Chair in screenwriting established

San Francisco businessman Jonathan N. Zakin has donated more than $500,000 to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to establish the Lew and Pamela Hunter/Jon Zakin Chair in Screenwriting.

Dean Robert Rosen said the professorial chair, the school’s first, is named after Zakin and screenwriting professor Lew Hunter and his wife. Hunter, who plans to retire in June, has mentored some of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters during his 20-year tenure at UCLA.

Hunter is co-chairman, with professor Richard Walter, of the screenwriting program in the Department of Film & Television. His former students include screenwriters Mike Werb (“The Mask,” “Face/Off”), David Koepp (“Jurassic Park,” “Mission: Impossible”), Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump,” “The Horse Whisperer”), Robert Roy Pool (“Armageddon”) and Scott Rosenberg (“Con Air,” “Disturbing Behavior”).

Hunter founded Writers’ Block, a group of UCLA screenwriters who meet regularly at his Burbank home. Now that he’s retiring, the group will be disbanded. To honor its demise, a Writers’ Block celebration is set for Friday on the Westwood campus, and many of Hunter’s alumni have been invited.

Zakin is managing director of Seaview Holdings, a private investment fund, and president of Leeward Technology Partners, a joint venture with New York-based leveraged buyout fund Ripplewood Holdings. Zakin was previously on the board of U.S. Robotics, a $3 billion data communications company that merged with 3Com in 1997.

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