Howard University’s College of Fine Arts is set to be renamed in honor of beloved actor, playwright, and director, Chadwick Boseman. The late Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in directing. In 2020, he tragically passed away following a private battle with colon cancer at age 43.
Read More: Phylicia Rashad to serve as dean of Howard’s College of Fine Arts
Throughout his career, the iconic alumnus reached back to his alma mater in numerous ways, often seen beaming with Bison pride while in the public eye and continuing to engage with the university’s administration.
In addition to the school’s change of name, Walt Disney executive Bob Iger will spearhead fundraising efforts for a new facility for the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and provide an endowment in Boseman’s name, Variety reports.
“Chad fought to preserve the College of Fine Arts during his matriculation at Howard and remained dedicated to the fight throughout his career, and he would be overjoyed by this development,” the Boseman’s family said in a statement.
“His time at Howard University helped shape both the man and the artist that he became, committed to truth, integrity and a determination to transform the world through the power of storytelling.”
While at Howard, Boseman led a three-day, sit-in protest against the proposed consolidation of the College of Fine Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences, a move that he and other students believed would have fractured a rich community full of gifted Black artists dedicated to their craft.
Lauded actress, fellow alumna, and newly appointed College of Fine Arts Dean Phylicia Rashad mentored the Anderson, South Carolina native while he was a student.
“Unrelenting in his pursuit of excellence, Chadwick was possessed with a passion for inquiry and a determination to tell stories — through acting, writing, and directing — that revealed the beauty and complexity of our human spirit,” said Rashad in an official statement.
In her statement, Boseman’s wife Simone Ledward-Boseman expressed appreciation for the decision and spoke to the desire Boseman always had to re-establish the department.
“I am extremely pleased that Howard University has chosen to honor my husband in this way and elated that Ms. Rashad has accepted the role as Dean,” said Ledward-Boseman. “Chad was a very proud Bison — both Howard and Ms. Rashad played integral roles in his journey as an artist. The re-establishment of the College of Fine Arts brings this part of his story full-circle and ensures that his legacy will continue to inspire young storytellers for years to come.”
In 2018, the same year Marvel’s Cinematic Universe was overtaken by Black Panther fandemonium, Boseman delivered an indelible commencement speech to Howard’s graduating class. Plans to re-establish the College of Fine Arts had been in motion since then, according to Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick.
“When Chadwick Boseman returned to campus in 2018 to serve as our commencement speaker, he called Howard a magical place. During his visit, I announced our plans to reestablish the College of Fine Arts and he was filled with ideas and plans to support the effort in a powerful way,” said Frederick.
Read More: Anthony Hopkins pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman in late Oscars speech
“Chadwick’s love for Howard University was sincere, and although he did not live to see those plans through to fruition, it is my honor to ensure his legacy lives on through the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts with the support of his wife and the Chadwick Boseman Foundation.”
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