Chadwick Boseman will never be forgotten, especially by his alma mater. Netflix and Howard University have established a $5.4 million scholarship in honor of the late Bison alum.
The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will cover four years of tuition at Howard’s College of Fine Arts, which was renamed after Boseman earlier this year.
“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University in a press release posted on the university’s website. “This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling, and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students.”
Four inaugural recipients
Starting this fall, the first four scholarships will be awarded to one person each class year. From there incoming freshmen will be able to be awarded annually.
The inaugural scholarship class has already been awarded. Their names are Sarah Long, a musical theatre freshman; sophomore acting student, Shawn Smith; junior theatre arts administration student Janee’ Ferguson; and senior dance major, Deirdre Dunkin.
Going forward, recipients must “exemplify exceptional skills in the arts, reminiscent of Boseman, and who demonstrate financial need.”
Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward-Boseman, said the scholarship represents her husband’s “devotion to the craft, his compassion for others and his desire to support future storytellers.”
Howard’s impact, Boseman’s legacy
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the love and dedication shown by so many continuing to honor my husband’s work,” Ledward-Boseman said. I know he’d be proud.”
Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement: “While Boseman was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he has inspired. He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career. Now, we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same.”
Boseman passed away at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer on Aug. 28, 2020. The Black Panther actor earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from HU in 2000. In 2018, he returned to his alma mater to give the commencement speech, in which he stressed the impact Howard had on his career.
“I stand here today knowing that my Howard University education prepared me to play Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and T’Challa,” Boseman said during his speech to Howard graduates.
He also added, “Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”