The late, great Chadwick Boseman will have his presence forever etched into history as Howard University will rename its College of Fine Arts after him. The honor comes after Boseman’s death due to colon cancer hit during the prime of his career last August. As an alumnus of HU, Boseman would go on to become an A-list actor and humanitarian, playing iconic roles including T’Challa (Black Panther), Thurgood Marshall (Marshall), Jackie Robinson (42), and James Brown (Get on Up).
Earlier this month, Howard named Phylicia Rashad as dean of the recently re-established College of Fine Arts. The two never appeared in any roles together, but shared a bond through their mutual love of the craft and of being fellow Bisons. Boseman, who attended the university from 1997-2000, was active on campus, having led protests against the HBCU’s plan to absorb the department into the College of Arts & Sciences. After the back-and-forth, HU finally restored the college as a standalone department in 2018, and Boseman returned to give the commencement address amid Black Panther’s global box office dominance.
Upon his return, Boseman called Howard a magical place and his commencement speech still gets brought up by actors and creatives who look to him for inspiration. “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.”
Disney’s Robert “Bob” Iger will oversee fundraising efforts for an endowment named after the late actor as well as construction of a new building that will be home to the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts among other departments. For those interested in supporting the efforts, please donate here.
His widow, Simone Ledward-Boseman, who was prominent in championing her late husband’s name during the Hollywood award season this past year, thanked the HBCU as part of the announcement.
“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,” she said. “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.”
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