Filmmaker George Lucas has doubled his support for student diversity at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with another $10 million endowment. The gift from the George Lucas Family Foundation raises the foundation’s student diversity support effort to $20 million.
The foundation’s Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity was established in fall 2016, with an initial $10 million endowment for students from underrepresented communities who also qualify for financial aid. African American and Hispanic students in both graduate and undergraduate programs receive priority consideration for support from the fund.
Michael Renov, vice dean of academic affairs at the film school, said he was excited about the fact that the gift is an endowment, which will pay out at an approximate 5 percent per year in perpetuity, “meaning that this is the future of our school, and hopefully the future of the industry.”
The undergraduate cohort is 51 percent white/non-Hispanic, versus 39 percent in the graduate programs. Renov said that 27 percent of graduate students are international students. He said the funding will help attract talented students from underrepresented groups, rather than losing them to other film programs around the country.
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Lucas continues to expand his footprint in the vicinity of his alma mater. In January, the creator of the “Star Wars” movie franchise ended a competition between San Francisco and L.A. by selecting a site near USC for his $1 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, have pledged to fund the museum’s construction and endowment.
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