New UC Presidential Chair to strengthen screenwriting program at UC Santa Cruz

Emmy Award-winning producer and alumnus Ken Corday and UC Regents help create Arts Division endowment in television and film writing

Ken Corday
Ken Corday

UC Santa Cruz has received a gift from arts alumnus Ken Corday, plus funds from the UC Regents, to establish a new Kenneth R. Corday Family Presidential Chair in Writing for Television & Film.

The new chair will provide permanent support for students and faculty in the Film and Digital Media Department. This gift will significantly strengthen the department’s screenwriting program for film and television and enable students to learn directly from guest lecturers and experts in the field.

“This is the game changer for our students interested in writing for film and television,” said David Yager, dean of the Arts Division. “The wonderful thing about an endowment is that it establishes an opportunity for our students in perpetuity that otherwise would not be possible.”

"It is incredibly generous to have someone think about the arts at UC Santa Cruz, and truly understand how important this gift is for our students and their education,” Yager added. “We are extremely grateful for, and excited about how this will change our program.”

Corday graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Music/Aesthetic Studies in 1975 and a Master’s degree in Music Composition in 1977. He is an Emmy Award-winning producer, best known for the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives, which is now celebrating its 50th year.

Days of Our Lives has won numerous Emmys over the years and has most recently been awarded the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2013 and 2015. Days is NBC’s longest running scripted series which has been praised as a thriving piece of television history as it approaches its milestone anniversary on November 8.

Corday has also won the Daytime Emmy Award for “Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series” in both 1990 and 1997, and the Film & TV Music Award for “Best Score for a Television Daytime Drama” in 2007.

He believes that the success of his show all comes down to storytelling, and that it is the essence of all television success.

“Strong and compelling storytelling is the foundation to the success of any television production,” said Corday. “As a proud UCSC alumnus, it is my honor to create this opportunity for the next generation of aspiring television writers.”

Corday is currently the CEO of Corday Productions, the television production company founded by his parents Ted and Betty Corday. Ken and his wife, Sherry, also established the Corday Foundation in 2004, whose philanthropic goodwill supports numerous causes including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Increasing support for the Arts Division and endowed chairs are goals of the Campaign for UC Santa Cruz, which to date has raised more than $210 million in resources for the campus.

The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz supports excellence across the university through increased private investment in the people and ideas shaping the future. It is bringing critical new resources to each academic division, and to signature initiatives in the student experience, genomics, coastal sustainability, data science, and the intersection of the arts and sciences.