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Former Howard University President James Cheek Dies

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James Cheek, president of Howard University for more than 20 years has died.

A University spokesperson says Cheek died at a hospital in Greensboro, N.C.

James Cheek served as Howard's president from 1968 to 1989 a period of major expansion at the school. In 1983, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor .

During his tenure, the university's enrollment increased by 6,000 students, and its budget soared from $43 million to $417 million.

Current Howard President Sidney Ribeau issued a statement saying Cheek's vision and passion for the historically black college led to bold progress and increased federal support for the school. James Cheek was 77. Elliott Francis reports..


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