On Saturday, the Howard University class of 2018 had one of the best guest speakers any graduate could ask for: the Black Panther and HU alum Chadwick Boseman.
King T'Challa himself was an HU Bison and graduated from the university in 2000, and he couldn't help but recall some memories during his time there in his message at the school's 150th Commencement Ceremony. "I remember walking across this yard, when Muhammad Ali was walking towards me with his hands raised in a quintessential guard. I was game to play along with him," he said. "What an honor to be challenged by the G.O.A.T. I walked away floating like a butterfly…walked away light and ready to take on the world. That is the magic of this place. Almost anything can happen here."
He applauded the student activists who rallied and protested for what they believe is right, saying "Everything that you fought for was not for yourself, it was for those who came after you." This was in reference to the student-takeover of an administration building in April, which was fueled by an embezzlement scandal involving the misuse of financial aid funds. "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."
The students were victorious in their fight, and the administration met their demands. HuffPost reports that this includes "a re-examination of on-campus housing policies, the board agreeing to consider freezing undergrad tuition rates, and the formation of a task force to address issues of sexual assault and harassment."
Of course, Boseman left the graduates with words of encouragement. "Purpose is the essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill," he said. "Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose."
Boseman ended his speech in a way only Black Panther could—with a Wakanda salute, and the words "Howard forever."