The late, great Chadwick Boseman is getting a $5.4 million scholarship in his name at his alma mater Howard University, thanks to a partnership between the historic Black university and Netflix. The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will fully cover four years at Howard’s College of Fine Arts, which was renamed for Boseman earlier this year.
The inaugural recipients of the fund are freshman Sarah Long (musical theatre), sophomore Shawn Smith (acting), junior Janee’ Ferguson (theatre arts administration) and senior Deirdre Dunkin (dance). One incoming freshman will be awarded the scholarship each year.
“This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students,” Howard president Wayne A.I. Frederick said in a statement. “I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick’s wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward-Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift.”
Boseman’s career was far too brief but he left behind a beautiful legacy. From his understated final live performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to his gripping delivery in Da 5 Bloods to, of course, the role that made him a global superstar in Black Panther, Boseman channeled a fundamental goodness in all his roles, and he would often credit his time at Howard for teaching him to hone his craft. “Sometimes you need to feel the pain or sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose that God predestined,” he told the graduating class of Howard during a 2018 commencement speech. “God says in Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Boseman’s wife Simone Ledward-Boseman thanked the team in her own statement, saying “Many exemplary artists are not afforded the opportunity to pursue higher learning; we hope to support as many students as possible by removing the financial barrier to education. This endowment represents Chad’s devotion to the craft, his compassion for others, and his deep desire to support future storytellers.”
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the love and dedication shown by so many continuing to honor my husband’s work,” she continued. “I know he’d be proud.”