Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of the hit sitcoms “Friends” and “Grace and Frankie” has pledged $4 million to establish the first endowed chair in the 50-year history of the department of African and African American studies at Brandeis University in Waltham. Massachusetts. Kauffman is a 1978 graduate of the university.
The Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies will 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 help 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.
In the past, Kauffman has expressed regrets over the lack of diversity on her hit show “Friends,” on camera and behind the scenes. “It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalized systemic racism,” Kauffman said. “I’ve been working really hard to become an ally, an anti-racist. And this seemed to me to be a way that I could participate in the conversation from a White woman’s perspective.”