Chadwick Boseman, the Oscar-nominated Black actor who passed away in 2020, is to be honored by his alma mater, Howard University. The historically Black university will be renaming its College of Fine Arts for him.
When Boseman was a student at Howard, studying directing, the school was considering absorbing their College of Fine Arts into their College of Arts and Sciences. Boseman participated in protests and activism, contributing to the decision to keep the CFA as a discrete school.
He graduated from there in 2000 with his BFA in directing, but remained engaged with his school. After his blockbuster success with Black Panther in 2018, Boseman delivered the commencement speech for that year’s graduating class.
“When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you need to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose,” said Boseman in that speech. He had already been diagnosed with the cancer which would take his life in 2020.
“Chad was a very proud Bison,” said Boseman’s widow, referring to the university’s mascot. “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.” Phylicia Rashad, the new Dean of the College of Fine Arts, was Boseman’s mentor while he was a student.
The Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts will also be getting a new facility with funding spearheaded by Bob Iger, Chairman of Disney Company.
Photo: Chadwick Boseman speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Black Panther” at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore