Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Dear Howard University Community,
 
I am pleased to announce that the newly reestablished College of Fine Arts will be named in honor of alumnus Chadwick A. Boseman, whose remarkable career as an actor, director, writer and producer inspired millions around the world. This announcement comes just weeks after we announced that the new dean of the college will be alumna and actress Phylicia Rashad, who is elated by this news.
 
When Chadwick Boseman returned to campus in 2018 to serve as our commencement speaker, he called Howard a magical place. During his visit, I announced our plans to reestablish 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, Simone Ledward-Boseman, the Boseman family and the Chadwick Boseman Foundation.
 
I’m also excited to have the support of The Walt Disney Company’s Executive Chairman Robert A. Iger, who will personally lead fundraising efforts in honor of Boseman, a cherished member of the Disney/Marvel family, to build a new, state-of-the-art facility to house the college and an endowment for the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. 
 
A native of South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. During his tenure, he had the fortunate opportunity to be trained and mentored by Rashad, who recognized his talent early on. Dean Rashad has described Boseman as “unrelenting in his pursuit of excellence.”
 
Chadwick Boseman was fueled by purpose, and he sought to fulfill that purpose through writing, directing, acting and activism. His breakout performance came in 2013 when he slid into the weighty shoes of Jackie Robinson in “42.” Boseman received numerous accolades for his masterful portrayal of James Brown in “Get On Up,” a role that would set him apart and establish him as a leading man in the industry. He next starred in the title role of “Marshall,” which follows a young Thurgood Marshall as he battles through a career-defining case. 
 
Boseman joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the African superhero “Black Panther” in “Captain America: Civil War.” Boseman brought the character to the forefront starring in his own solo film, “Black Panther,” which received critical acclaim, broke global box office records and had social and cultural impact around the world. The film received seven Academy Award nominations, including Marvel’s first-ever best picture nomination. Boseman won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding actor in a motion picture, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture alongside the film’s ensemble.
 
In 2019, Boseman starred in “21 Bridges,” which he produced with his partner and fellow Howard alumnus Logan Coles, through their shingle, X●ception Content. Last year, he appeared in “Da 5 Bloods,” directed by Academy Award winner Spike Lee, as fallen soldier Stormin’ Norman. In “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a screen adaptation of the famed August Wilson play, Boseman starred as Levee, opposite Viola Davis. The film featured an award-winning team behind the camera in producer, director and writer Denzel Washington, George C. Wolfe and Ruben Santiago-Hudson respectively. For this leading performance, Boseman was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Critics Choice, NAACP Image, Screen Actors Guild awards and numerous others. 
 
In each project throughout his career, the edification of Black folk, through the art of storytelling, remained a cornerstone. 
 
Today’s announcement kicks off a fundraising effort to build a new, state-of-the-art facility to become the home of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. The building will also house the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the University’s television and radio stations, WHUT-TV and WHUR 96.3 FM, creating a dynamic, one-stop complex for the arts and journalism combined. To donate, please visit https://giving.howard.edu/BosemanCollegeOfFineArts.
 
Please join me in celebrating this auspicious moment to pay tribute to one of our own, Chadwick A. Boseman.
 
Excellence in Truth and Service,
 
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery
President