Chadwick Boseman returned to his alma mater, Howard University, to deliver this year’s commencement address to graduates, and the “Black Panther” star offered some inspirational advice to his fellow Howard alums.
“Your lessons continue to guide and enlighten me to this day,” said Boseman, who crossed his arms over his chest in the “Wakanda Forever” salute after accepting an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree, reports WUSA 9.
“This is a magical place where the positives and negatives seem to exist in the extremes,” he said, reminiscing about the time he stumbled upon Muhammad Ali on the university campus. “I walked away floating like a butterfly… That is the magic of this place. Almost anything could happen here.”
The 40-year-old actor also referenced Howard’s nickname of “the Hilltop,” which he said “represents the culmination of the intellectual and spiritual journey you went on while you were here,” touching on the academic, financial, and social struggles the grads had endured.
“But you’re here,” he declared. “You made it to the top of the hill.”
Boseman also discussed a recent protest that took place at the university when students staged a nine-day sit-in, during which time they negotiated a list of demands with the university administration.
Describing the efforts of the student protesters as “impressive,” Boseman added: “Students, your protests are also promising because many of you will leave Howard to enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalization. The fact that you have struggled with this university that you love is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world that you were entering.”