The George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts
Areas of Impact
School of Cinema
Thanks to the Marcus gift, the School of Cinema is undergoing a profound transformation. Two new faculty chairs have been endowed — the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African American Cinema and the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Social Justice Filmmaking. Major upgrades to the school’s theatre, studios, facilities, digital and animation labs are underway, as well as generous investments in state-of-the-art equipment for cinema, audio and virtual reality production.
“If you give this amount of money to a school like ours that has shown that it’s resourceful and does a lot with little, you have really changed the playing field for what our students can aspire to.”
— Britta Sjogren, director, School of Cinema
Creative Writing Department
This fall, the Creative Writing Department will begin the search for faculty with the following specialties to fill the endowed chairs: one each in Poetry and Fiction/Creative non-fiction, with literary focus on the African Diaspora, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern and/or Indigenous/Native cultures. The department has also allocated its current-use funds for this year on supporting faculty summer scholarship and research costs, graduate student recruiting scholarships for the coming year, a playwriting workshop with a dramaturge brought in externally, and graduate student conference travel.
“We have amazing faculty who write and publish and put into the world works that are ambitious, strong, deep, astute and which show social awareness.”
— Nona Caspers, chair, Creative Writing Department
Student & Faculty Research
The 2019 – 20 student-faculty research grants, student research assistant grants and undergraduate research curriculum development grants programs were launched in March 2019. After an extensive review process, the inaugural cohort of awardees was announced at the LCA Undergraduate Research Showcase in May 2019 (an event in its third year at which more than 350 students presented their work). Both grant categories were oversubscribed and competitive, making the selection process rigorous and productive of a high level of quality.
“By supporting student and faculty scholarship, these funds make possible the fulfillment of the University’s mission of access and excellence to the highest degree.”
— Andrew Harris, dean, College of Liberal & Creative Arts
Anucha Poh Maga, Design major
“Working on this project feels, well, quite frankly, amazing. I have never gotten the opportunity to do something like this before — receive funds and actually make something that can make a difference.“
Inspired by his experience with motorcycles in Southeast Asia and his School of Design faculty mentor, Sylvan Linn, student Anucha Poh Maga is designing and testing a conversion kit that will turn a Honda Super Cub motorcycle, one of the most produced motor vehicles in history, into a hybrid vehicle. Motorcycles are an extremely popular mode of transportation in Southeast Asia but they are not subject to the same emissions regulations as cars, are generally older, and are kept idling in traffic which creates a lot of pollution. Converting them to hybrid-electric vehicles means that instead of using a gas motor while idling they would use an electric one.
Rather than build an expensive all-electric motorcycle from the ground up, his goal is to develop a low-cost, user-serviceable kit that converts existing bikes — reducing waste and bringing technology that is more common in cars to motorcycles.
This project is made possible by a Marcus Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
Stories from the College
Filmmaker, scholar to join faculty in fall semester.
From developing a motorcycle conversion kit in their parents’ garage to bringing theatrical plays online, students find ways to finish their projects despite the pandemic.
In video series, students share how they have been able to persevere this spring, in light of COVID-19.
Annual event debuts online with more than 70 original works including papers, essays, designs, comics, visual art, music and more.
School of Theatre and Dance rolls out student plays online throughout May
Ten-year award funds residency program that brings influential writers to campus to work with students and perform publicly.