The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced a $20 million gift from the foundation established by the late Johnny Carson ('49), who hosted The Tonight Show for thirty years, to create a center for the study of emerging media.
The gift from the John W. Carson Foundation will fund the renovation of facilities and endow the new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. To be led by the university's Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, the program will focus on interdisciplinary learning, creativity, and research in emerging media, including virtual production, interactive and mobile media, special effects, augmented and virtual reality, and game design.
Carson, when he was alive, and his foundation are longtime supporters of the university, making significant gifts to establish an endowed scholarship fund in 1978, for construction of the Lied Center for Performing Arts in 1988, and in support of theater and film programs and to renovate and expand the Temple Building, home to the theater program, in 2004. After Carson's death in 2005, the university received a $5 million endowment gift from his estate, which spurred the university to name its school of theatre and film after the late-night television host.
"Johnny Carson was an innovator of television, which was certainly the emerging media of his era," said Carson Foundation president Allan Alexander. "Because of this and his legacy at Nebraska, we are especially pleased to support the education endeavors of many future generations who wish to follow in his footsteps as media innovators."