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Emerson LA grand opening set


An evening view of Emerson College Los Angeles. (Photo by Iwan Baan)

A week-long series of events—starting with a ticketed gala on Saturday, March 8—will celebrate the grand opening of Emerson Los Angeles (ELA), a spectacular new academic and residential facility that will enable the College to significantly expand its contribution to the city and to the entertainment and communication industries.

Guests scheduled to attend the gala include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, 13th District Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Tom Bergeron P ’12 (Dancing With the Stars), Jennifer Coolidge ’85 (Two Broke Girls, Legally Blonde), Larry David P ’16 (HBO’s Clear History, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Vin Di Bona ’66 (producer, America’s Funniest Home Videos), Doug Herzog ’81 (president, Viacom Entertainment Group), Norman Lear ’44 (producer, All in the Family), Denis Leary ’79 (FX’s Rescue Me, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), author Ann Leary ’85 (The Good House), Maria Menounos ’00 (Extra), Max Mutchnick ’87 (co-creator, Partners, Will & Grace), Henry Winkler ’67 (Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development), and Sofia Vergara P ’16 (Modern Family).

Also scheduled to attend the gala will be Emerson’s Board of Trustees, chaired by Jeffery Greenhawt ’68; Board of Overseers, chaired by Daniel H. Black P ’07; and Alumni Board, led by Patricia Peyton Martell ’84.

Tickets to the gala have sold out. You can learn how you can support Emerson Los Angeles by sending an email to

ELA is also hosting a week's worth of open house events following the gala, from March 10-15.

ELA Baan

A recent daytime view of Emerson College Los Angeles. (Photo by Iwan Baan)

“I am excited to welcome the new Emerson College campus in Hollywood,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This important institution for the City of Los Angeles signifies a resurgence of higher learning in the media industry, and will give graduates the skills they need to build exciting careers and keep our entertainment jobs in Los Angeles.”

“Emerson LA will provide our students with an unparalleled hands-on experience that only living in this great city can offer,” said Emerson College President Lee Pelton. “The opening of this magnificent building on Sunset Boulevard makes a statement that Emerson is committed to the City of Los Angeles and to the entertainment and communication industries for the long term. The work we do here will solidify Emerson College’s reputation as the world’s leading institution of higher learning in communication and the arts.”

Designed by award-winning LA-based architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the new building—with its bold structure and sweeping forms—is an architecturally significant addition to the Hollywood skyline.

The new sustainable facility features a host of innovative amenities designed to provide students with the opportunity to pursue their creativity. The 10-story structure can house up to 217 students and includes wired classrooms, an open-air screening and live-performance space, a Dolby Surround 7.1 audio post-production suite, a 4K screening room, computer labs, mixing suites, and a planned green screen motion capture stage.

 “In addition to expanding our existing undergraduate program, we will also be offering workshops, lectures, and other events to Emerson alumni and the community at large,” said Founding Director Kevin Bright. “We intend to be fully engaged with the City of Los Angeles and specifically the Hollywood community. Community service will be a big part of the new ELA,” Bright said.

Emerson students will participate in a minimum of two community service days per semester. Recently, students participated in the AIDS Walk LA, the Heal the Bay’s Nothin’ but Sand Beach Clean Up at Will Rogers State Beach, and will soon participate in the John Varvatos Stuart House Benefit to support the Rape Treatment Center.

“The building is designed to expand the interactive, social aspect of education,” said architect Thom Mayne. “We focused on creating with the broader community in mind—both in terms of public space and sustainable design,” Mayne said.

“The building is designed to expand the interactive, social aspect of education. We focused on creating with the broader community in mind—both in terms of public space and sustainable design.” 

Anticipating a LEED Gold achievement, the building’s exterior features a dynamic sun shading system that adapts to changing weather conditions to maintain optimal indoor temperature and natural light levels. Heating and cooling of the building is further optimized through an innovative passive valence system developed by Buro Happold. Additional green design initiatives include: the use of recycled and rapidly renewable building materials; installation of efficient water-saving fixtures; a high-performance glass curtain-wall to minimize heat gain; landscaping and a living green wall; and a central management infrastructure to monitor overall building efficiency.  

Now in its 27th year, the Los Angeles program will enroll more than 200 students for a semester-long internship course during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Since its inception, more than 4,300 students have participated in the LA program with concurrent professional internships at television and film studios, music companies, media outlets, marketing agencies, and related enterprises.

The College has begun developing academic programs beyond the existing undergraduate internship program that will extend the ELA experience to more students studying in the College’s School of the Arts and School of Communication. Additionally, ELA will offer post-graduate, certificate, and professional study programs.

A series of free events open to alumni, parents, and friends will take place in the days following the gala, including building tours throughout the week, a lecture by the architect Thom Mayne, a panel discussion on comedy, a panel discussion on the evolution of television in a digital world, and more.

For information about these events, visit

Emerson is also engaged in raising money for the new Emerson Los Angeles Program. The Future Has Your Name On It! is a fundraising campaign for Emerson College Los Angeles. It is Emerson College’s first multi-year effort to secure $20 million or more in private support from individual donors, foundations, and corporations. Reaching this lofty goal will require the most ambitious fundraising effort in our history—one that will touch and transform every aspect of the College.

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