A fitting tribute for a king.
Chadwick Boseman took pride in portraying our Black heroes like Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and of course, the Black Panther. But the one thing he was extremely proud of was being an alum of Howard University, and now he is being honored by the prestigious HBCU in the greatest way possible.
Wednesday (May 26), Howard University announced the renaming of the re-established College of The Fine Arts that is now under the leadership of recently appointed Dean Phylicia Rashad to the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts in honor of the late actor who tragically passed away at the age 43 while secretly battling stage 4 colon cancer.
Boseman’s family expressed their gratitude to Howard President Wayne A. I. Fredrick and the Board of Trustees for bestowing Chadwick with honor in a statement saying, “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.”
“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 statement further reads. “We are confident that under the dynamic leadership of his former professor and mentor the indomitable Phylicia Rashad that the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts will inspire artistic scholars for many generations.”
Bosman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, also spoke in support of renaming the College of The Fine Arts after her late husband.
“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.”
Rashad, who Boseman spent time and trained with during his time at Howard, added in her own statement, “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.”
The renaming of the College of The Fine Arts in his name is a full-circle moment for the actor. Boseman graduated from Howard University in 2000 with a BFA in directing. While he was a student, he led a protest against College of Fine Arts’ absorption into the College of Arts & Sciences, a moment he reflected upon while delivering the commencement address to Howard University’s 2018 graduation class.
“A Howard University education is not just about what happens in the classroom, students,” Boseman told the graduates. “In some ways, what you were able to do exemplifies some of the skills you learned in the classroom. It takes the education out of the realm of theory and into utility and practice.”
The renaming of the College of The Fine Arts is not the only great thing happening. The Walt Disney Company’s executive chairman Bob Iger will also lead fundraising efforts to help “build a new facility for the college and an endowment in the “Black Panther” star’s name,” Variety reports.
“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,” Iger said. “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.”
The building will also be the home of Urban One founder Cathy Hughes School of Communications, and the University’s television and radio stations, WHUT-TV and WHUR 96.3 FM.
We couldn’t think of a better way to honor Boseman.
Photo: The Washington Post / Getty