Chadwick Boseman was best known to audiences for his work onscreen, playing iconic figures like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and the Black Panther. But offscreen, he was known as a proud Howard Bison.
Howard University announced today that the newly re-established college of fine arts, led by Dean Phylicia Rashad, will be named the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts in honor of the late actor and distinguished alumnus.
Boseman died in August 2020 at age 43, after he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
In a statement celebrating the announcement, Boseman’s family shared their gratitude for Howard President Wayne A. I. Fredrick and the Board of Trustees for honoring their beloved Chad with the renaming of the institution.
“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,” the Boseman family said.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, also shared her support for the move.
“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. “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.”
Though Boseman’s full tenure at Howard was formative, the actor was particularly impacted by his time and training with Rashad, whose appointment as dean was announced earlier this month.
When discussing the announcement with Variety, Rashad shared that, in a touching gesture, some of her former students vouched for her to take on the position. “I was asked not to discuss this, but somehow some former students were aware of the fact that I was in process of being interviewed and they quietly voiced their support.”
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SOURCE: Variety, Angelique Jackson