September 28, 2023

Students walk on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Yale announced Wednesday that it will cease classes for drama school students starting this August following a $ 150 million donation from the David Geffen Foundation.

Yale said all current and prospective full-time students in graduation and certificate programs at the drama school are eligible for cancellation beginning in the 2021-22 academic year.

The university said the gift will remove financial barriers to the school’s long-standing program, which includes Oscar winners Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand and Lupita Nyong’o.

“Yale already offers some of the best professional education to actors, writers, directors, designers and theater managers of all backgrounds. Removing the educational barrier will allow an even wider variety of talented people to develop their skills in front of and behind the Yale stages,” said Geffen in a statement.

Geffen’s donation is “the largest in the history of American theater,” according to Yale. In recognition of the donation, the university renamed the school the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.

The school offers training in acting, design, directing, dramaturgy and theater criticism, dramaturgy, stage management, technical design and production as well as theater management. It enrolls about 200 students in 10 degree programs and certificate courses.

Geffen is a billionaire entertainment mogul, founder of Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and Geffen Pictures. He is also a co-founder of DreamWorks Animation SKG. Forbes estimates Geffen’s net worth at $ 10.2 billion.

In 2002, Geffen donated $ 200 million to UCLA’s medical school, which was also renamed after him.

Geffen taught a course called “The Music Industry and Arts Management” at Yale in the 1978-1979 academic year, the university said in a statement.

The Yale Music School canceled classes for its students in 2005 after receiving a $ 100 million donation.