The Tonight Show host and Saugerties High School Class of 1992 alum Jimmy Fallon has donated $100,000 to his alma mater, much of which has been earmarked for technology in the arts.
In the late fall, the high school was contacted by somebody that was letting us know that there could be an anonymous donor and wanted to know about some of the projects and initiatives that we were focused on,” said Superintendent Seth Turner on Wednesday, Feb. 22. “We had no knowledge of who that might have been, but Mr. [Thomas] Averill [Saugerties High principal] had some conversations with an intermediary. In December we were contacted and found out that we would be receiving a $100,000 donation to support some programs.”
According to Turner, the donation will benefit the high school’s television studio and computer video production courses; will bring new keyboards, software, and MIDI [musical instrument digital interface] to the music department; and will bolster the technology in the fine art program with cameras, computers, software and professional development.
“When you’re supporting the fine arts and the music and television departments, you’re benefiting not only the children who attend our school but the greater community who will come out to enjoy each of these endeavors,” Turner said. “It’s very exciting to have something positive like this going on, and for that we’ve got to thank Jimmy and his wife, Nancy Juvonen. It’s very meaningful that they supported this.”
Fallon has been the host of The Tonight Show since 2014, a role he earned after a four-year stint as the host of The Late Show. He was also a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2004. Most recently, Fallon was the host of the Golden Globe Awards last month.
Fallon has openly paid homage to Saugerties in the past, with the town turning up in Tonight Show monologues and sketches on Saturday Night Live. In October 2015, played the principal of Saugerties High School in a Tonight Show sketch called “Musical Morning Announcements” alongside actress Gabrielle Union.
“What we appreciate as much or more so than the financial support is knowing that Jimmy still thinks about Saugerties and the kids that are going through our school system,” said Turner. “It’s more meaningful just to know that support exists and that he remembers where he came from.”
In an Associated Press report on the donation, Fallon was quoted as saying, “And if anyone there wants to return the favor with a statue of me or something, I’m totally cool with that, too.”
Turner said he’d take it under advisement, adding, “As a result of this contribution I’m going to eliminate his discipline record.”