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

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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


Sepia-tone photo from 1916 of 16 female SF State students seated in three rows

Five Women Who Shaped SF State

University Archivist Meredith Eliassen commemorates Women's History Month with a salute to remarkable female faculty members.

Photo of Jonas Rivera wearing graduation gown and speaking at SF State Commencement

Alum Jonas Rivera Wins Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

As a producer of “Toy Story 4,” Cinema graduate wins his second Oscar.

Photos of Libby Black, Nicholas Conway and Elizabeth Ramirez-Soto

Three Faculty Members Win Marcus Early Career Research Award

Awards provide semester of leave to help tenure-track faculty complete research, creative work encompassing art, law, cinema studies.

Photo of two students holding bingo card and talking to another student at Research First event

Event Promotes Undergraduate Research to Freshmen

At Research First workshop, students demonstrate to peers how they can begin conducting serious academic research early in their college careers.

Photo of Atalya Ben-Abba leaning against fence, with view of building with Israel flag in background

Grad Student Wins Awards for Documentary on Israeli Teen Imprisoned for Refusing Military Service

Molly Stuart's 'Objector' honored at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.

Photo of Carolina De Robertis and Tommy Orange in conversation while seated behind a table

Novelist Tommy Orange Accepts SF State’s Gina Berriault Award

Award-winning author discusses his writing process, feeling like a fraud, how reading influences his writing.