The George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts

Photo: George and Judy Marcus

In November, 2018 George Marcus (B.A., ’65) and Judie Otten Marcus (B.A., ’62) became the University's largest donors and lead supporters of the BOLD Thinking campaign. The Marcuses funded and established the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, a comprehensive gift to the College of Liberal & Creative Arts that includes four new endowed faculty chairs, support for student and faculty research, and program and facilities upgrades.

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

Marcus Spotlight


Anucha Poh Maga, Design major

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


Photos of Mayuran Tiruchelvam and Artel Great

School of Cinema Announces New George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chairs

Filmmaker, scholar to join faculty in fall semester.

Photo of cloth masks designed by SF State students

Students Creatively Adapt Semester-End Projects to COVID-19 Reality

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.

Photo of Lyn Bafour seated in her bedroom/makeshift workspace

@Home with SF State: Adjusting to Remote Learning

In video series, students share how they have been able to persevere this spring, in light of COVID-19.

Graphic image of formed and corrugated red boxes

View LCA Undergraduate Research Showcase Online

Annual event debuts online with more than 70 original works including papers, essays, designs, comics, visual art, music and more.

Screenshot of two students performing in the online SF State Fringe Festival

SF State Fringe Festival Adapts to Shelter-in-Place, Moves Online for First Time

School of Theatre and Dance rolls out student plays online throughout May

Photo of Tongo Eisen-Martin shaking hands with a student during a classroom talk

Sam Mazza Foundation Awards $100,000 Grant to SF State Poetry Center

Ten-year award funds residency program that brings influential writers to campus to work with students and perform publicly.