Welcome from the Dean

Welcome to the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, the cultural center of Howard University.

Phylicia Rashad speaking at a Howard University podium.

For 20 years, the College of Fine Arts was absent from the Mecca. That is not to say there was no art or culture on campus. To be sure, the arts and artists have always had a place at Howard University. But in the late 1990s, the University elected to migrate the college’s offerings into the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Fine Arts became the Division of Fine Arts. This decision was met with dissenters, among them one Chadwick A. Boseman.

As an undergraduate student, "Chad" helped stage a three-day protest against the transformation of the College of Fine Arts. His actions did not cause the University to reverse course, but they ensured that his own voice and the voices of others would be heard and that their message would resonate and reverberate well after their protest ended. In time, the fruits of his labor began to ripen. At the 2018 Commencement Convocation, where he served as speaker and told the story of that protest that defined so much of his character and career, it was announced the College of Fine Arts would, at long last, be making its return to our campus.

While his death in August 2020 prevented him from seeing the resurrection of his beloved College, by naming the reestablished College of Fine Arts in his honor, we will ensure that his legacy will fortify its foundations as this revered institution breaks new ground.

As an alumna of the Howard University College of Fine Arts myself, I could think of no better namesake for this institution than Chadwick A. Boseman. The way he lived his life and pursued his purpose, the manner in which he strove for excellence and channeled his passions, these are the skills and traits that we seek to instill in our students.

The Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts is not merely a recreation of the College of Fine Arts from the past, the one that Chadwick and I attended as Howard undergraduates. We are using the legacy and tradition of what we had before in order to build something new; something essential for the times we are living in now.

This newly-established College offers a contemporary education in the arts. Not only do our students find a most supportive and nurturing environment to practice and perfect their craft, but they also find direction and guidance to use their art for a purpose. They have opportunities to augment their artistic educations with purpose and intention.

In a rapidly changing world, the arts are a means for understanding the past and creating a vision for the future. In the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, we are not just producing artists and performers – we are cultivating leaders and icons to serve humanity through the arts. Chadwick A. Boseman changed the world with his art, and it is his example of excellence that we invite and encourage all our students to follow and to progress.

All worthwhile adventures begin from some place that feels like home. I encourage you to consider the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts as your cultural and spiritual home, a place of return that you can depend upon throughout your artistic journey.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

Phylicia Rashad