Matt Groening Donates $500,000 To UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television

Los Angeles, CA– Matt Groening, multi award winning creator of The Simpsons, has donated $500,000 for the endowment of The Matt Groening Chair in Animation to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT), as announced today by Dean Teri Schwartz.

The Simpsons’ 23 year series reign makes it the longest running television comedy of all time. Groening’s creative talents have resulted in his receiving 12 Emmy® Awards, 13 Emmy® nominations, the 2002 National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and a 2004 British Comedy Award.  In 2007, he was ranked fourth (and highest Americanby birth) in Britain’s Daily Telegraph list of “Top 100 Living Geniuses.” Later this month Groening will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His iconic brand of satire and social commentary evident throughout dozens of The Simpsons specials, spin-offs and feature films as well as the Futurama series, numerous books, merchandising and more.

“Matt Groening is recognized globally as a preeminent and pioneering animator, storyteller, cartoonist, writer and producer.  His groundbreaking animated series have truly changed the landscape of television and have become a gold standard for animation and great storytelling throughout the entertainment industry,” says Dean Schwartz.

“We are so inspired by Matt’s vision, and truly honored by his remarkable generosity and support of our Animation Program.  Our TFT animation program is known for its exceptional and diverse talent from across the globe who create outstanding, award-winning innovative works year in and year out,” Dean Schwartz continues. “With this amazing gift, Matt has given our students enormous support and ensured that we will be able to take our program to even greater levels of excellence.  Our animation students will benefit greatly from this endowment and it will reinforce TFT’s continuing position as a premier professional school of entertainment and performing arts. Thank you Matt Groening.”

The Matt Groening Chair in Animation endowment will allow visiting master artists to teach classes in TFT’s animation program.  The gift will enable the animation program to bring working professionals with wide ranging expertise to work with TFT students, some of which would not normally be available in the animation curriculum.

This is also the second year of The Matt Groening Initiative.  Pioneered by Groening and Barbara Boyle, Chair of the School’s Film, Television and Digital Media Department, Groening’s annual gift of $50,000 supports animation students producing short animated films with social responsibility themes.  The first year of The Matt Groening Initiative’s support led to TFT’s Erick Oh to be named Student Academy Award® 2011 Finalist forhis film Heart.  Oh graduated with distinction and is now an animator at Pixar Animation Studios.