(May 28, 2015 – Burbank, CA) – In the first-ever university scholarship at UCLA created by and named for a television series, “The Big Bang Theory” and the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation have established “The Big Bang Theory” Scholarship Endowment, to support undergraduate students in need of financial aid who are pursuing their higher education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at UCLA.
With an initial donation from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation combined with gifts from nearly 50 individuals associated with “The Big Bang Theory” — including series stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch; executive producers Bill Prady, Steven Molaro; and crew — plus partners such as Warner Bros. Television and CBS, as well as contributions from other industry leaders, “The Big Bang Theory” Scholarship and Endowment has raised more than $4 million to date.
“The Big Bang Theory” co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre enthusiastically announced the scholarship, and said: “We have all been given a gift with ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community — this is our opportunity to give back. In that spirit, our ‘Big Bang’ family has made a meaningful contribution, and together, we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”
“At UCLA, we pride ourselves on providing opportunities for students from all economic backgrounds,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “UCLA attracts the very best students from around the world, and admission is very competitive. We are grateful for ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Scholarship Endowment, whose contributors agree with us that economic standing should not hinder a deserving student’s shot at a degree from a university of UCLA’s caliber.”
With the growing importance placed on STEM skills crucial for success in our increasingly technological global economy, public and private leaders have called for greater emphasis on the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in our educational system. Although scientific advancement and innovation have long been a hallmark of American society, they have perhaps never been so important as they are right now. The current Administration has fully supported STEM-related initiatives with millions in private-sector commitments and in-kind support.
Information on “The Big Bang Theory” Scholarship Endowment:
• Twenty (20) “Big Bang Theory” scholars will be selected for the 2015–16 academic year to receive financial assistance, with an additional five scholars to be added in each future academic year — in perpetuity. “The Big Bang Theory” Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need to low-income students who have earned admission to UCLA based on academic merit but need additional support to bridge the gap between typical levels of financial aid and the cost of attendance.
• The inaugural group of scholars will be announced in fall 2015 on the set of “The Big Bang Theory.” Joining the scholars will be the show’s stars, producers, representatives from UCLA and select benefactors.
• In addition to centering many of its episodes in the worlds of science and technology, “The Big Bang Theory” enjoys a healthy appreciation and support from the scientific community at large. And the show’s connection to UCLA extends beyond the scholarship fund: Series star Mayim Bialik earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, while professor of physics and astronomy David Saltzberg, Ph.D., serves as the show’s science consultant.
• This marks the first time that a scholarship endowment at UCLA has been created and funded by a television series.
• At UCLA, 52 percent of all students receive need-based scholarships, grants or other aid. That includes approximately 36 percent of undergraduates who receive Pell Grants, federal aid for students from low-income families. Almost one-third of UCLA graduates have parents who didn’t graduate from a four-year college or university.
About “The Big Bang Theory”:
“The Big Bang Theory” stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. Created by Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady, the series is produced by Chuck Lorre Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and is executive produced by Lorre, Prady and showrunner Steven Molaro. “The Big Bang Theory” returns for its ninth season this fall, Mondays at 8/7c on CBS, and airs five nights a week in national syndication.
UCLA is California’s largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College and the university’s 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 128 undergraduate majors, 88 master’s programs and 110 doctoral and professional programs. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Seven alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.