Howard University Renames Fine Arts College in Honor of Chadwick Boseman

Side by side photos of Chadwick Boseman and an exterior shot of Howard University. (Credit: Shutterstock/Howard University)

Howard University is renaming its reestablished College of Fine Arts in honor of the late Chadwick Boseman.

The HBCU made the announcement Wednesday, saying it is kicking off a fundraising effort to build a state-of-the-art facility to become the home of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.

“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,” Howard President Wayne Frederick said in a statement.

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A native of South Carolina, Boseman graduated from the university in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. Fellow Howard alum Phylicia Rashad, who was one of Boseman’s professors, was named dean of the College of Fine Arts earlier this month.

“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,” Rashad said in a statement Wednesday.

Boseman’s widow Simone Ledward-Boseman added that he was always proud of his ties to Howard.

“Chad was a very proud Bison — both Howard and Ms. Rashad played integral roles in his journey as an artist,” Ledward-Boseman said. “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.”

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Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Robert Iger will personally lead fundraising efforts for the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.

“Chadwick Boseman was an extraordinarily gifted, charismatic and kind-hearted person whose incredible talent and generous spirit were clearly reflected in his iconic performances, including as King T’Challa in Black Panther, and in his tireless commitment to helping others,” Iger said. “Through his tremendous example he inspired millions to overcome adversity, dream big and reach beyond the status quo, and this College named in his honor at his beloved Howard University will provide opportunities for future generations of artists to follow in his footsteps and pursue their dreams.”

Boseman passed away in August 2020, after battling colon cancer. He was 43 years old.

A petition started after his death on to rename the college of fine arts, has received over 58,000 signatures.

Other Howard Fine Arts alumni include actress Taraji P. Henson, singers Roberta Flack and Jessye Norman, Debbie Allen, and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young.