Emerson honors Norman Lear with sculpture, scholarship


Photo: Courtesy/Emerson College

Norman Lear ‘44

By Jacob Seitz, Staff Writer

The college named a new scholarship for students pursuing writing for theatre, television, or film after notable alumni Norman Lear ‘44.

Starting in fall 2019 incoming students who apply for the Norman Lear Scholarship can receive anywhere between $6,250 and $12,500, based on the number of recipients and the availability of funds. Director of Media Relations Michelle Gaseau said the scholarship is aimed at students from first-generation, under-represented, or under-served backgrounds who plan to write as a career, as requested by Lear.

The scholarship is made up of money donated by the college, members of the Board of Trustees, and Lear. The college contributed $500,000 to the fund though the total amount available is confidential, according to Gaseau.

The Offices of Financial Aid and Student Success will select and award the scholarship, according to an email sent to the Emerson community on Sept. 28.

Lear produced television shows like All in the Family, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons. Lear received four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and a National Medal of the Arts awarded by President Bill Clinton.

In addition to the scholarship, the City of Boston is issuing a proclamation dedicating Oct. 4 as “Norman Lear Day,” according to Gaseau.

The college plans to hold a closed event on Norman Lear Day in Center Stage and Boylston Place starting at 5 p.m. in honor of Lear’s extensive career. While the event is private, The Emerson Channel will livestream the event, according to an email sent out to the Emerson community.

Other notable alumni, such as Jay Leno and Dennis Leary, plan to send in video tributes to be shown at the gathering, according to Gaseau.

The college also recognized Lear with a sculpture in the Boylston Place Alley outside of Backstage Cafe. Founding Director of Emerson College Los Angeles and alumnus Kevin Bright ‘76 donated the funds for the sculpture’s construction. This is the first sculpture on the Boston campus dedicated to a prominent Emerson graduate.

Gaseau said the sculpture, which is planned to be unveiled at the Oct. 4 ceremony, builds upon the college’s effort to convert the Boylston Place Alley into a central gathering place for Emerson students.

“The college and Mr. Bright and his family landed on the idea of the Boylston Place location because the sculpture fits the college’s efforts to animate the Boylston Street corridor and strengthen Emerson’s sense of place in the city,” Gaseau said.