Emerson College announced today that alumnus and vice chair of its Board of Trustees Vin Di Bona ’66 launched a significant fundraising campaign in support of the College’s new Los Angeles program by making a $1 million gift.
“Emerson College is enormously grateful to Vin for his willingness to generously support our plans to create a distinctive, dynamic, and innovative new program in Los Angeles,” Emerson President Lee Pelton said. “The College aspires to emerge as the world’s leading institution in higher education that integrates arts, communication, and liberal learning in ways that recognize the academically meaningful interplay between creative expression, critical inquiry, and the development of discipline-based skills. Vin’s magnificent gift helps advance us toward that quest,” he said.
Earlier this year, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Councilman Eric Garcetti joined President Pelton, trustees, alumni, and architect Thom Mayne at the ceremonial groundbreaking for an iconic new building located on West Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood, which will house the College’s ambitious new program. The 10-story building, which includes retail space, academic and administrative offices, housing for up to 220 students, and underground parking is expected to open in January 2014.
Emerson’s new program in Los Angeles will include undergraduate and post-baccalaureate courses designed to take advantage of the Los Angeles arts, culture, and entertainment communities; an industry internship program and supporting curriculum; and an ongoing series of meetings and conferences at which communication and arts thought-leaders will share their visions.
“The expanded Emerson Los Angeles program and this fabulous new building will literally and figuratively transform the Hollywood landscape,” said Vin Di Bona. “It is my privilege to lead off the fundraising effort and I hope I can inspire many other alumni and friends of Emerson to consider how they can join me in lending their support to this project, whose success is critically important to the College’s—and to the industry’s—future.”
Emmy Award–winning Di Bona is executive producer of Vin Di Bona Productions. He introduced America’s Funniest Home Videos in 1989. Now in its 23rd season, it’s the longest-running entertainment program on the ABC schedule, and some of the show’s artifacts are on display in the Smithsonian American Heritage Museum in Washington, D.C.
Di Bona was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. He has produced three highly acclaimed movies-of-the-week, a situation comedy for Showtime, and a children’s motorized vehicles competition show for Family Channel. In 2010, he launched FishBowl Worldwide Media, which has three television series on cable television and two web series. Di Bona’s previous generosity to Emerson has been honored with the naming of a state-of-the-art television studio on the Boston campus.