Why Give?


A picture of Emily Fisher Landau


Young artists reflect the environment, whether in America or other countries. Whatever they feel is important to address in their artwork is what’s important.




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A picture of Simon Kinberg


It’s hard to imagine if my career would have existed at all without the School of the Arts. I learned to write there, and professionally it was the conduit for selling my first script.




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I first started taking classes at Columbia School of the Arts as a non-degree student in 1991. It was before the MFA program began and the students, mostly undergrads and an assortment of rag-tag artists, literally camped out in Prentis Hall and made art. Since then the MFA program has become one of the best programs around and competes every year for the top students. Recently, I became involved in a discussion with Dean Carol Becker and she told me that every year Columbia loses some of its applicants to other programs that can provide more financial aid. I realized then that it was time to try to give back. We need to support the next generation of young artists.




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Columbia opened up the world for me. The world now seems to find me wherever I tread. I have performed my work across the seas with a confidence that I could have only attained having spent time in an environment like that of the School of the Arts.






At Columbia, it was unique to be with such strong artists who also saw each other’s projects as part of their own careers. I know I’m not the only person who is part of a collaborative group that has continued past graduation.




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A picture of Trevor Corson


Even after having 15 years of professional experience, I felt like there was something I could learn here. I think that really is a tribute to the richness of the program and its ability to draw in interesting, talented people from a lot of different walks of life.








Personally and professionally, I'm invested in Columbia's future. I want the School of the Arts to continue to attract the best and give students the best in return. That's why I'm giving to the Student Support Fund. Without financial support, I and many of my classmates could not have attended the School of the Arts. Without financial support, we would never have challenged each other, given insightful feedback, or forged artistic partnerships that will extend past graduation. By giving to the Student Support Fund, I can help ensure that creative and imaginative students can continue to come to Columbia and become artists together.




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I give to the Student Support Fund because I wouldn't be where I am today without the School of the Arts.  During my time at Columbia I was taught playwriting by the legendary Howard Stein, interned with Michael Weller, who became a lifelong friend and mentor, and was introduced to my first agent, Helen Merrill.  I am grateful for my experience at Columbia and I believe it's important for working artists to support the next generation in whatever way they can.






Education is a priceless gift that will never be depleted in your lifetime. 




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Sarah Hsu


Devoting two years to exploring your creative potential is an opportunity few people get to have.


I feel truly privileged for my time at the School of the Arts, and financial gifts paid for my fellowship. I'd like to extend that privilege to other student artists. 


As a graduate of both Columbia College and the School of the Arts, I also value SoA'a contribution to the university as a whole. I want Columbia University to continue to be an institution that attracts students who are creative and imaginative. Part of the university experience should be finding inspiration in the diverse intellectual gifts of your fellow students.





A picture of Phumi Sitole


What drew me to the School of the Arts was that the faculty aren’t trying to make carbon copies of themselves. My professors have helped me to use what I brought in as a performer and as a South African.




A picture of Justin Olerud


I am grateful for the alumni and friends who have made the gifts, large and small, that have allowed me to study at the School of the Arts. That caring gesture, especially in the arts, is really important for this community.






A picture of Benjamin Odell


I give back just about every time Columbia asks so Giving Day seemed as good a day as any. My years at SoA were some of my fondest and very influential to my career and the school continues to be a huge part of my life. As much as any movie I've made, I'm proud of that Columbia diploma and want to do my small part to ensure it's future. I would love nothing better than to one day hear my boy Luca tell me he wants to go to Columbia. Of course if he told me he was being given a scholarship, that wouldn't sour the conversation...




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A picture of Mita Mallick


My husband and I set up the Mita Mallick and Piyush Phadke Fellowship for the Film Program in memory of my aunt Aruna Dan Sarkar. We are particularly interested in supporting students who are passionate about giving a voice to a broad spectrum of women's issues. Growing up in a third world country with a lack of resources and support, my aunt and others didn't have access to the types of opportunities as I did being a first generation Indian American woman.


I am proud to be a friend of the Film Program and to have set up this fellowship. l am continuously amazed by the great artists and work the School has helped produced. They are bringing attention to incredibly important issues, one film at a time.





A picture of Mita Mallick


The program made a huge difference in my career, and I felt it was right to give back. To make a difference in students’ careers and give them an extra boost feels like an incredibly great way to help.




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A picture of Sam Clara Roquet


Half of my classmates come from countries that I’ve never been to, and they tell stories that are very necessary for their countries. In a way they make their countries visible, and the problems of their countries visible to the rest of the world.






A picture of Esteban Cabeza de Baca


Everyone at Columbia really cares about making art that has consequence — that finds common ground on something that has relevance and makes people question their lives in a constructive way.







A picture of Sam Graham-Felsen


My Columbia MFA was the most rewarding experience of my life. Studying under incredible faculty like Richard Ford, Sam Lipsyte, Gary Shteyngart, and Deborah Eisenberg, I grew immeasurably as a writer and a person.