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Denzel Washington Makes Donation To Alma Mater

Greg Asciutto |
October 5, 2011 | 11:44 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Denzel Washington in Norway, December 2010 (AP)
Denzel Washington in Norway, December 2010 (AP)
It's always refreshing to see an artist appear in the news in a positive light. On a morning of entertainment headlines which concern Johnny Depp using the word "rape," Kim Kardashian being shorter than her husband and the results of last night's "Dancing with the Stars," news of Denzel Washington's $2.25 million donation to Fordham University is hidden.

Washington, recipient of the 2002 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in "Training Day," attended Fordham University in the mid-70's as a journalism student. According to a New York Times blog, the $2 million endowment of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre aims to attract "a well-known actor, director, playwright, designer or other artist to rotate into the position" at Fordham's Lincoln Center.

Tony-winner Phylicia Rashad, famous for her role as Clair Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," will hold the first Chair in Theatre, directing an acting course titled "Creating a Character."

Washington has also donated a quarter million for the Denzel Washington Endowed Scholarship, aimed to assist minority undergraduates studying theatre. 

Vice-president of development and University relations at Fordham, Roger A. Milici Jr., expressed the university's gratitude:

"Fordham is deeply in Denzel Washington's debt, not only for his generous gifts to the theatre program, but also for his longstanding commitment and public support for the University." He continued, "[Washington's] international reputation and star power will certainly bring greater interest to Fordham programs and greater support for our mission."

Washington, who was unavailable for comment, is an exceptional man both on and off the screen. Along with his patronage of Fordham's theater program, he has agreed to host the 100th Anniversary Gala of Mount Vernon, New York's Boys and Girls Club next March.

Reach reporter Greg Asciutto here.

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