The College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin has received more than $1.5 million from the Cain Foundation to endow the Wofford Denius Chair in Entertainment Studies and establish a Creativity Fund to support graduate and undergraduate student work in filmmaking, digital narrative, music videos, photojournalism and visual advertising.
The Wofford Denius Chair in Entertainment Studies will build on interdisciplinary work among the departments of Advertising, Communication Studies, Journalism and Radio-TV-Film, and advance research to understand the impact of entertainment on various aspects of society and how it is produced and consumed.
"The rapid pace of technology has resulted in the convergence of all media formats, and it is essential for The College of Communication to have a visionary who can direct curriculum not only toward the emerging media formats, but who can recognize the potential of nascent media," said Denius, a music attorney in Los Angeles and a director of the Cain Foundation.
The remainder of the gift, $525,000, is being given to the Creativity Fund, which, combined with an additional $25,000 to be given by the College of Communication each year, will make $100,000 available annually to help students reach their creative potential and gain a professional advantage by helping them purchase video materials, art supplies and the equipment needed to produce professional-grade work. The fund will help students cover transportation and lodging expenses as they present their work at various festivals and showcases.
The Creativity Fund also will bring artists, musicians and entertainers to campus to share their insight with students and will help the college purchase the print, audio, visual and Web-based material needed to create new courses in entertainment studies, one of five interdisciplinary initiatives within the college. The other initiatives are in the fields of health communication, international communication, new media and political communication.
"The Wofford Denius Chair in Entertainment Studies will help build credibility for this burgeoning field of study, while the Creativity Fund will enable us to support students at the earliest stages of their projects when they need support and encouragement the most," said Roderick P. Hart, the Shivers Chair in Communication and dean of the College of Communication. "We are grateful to Wofford for the generosity he demonstrates time and again in sharing his knowledge of what students need to know to make it in the competitive entertainment industry."
This is the third gift the Cain Foundation, a private family foundation, has given to the college: The first is the Wofford Denius Music Industry Internship, which provides financial assistance to communication students pursuing summer internships in the music industry in Los Angeles, New York City or Nashville. The second, the Wofford Denius UT in LA Scholarship, gives financial assistance to students enrolled in the Semester in Los Angeles program, which provides students with experience and entertainment industry connections through internships and classroom instruction.