Words of wisdom. Chadwick Boseman returned to his alma mater Howard University in 2018 to deliver an empowering commencement speech amid his cancer battle.
The late actor — who passed away on Friday, August 28, after a secret four-year battle with colon cancer — graduated from Howard University in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in directing. Boseman returned to campus 18 years later to encourage graduates to pursue their passions and fight for equality.
“When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career,” he said at the time. “Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”
The Black Panther star recalled a nine-day protest at Howard University where students demanded guaranteed housing, transparency about the school’s finances and a better response to sexual assault on campus. Boseman said that if students could stand up to their own school then they were ready to take on the world.
“Many of you will leave Howard and enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalization,” he said. “The fact that you have struggled with this university that you loved is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world that you are entering.”
Boseman’s speech resurfaced after his family announced on Friday that the Marshall star had died at his Los Angeles home at the age of 43.
“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” the statement read. “Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.”
Howard University paid tribute to the 42 actor via Twitter writing, “It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of alumnus Chadwick Boseman who passed away this evening. His incredible talent will forever be immortalized through his characters and through his own personal journey from student to superhero! Rest in Power!”
After graduating from Howard University, Boseman went on to star in numerous blockbuster films, including Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and a cameo in Avengers: End Game (2019).
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