class of 1958
inducted in 1999
Karen Folger Jacobs
Author, Screenwriter, and
Jacobs graduated from Cheltenham in 1958 and attended Antioch College where she received her B.A. in
Philosophy and Mathematics. She received a M.A. in Counseling from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, where she won the Chancellor's
Dissertation Award. Jacobs held a fellowship in Women and Minorities at Howard University, and a second fellowship in clinical
psychology at the University of California's Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric
Institute. A licensed marriage, family and child counselor, she has served on
the Governor's Council on Wellness and Fitness' Advisory Board. In 1977 and
1978, she was a consultant to the Presidential Commission on Mental Health.
Although accomplished in the field of psychiatry, Karen Folger
Jacobs has spent the majority of her professional life in an altogether
different field. Jacobs has been and continues to be a writer of prolific
output. Her work spans a wide range which includes young adult fiction, books
on sports and health, and articles published in the New York Times, Essence,
Mademoiselle, Image, and the Hollywood Reporter. She collaborated with
celebrated photojournalist and fellow Hall of Fame member Mary Ellen Mark,
‘58 on the book Ward 81.
Her most impressive
achievements have come from her work in the film industry. Jacobs has written
and edited numerous screenplays, and has taught seminars on screenwriting in California, New York, and Texas. She has worked on films in Mexico and Italy, and once attended the Cannes Film
Festival with an Italian film on which she was assistant director. She served
as a juror in the 1998 Naples Film Festival in Italy, and been a consultant
to Lucasfilm, Ltd. and the National Learning
Center's Mediaworks program in Washington D.C. For
over ten years, Jacobs has worked out of her office in the Fantasy Films
building, home to the production company which produced One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, and The English Patient.
Jacobs has been an active athlete for most of her life. She is an avid
mountain biker, teaches and practices yoga, and has many trophies for races
across the Golden Gate Bridge and from Alcatraz to San Francisco. From 1980 to 1988 she was a member of
the national underwater hockey team. Jacobs went with the team to the world
championship in Holland where they finished second.
She wants us to know that, unlike most of her classmates, she has never
married, had children, or owned a home or a credit card. In 1995 she had breast
cancer and wrote about her journey through this increasingly common
terrifying challenge. Today, Karen Folger Jacobs
lives in Berkeley, California where she teaches film courses at the University of California at Berkeley. She values every day.