Denzel Washington Creates Theater Endowment for Fordham University


According to the New York Times Arts Blog, Fordham University officials have announced that actor Denzel Washington has made a $2 million donation to the school to provide for Fordham's first professorship in theater with the aim of attracting well-known actors, directors, playwrights, designers or other artists to take turns teaching in the position at the school's Lincoln Center Theater program each fall.  Fordham University is Mr. Washington's alma mater. The actor initially studied journalism there before switching to theater and graduating in 1977. 

The first to take a turn in the professorship will be the Tony Award-winning stage and television actress Phylicia Rashad ("A Raisin in the Sun," "The Cosby Show").  Ms. Rashad will be teaching an advanced acting course called "Creating a Character."

In addition to this endowment, Mr. Washington has also made a $250,000 gift to endow a scholarship for an undergraduate theater student. 

Matthew Maguire, director of the Fordham theater program, explained that the professorship would rotate among the different areas of theater in order to insure that undergraduate students would get four different professionals teaching in their training courses during each of their four years at the university. The interest from the $2 million gift will cover the salary of the professor during the fall semester.

Mr. Washington is a Tony Award winner for best actor in a play in 2010 for the Broadway revival of "Fences". In addition, he has won two Academy Awards for the films "Training Day" and "Glory." 

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