Celebrities Who Made Huge Donations To Colleges

Some of the most charitable celebrities have made large donations to colleges and universities. Whether it's paying for scholarships, funding new buildings, or supporting education programs, this list of famous people who have donated to colleges includes business moguls, actors, entertainers, athletes, singers, and more.

One of the many wealthy celebs who gave back to their alma mater, Michael Bloomberg contributed over $3 billion in donations to Johns Hopkins University. Other celebrities have donated to their children's colleges, like Arnold Schwarzenegger who committed $20 million to USC where his kids, Katherine and Patrick, both graduated.

Here all the notable people who made huge contributions to higher education. 


  • Marta Kauffman told The Los Angeles Times in June 2022, that she was so “embarrassed” for the lack of diversity on her show Friends, and felt “guilt” over the homogeneous cast. So she decided to donate $4 million to create the Marta F. Kauffman ‘78 Professorship in African and African American Studies at Brandeis University.

    The program aims to “support a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. The gift will also assist the department to recruit more expert scholars and teachers, map long-term academic and research priorities, and provide new opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship.”

  • Oprah Winfrey
    Photo: Ian Evenstar / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    In 1999, Oprah Winfrey established the "Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund" with a $7 million donation, pledging to put 100 men through Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2004, she donated another $5 million to the fund.

    In 2018, Winfrey matched a $1.5 million donation to the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

  • One year after their two children graduated in 2005, DreamWorks Animation co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn donated $1.25 million to Boston University's College of Comunication and College of General Studies. The donation helped fund the renovation of the latter building's third-floor study area, which is now named the Katzenberg Center. 

    In 2011, the Katzenbergs donated the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Center for Animation to the University of Southern California.

  • In 2004, Michael Douglas donated $1 million to his alma mater, UC Santa Barbara. The contribution went towards the construction of the Carsey-Wolf Center for Film, Television and New Media.