Howard University announced today that it will rename its College of Fine Arts for alum and actor Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther superhero star who died last year from colon cancer, the Washington Post reports. Boseman studied directing at the college and graduated in 2000. His connection to the school ran deep: He received an honorary doctorate in 2018 when he spoke at commencement and he had agreed to join the College of Fine Arts board of trustees shortly before he died.
For years, Howard’s College of Fine Arts had been folded into the College of Arts & Sciences—a move that Boseman himself protested as a student—but in 2018 the university decided to revert it back to an independent school. Last month, The Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad was named the new dean. She actually mentored Boseman during his college years and supported him in attending acting classes at Oxford.
Students had started a petition calling to put Boseman’s name on the college in September and, according to the Post, Howard president Wayne Frederick was simultaneously coming up with a way to memorialize him. In addition, Howard is teaming up with Disney head Bob Iger to create an endowment (also in Boseman’s name) and funding a brand new building for the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, as well as the university’s radio and TV stations and its school of communications.