Extraordinary Gift Ensures Dick Clark’s Legacy Lives on in Expansion of Los Angeles Program

One of Syracuse University’s most famous graduates, Dick Clark ’51 started his broadcast career in Central New York and grew to prominence in Philadelphia as host of “American Bandstand.” But it was Los Angeles that offered the greatest opportunity for the visionary who would become legendary for building an entertainment empire that launched countless careers.

Photo of Dick Clark
Dick Clark

“LA remains the center of the broadcast industry, and Dick always wanted to support young people hoping for a career in entertainment,” says his wife Kari, explaining the reasoning behind the Kari and Dick Clark Foundation’s Forever Orange Campaign gift to significantly expand the University’s presence and impact in the entertainment field. Soon to be named the Syracuse University Dick Clark Los Angeles Program, the expansion of the SULA Semester includes new space for offices, classrooms, studios, additional academic programs, faculty and internships. The expansion aligns with one of the strategic priorities of “Leading with Distinction,” the University’s new academic strategic plan which seeks to make study away and study abroad opportunities more accessible to all undergraduate students.

“When Dad moved his company to LA, it flourished,” says Clark’s daughter Cindy, who graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1986 and built her own successful career in television and film production in LA. “The expansion of the SULA program is a continuation of my father’s commitment to fostering new talent in the entertainment business. Seeing how the sausage really gets made—it’s just an invaluable experience.”

“Dad was always of the mind that nothing beats a practical hands-on experience in this business,” says Clark’s son RAC, who has produced thousands of hours of live event and entertainment programming and created Lion’s Heart Entertainment in LA. “You get to be in the belly of the beast.”