Chadwick Boseman has been honored by his alma mater, Howard University, by having their newly re-established college of fine arts named after him, Variety reports.
Named the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, the late actor and distinguished alumnus “would be overjoyed by this development,” the Boseman family said in a statement. “Chad fought to preserve the College of Fine Arts during his matriculation at Howard and remained dedicated to the fight throughout his career.”
Boseman’s family shared their gratitude for Howard President Wayne A. I. Fredrick and the Board of Trustees for honoring Chadwick with the renaming of the institution.
“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 continued. “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.”
Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, also shared her support: “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. 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.”
Per Variety, Boseman was particularly impacted by his time and training with Rashad, who shared that, “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 re-establishment of the independent fine arts college was a long-held dream of Boseman’s, who graduated in 2000 with a BFA in directing. While he was a student, Boseman led a protest against the College of Fine Arts’ absorption into the College of Arts & Sciences.
In addition to renaming the college for Boseman, The Walt Disney Company’s executive chairman Bob Iger will lead fundraising efforts to build a new facility for the college and an endowment in the Chadwick Boseman’s name.
“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.”
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Fredrick said, “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 re-establish the College of Fine Arts and he was filled with ideas and plans to support the effort in a powerful way. Chadwick’s love for Howard University was sincere. Although he did not live to see those plans through to fruition, it is my honor to ensure his legacy lives on.”
Boseman died in August 2020 at age 43, after a 4-year fight with colon cancer.