Howard University Mourns the Passing of U.S. Representative Donald Payne Jr.

U.S. Representative Donald Payne, Jr.

Dear Howard University Community,

It is with profound sadness that the Howard University community mourns the passing of United States Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ). This tragic loss leaves a void not only in the hallowed halls of Congress, but also in the hearts of those he served tirelessly and with unwavering dedication.

Rep. Payne was among the best in public service. He served as a beacon of hope and a champion of justice for the communities he served. His commitment to service exemplified the very essence of our University’s motto, "Veritas et Utilitas" — truth and service.

Rep. Payne and his family have an extensive and storied history with our institution. The Payne International Development Program at Howard University is named after his father, former United States Representative Donald Payne Sr., who had a distinguished history of service to the world in promoting international development. Rep. Payne ably succeeded his father in Congress, while proving to be equally giving to our University, most recently exemplified by his engagement on campus with the program’s 2023 fellowship cohort. For Rep. Payne, our students were an extension of his family, in whom he took great pride.

In this moment of collective grief, let us find solace in the indelible mark Rep. Payne leaves on our nation, and the countless lives he touched. His passing reminds us of the urgency of continuing the work to which he dedicated his life: building a more just and equitable society. We will honor his memory by continuing to strive for a better tomorrow, guided by the principles of truth, service, and social justice.

To the Payne family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, know that the Howard University community is with you and shares in your sorrow during this difficult time.

Committed to Truth and Service,


Ben Vinson III, Ph.D.


Social Justice and Statements