and Dr. Frederick’s selection is the result of an extraordinarily thorough and thoughtful process,” said Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “After conducting an exhaustive national search, we identified a finalist pool, comprised of both internal and external candidates. From this stellar group, Dr. Frederick stood out as supremely qualified, remarkably motivated, and uniquely suited to lead Howard University.”

In a time of financial unrest, appointing a president after nearly 10 months should help Howard make big decisions about its future, especially after Moody’s Investor Service downgraded the university’s credit rating for the second time in less than a year earlier this month. According to Moody’s, “without consistency of senior leadership, it is especially difficult to effectively plan and execute the university’s strategies.” With the university debating over a  new operating plan for the hospital, a strong, decisive academic leader is needed to get the school moving in the right direction, and Frederick could be just the right person for the job.

It seems as if Frederick is prepared to take the reins, too.

“I am deeply honored to be selected by the Board of Trustees to lead this great University,” Frederick said when appointed president. “Howard University has been an unparalleled catalyst since its founding, opening doors and expanding opportunity for untold individuals while driving research, innovation, service, and excellence. On the cusp of our 150th anniversary, I could not be more humbled to accept the mantle of leadership and embrace the sacred trust of our motto, Truth and Service.”