Philanthropist David Geffen has donated $100 million to UCLA so that the university can move forward with their plans for a new academy that will provide an innovative college preparatory education in grades 6 through 12.
The generous donation provides support for facility renovations, faculty and curriculum development and other tasks needed to launch the school. The sum will fund a financial aid program for low- and middle-income families, with UCLA projecting that more than 40 percent of students will receive aid.
The new school will be named the Geffen Academy of UCLA. With his recent donation, Geffen’s support exceeds $400 million, and he is the largest individual donor to the university. In 2012, he established a $100 million scholarship fund to cover the cost of education for the best students attending the David Geffen School of Medicine. In 2002, Geffen donated $200 million to the medical school, and he has also contributed to theater and arts programs at UCLA.
“We are humbled by David’s generosity and inspired by his visionary philanthropy,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The Geffen Academy at UCLA will enhance our ability to deliver on the mission that is at the core of our DNA — research that informs teaching, and service to our community.”
The university plans for the Geffen Academy to open for the 2017-18 school year, with approximately 125 students enrolled in the sixth and ninth grades. Eventually, the school plans to grow to more than 600 students in grades 6 through 12. To house the academy, UCLA plans to renovate the Kinross Building.
Enrollment in the Academy will be split equally between the Los Angeles community and children of UCLA faculty and staff. Geffen’s $100 million donation is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.
Geffen became a billionaire thanks to his unerring talent for spotting and promoting talent. He created both Geffen Records and Asylum Records, the homes to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith and Sonic Youth.
But he did not just remain a music titan. Geffen produced films like “Interview With the Vampire” and “Risky Business,” before joining with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg to launch DreamWorks SKG in 1994.
His career and life story were examined recently in PBS’ “American Masters” program, with the documentary “Inventing David Geffen.”