Elizabeth Reiko Kubota Whitney quote
Anthony Tran '10 and Andrea Gutierrez '10 both found their Kubota scholarships invaluable in enabling them to focus on their education and the launch of their theater careers.

Nurturing the Future

The Jeanne Michiko Kubota Scholarship
Through their work, artists inspire others and heighten appreciation between cultures. They serve as unofficial ambassadors, and the breadth of their impact is immeasurable.

“The Sound of Music” is what hooked Elizabeth Reiko Kubota Whitney '80 on musical theater as a child. But years later, when she was accepted to UCLA to study theater, her family was struggling. They asked her to decline and work until she saved some money.

Then her sister, Jeanne, stepped in and paid her way. So when Whitney was in a position to support today’s students, she established a scholarship at the School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) to honor the generosity of her sister, who by then had passed away.

Among the scholarship recipients is 2010 graduate Anthony Tran, who grew up drawing the costumes he saw in Disney animated films. So although his parents, Vietnamese immigrants, were skeptical about his studying costume design, he was determined.

During his first three years at TFT, Tran worked in the dorms and depended on student loans. But in his senior year, a Kubota scholarship allowed him to work on three or four theater productions every quarter and “flex every muscle” he had developed in costume design.

Another recipient, 2010 graduate Andrea Gutierrez, couldn’t decide on a career direction until she realized that her most fulfilling experiences had been in theater.

So although she was older than traditional students, she enrolled at a community college and then transferred to UCLA. In her senior year, a Kubota scholarship enabled her to focus on launching her career, rather than working to pay off loans.

“Now the opportunities in front of me are endless,” says Gutierrez, who is working with a youth theater group. “I realize that I can make a difference by bringing the joy of theater to others. UCLA has given me the chance to put that realization into action.”