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Chadwick Boseman's Alma Mater Just Honored Him In A Major Way

Most people remember Chadwick Boseman for his roles as T'Challa in "Black Panther," Thurgood Marshall in "Marshall," Jackie Robinson in "42," and James Brown in "Get on Up." Before he was ever any of those iconic characters, however, he was a proud Howard University alumnus. The South Carolina native used his time as a student to become a prominent figure at the nation's preeminent HBCU, where he fought to keep the arts alive. Howard University is now honoring him for those efforts and his many accomplishments with a restoration of the actor's cherished College of the Arts.

"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," the Boseman family said in a statement, according to Variety. "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 restoration of the school Boseman fought to preserve is perhaps the perfect posthumous honor for the star, who tragically died from colon cancer in 2020.

The Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts

Howard University has announced today that the restored College of Fine Arts will be named in honor of Chadwick Boseman: the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. This development was led by Dean Phylicia Rashad, who served as a mentor to the late actor. 

Boseman's wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, shared her thoughts in a statement regarding the honor: "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."

The reestablishment of an independent fine arts college was a dream of Boseman, who led a protest while attending against the decision to absorb the College of Fine Arts with the College of Arts & Sciences, as noted in his famous 2018 commencement speech.

The Walt Disney Company's contributions

On top of this exciting announcement, Disney's executive chairman, Bob Iger, announced fundraising efforts to build a new facility at Howard University in honor of Chadwick Boseman. The building will be the new home for the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the University's television and radio stations, WHUT-TV and WHUR 96.3 FM.

"Chadwick Boseman was an extraordinarily gifted, charismatic, and kind-hearted person whose incredible talent and generous spirit was 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."

Both of these contributions will help create more resources for the HBCU. This recognition also serves as a testament to how much the faculty and staff care for their alumni. Boseman was always very public about his relationship to Dean Rashad, often referring to her as a significant part of his journey. Dean Rashad shared a statement the morning of the announcement regarding Chadwick.

"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," Rashad said. Now, thousands of new students will have the opportunity to study the fine arts at Howard in the way Boseman always hoped they would.