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Hollywood Producer Expands Dramatic Writing Program

A $2 million gift from alumnus Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers will endow a new professorship at the School of Communication.

Greg Berlanti
Alumnus Greg Berlanti, right, and Robbie Rogers at the premiere of Love, Simon, which Berlanti directed.

Spring 2020
“We Will” Update

Greg Berlanti is a writer, producer and director who has worked on many popular TV series — including Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters and The Flash — as well as Love, Simon, the first gay teen romance to be backed by a major Hollywood movie studio. He also is a Northwestern graduate who hasn’t forgotten how he got his start. The 1994 School of Communication alumnus and his husband, former professional soccer player Robbie Rogers, recently made a $2 million gift to the school via the Berlanti Family Foundation. The gift will endow a professorship and help expand opportunities for students interested in writing for the screen and stage.

Berlanti and Rogers established the Berlanti Family Foundation to improve the lives of all LGBTQIA people and their straight allies through education, the arts, medicine and other social services. This gift is the foundation’s largest to any organization to date.

The Barbara Berlanti Professorship in Writing for the Screen and Stage is named in memory of Berlanti’s mother, who passed away in 2017. The gift also commemorates Berlanti’s 25th reunion year and counts toward We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. The professorship was supported in part by alumni Patrick G. ’59, ’09 H and Shirley W. Ryan ’61, ’19 H through the Ryan Family Chair Challenge, which matches gifts made by other Northwestern supporters to establish new endowed professorships or chairs.

“My mom was a lifelong champion of the arts and my greatest advocate and patron,” Berlanti says. “She placed an old typewriter in front of me at 10 years old and told me to start writing all the stories that were in my head — instead of just talking her ear off — and I haven’t stopped since. Our family is so proud to have a professorship in her name dedicated to helping Northwestern continue its great legacy of fostering the next generation of humane, diverse, courageous and bold storytellers.” (Learn about other inspirational women in our coverage of 150 Years of Women at Northwestern.) 

“My mom placed an old typewriter in front of me at 10 years old and told me to start writing all the stories that were in my head — instead of just talking her ear off — and I haven’t stopped since.” — Greg Berlanti

The endowed professorship will increase the School of Communication’s teaching capacity and bolster a curriculum that prepares students to work across media and genres. It also will encourage students to engage and create work by and for diverse, global audiences. The professorship will be housed in the Department of Radio/Television/Film.

“Thanks to Greg, Robbie and the Berlanti Family Foundation, the new Barbara Berlanti Professorship will play a major role in helping us attract leading artist-educators to our faculty —  who can, in turn, recruit and nurture students from underrepresented and undersupported groups and help transform the creative industries,” says Barbara O’Keefe, dean of the School of Communication.

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