Summation of Life & Leadership of FAMU’s PAST Presidents, Series Part 3: William H. A. Howard, Acting [1922-1924]

About the Series

In 1872, William H. A. Howard was born in Columbus, Georgia. Howard graduated from the Georgia Industrial School (now Savannah State University) and taught there under the direction of Nathan B. Young. Recruited by President Young to teach at FAMC, Howard had a stellar 20-year career becoming Dean of Mechanical Arts and innovator of FAMC’s military training program. By all accounts Howard was a loyal friend to Nathan B. Young before being selected by the Board of Control to take over as acting president.


  • Though it appears that Howard was completely loyal to Young, rumors spread that he undermined Young before taking the job. Teachers resigned from their positions, and until advised otherwise by Young the alumni association pushed to have him return.
  • Under Young students were allowed to make multiple payments to pay their tuition. With Howard’s appointment the Board directed Howard to require students pay their tuition in full at the beginning of the term.
  • Students signed a petition in protest to Young’s separation and later went on strike.
  • The Board directed Howard to penalize students for striking. Howard took stern action to break the strike, ultimately expelling eleven students.
  • During this same period three of the buildings, including Gibbs Hall, was mysteriously destroyed by a fire. Students were suspected of arson, but it could not be proved.
  • Though the school was able to collect over $38,000 in insurance payments, it proved to be a disastrous period for Howard, who saw his prolific career take a severe down turn. Just after releasing Young two years earlier the Board felt it necessary to find a replacement for Howard.

NEXT: J.R.E. Lee [1924-1944]


  1. Neyland, L. W. & Riley, J. W. (1963). the history of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

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