One of Howard University’s most beloved and distinguished alumni now has a $5.4 million endowed scholarship in his name.
The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will fully cover four years of tuition at Howard’s College of Fine Arts, which was renamed after Boseman earlier this year. Netflix is the inaugural donor of the scholarship, which kicks off this fall with one award for each class year and subsequently will be awarded to one incoming freshman annually. The inaugural Boseman recipients are: freshman Sarah Long (musical theatre), sophomore Shawn Smith (acting), junior Janee’ Ferguson (theatre arts administration) and senior Deirdre Dunkin (dance).
“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.”
The Boseman scholarship will preferentially consider students in the dramatic arts, and those who exemplify the late actor’s values, described as:
- A Drive for Excellence: Students who are continuously working toward improvement and putting in time above and beyond the basic requirements. This includes engagement in academic departments, campus or community organizations.
- Leadership: Students who have the personal fortitude to do what is right, even when this means they are in the minority. They exhibit honesty and are trustworthy, caring and ethical. They keep their word and honor their commitments while accepting consequences and admitting their mistakes.
- Respect: Students who treat others fairly. They listen to and accept input from others. They maintain self-control and exhibit consideration for the things and people that they encounter.
- Empathy: Students who show kindness and understanding toward all those they encounter and actively listen in an effort to understand the unique experiences of others. They advocate for their community by identifying needs and working to meet them.
- Passion: Students who show an ardent desire to absorb all aspects of the art of storytelling. They understand the deeply rooted, critical importance of storytellers as cultural historians and aspire to inform, uplift and strengthen their community through their work.
“While [Boseman] was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he has inspired,” Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “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. We are grateful to Simone and Chadwick’s whole family and our partners at Howard University for making this possible.”
Boseman died in August 2020 after a private four-year battle with colon cancer. At Howard the future Black Panther star studied directing, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in 2000. Netflix released both of his final two films, Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
“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,” Ledward-Boseman said in a statement. “My deepest thanks to Ted Sarandos, [Netflix original films head] Scott Stuber and our family at Netflix for their generous investment into the education of all present and future Boseman Scholars, and to President Wayne Frederick, Dean Phylicia Rashad and [Howard vice president of development and alumni relations] David Bennett for their partnership and continued commitment to Chad’s legacy at Howard. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the love and dedication shown by so many continuing to honor my husband’s work. I know he’d be proud.”
By Rebecca Sun