Today, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick announced that the school’s newly-reestablished College of Fine Arts — led by newly named Dean Phylicia Rashad — will now be named in honor of alumnus Boseman, whose remarkable acting career has inspired millions of people around the world, both before and after his untimely passing.
Dean Rashad — a decorated actress herself — had the pleasure of training and mentoring Boseman during his time at Howard and knew early on that he had a one-of-a-kind gift to share with the world.
“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,” she said about the news of Boseman’s recognition.
Last August, Boseman passed away at the age of 43 after a long, tough battle with colon cancer. The legacy he left behind will forever live in the hearts of his fans and supporters, and now students of the university will always be in his presence now that the new building memorializes his name.
“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 reestablish the College of Fine Arts and he was filled with ideas and plans to support the effort in a powerful way,” President Frederick said in a statement. “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 through the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts with the support of his wife and the Chadwick Boseman Foundation.”
In addition to naming the college after Boseman, President Frederick also revealed that the new announcement kicks off a fundraising effort — led by Walt Disney Company’s Executive Chairman Robert A. Iger — to build a new, state-of-the-art facility to house the college and honor the late actor’s memory.
“We would like to thank President Wayne A. I. Fredrick and the Howard University Board of Trustees for honoring our beloved Chad with the renaming of the reestablished College of Fine Arts. We would also like to thank Bob Iger for spearheading the fundraising efforts of this development,” said The Boseman Family shared 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, and he would be overjoyed by this development.”
“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,” they added. “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.”
His widowed wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, also echoed this sentiment with words of gratitude for the university and thanked them for taking this opportunity to keep Boseman’s name alive for generations to come.
“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,” she said in a statement. “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.”