WASHINGTON — An online petition to rename Howard University's School of Fine Arts after late actor, and Howard allum, Chadwick Boseman has already gathered thousands of signatures.
Boseman passed away Friday after a four-year fight with colon cancer.
Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 before starring in numerous notable roles, including King T'Challa in Marvel's Black Panther.
"Boseman was a man of grace and humility," wrote President Wayne A.I. Frederick in a letter to the Howard community. "A deep thinker who had a deep passion for writing and uplifting his people. A staunch supporter of social justice, he did not shy away from using his voice in service to those without one."
Messages of support continue to flood in from around the world. One Howard student wanted to make sure the actor's legacy was remembered.
Maya Shed created the petition on the website Change.org. She's hoping to gather 25,000 signatures before the petition is sent to Frederick and the Howard University Board of Trustees.
"During his time at Howard, he was a vocal advocate to sustain the College of Fine Arts, rather than allow it to be minimized to the Division of Fine Arts and become absorbed by the College of Arts and Sciences. He also participated in a multi-day protest in opposition of the university's efforts," Shed writes on the petition page.
It was during his 2018 commencement speech at the university that it was announced that the College of Fine Arts would be reinstated. It was Boseman's help that allowed this to happen. "Once more sharing his support and advocacy for Howard's Fine Arts community," the petition reads.
"We petition the Howard University Board of Trustees and President Frederick to take the necessary steps to formally and seriously consider naming our new school the "Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts" in honor of our alumnus, hero, and advocate. This is one small way for the Howard community to commemorate Chadwick Boseman and the love, loyalty, and immense talent that he shared with us and the world,:" the petition says.
As of this writing, the online petition is still short of its goal, but has gathered nearly 20,000 signatures.
Those interested in signing the petition can do so here.