'Paying it Forward' to ensure future students have the same opportunity

Jonathan Treisman and familyIt'd be an understatement to say the motto for Jonathan Treisman's life is "paying it forward." Not only was he the executive producer of the acclaimed Warner Bros. film Pay It Forward, he has also created a bequest that will support scholarships for CU Boulder students who would not otherwise have the same opportunities that were provided to him.

Treisman's time at CU Boulder (in the late '80s and early '90s) was energizing. "It was an exciting time to be there," he said. "It felt like the university was on a huge upswing. The football team went to the National Championship, Tom Cech won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the presidential race between Clinton and Bush heightened the political activity on campus."

These experiences left a lasting impact on Treisman. He encountered different opinions, learned from some of the best professors and of course painted his face on game day and cheered on the Buffs at Folsom Field. Treisman (A&S '92) came out of his shell at CU, and he immersed himself in transformational activities and opportunities.

Treisman credits CU for planting the seeds that led him to where he is now. After graduating, he moved to Hollywood and interned at Walt Disney Pictures; then progressively worked his way up into all facets of the studio, including Casting and Production. Treisman left Disney to produce films (including Pay It Forward starring Kevin Spacey and Puppies For Sale starring Jack Lemmon) and then returned to Walt Disney Pictures in 2004 to become vice president of Development. In 2007, Treisman transitioned to the increasingly vital Corporate Partnerships area of media and entertainment where he ran Business Development at NBCUniversal's Partnerships & Licensing division for six years and currently oversees Corporate Partnerships & Sponsorship Marketing in Los Angeles for NBCUniversal's parent company, Comcast.

What Treisman wants most is for other students to have the same opportunities he did. After receiving his admission letter, Treisman and his dad visited CU. "We drove up U.S. 36 and when we came over the hill that overlooks Boulder and I saw campus, I felt like I was coming home."

His bequest to CU Boulder will give other students the chance to "come home" to CU Boulder, and maybe someday " pay it forward" themselves.

You can, too, and be remembered for what you are passionate about.

For a free guide to preparing a will or trust, or to learn about other planned giving options, contact the Office of Gift Planning at 303-541-1229 or giftplanning@cu.edu.