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Trebek foundation supports lectureship for M.F.A. program

January 6, 2015

A popular game show host and his wife are funding a lecture position for Stephens College’s new Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting.
The Alex and Jean Trebek Family Foundation is supporting what will become a guest lectureship in screenwriting: the Guest Lectureship in the Psychology of Character.
Trebek, longtime host of Jeopardy!, and his family are personal friends of Program Director Ken LaZebnik, a Columbia native who is a screenwriter in L.A. The families’ children attended school together.
“We became friends with Alex and Jean over the years,” LaZebnik said. “Jean is the sweetest person in the world. I just wrote a letter to her, knowing they have a family foundation and knowing of her interest in psychology.”
LaZebnik solicited support for a position that would focus on the psychology of film and television characters, and “they made a quick decision to give us the support.”
The M.F.A. program is currently enrolling students for August 2015. It’s a low-residency program that will give students the opportunity to spend 10 days each semester taking classes at the Jim Henson Studios in L.A. The rest of the semester will be spent working online with professional mentors.

The gift marks the first foundation support for the program, which has also garnered support from women writers, including Winnie Holzman, best known for creating the ABC series My So Called Life, and Linda Woolverton, who wrote the 2014 hit Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.

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