The University of Virginia recently received a donation from the famous comedian and his wife, Evelyn McGee Colbert, who graduated from the college in 1985.

(Comedian Stephen T. Colbert and his wife, Evelyn Colbert. )

Evelyn Colbert told the university she predicts the program will create a bonded group of artists who can help each other navigate the college experience and remind each other, “Don't give up your passion.”

And it is possible to have a successful and fulfilling career with an arts degree, according to The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, based at the Indiana University. The group recently surveyed 13,581 alumni of 154 arts programs and found that 92 percent who wish to work found a job soon after graduating — and two-thirds said their first job was a close match to the kind of work they wanted, (Read more about findings they released today.)

U-Va. students who decide to major or minor in an arts field can receive a Colbert Arts Scholars Award between their third and fourth years — up to $3,000 to spend on an intensive art-related project. (Similar grants in the past have allowed students to study with a New York City dance company or travel to Ghana.)

Bruce Holsinger, associate dean for the arts and humanities, said in a statement that he hopes the program will allow U-Va. to “recruit, retain and educate some of the most exceptional young artists and artist-scholars.”

Evelyn Colbert, who double-majored in drama and English, said the university is the perfect choice for students who want a strong academic experience in addition to an arts one: “At U-Va. you don't have to give up anything in order to also have a great arts experience.”

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