*Fresh from throwing a wrench into the 2016 presidential election and getting abruptly fired by President Trump, former FBI director James Comey will turn his full attention toward Howard University.
The school on Wednesday named Comey an endowed chair in public policy for 2017-18, which includes leading and conducting “five lectures featuring speakers that will touch on several topics.”
Comey is scheduled to deliver a convocation address at Howard next month as part of the lecture series.
Howard officials said he has agreed to donate $100,000 – his full salary – to a scholarship fund for students who come from foster homes. Comey and his wife, Patrice, are longtime supporters of foster children, as NPR has reported.
The new role continues a connection that the former FBI director had forged with Howard. Earlier this year, Comey invited university President Wayne A.I. Frederick to address FBI employees, part of an effort Comey had been making to diversify the ranks of the bureau, which is overwhelmingly white and male.
“I am pleased to welcome Mr. Comey to Howard,” Frederick said in a statement. “His expertise and understanding of the challenges we continue to face today will go a long way in sparking rich discussion and advancing meaningful debates across campus.”
Comey has kept a low public profile since his abrupt firing by President Trump in May. The dismissal took place months after Trump allegedly directed him to drop an investigation into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia. The White House initially said Comey was fired because of his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, his unpopularity within the FBI and recommendations from the Justice Department, but Trump then told NBC the Russia investigation was on his mind when firing Comey.
A month later, the former Justice Department leader and federal prosecutor told senators that he believed he was fired to relieve pressure on the White House over the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election. The other explanations from the president, Comey testified, were “lies, plain and simple.”
Comey’s firing, with about seven years left on his 10-year-term, has since come onto the radar of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia and the motivations for Comey’s dismissal.
In a statement provided by Howard, Comey said the school “has a longstanding history of being a vibrant academic community and the perfect place to have rich dialogue on many of the most pressing issues we face today. I look forward to contributing to this remarkable institution and engaging students and faculty alike.”
Howard’s statement said Comey would consult with student leaders and others on campus to develop ideas for his five-lecture series.