Netflix Partnering With Howard University to Establish $5.4 Million Chadwick A. Boseman Scholarship

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Chadwick Boseman's legacy is set to be honored at his alma mater, Howard University. Netflix is partnering with the HBCU to establish a $5.4 million scholarship in the late actor's name. The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will provide incoming students in the College of Fine Arts with a four-year scholarship to cover the full cost of university tuition. 

"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 continues to inspire," Howard University President, Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D, said in Netflix's press release on the partnership. "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."

The late Black Panther star died in August 2020 at the age 43 after a private battle with colon cancer. He was also nominated for a posthumous Oscar for his work in one of his final roles, Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In June of that year, he starred in Da 5 Bloods, also on the streamer.

Thanks to Netflix and Chadwick's wife, Simone, who helped establish the fund, the first scholarships will be awarded to one recipient in each class, starting this fall. After announcing that the College of Fine Arts would be renamed in Chadwick's honor in May, the university revealed that the building had officially been renamed the "Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts," last month.

According to Netflix, the scholarship will be awarded to students who exemplify exceptional skills in the arts reminiscent of the award-winning actor and his values, including a drive for excellence, leadership, respect, empathy and passion, and to those who demonstrate financial need. For the scholarship's inaugural year, four awards will be presented to one member of each class and will continue to be distributed to an incoming freshman each year on an annual basis.   

This year's awardees include: 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. 

Simone, who shared that the scholarship's aim is to remove the financial barrier to education for aspiring artists like her husband once was, said she knows Chadwick would be proud of what she and others are doing to honor his work and his legacy.

"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," Simone said. "My deepest thanks to Ted Sarandos, 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 Mr. 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."

Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Tedd Sarandos said that while Chadwick was "take from us too soon," his spirit lives on in his work. 

"It is with enormous pride that we announce our endowment of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship. While he was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he has inspired. 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" Sarandos said in the statement. "We are grateful to Simone and Chadwick’s whole family and our partners at Howard University for making this possible."

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