By Jeff Labrecque
Updated February 09, 2016 at 04:17 PM EST
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Credit: Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Second City has been a factory of comedic talent for more than 50 years, producing generations of brilliant improv comedians that helped reshape the face of comedy — from Mike Nichols to Bill Murray to Tina Fey. The Chicago-based sketch theater today announced the establishment of the first film school devoted purely to comedic arts, and it’s dedicated to one if its most beloved alums: Harold Ramis.

The Harold Ramis Film School will open its doors in September, immersing students “in comedy training, film history, storytelling and film production classes to give them the context in which to create,” according to a press release. “At the end of this one year intensive program, students will graduate with produced content, be it a screenplay, sitcom pilot, hour-long pilot or short film.”

“Harold Ramis was the quintessential Second City writer/performer – intelligent, funny and devoted to the spirit of ensemble,” says Andrew Alexander, CEO and executive producer of The Second City. “His early mentoring of the Second City TV cast set the template for how that show would operate for eight seasons. His unselfish and generous spirit dominated the many wonderful films that he directed and wrote. I am thrilled by this opportunity to instill Harold’s philosophy of successful storytelling in film in the next generation of artists.”

Ramis began at Second City in Chicago in 1969 and helped define the comic sensibility that emerged in the 1970s. His subsequent collaborations with Bill Murray led to blockbuster comedies like Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day. “This school honors the memory of Harold and his legacy of identifying, mentoring and developing new talent,” said Erica Mann Ramis, widow of Harold. “I am very proud and grateful that The Second City has chosen to pay this enormous tribute to my husband and his work.”

Groundhog Day producer Trevor Albert will serve as Chair of the Harold Ramis Film School, and the Board includes Steve Carell, Betty Thomas, Adam McKay, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Feig, and Jay Roach. Applications for enrollment are already being accepted.

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