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Netflix and Howard University honor actor Chadwick Boseman with $5.4 million scholarship in his name

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Howard University kicked off October, its homecoming month, weeks ago with a blockbuster announcement of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship, a $5.4 million endowment honoring the late actor, director, writer, and producer.

The scholarship, sponsored in part by Netflix, will cover the full four-year tuition cost for Howard students enrolled in the school's College of Fine Arts. Boseman graduated from the university in 2000 with a degree in directing.

The Boseman scholarship announcement less than a year after Howard's College of Fine Arts was renamed in his honor. Fellow actress Phylicia Rashad, also a Howard alumna and one of Boseman's former college teachers, is now the Dean of Fine Arts at the institution.

“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” said Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick.

“This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling, and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. 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, who succumbed to colon cancer last year, is well known for playing several iconic roles over the course of his Hollywood career. The late actor was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in his final film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman is perhaps best known, however, for his role as King T'Challa in the wildly popular Marvel movie, Black Panther. His short but productive career also saw him take turns as color barrier-breaking athlete, Jackie Robinson, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Godfather of Soul James Brown.

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship was established with the support of Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, and sponsorship from Netflix, the endowment's inaugural donor. The scholarship focuses on supporting students who exemplify exceptional skills in the arts but also demonstrate financial need.

Already, the first four Boseman scholars have been named for the Fall 2021 Semester. The inaugural class of awardees are as follows: Sarah Long, a freshman in musical theatre; Shawn Smith, a sophomore studying acting; Janee’ Ferguson, a junior in theatre arts administration; and senior Deirdre Dunkin who studies dance. Each academic year going forward, an incoming freshman will be named a Boseman Scholar.

“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 desire to support future storytellers,” said Ledward-Boseman. "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.”

In continuing the actor’s legacy, preference for the scholarship will be given to students in the dramatic arts who exemplify Boseman’s values. Students who receive the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will have demonstrated:

  • 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.

For more information about the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship, contact


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