George Lucas Family Foundation gift to support diversity at USC School of Cinematic Arts

The largest single donation for student support in the cinematic arts school’s history — $10 million — will provide scholarships for African-American and Latino students

October 27, 2015 Ryan Gilmour

A $10 million endowment from the George Lucas Family Foundation will support the recruitment of talented USC School of Cinematic Arts students from communities that are underrepresented in the entertainment industry.

The gift will establish The George Lucas Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity, which will provide financial support for African-American and Hispanic students enrolled at the school.

The endowment represents the largest single donation for student support in the school’s history. African-American or Hispanic students at the undergraduate and graduate levels will receive priority consideration. Student support will be split equally between males and females who will be known as George Lucas Scholars or Mellody Hobson Scholars. The first recipients will be awarded for the fall of 2016.

This gift will nurture the next generation of artists.

C. L. Max Nikias

“George Lucas and Mellody Hobson are inspiring leaders in their fields, and tremendous friends to the USC community,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “This gift will nurture the next generation of artists, supporting scholarships that enhance access in the cinematic arts, while bringing new and diverse voices and stories into our lives.”

Added Lucas: “Hispanic and African-American storytellers are underrepresented in the entertainment industry. It is Mellody’s and my privilege to provide this assistance to qualified students who want to contribute their unique experience and talent to telling their stories.”

Dean Elizabeth M. Daley said: “We are so grateful to George and Mellody for their continued support and in particular for this amazing gift, and their recognition of the need to encourage the Hispanic and African-American storytellers of tomorrow.”

In addition to the Lucas Foundation endowment, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has recently received a number of gifts earmarked for student support, including the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Fund for Student Support, the Shriram Family Graduate Student Support Fund and the Kelly & Ron Meyer Family Fund for Student Support. Such endowments enhance USC’s commitment to access and affordability by ensuring that qualified students are not denied the opportunity of attending the school because of financial circumstances.

The Lucas Foundation’s gift supports the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort that seeks to raise $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world. Four years after its launch, the campaign has raised more than $4.5 billion.