On Wednesday, Howard University honored one of its most beloved alumni, renaming its fine arts program the Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts. Boseman graduated from the school with a bachelor of arts in directing in 2000. In tandem with the university, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger has spearheaded fundraising for an endowment also created in Boseman’s name. The money will go towards a state-of-the-art building to house the fine arts college, the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as well as the school’s TV and radio stations.
Howard president Wayne A.I. Frederick said the decision was the right one, since Boseman had agreed to serve on the school’s board before his death. Boseman was also in the process of developing a Master Class series for students. As a student himself, Boseman led a protest against the university’s decision to consolidate the fine arts school with the larger College of Arts & Sciences. During his speech at the university’s 2018 commencement, Frederick announced the school would return to its original, independent status.
“We are very excited. This is the right thing to do,” Frederick said. “Chadwick’s love for Howard University was sincere, and although he did not live to see those plans through to fruition, it is my honor to ensure his legacy lives on.”
Weeks ago, fellow Howard alumna Phylicia Rashad was named as the college’s dean. During Boseman’s time on campus, Rashad served as a friend and mentor. Along with Denzel Washington, she secured funding for Boseman to attend a summer acting program at Oxford University.
“Chad was a very proud Bison,” his widow Simone Ledward-Boseman said. “The reestablishment 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.”
As of now, there is no date set for the new building’s construction due to economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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