During his appearance on Live! With Kelly and Ryan, This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson shared a story about her time studying at Oxford. In this story, she revealed that she and her classmates were not able to afford the tuition and alumni Phylicia Rashad pitched in to help.
“I remember a friend of mine reached out to Phylicia Rashad, who is also an alumnus of Howard, and got on the phone with Phylicia and Phylicia was like, ‘Oh no you’re going!’ And we were like, ‘Ok…’ She was like, ‘I will call you back.’”
“The next thing you know she calls back and says, ‘Denzel and I are paying for you guys to go,’” Watson added. “I’m happy to say he paid for my scholarship to go and we went and had this amazing summer that changed all of our lives. I saw Mr. Washington at some occasion years later and I said, ‘Excuse me Mr. Washington, you paid for my scholarship to go,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re welcome.’”
Recently, Chadwick Boseman revealed that he has a very similar story. Boseman, who attended Howard University was mentored by Rashad.
“She would do a play in D.C. and you’d go see it, and she’d drive you home and talk to you,” he recounted in his cover story interview with Rolling Stone. “‘How you eating? You look too skinny. You need a pork chop.’ We were just trying to aspire to her excellence.”
Rashad said that she knew that Boseman would make it big one day.
“Chad was this lanky young man with big eyes and an endearing smile and a very gentle way,” she said. “What I saw in him was the sky was the limit. He never asked me to introduce him to anyone – that’s not his way. He was going to make it on his own merits.”
When the chance came for Boseman to study at Oxford, he was helped by Rashad and friend Denzel Washington. Baseman says, “I’m sure he has no idea, it was random.”
Boseman went on to say that he is waiting to meet Washington in person to personally thank him.