WASHINGTON – Hundreds of friends, family and alumni are expected to gather in Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Howard University’s campus at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5, to celebrate the life and legacy of President Emeritus Dr. James E. Cheek.

Cheek, who served as president from 1969 to 1989, steered the University through one of its greatest periods of growth and expansion.

During his tenure, the student population grew by 4,000 and the University’s budget increased from $43 million to $417 million, as the federal appropriation went from $29 million to $178 million. The University also expanded the number of schools and colleges to 18 from 11 and quadrupled the number of faculty members to almost 2,000.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan presented Dr. Cheek with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.