Yale University

Yale's Drama School Goes Tuition-Free Thanks to $150M Gift From David Geffen

NBC Connecticut

Students at Yale University's drama school will not have to pay tuition anymore, thanks to a $150 million donation from entertainment mogul David Geffen.

The university announced details on the donation Wednesday. It is the largest donation on record in the history of American theater, according to Yale.

The Yale School of Drama will now be known as the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University.

The school is now the only institution of its kind to eliminate tuition for all degree and certificate students, according to Yale.

"David Geffen’s visionary generosity ensures that artists of extraordinary potential from all socioeconomic backgrounds will be able to cultivate their talent at Yale,” said Yale President Peter Salovey.

Famous graduates from the Yale School of Drama include Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti and Lupita Nyong'o.

Geffen co-founded Asylum Records and later Geffen Records. He worked with major recording artists, inlcuding John Lennon, Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana and others.

He produced films such as "Beetlejuice," "Risky Business" and "Interview With a Vampire.

Geffen went on to form the movie studio Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

In 1978-79, Geffen taught a class at the Yale School of Drama called "The Music Industry and Arts Management."

"Yale already provides some of the best professional training available to actors, writers, directors, designers, and theater managers from diverse backgrounds," Geffen said. "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. I hope this gift will inspire others to support similar efforts to increase accessibility and affordability for arts education at colleges and universities across the country."

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