Producer Greg Berlanti has given a $2 million gift to Northwestern University’s School of Communication that will expand the school’s dramatic writing program.
The endowment from the Berlanti Family Foundation, will create the Barbara Berlanti Professorship in Writing for the Stage and Screen. Barbara Berlanti was his mother. She died in 2017.
Greg Berlanti graduated from the school of communications in 1994. He went on to write, produce and direct TV shows including The Flash, Riverdale, Brothers & Sisters, Dawson’s Creek and Black Lightning. Last May, networks ordered 18 of his shows for the 2019 calendar year.
He and his husband, Robbie Rogers, established the foundation to improve the lives of LGBTQIA people through education, the arts, medicine and other social services. The gift to Northwestern is the largest the foundation has made.
“My mom, Barbara Berlanti, was a lifelong champion of the arts and my greatest advocate and patron,” said Berlanti. “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.”
The new professorship will add to the school's writing programs by increasing teaching capacity and bolstering a curriculum aimed at preparing students to work across media and genres and to create work by and for diverse audiences.
Berlanti addressed graduating students of the School of Communication in June as the 2019 convocation speaker.
“Northwestern is determined to be at the forefront in finding and developing new voices and helping them tell their stories,” said Barbara O’Keefe, dean of the School of Communication. “To do that, we must build a faculty that reflects and respects diversity. 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 under-supported groups and help transform the creative industries.”