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Yale's drama school goes tuition-free following $150 million gift from David Geffen

"David’s transformative gift will have a ripple effect in our community and around the world," the university's president said.
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Entertainment mogul David Geffen donated $150 million to Yale University, a gift that will cover tuition for drama students at the Ivy League campus from this point forward, the school said Wednesday.

The donation also means the School of Drama will now be known as the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University, according to a statement.

"The purpose of this extraordinary and unprecedented donation is to ensure that from this day forward, in perpetuity, full-time students in degree and certificate programs will receive 100 percent tuition remission, beginning with the 2021-22 academic year," the drama school's statement said. "These programs are now, and always will be, 'tuition free.' ”

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David Geffen at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 15, 2010 in New York City.Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images file

Yale President Peter Salovey said he hopes the massive gift will open doors to a greater pool of students coming to study drama at the New Haven, Connecticut, school.

“David Geffen’s visionary generosity ensures that artists of extraordinary potential from all socioeconomic backgrounds will be able to cultivate their talent at Yale,” he said in a statement.

“It is exciting to think about what will be made possible by increasing access to the premier theater education at the David Geffen School of Drama," Salovey added. "Our students help drive creativity and innovation across all fields — during their time at Yale and after they graduate. So, David’s transformative gift will have a ripple effect in our community and around the world."

Yale's noted entertainment alumni include actors Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti and Lupita Nyong’o; playwrights David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage and Tarell Alvin McCraney; and former National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman.

Geffen is one of the nation's most prolific philanthropists, donating millions each year to health, education and cultural efforts.

“It’s an honor to partner with Yale University to create the first tuition-free drama school of its kind in the nation,” Geffen said in a statement released by Yale.

“Yale is well known for having one of the most respected drama programs in the country. So, when they approached me with this opportunity, I knew Yale was the right place to begin to change the way we think about funding arts education."