The late actor Chadwick Boseman is receiving the ultimate posthumous honor. His undergraduate alma mater, Howard University, has announced that their newly reestablished visual and performing arts program will be named after the acclaimed Black Panther and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom actor. It will now be known as the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, reported the Washington Post.
“We are very excited. This is the right thing to do,” Howard’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick, told the Post. In addition to bearing his name, the college will also begin fundraising to develop a “state-of-the-art facility” to house the visual and performing arts classrooms, labs, and equipment.
Boseman attended Howard with plans of becoming a director. As an undergrad, he was opposed to the College of Fine Arts being folded into the College of Arts & Scienes; he led a student protest against the decision, arguing that visual and performing arts students deserved their own program. In a statement, author and classmate Ta-Nehisi Coates recalled how the protest awoke Boseman’s “sense of the power of the arts to affect change.”
Carolyn and Leroy Boseman, his parents, thanked the school’s administration, saying that “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 wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, also said that naming the school after him “brings this part of [Boseman’s] story full-circle and ensures that his legacy will continue to inspire young storytellers for years to come.”
During his time at Howard, Boseman studied with actress Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show, This Is Us), who taught drama as an adjunct faculty member. Rashad helped Boseman and his classmates finance a study abroad trip to the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England. He graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of fine arts in directing.
A proud alumni, he delivered the commencement address to the graduating class in 2018 and was given an honorary doctorate degree. Boseman died from colorectal cancer at age 43 in 2020.
In May 2021, Rashad was appointed dean of Howard’s College of Fine Arts that will now bear Boseman’s name.
Watch Boseman’s 2018 commencement address below.