Howard University to rename fine arts college in honour of Chadwick Boseman

Boseman graduated from the university in 2000

Howard University in Washington, D.C. will rename its recently re-established fine arts school the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts in honour of its late alumnus.

Boseman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Directing from Howard University in 2000. While studying, he led a protest against the university administration’s plans to merge the college into the greater College of Arts and Sciences.

The actor went on to receive an honorary doctorate from Howard in 2018, during which time it was announced the college would be re-established as an independent school.

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“We are very excited. This is the right thing to do,” Howard University president Wayne Frederick told the Washington Post.

“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.”

In addition to the renaming, Howard and Walt Disney Co.’s executive chairman Bob Iger will team up to organise a fundraiser for the construction of a building that will house the college, the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, its TV station WHUT and its radio station WHUR 96.3 FM. It isn’t confirmed when construction will commence, but Frederick said the administration is “moving with haste”.

Boseman’s family responded to the news through the actor’s Instagram.

“Chad, you exemplify Howard’s core values of excellence, leadership, service, and truth. There is no one more deserving of such an honor. We are so proud of you, we love you, and we miss you every day.”

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The renaming comes weeks after Howard University appointed actor Phylicia Rashad as the college’s new dean. Rashad and Boseman became friends while at Howard, with Rashad becoming one of his mentors.

“I do hope that the young people will come to know and understand what [Boseman] really cared about. He was so intelligent,” Rashad told NME last year.

“He wanted to know every single thing there was to know about theatre – all of it – and he did not refuse instruction or information from any source or sector. He was so completely open and he loved working with young people.”

Boseman was nominated for Best Actor at the recent Oscars ceremony for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but lost to Anthony Hopkins, who celebrated the late actor in his winning speech. He did, however, win the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for the same role.

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