Howard University decided to name its recently resurrected College of Fine Arts after Chadwick Boseman. Boseman graduated from the university in 2000 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. While he was a student, he led a protest against the original absorption of the programs into the College of Arts and Sciences.
The actor gave a commencement address for the graduating class of 2018, the year the school began planning to bring back the program. He gave sage advice to the students, telling them:
When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.Chadwick Boseman
With Chadwick Boseman’s passing in August, Howard University decided to honor him.
In an announcement to the school and the world, the President of Howard University, Dr. Wayne A. I. Fredrick, explained the decision. When Dr. Fredrick told the alum that they would be revitalizing the program, Chadwick Boseman “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,” Dr. Fredrick continued, “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.”
His supporters and loved ones are happy about the news.
His wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman commented, “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.” Phylicia Rashad was Chadwick Boseman’s mentor and has been named Dean of the college.
Ledward-Boseman continued, “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.”
Rashad commented, saying, “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.”
Coates reported on Boseman’s protest while the men were in college. He said, “Naming the College of Fine Arts after Chad, I think it’s perfect and it’s exactly what should be done. His theater work, his movie work, his acting, and his writing, this was a continuation of that activism. The arts for him were always about something more.”
He continued, “We’ve had a long list of artists come out of Howard, but, in our generation, nobody can better articulate, by example or by artistry, what we learned at Howard and what the university gave to us. So, I think it’s just fitting – it makes me teary-eyed thinking about it– naming the College after our brother who never stopped fighting for it.”
To fund the program, Dr. Fredrick explained that the college is also receiving the “support of The Walt Disney Company’s Executive Chairman Bob Iger, who has graciously volunteered to lead the fundraising effort to build a state-of-the art facility and endowment for the college.”
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