It's going to be a long time before people get over the shock of Chadwick Boseman's death. The news hit like a punch in the gut for fans around the world when it was announced last summer, and the feelings have continued to reverberate in the months since as the world has reflected on the actor's work and accomplishments. Boseman's influence will surely be felt for decades to come, but now Howard University has announced a permanent honor for the legend, as the institution's College of Fine Arts has been renamed the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
The Washington Post is reporting that the effort to make this happen was in part led by Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Bob Iger, who is going to take part in fundraising for both a new endowment named after the Black Panther star, and a new state-of-the-art building on campus that will house the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. Boseman himself was an alumnus of Howard University, having graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in directing. He also received an honorary doctorate in 2018 when he returned to the school as a commencement speaker.
According to Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick, who was the one who approached Iger about orchestrating some kind of dedication, Chadwick Boseman was making plans to serve on the board of the college prior to his passing, and was also developing a Master’s Class series. This continued involvement with the school would have been a perfectly appropriate continuation of Boseman's time as a student, as he was active in on-campus issues and in 1997 even led a protest against moves that would have seen the future Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts made a part of the larger College of Arts & Sciences.
This is a wonderful and fitting honor for Chadwick Boseman's legacy, and it's exciting that for years and years to come students at Howard University will be able to see his name on campus and reflect on the amazing impact that he made for his community and for filmmaking. Clearly the school meant a lot to Boseman, so it feels like a perfect tribute.
Obviously the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts isn't the only monument to his legacy, however, as his body of work as a performer is extraordinary – from brilliant biopics (42, Get On Up, Marshall), to blockbuster action (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame), to stunning drama (Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom). Film fans will never stop watching and appreciating Boseman's remarkable contributions to the artform, and that makes him immortal in a way.
We have not yet experienced Chadwick Boseman's final performance, as he has a voice-over role in Marvel Studios' upcoming animated series What If...?, but the show will be debuting on Disney+ later this summer.