Brazile brings experience to Howard U.

Reginald Stuart | 8/23/2018, 6 a.m.
Howard University, just blocks from the White House and Capitol Hill, announced Monday the appointment of influential political strategist Donna ...

Howard University, just blocks from the White House and Capitol Hill, announced Monday the appointment of influential political strategist Donna Brazile, former chair of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential run, as its Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy.

It is a one-year post.

Ms. Brazile, who has a long history of advising politicians and speaking in public, “will develop and host a five-part series designed to engage the Howard community on a variety of subjects, including politics, voting, criminal justice reform and civility,” the university stated in the announcement.

The appointment of Ms. Brazile, a high-profile political rocket, comes as students and teachers across the nation ready for national, state and local elections. On college campuses, student groups have started to drum up interest among their ranks.

“We are at a pregnant moment in our national dialogue around politics and public policy,” Howard President Wayne A. I. Frederick said. “The nature of that discourse unfortunately isn’t allowing for a discussion of substance. (Ms. Brazile) can now bring all that experience and wisdom to bring a bipartisan discussion to these critical issues.”

During her tenure, Ms. Brazile will focus on the theme, “The Future Is Now,” and explore several public policy areas. Her first event, on Sept. 4, will be to demystify the political process and discuss how public policy is made in “Finding Your Seat at the Table.”

The New Orleans native and graduate of Louisiana State University said she is “thrilled” to make Howard University her “first chair position at a historically black college or university, particularly during such an important political year.”

Journalists, who have reported on Ms. Brazile’s extensive work for years, noted her selection.

“I think she brings a wealth of experience,” said USA Today Washington correspondent Deborah Barfield Berry. “She’s been at the table with national leaders. But, more importantly, she has been in the trenches, in the community knocking on doors, talking to people.”

Indeed, Ms. Brazile has covered much ground since her college days as a volunteer in the presidential campaign of former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter. In the years since, she worked tirelessly in the presidential campaigns of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt. She was campaign manager for former U.S. Sen. Albert Gore Jr., when he ran for president and for Mrs. Clinton.

In the process, Ms. Brazile has accumulated a “golden Rolodex” of political contacts throughout the nation of all political persuasions and has visited nearly every city in the country. She could memorize a road map before Google was invented. She is a familiar face and voice on television and radio and is widely quoted in news stories across the country.

People generally familiar with endowed chair appointments at universities said the selection of Ms. Brazile was consistent with an institution of Howard’s stature to go for a high-profile person with rich experience.

Ms. Brazile becomes the seventh person to hold the King Chair, which was funded by a $1 million gift in 2008 from the couple who are both Howard University graduates.

As an endowed post, Ms. Brazile’s position likely will pay above six figures, said several people familiar with endowed chair compensation. The position was last held by former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired in May 2017 by President Trump.