A gift from one of UCSB’s best friends in high places leaves the university closer to having the funds it needs to build a center for the study of film and television.

Academy Award-winning actor and UCSB alumnus Michael Douglas contributed $1 million toward the construction of a new Center for Film, Television and New Media, the university announced Monday. The gift means the university has raised nearly $4 million of the $10 million in donations it is seeking for the fully privately funded construction of the center, including a $2.5 million gift from television producer Marcy Carsey in 2002.

“I love UCSB, and am proud to be associated with [the center],” Douglas said in a statement. “I have watched UCSB become an international leader in education, and as an alumnus and benefactor, I have the personal satisfaction of having played a part in that transformation.”

Douglas received a degree in dramatic arts at UCSB in 1968 and is a former trustee of the UCSB Foundation. He received the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1987 for his performance in “Wall Street.”]

The center will be located adjacent to a new state-funded academic building planned for parking lot 29, the lot between Robertson Gym and the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Work on both facilities is currently in the schematic design phase, with groundbreaking scheduled for 2005.

Plans for the center include a 225-seat theater, a film production suite and climate-controlled film and television archival space. The theater would be used for instruction as well as hosting public film screenings, “much like Campbell Hall,” said Miriam Metzger, associate director of the center.

Douglas has a history of philanthropy at his alma mater. He founded an artist-in-residence program in the Dramatic Art Dept. around eight years ago, department chair William King said. Douglas continues to fund the program, which pays contemporary actors and playwrights a “respectable sum” to conduct small workshops and seminars with students, King said.