As soon as Dr. Frederick announced his retirement last Spring, our office began planning a special edition of Howard Magazine about his work. To be clear, Dr. Frederick never said, “I want a special edition magazine all about me.” If anything, when told we wanted to produce this, he kept trying to re-direct us to focus on the office of the president instead. To him, the presidency does not start and end with one person, and it will continue even after that person leaves the position. However, we – and the entire Howard community and beyond – know that Dr. Frederick – a doctor, businessman, administrator, leader, parent – is someone who cannot be cloned, and that his story should be shared.
This special case was well-exemplified by a particular afternoon in September. During a taping of an episode of the Journey with Dean Phylicia Rashad at WHUT, he received a call from the hospital: his patient was entering the operating room, and he was needed as soon as possible.
The word “whoosh” comes to mind when I go back to this moment. His chief of staff, Allison Bryant, was already on the phone coordinating his next steps. After the taping, he whooshed right into his waiting car; he whooshed through the hospital doors, down the hall, into the locker room, out the other door, through the handwashing station and into the operating room. It was a short procedure – removing his patient’s port – and then everything whooshed in reverse order, back to his presidential duties. I could barely keep up with his winged stride.
As we waited in the hallway for the elevator, I told him, “Dr. Frederick, I can’t even make lunch with that kind of efficiency.”
That week, renowned former chief official White House photographer Pete Souza had flown in to make photographs of Dr. Frederick. Though we have thousands of images of Dr. Frederick at various University events, we didn’t have many insider photos of his regular day-to-day – meeting, talking, writing, listening, thinking. Pete Souza had spent years photographing Presidents Obama and Reagan doing those exact things so famously, and we asked if he could take on just one more president, just for a week, and he agreed. I hope you enjoy his many photos that appear throughout this issue and the different perspectives Pete was able to capture of Dr. Frederick.
I also want to thank all of the members of my team who spent countless hours contributing to this issue; to Vice President Frank Tramble for his creativity and leadership to make this happen; to all the colleagues, family and friends we interviewed; and to those who shared their stories, thoughts, and tributes. And lastly, I’d like to thank Dr. Frederick for allowing me to tag along with him over the past several months in order to produce this very special edition. I wish you all the best.
A Note From Pete Souza
Since departing my job as President Obama’s chief official White House photographer, I continue to make photographs on a regular basis. However, I do very few “assignments,” that is, where a magazine or publication hires me for a project. Rather, I prefer to photograph people and places of my own choosing both for my archive and posting to my Instagram account.
When Rin-rin Yu and Frank Tramble approached me about photographing Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, I was intrigued right away and thought it could be a purposeful project. After all, this was the Howard University, one of the premier historically Black colleges in the country, paired with Dr. Frederick’s impressive background as its president, a surgeon, and leader.
I wanted to make sure everyone involved understood the way I work. Essentially, I tag along with a subject and make authentic, candid photographs throughout the day. But once I talked to Rin-rin and Frank – and Dr. Frederick – I realized they all understood, and we settled on a week for me to shadow him.
The results of the week are the photographs in the following pages. I am thankful and honored to have done this project with Dr. Frederick for Howard University.
(Dr. Frederick with Pete Souza and Frank Tramble outside WHUT. Photo by Rin-rin Yu)
Article ID: 1281