Earlier this week, Howard University announced that it would be naming its newly re-established College of Fine Arts after the late actor and esteemed alumnus Chadwick Boseman. The Black Panther actor graduated from the university back in 2000, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing. While Boseman was a student at Howard, the passionate young man orchestrated a student protest against the original absorption of the Fine Arts College into the larger College of Arts & Sciences. And even after he graduated, the inspiring actor remained passionate about the issue and continued in conversation with the university’s administration in regards to it.
“Chadwick’s love for Howard University was sincere,” says Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, “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.”
Plans to re-establish the College of Fine Arts were finally announced in early 2018, during Boseman’s return to his alma mater to serve as that year’s commencement speaker. Now, those plans are finally being set in motion, with Walt Disney Company’s Executive Chairman Robert A. Iger said to be personally leading the fundraising efforts for the state-of-the-art facility and endowment in Boseman’s honor. And the news of this new development follows just weeks after the university announced that Howard alumna and actress Phylicia Rashad would be the college’s new dean.
According to the university, Rashad had been a professor and mentor to Boseman during his time at HU and recognized the budding actor’s talent. “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,” comments Rashad, excited by the news in Boseman’s honor. The actor’s family, also elated by the news, profusely expressed their thanks to the university.
“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,” says the Boseman Family. “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.”
The late actor’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, also adds, “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.”
The announcement of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts marks the start of a fundraising effort for the new state-of-the-art building, which will also house the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the university’s television and radio stations. You can donate to the effort by visiting Howard University’s website.