Announcing Charter Day 2024 Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement Recipients


Dear Howard University Community,

I am very excited to announce that we will present Suzanne Marie Randolph Cunningham, Ph.D. (BA ‘74) and Andrae Townsel, Ed.D. (BA ‘07, M.Ed. ‘09, Ed.D. ‘15) with the 2024 Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement at this year’s Charter Day Dinner. The event, which will be our 100th Charter Day Dinner, will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

Established in 1943, the Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement has been presented to 344 alumni in various fields. The award acknowledges each recipient’s exemplary professional achievements and exceptional contributions to society. Past honorees include U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (BA ‘86), Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson (BA ‘84), philanthropists Eddie (BA ‘61) and Sylvia (BA ‘62) Brown, and the late LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., MD (‘52). Nominees for the Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement Award are selected by a committee that includes alumni and University staff and submitted for final consideration to the Board of Trustees.

This year’s honorees are true examples of Howard alumni embodying the University’s values of excellence, leadership, truth, and service. Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Townsel have made profound contributions to society in the fields of public health research and education, respectively, and we are extremely excited to welcome them back and show not just our admiration of their accomplishments, but our appreciation for the ways in which they represent the very best of Howard University.

As this will be my first Charter Day Dinner as president, I look forward to hearing from our dynamic honorees in a room full of people gathered to celebrate the founding of this most illustrious University and dedicated to supporting our work to raise funds for student aid.

2024 Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement Honorees

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Suzanne Marie Randolph Cunningham (BA ’74) is Chief Science Officer with the MayaTech Corporation, a Silver Spring, MD-based firm that focuses on addressing existing and emerging public health challenges. Over the course of her career, Randolph Cunningham has been recognized as a renowned researcher on the maternal health of Black women and the health of their children. In 2015, the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program presented her with the James E. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to psychological and family science research on Black children and families, and in 2018, she was named the recipient of the Association of Black Psychologists’ Distinguished Psychologist Award. Randolph Cunningham was also the recipient of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s National Fellowship through which she conducted international research on nutrition and pregnancy outcomes for women of color. Randolph Cunningham is also a 1972 Alpha chapter initiate and Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

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Andrae Townsel (BA ’07, M.Ed ’09, Ed.D. ’15) was born and raised in the beautiful state of Michigan. As a student-athlete at Cass Technical High School, he earned a football scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC. His football scholarship ultimately turned into a doctoral degree. He earned his bachelors, masters, and doctorate all from Howard University and began his educational career in the District of Columbia. He served as a student teacher, teacher, football and basketball head coach, assistant dean, dean of students, central office specialist, assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and a highly effective superintendent. On July 1, 2022, Dr. Andrae Townsel became the first black superintendent in the history of Calvert County, Maryland. Effective July 1, 2024, Dr. Townsel will become the first black President of the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM).

It is my sincere hope that you will join us for the 100th Charter Day Dinner, our premier fundraising event for our University’s students. I can promise that you will not want to miss this year's dinner as we acknowledge a century of gatherings to commemorate our University’s founding.

Click here for Charter Day Dinner 2024 sponsorship and ticket information

I look forward to seeing you on March 2!

Committed to Truth and Service,

Ben Vinson III, Ph.D.