The School of Cinema Television at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has announced gifts totaling $175 million from filmmaker and USC alumnus George Lucas.
Taken together, the two gifts — $75 million for the construction of new educational buildings and renovations to existing structures at the school and $100 million for an endowment — comprise the largest single donation in USC history. In conjunction with the gift, the USC board of trustees has renamed the school the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
The creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, Lucas has been active in educational initiatives since the mid-1980s, when he created Lucasfilm Learning, which worked with Apple Computer, the National Geographic Foundation, Fujitsu, and other companies to develop educational software. He also serves as chairman of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which compiles and disseminates information about successful teaching practices in the U.S. and works to encourage innovation in schools.
"I discovered my passion for film and making movies when I was a student at USC in the 1960s, and my experiences there shaped the rest of my career," said Lucas. "I'm an ardent advocate for education at all levels, and encouraging young people to pursue their ambitions by learning. I'm very fortunate to be in a position to combine my two passions and to be able to help USC continue molding the futures of the movie makers of tomorrow."