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Diana & David ’61 Jacobs

Diana and David Jacobs

David Jacobs '61 studied painting at MICA, but switched to writing about arts soon after graduation, publishing 10 books, many magazine articles, and numerous short stories. He turned his focus to television, and, in a career spanning nearly 25 years, wrote or produced more than 700 hours of episodic television, including two of the longest-running dramas in the history of the medium-Dallas and Knots Landing-which reshaped American popular culture.

David is a panelist on the University of Colorado's annual Conference for World Affairs and is involved with organizations committed to the preservation and exhibition of silent films. Diana is a widely exhibited printmaker whose work is in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, among many others. David joined MICA's Board in 1991, received the College's Alumni Award in 2003, and chairs the College's 2007 Annual Fund. The Jacobs have funded a four-year scholarship for international students at MICA since 1990, and regularly host MICA events in Los Angeles.

"I had been out of touch with MICA for nearly 30 years when I was invited to campus for a luncheon. I sat next to Bill Steinmetz, who had been one of my teachers (he flunked me once), and hearing about the College and looking around the campus, I was really impressed with how the College had evolved since I was there as a student. At that time, Diana and I were in the process of giving more focus to our modest philanthropy. One area of interest was international education. We were establishing a scholarship at a college in Scotland, and decided to also create a scholarship for foreign students at MICA. I was a reluctant recruit to the Board of Trustees because I am just not a money and finance guy. I give more to MICA than I do to other organizations. I take my responsibility on the Board seriously, to advocate for the needs of students, and for the quality of education. I've always believed that when you give, you need to give enough that you feel it. Because you get so much in return you shouldn't think of it as philanthropy. You should think of it as self-interested investing.

Why MICA? Because MICA saved my life. I was a horrible student in high school, and I knew that if I went straight to a university, I'd flunk out and be drafted. So I made a deal with my parents to spend a year at MICA until I figured out what I wanted to do. And what I found there was a perfect balance of warmth and do-it-yourself. To be in the middle of an art community-I just loved it. I finished all my requirements in three-and-a-half years but didn't tell my parents. I graduated with a gazillion credits.

In a class with Dick Ireland, I was struggling with a painting. He came over and looked at it and said, 'needs more pink.' Even today, when I'm writing, I'll say to myself, 'more pink'-I'm being too safe, not brave enough. When I was a student, this College was tiny and impoverished, yet it still had the energy that you feel here now-concern for the individual student balanced by a demand that you would push yourself. I often visit other art schools, and I see the most cutting-edge work at MICA. It's as forward-thinking a place as I've ever been."