Howard University has revealed its newly re-established college of fine arts is now named after its actor alumnus, the late Chadwick Boseman. The announcement comes weeks after alumna Phylicia Rashad was named dean of the Fine Arts College at the esteemed Historically Black University.
“When Chadwick Boseman returned to campus in 2018 to serve as our commencement speaker, he called Howard a magical place,” said HU President Wayne A. I. Frederick in a news release. “During his visit, I announced our plans to re-establish the College of Fine Arts and he was filled with ideas and plans to support the effort in a powerful way.”
He continued, “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.”
Walt Disney Company’s Executive Chairman Robert A. Iger will personally lead fundraising efforts and work to build a new, state-of-the-art facility to house the college and an endowment for the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“Chadwick Boseman was an extraordinarily gifted, charismatic, and kind-hearted person whose incredible talent and generous spirit were clearly reflected in his iconic performances, including as King T’Challa in ‘Black Panther,’ and in his tireless commitment to helping others. Through his tremendous example, he inspired millions to overcome adversity, dream big and reach beyond the status quo, and this College named in his honor at his beloved Howard University will provide opportunities for future generations of artists to follow in his footsteps and pursue their dreams,” said Iger.
Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward-Boseman, has spent this past awards season accepting trophies in his honor and on his behalf. She shared her excitement for HU continuing on her husband’s legacy, especially under the leadership of Rashad.
“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 in the statement. “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.”
Rashad was appointed dean on May 12 and will officially begin on July 1.
“It is a privilege to serve in this capacity and to work with the Howard University administration, faculty, and students in reestablishing the College of Fine Arts,” said the legendary actress in an official news statement.
To the surprise of fans, Boseman died at 43-years-old on August 28, 2020, after a private, 4-year battle with colon cancer. VIBE reported, the family revealed he endured chemotherapy and surgeries in between filming acclaimed films such as Black Panther (2018), and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) after he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016.
Before his death, the Get On Up star was able to visit his alma mater and deliver a powerful commencement speech to the Howard University class of 2018. Standing as the university’s 50th commencement, Boseman detailed his time on the campus as an eager student with a commitment to creating change and his acting career.
“I stand here today knowing that my Howard University education prepared me to play Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and T’Challa,” he said. “As you commence to your paths, press on with pride and press on with purpose. God bless you. I love you, Howard. Howard forever!”
Watch the speech below: