Former FBI Director James Comey gets a chair at Howard University

Story tools

A A AResize



James Comey, who was appointed FBI director by President Barack Obama and fired by President Donald Trump, has been named Howard University’s Opening Convocation keynote speaker.

Comey also has been named the 2017-2018 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy. In this capacity, Comey will lead and conduct five lectures at Howard, a private research university founded in 1867 for African-American students. The lectures will feature speakers who will address several agreed upon topics.

He will donate his entire King Chair salary of $100,000 to a Howard University scholarship fund that supports students raised in foster homes.

“I am pleased to welcome Mr. Comey to Howard,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, Howard’s president. “His experience and understanding of the challenges we continue to face today will go a long way in sparking rich discussion and advancing meaningful debates across campus.”

Comey said, “I am honored to hold the King Chair this year. Howard has a longstanding history of being a vibrant academic community and the perfect place to have rich dialogue on many of the most pressing issues we face today. I look forward to contributing to this remarkable institution and engaging students and faculty alike.”

President Obama appointed Comey FBI director, the seventh in the nation’s history, on September 4, 2013. Trump fired him May 9th.

As director, Comey did something unprecedented. He ordered his special agents to visit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. for a discussion about the government’s unchecked power.

Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s first director, labeled Dr. King a communist because of his civil rights work. U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy signed a 1963 memo, allowing the FBI to monitor King, open his mail, tap his phones and try to destroy his marriage. The surveillance was open-ended and conducted without a court order.

As Opening Convocation Speaker, Comey will kick off the school year on September 22 by formally welcoming the class of 2021. He also will recognize Howard for its accomplishments. Students from 108 countries will be enrolling. The first time Comey spoke at Howard was in February.

The Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy was established in 2008 with a $1 million donation.

Gwendolyn S. King was Commissioner of the Social Security Administration from 1989 to 1992. She also was a deputy assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

Colbert I. King is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post. He won the Pulitzer in 2003 for commentary. King is deputy editor of the Post’s editorial page. He and his wife graduated from Howard.

“Colby and I are delighted that a highly distinguished public official such as Jim Comey will become the holder of the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair for the coming year,” said Gwen King.