Howard University Community Mourns Chadwick Boseman

Students and Alumni Call For College Of Fine Arts To Be Renamed After Late Actor

Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick and the late Chadwick Boseman at the 2018 commencement. Photo by Howard University.

By Michael Burgess II, Howard University News Service

While many were getting ready for bed or looking forward to a Saturday that would see the returns of NBA basketball and college football, the world was shocked and saddened by the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death at the age of 43.



Boseman, who graduated from Howard University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing, “was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV” according to social media accounts associated with the actor.

The world collectively grieved, with many remembering the Black Panther star for all of his great contributions to cinema, the Black community, and the world. Many of the loudest voices came from the Howard University community, with posts flooding social media timelines throughout the night and on Saturday.


A change.org petition was started to rename Howard’s College of Fine Arts after Chadwick Boseman, with the petition already reaching its goal of 5,000 signatures. 

Ayanni Godbold, a senior criminology major at Howard University, was deeply saddened by the news of Boseman’s passing.

Godbold had just gotten off the phone with some of the women in her sisterhood group when someone had put the news in their group chat. 

Godbold was “in disbelief” about the news presented to her. 

“[He was] a leading role representation of myself within one of my favorite series of movies,” she said. Godbold believed his impact was felt far beyond the movie screen. “Chadwick should be remembered as a courageous soul. He stood out as another prime example that black people can and will do anything they put their minds to regardless of the restraints from society.”

The Howard University Student Association released a statement for Boseman on Saturday, remembering the man who “inspired thousands in theaters and hundreds of young Bison on campus.”

Among the myriad of voices from the university who voiced their condolences was Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. In a memoriam message sent out to the Howard community Saturday afternoon, Frederick celebrated Boseman for being “a man of grace and humility” and “a deep thinker who had a deep passion for writing and uplifting his people. After a brief synopsis of Boseman’s acting career, Frederick concludes with this statement:

Love is Life and he had an abundance of both. Boseman reminds us that the quality of life is not measured in time, but rather it is measured in how well we live it and what we prioritized. He prioritized his wife, his family, his friends, his craft, and loving others. The characters he portrayed will be celebrated, but his greatest gift to us was himself.”

Boseman’s other starring roles like Jackie Robinson in “42”, Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall”, and, most notably, King T’Challa in “Black Panther” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.