Houston Charity Guide
coogs win big

Anonymous donor gifts historic $4 million grant to acclaimed University of Houston program

Anonymous donor gifts historic $4 million grant to UH program

University of Houston central campus exterior Ezekiel Cullen building
UH's Creative Writing program just scored a historic gift.  Photo courtesy of University of Houston

Hollywood’s James Franco never revealed why he pulled out of the University of Houston’s Creative Writing program, but one wonders if the actor understands what he’s missing.

In major news, UH’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) announced that it has received a $4 million gift in support of its Creative Writing program on September 17  — courtesy of an anonymous donor.

The largest endowment in the history of the college, the gift will “fuel research activity in the humanities and social sciences and advance the college’s mission of transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s global leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and industry innovators,” according to a release.

“This gift matters because it provides support for key strategic initiatives in CLASS, surrounding student success, faculty success, and community engagement,” said Antonio D. Tillis, dean of the school, in a statement. “Numerous academic departments/programs, especially creative writing, will benefit from this generous gift.”

UH’s Creative Writing program is often ranked as a top-five program nationally, with heavy hitters such as Matthew Salesses (The Hundred-Year Flood) and Marisa de los Santos (The Precious One) among the distinguished alumni. Hundreds apply each year for between 15 and 20 class spots and a chance to be published in houses such as Harper Perennial, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Press, and St. Martin’s Press.

The massive donation comes nearly two months after UH received an anonymous $3 million gift meant for its inaugural medical school class. The contribution adds to the goal of raising $1 billion in the UH “Here, We Go” Campaign, the first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years in support of University priorities, including the arts and social sciences.

So will Franco one day be swayed to sign up for UH’s coveted curriculum? Time will tell, but it’s clear that serious philanthropic players have their eyes on the Coogs’ house.