The Washington Post reported that after the Boseman’s death in 2020, students at Howard started a petition to rename the fine arts college for the Oscar-nominated actor, who graduated in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. What the students didn’t realize is that the university’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick, was also working on a memorial for the “Black Panther” star.
The historically black university announced the news on Twitter.
“Howard University is pleased to name the College of Fine Arts after our iconic alumnus Chadwick A. Boseman, whose remarkable career as an actor, director, writer and producer inspired millions around the world,” the university posted.
Howard University is pleased to name the College of Fine Arts after our iconic alumnus Chadwick A. Boseman, whose remarkable career as an actor, director, writer, and producer inspired millions around the world. Read more here: https://t.co/RrRiSfyooR #HowardForward pic.twitter.com/ssT8FeoQKv
— Howard University (@HowardU) May 26, 2021
Boseman died on Aug. 28, 2020, of colon cancer. He was 43. Since Boseman did not make his cancer battle known to the public, the announcement of his death was a shock to fans. He was posthumously awarded a Golden Globe in 2021 and nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
In a statement from Howard, Frederick talked about Boseman’s contributions to the campus community and his intentions to continue to support the fine arts program before his untimely death.
“When Chadwick Boseman returned to campus in 2018 to serve as our commencement speaker, he called Howard a magical place,” Frederick said in the statement. “During his visit, I announced our plans to re-establish the College of Fine Arts and he was filled with ideas and plans to support the effort in a powerful way. 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.”
The day of the announcement, Frederick also posted photos with Boseman at Howard on his own Twitter timeline.
My relationship with Chadwick was meaningful and impactful. He amplified my humanity in the same way he did with everyone he came in contact with! Thank you, Chadwick, for the love, grace, and heart you showed the world. Rest in Power. https://t.co/tSm0PnngEJ pic.twitter.com/b25aSztziU
— Wayne A. I. Frederick (@HUPrez17) May 26, 2021
The newly re-named Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts will be the home for all performing and visual arts programs. It will also house the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, as well as the school’s television and radio stations.
Recently, actor and Howard University alumna Phylicia Rashad was named the Dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts. The Boseman family expressed their thanks to both Howard and Rashad.
“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,” Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, said in the statement from Howard. “Chad was a very proud Bison — both Howard and Ms. Rashad played integral roles in his journey as an artist.”