The new school, dubbed The Geffen Academy, will be open for the 2017-18 school year, with approximately 125 students enrolled in the sixth and ninth grades. Plans are for the academy to grow to more than 600 students in grades six through 12.
UCLA plans to renovate the campus’s Kinross Building and construct an adjacent building as enrollment grows. The gift will also help fund a financial aid program for low- and middle-income families, with more than 40% of the academy’s students receiving aid.
Geffen’s total philanthropic support to UCLA now exceeds $400 million, making him the school’s largest individual donor. He established a $100 million scholarship fund in 2012 to fully cover the cost of education for the best students attending the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; the medical school received an unrestricted gift of $200 million from Geffen in 2002.
“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.”
Block also said that the Geffen Academy will help UCLA recruit and retain top faculty. The idea for the Geffen Academy at UCLA grew from Geffen’s suggestions for a UCLA-run secondary school on the campus.
“I’m happy to support UCLA in the creation of this unique educational opportunity for Los Angeles youth and the faculty, staff and students of the university,” Geffen said.
Geffen also has contributed to theater and arts programs at UCLA, including a $5 million donation in 1995 toward UCLA’s Westwood Playhouse. The facility was renamed the Geffen Playhouse.
Geffen founded Asylum Records, Geffen Records, DCG Records and Geffen Film Co. before co-founding the DreamWorks SKG studio with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994. Geffen left DreamWorks in 2008.
“A philanthropic gift for this purpose and of this magnitude is a historic first at the University of California,” said Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, the Wasserman Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. “We are grateful for Mr. Geffen’s commitment and share his vision of educational excellence and opportunity as the bedrock for human flourishing and engaged citizenship.”
Geffen’s $100 million donation is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, scheduled to conclude at the end of 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.