Creator of the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas, and his wife, Mellody Hobson, recently donated $10 million dollars to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts for students of color. The endowment is the largest single donation for student support in the school’s history.
It came in partnership with the school in creation to The George Lucas Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity, which will help give financial assistance to African American and Hispanic students enrolled in the department, according to USC News.
It’s a forward incentive being that the department’s undergrad enrollment of African Americans is 4% and 12% Hispanic. The graduate program consist of 9% African American and 10% Hispanic.
USC President C.L. Max Nikias complimented the couple for their generous donation. “George Lucas and Mellody Hobson are inspiring leaders in their fields, and tremendous friends to the USC Community,” he said. “The gift will nurture the next generation of artists.”
The endowment from the Lucas family will support students in the cinematic arts program that come from underrepresented communities. The donation comes at the right time especially after a year’s worth of discussions about diversity in the film industry.
“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,” said Lucas.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts has also received gifts to help support students in need, 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. These efforts help give access to students who are looking for affordability and an opportunity to attend the school above their financial circumstances.
Students will be awarded funding from the George Lucas Family Foundation for the fall of 2016. The first recipients will be known as George Lucas Scholars or Mellody Hobson Scholars.