Alumni provide $100,000 gift to support existing fund

September 09, 2009

Two award-winning Penn State alumni, a husband-and-wife tandem of Hollywood producers, have made a $100,000 estate gift to the University to support an endowment for film students in the College of Communications.

Gerry Abrams, a 1961 Penn State graduate whose credits include two Emmy Awards, serves as chairman of Cypress Point Productions. Carol (Kelvin) Abrams, a 1963 alumna, is an independent producer with a Peabody Award to her credit.

They made the gift to support the existing Samuel D. and Lillian K. Abrams Senior Film Endowment. Abrams and his mother, Lillian, initially created that endowment to honor his father, the late Samuel Abrams, in 1992.

During the 2008-09 academic year, four students received scholarship support from the fund. In the past decade, more than 30 students have benefited from the resources it provides.

"Gerry is a special talent. He is an incredibly gifted writer, producer and thinker," said Doug Anderson, dean of the College of Communications. "He is one of the College's best supporters and friends. He long has been a conscientious and active member of several of our most important committees and boards. I admire his many accomplishments and I truly value his loyalty to our program."

Gerry Abrams, honored as "Producer of the Year" by the Hollywood Caucus Group in 2004, has produced 65 television movies and miniseries through Cypress Point Productions. His credits include the Emmy Award-winning miniseries "Nuremberg" and "Out of the Ashes."

He was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University in 1986. The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor that the University bestows upon an outstanding alumna or alumnus. It salutes the achievements of outstanding alumni whose "personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify the objectives of their alma mater."

He also serves as a member of the Board of Visitors for the College of Communications, and previously served as a member of the Penn State Alumni Council and the College of Communications Alumni Society Board. He was named an Alumni Fellow in 1981.

Carol Abrams earned her Peabody Award for "The Ernest Green Story," a film she produced for the Disney Channel in 1994.

"Gerry and Carol Abrams in their distinguished professional careers in the film and television industry have created a body of narrative work that embodies the very highest standards of social commentary, profound humanism and cinematic artistry," said Dorn Hetzel, associate professor and associate head of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies.

"With unceasing generosity, they have been great and abiding friends of the College and particularly the film-video program from, quite literally, the very moment of its conception through to the present day. We are immensely grateful to them for not only this gracious gift to benefit the development of young film artists, but equally for their unfailing support and encouragement through all these many years."

Carol and Gerry live in Los Angeles. They have two children, J.J. and Tracy. Among the numerous film and television credits for J.J. as a producer or executive producer are: "Star Trek," "Fringe," "Lost," "Alias" and "Felicity." Tracy has written for TV series and shows such as "Felicity," "Daniel’s Daughter" and the upcoming Hallmark film "Fairfield Road."

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 17, 2009