George Lucas Doubles Down On His Support Of Diversity At USC Film With $10 Million Gift
George Lucas, the patron saint of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has announced a second $10 million gift in as many years via the George Lucas Family Foundation to support diversity at the world-renowned film school. The gift was announced by Dean Elizabeth M. Daley on Monday, and adds to the growing list of donations Lucas has made to school, including a $175 million gift in 2006 (the single largest gift to the school to date).
“Hispanic and African-American storytellers are underrepresented in the entertainment industry," Lucas noted in 2015 upon establishing the George Lucas Family Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity with his wife Mellody Hobson. "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.” The fund's $20 million endowment aims is to provide financial support to African-American and Hispanic students enrolled at the film school.
“We are grateful that Mellody Hobson and George Lucas continue to provide visionary leadership on issues of diversity in our field,” said Michael Renov, vice dean of academic affairs at the School of Cinematic Arts, according to USC News. “This endowed fund allows us to recruit storytellers whose voices are underrepresented in cinematic media, and whose inclusion benefits all of us.”
“The George Lucas Scholarship really opened the door for me because I wouldn’t have been able to attend USC without it and my acceptance letter would have just been decoration in my room," Jonathan Curtiss, a USC production student, and one of the first George Lucas Scholars, added.
"Filmmaking is what I was created to do and this scholarship means I have fellowship, opportunity, and the ability to inspire younger filmmakers in my community to dream without limits.”
Beyond his contributions to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Lucas is also set to open his $1 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in nearby Exposition Park by 2020.