denzel washington phylicia rashad getty Denzel Washington gives $2 million to Fordham; Phylicia Rashad fills position the money createsDenzel Washington is giving back to his alma mater. The Academy Award-winning actor has donated over $2 million to Fordham University in order to create a new scholarship for undergraduate theatre majors and a new Chair in Theatre position, which will be filled by actress Phylicia Rashad, best known for “The Cosby Show.”

Denzel, who graduated from Fordham in 1977, says in a statement:

I wanted to
create the Denzel Washington Endowed Scholarship and Chair in Theatre at
Fordham in order to offer the next generation of students positive
influences. Phylicia Rashad, as the inaugural holder of the chair, will
provide the care, compassion and that extra push to help take students
where they’re meant to go.

According to the New York Times, Rashad will be the first of various theatre professionals who will rotate in the Chair of Theatre position. The Tony-winning actress has already started teaching the Creating a Character class at Fordham.

The donation by Washington will not only provide the money for the Chair of Theatre salary, but will also establish the Denzel Washington Endowed Scholarship, which will support minority undergrads studying theatre.