Denzel Washington
(© Tristan Fuge)
Denzel Washington
(© Tristan Fuge)
Tony Award winner and film star Denzel Washington has given a $2 million gift to his alma mater, Fordham University, to endow the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre. Phylicia Rashad has been named the inaugural holder of the chair, and has already begun teaching in the Fordham theatre program.

Washington, who graduated from Fordham in 1977, won the Tony for Fences and also appeared on Broadway in Julius Caesar. He won Academy Awards for his work in Glory and Training Day, and was nominated for his work in Cry Freedom, Malcolm X, and The Hurricane.

Rashad received a Tony Award for her portrayal of Lena Younger in the 2004 Broadway revival of Raisin in the Sun, and recreated the role for the television film, earning an Emmy Award nomination. Among her many other stage credits are August: Osage County, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Gem of the Ocean, Jelly's Last Jam, Into the Woods, and Dreamgirls. She is perhaps best known for playing Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show.

In addition to the donation for the Chair endowment, Washington has given a further $250,000 gift to establish the Denzel Washington Endowed Scholarship for an undergraduate student studying theatre at Fordham.

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