NEW HAVEN - Yale University has announced it is eliminating tuition for its drama students thanks to a $150 million gift from entertainment magnate David Geffen.
The gift to what is being renamed the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University is believed to be the “largest on record in the history of the American theater,” the school said in a news release Wednesday.
It will allow the drama school to eliminate tuition for all degree and certificate programs, the university said.
“David Geffen’s visionary generosity ensures that artists of extraordinary potential from all socioeconomic backgrounds will be able to cultivate their talent at Yale,” Yale President Peter Salovey said.
Geffen is best known for founding Asylum Records, Geffen Records, Geffen Pictures and co-founding the film studio DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
His relationship with Yale dates back to the 1978-79 academic year when he led a semester-long seminar on the music industry.
“Yale already provides some of the best professional training available to actors, writers, directors, designers and theater managers from diverse backgrounds,” he said in a statement. “Removing the tuition barrier will allow an even greater diversity of talented people to develop and hone their skills in front of, on, and behind Yale’s stages.”
He added that he hopes the gift will inspire others to join him in making advanced arts and theater education accessible and affordable to all students.
Theater studies at Yale began in 1925 and graduates of its drama school include actors such as Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand, Angela Bassett and Paul Giamatti.
Salovey said Yale is also committed to pursuing additional fundraising for the school, with plans to build a state-of-the-art facility for theater education and production.