George Lucas donates to USC cinema school to support minority students

"Star Wars'' director George Lucas' family foundation donated $10 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts to recruit and support black and Hispanic students in an effort to bolster diversity in the entertainment industry, the university announced today.

The donation will establish The George Lucas Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity.

"George Lucas and (wife) Mellody Hobson are inspiring leaders in their fields, and tremendous friends to the USC community,'' USC President C.L. Max Nikias said. "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.''

Lucas said black and Hispanic filmmakers are under-represented in the film industry, and he hopes the donation -- the largest in the history of the School of Cinematic Arts -- will help reverse that trend.

"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,'' Lucas said.

The support fund will be available for graduate and undergraduate students, split equally between male and female students, who will be known as George Lucas Scholars or Mellody Hobson Scholars.

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

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