Howard University will name its new Fine Arts college after alumnus and beloved Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, following a petition by students of the historically Black university. The students’ petition was based on Boseman’s own fight against the consolidation of the school while he was a student there.
The Boseman family released on Wednesday a statement of gratitude to Howard while pointing to the departed actor’s own contributions to the university.
“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 statement read. It also said Howard University was responsible for the actor’s commitment to truth, “integrity and a determination to transform the world through the power of storytelling”.
On her part, Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward-Boseman, threw her support behind the decision and was particularly grateful for the appointment of veteran actress Phylicia Rashad as the dean of the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“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,” Mrs. Ledward-Boseman explained.
Rashad, who became famous for playing Claire Huxtable opposite beleaguered actor Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show, was named as dean of the college two weeks ago. She will officially head the newly re-established College of Fine Arts from July 1, the school announced. The actress, who is also a Howard University alum, will report to provost Anthony K. Wutoh, a Ghanaian-American academic.
The 72-year-old actress described her appointment as a “privilege to serve in this capacity and to work with the Howard University administration, faculty, and students in reestablishing the College of Fine Arts”.