Who knows where This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson would be if it weren’t for that one summer she studied abroad in England?
The 36-year-old actress visited Live! with Kelly and Ryan this week and shared about the time she was picked, along with a few other Howard University classmates, to study William Shakespeare’s work at the prestigious University of Oxford. When the group couldn’t afford to go, they ended up being afforded the opportunity by a few legends in TV and film who came through in the clutch and donated some major funds.
“When we were at Howard, there were like 10 of us who had the opportunity to learn Shakespeare at Oxford for the summer,” she told the hosts. “They didn’t have many minority students, much less people from a historically Black university go. We were one of the inaugural groups to go. But none of us had the extra money to go. Each person, it was like $5,000 per person or something like that. I remember a friend of mine reached out to Phylicia Rashad, who is also an alumni 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.'”
When she called back, Rashad said she and Oscar winner Denzel Washington were going to make the trip happen.
“The next thing you know she calls back and says, ‘Denzel and I are paying for you guys to go.’ 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,” she said. “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.’ [laughs]”