KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Streaming giant Netflix has established a US$5.4 million (RM22.58 million) endowed scholarship at Howard University to honour actor and graduate Chadwick Boseman.

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will award full scholarships to students in the historically Black university’s College of Fine Arts, which was named after the late actor in May, The Washington Post reported.

The scholarship has since made payments to Sarah Long, a freshman who studies musical theatre; Shawn Smith, a sophomore in the acting program; Janee’ Ferguson, a junior in theatre arts administration; and Deirdre Dunkin, a senior studying dance.

A first-year student will be selected annually from next year for the scholarship, which covers full tuition for four years — a total of about US$113,800 (RM475,957). 

University officials said the award targets students who “exemplify exceptional skills in the arts reminiscent of Mr. Boseman” and in financial need.

“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,” said the late actor’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman in a statement.

“This endowment represents Chad’s devotion to the craft, his compassion for others, and his desire to support future storytellers.”

Boseman shot to stardom for his portrayal of the titular character and hero of Marvel’s Black Panther. 

His legacy rests largely in his sensitive portrayal of Black icons — from Jackie Robinson in 42 to James Brown in Get On Up and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

The actor, writer, director, and producer passed away in August 2020 from colon cancer. 

He was 43 years old.

Boseman was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — an adaptation of August Wilson’s 1982 production — which premiered on Netflix after a short stint in theatres.

Netflix co-chief executive and chief content officer Ted Sarandos said while Boseman was taken too soon, his spirit lives on 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.”

A native of South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of fine arts in directing.