Actor John Boyega has been named the first patron of his alma mater.
The Star Wars: The Force Awakens star attended the Identity School of Acting in London for three years after dropping out of the University of Greenwich, and he credits the school with helping to "establish (himself) as an actor and also as an artist".
"From complicated text to movement, each class is aimed at pushing you to your full potential whilst also teaching you new skills that would be useful in a professional setting," he says.
The school was founded by Femi Oguns in 2003 and focuses on training diverse actors.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me through this amazing school, and I'm grateful to Femi Oguns for believing in my vision and running with it," he continues.
Boyega's casting as Finn in the blockbuster sci-fi franchise initially stirred controversy among fans, who criticized director J.J. Abrams for casting a black actor as a Storm Trooper in the film. However, others threw their support behind the acting newcomer and the 23-year-old feels it is important for the diversity conversation to continue.
"I think that in terms of individuality everybody should be the change they want to see," he told Britain's Metro newspaper.
"Because I'm trying to work, and nobody's going to stop me. So we'll see how that goes. But I'm hoping this conversation is a positive one."
Boyega will return to Star Wars the upcoming Episode VIII, which began filming in the U.K. last month (Feb16).