Reality and fiction have collided at UCLA, as the cast and crew of the hit television series "The Big Bang Theory" have endowed a scholarship fund to provide financial aid to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math at the school.
The "Big Bang Theory" Scholarship Endowment has already raised more than $4 million, with an initial donation from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and gifts from nearly 50 people associated with the show, including stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch.
"We have all been given a gift with 'The Big Bang Theory,' a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community. This is our opportunity to give back,” noted series creator Chuck Lorre. “In that spirit, our 'Big Bang' family has made a meaningful contribution, and together we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”
UCLA notes that for the 2015–16 academic year, 20 "Big Bang Theory" scholars will be selected to receive financial assistance. Each year in perpetuity, five additional scholars will be chosen.
The inaugural group of scholarship recipients will be announced this fall on the set of the show.
One of the show's stars, Bialik, earned a doctorate in neuroscience as well as a bachelor’s degree from UCLA.