Howard University Names College After ‘Black Panther’ Star

Marvel Studios Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in "Black Panther."

Chadwick Boseman’s legacy will live on at Howard University.

Howard announced on Wednesday that Chadwick Boseman will be the namesake for its newly reestablished fine arts school. The college will officially be named the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.

The honor comes following the late actor’s sudden passing in August 2020. The “Black Panther” star was 43 and died of colon cancer.

“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,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick in a press release.

An alumnus from the class of 2000, Boseman graduated from Howard University with a bachelor of fine arts in directing.

In 2018, Boseman returned to his alma mater to serve as the commencement speaker. This was following the release of “Black Panther” — which, according to Time, had a total worldwide gross of $1,346,913,161 and earned Marvel its first “Best Picture” nomination and win at the Academy Awards. He was also given an honorary doctorate.

That same year, Howard announced its plans to reestablish its College of Fine Arts.

Per a report from The Washington Post, Boseman had agreed to be on the fine arts school’s board and was in the process of developing a Master’s Class series. But with his death, the position and class didn’t come to fruition. Howard students, however, took action in the aftermath of his passing by beginning a petition to name the fine arts college after the actor.

Boseman’s family also spoke highly of the decision to honor “(their) beloved Chad”:

“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. His time at Howard University helped shape both the man and the artist that he became, committed to truth, integrity, and a determination to transform the world through the power of storytelling.”

Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, said the renaming “ensures that his legacy will continue to inspire young storytellers for years to come.”

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Disney’s Bob Iger to Lead Funding for College’s Facility

Bob Iger and Chadwick Boseman

GettyBob Iger and Chadwick Boseman at the Los Angeles premiere for “Avengers: Infinity War”

In addition to the college’s namesake, Howard University also announced that Bob Iger, Walt Disney Company’s executive chairman, will take lead on fundraising efforts for a “state-of-the-art” facility and an endowment for Howard’s 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 in a statement. “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.”

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Marvel Studios.

In the press release, Boseman’s family thanked Iger for leading the fundraising efforts and expressed their gratitude to Fredrick and the university’s trustees.

The facility to-be-funded will also house Howard’s communications school and television and radio stations. It is meant to be “a dynamic, one-stop complex for the arts and journalism combined.”

The ‘Perfect’ Namesake

Renowned writer and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates also shared words concerning Howard’s decision to name the reestablished school after Boseman. Coates, who was Boseman’s classmate at Howard, called the choice “perfect.”

“His theater work, his movie work, his acting and his writing, this was a continuation of that activism,” Coates detailed in the press release. “The arts for him were always about something more. We’ve had a long list of artists come out of Howard, but, in our generation, nobody can better articulate, by example or by artistry, what we learned at Howard and what the university gave to us. So, I think it’s just fitting – it makes me teary-eyed thinking about it– naming the College after our brother who never stopped fighting for it.”

Like his late classmate, Coates has worked with Marvel. He has written both a “Captain America” comic series and a “Black Panther” comic series. The final issue of his “Black Panther” run was also released Wednesday.

How Marvel Studios Honors Its Black Panther

Marvel fans are well aware of the Marvel Studios introduction video that plays at the beginning of each movie. Typically, it features images and scenes of its various heroes from Captain America to Iron Man to Thor. For “Avengers: Endgame,” the video included only those characters that survived the Snap.

Following Boseman’s death, Marvel updated the introduction video for “Black Panther.” On Disney Plus, the video includes only images and clips of Boseman’s T’Challa as a way to pay tribute to the late actor who brought the Wakandan hero to life.

The Future of Black Panther

Marvel recently announced that the “Black Panther” sequel will be titled “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Boseman’s passing left many questions of how the film would move forward, but it has been made clear that he would not be recast.

As reported by IGN, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said at last year’s Disney Investor Day that T’Challa would not be recast. Victoria Alonso, one of Marvel Studios’ executive producers, also ruled out a Boseman digital double in an interview with Clarin.

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