Remembering Mrs. Drake

She was a gifted cook who often brought treats to the office, but she also brought desperately needed food to students who were struggling financially.

It is with profound and great sadness that we note the passing of Mrs. Saphronia Drake on Saturday, January 30, 2021. For more than two decades, with boundless generosity, an engaging sense of humor, acute professionalism, and an unparalleled commitment and dedication to students, she served as the Senior Administrative Assistant to the Department of Political Science, the Graduate Program Administrator and as the Administrative Assistant to the Chair. 

saphronia drake

Mrs. Drake began her service in the Political Science Department in 1995. Her ability to master tasks with efficiency and precision became legendary. 

Mrs. Saphronia Drake was a rare gem, a personification of motherly love and humanity.

She worked assiduously to foster the vision and mission of the Department of Political Science, especially in so far as the students are concerned. She managed to maintain the responsibilities of the Department in lean and difficult times of unprecedented departmental changes, doing so with unflappable resilience and dignity.

Her work for the Department was less a job and more a calling. Mrs. Drake transformed her office into a vineyard for good; an office of advocacy and guidance for students; her office was also an oasis for faculty and students alike to smooth out the rough edges of a tough day or situation.  She was deeply dedicated to producing mature, educated, service-oriented, and ethical young women and men. She believed deeply in the mission of Howard and conveyed that to the thousands of students she mentored and cared for over the years. She earned the title of “mother” as so many students embraced her as such and viewed her as close to family as possible. Like great mothers everywhere, she had the highest expectations of our students and would not accept them doing less than what she knew they were capable of accomplishing.

She met the challenges of the job with creativity, ingenuity, and a fierce determination to always do the right and moral thing.

Her ethical compass always pointed North. Her efforts translated into exceptionally long hours and sacrifice to ensure that graduations, graduate acceptance, financial aid, the other needs of the faculty and Department were met.

Mrs. Drake was also immensely religious; her disposition emanate
d from her deep and abiding Christian faith and an ardent God centered philosophy of life. Her faith in God guided her actions and her words and anchored her relationships with all around her. She fastened her life to the Christian values of humility, self-denial and surrender to the will of God.

Mrs. Drake’s abiding faith led her to seek and almost always find the good in every individual. She demanded that everyone be treated with respect and dignity no matter their status, station in life, or moment of challenge.

Family was central to her life as well. She passionately loved her children, grandchildren, and her husband Paul down to her very core. Nothing brought Mrs. Drake more pleasure than family gatherings and occasions, especially holidays.

She was a gifted cook who often brought treats to the office, but she also brought desperately needed food to students who were struggling financially. She would take students grocery shopping or give them funds out of her own pocket. No one starved around Mrs. Drake.

Mrs. Drake touched every community associated with the university from the custodial staff to the campus police to retired faculty and staff to administrators and managers to cafeteria workers to alumni to donors to mail deliverers and to salespeople.

Not only did they all know her, but she knew them and their stories. Her warm personality and ready openness to friendship will be missed. 

We send prayers and blessings to the family. Mrs. Drake’s uplifting spirit is embedded in not only the history and life of the Department, but also radiates in each of us. Mrs. Drake was gentle;
within her daily testimony was a steady adherence to the need to do good at all times.


We are better, as is the Department, university, and world because Mrs. Drake lived such a wonderful and giving life. May God grant her the grace to see the light of his face.  She will be forever alive in our hearts.

Memorial Services

Remembrance Service hosted by the Department of Political Science

On Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:00pm the Department of Political Science hosts a Remembrance Service for Saphronia Drake.

Virtual Remembrance Service
Registration on Zoom


Event Link:

Funeral Arrangements

On behalf of the Drake family we want to thank you for the prayers, calls and concerns for the loss of our beloved Saphronia Annette Drake. Due to COVID-19 guidelines the funeral arrangements are as follows:

  • The funeral will be held on Monday, Feb. 15th, 2021 at 11am.
    • Marshall Funeral Home
    • 4308 Suitland Road
    • Suitland, MD 20746
    • 301-736-1616


  • The viewing will be held from 10am-11am and all are welcome to attend.
  • Face masks MUST be worn inside the funeral home at all times.
  • There will be ONLY 10 people allowed in the chapel at a time for viewing.
  • We want all to be able to pay their respects so please be mindful that others may be waiting to enter for the viewing.

The ceremony will be live streamed on the funeral home website. Here is the direct link.

Virtual Memorial Hosted by Political Science Graduate Students

Honoring Mrs. Drake: The Pillar of Howard University's Department of Political Science" Zoom Memorial link here.

  • Date & Time: Feb 7, 2021 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
  • Meeting ID: 818 6726 2459
  • Passcode: 877714

Or iPhone one-tap

    US: +19292056099,,81867262459# or +13017158592,,81867262459#

Or Telephone:

    US: +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799

University Support Services

University Counseling Services is available for students on Monday, February 8, 2021 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm ET via Zoom. Contact Dr, Mike Barnes, Executive Director of UCS at: