"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has donated $500,000 to the University of California, Los Angeles.
Groening attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., not U.C.L.A. His $500,000 donation has earned him the distinctive Matt Groening Chair in Animation at the U.C.L.A. School of Theater, Film, and Television. Michael Schneider, television editor at Variety magazine wrote in U.C.L.A.'s magazine, "People talk a lot about how 'The Simpsons' reintroduced adults to animation, but it's much bigger than that."
"It's changed comedy as we know it, making it more cynical, ironic and irreverent," Schneider added. "The Simpsons" will celebrate its 500th episode on Sunday, Feb. 19, making it the longest-running American show of all time. Groening developed the idea for the show after working on the cartoon "Life is Hell," which is still published around the world today.
According to U.C.L.A., Groening's endowment will "allow visiting master artists to teach classes" and "bring working professionals with wide-ranging expertise" to work with students. The school accepts approximately 133 new students every year out of 1,400 applicants.
Groening has received numerous awards for his work. In 2002, he received the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award; two years later he was awarded the British Comedy Award for his "outstanding contribution to comedy." He will receive his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today.
It was revealed in Oct. that "The Simpsons" will continue for at least two more seasons. "I'll be surprised if we close up anytime soon. I don't see it. The popularity of the show all over the world continues and is gratifying, and the show's still fun to do. That's always been my ultimate deciding factor: Is it still fun? And it is," Groening told CNN.
By 2014, the show will have aired 559 episodes, continuing its long-running streak.