Chadwick Boseman at the 2017 American Music Awards. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Television on Flickr.

In the days following the untimely, numbing death of Chadwick Boseman, students at Howard University began petitioning the administration to rename its arts building for the beloved alumnus. On Wednesday the venerable HBCU announced it’s renaming the College of Fine Arts building after Boseman. He studied directing and graduated from Howard in 2000, and then returned in 2018, to speak at commencement, where he received an honorary doctorate. 

The actor, who always touted his strong connection to the school, had agreed to join the board of trustees for the College of Fine Arts before he died last year from colon cancer.

Earlier this month, noted stage and screen actress and alum Phylicia Rashad, was named dean of the College of Fine Arts. Rashad served as a mentor to Boseman, 44, while he was an undergraduate. 

“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 press release from the university.

As a student, Bosemen, best known for his 2018 portrayal of Black Panther in the popular film of the same name, led a protest against the College of Fine Arts being absorbed by the College of Arts & Sciences, which he and fellow alumni continued to advocate for long after graduating. Finally, in early 2018, Howard announced its plans to reestablish the College of Fine Arts.

Bob Iger, executive chairman of the Walt Disney Company, is teaming up with Howard to create an endowment in Boseman’s name and fund a new building to house the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. 

Watch Boseman’s 2018 commencement speech here:

YouTube video
YouTube video

Maya Pottiger is a data journalist for Word in Black. She was previously a data journalist for the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland, where she earned both her BA and Master of Journalism. Her work has been featured...