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


College of Liberal & Creative Arts Welcomes Three New Tenure-Track Faculty

New professors include endowed chair of poetry, animation historian and theorist, health-care designer. 

Two dancers perform at the World Latin Dance Cup in a still from Sarah Taborga’s documentary Dear Queer Dancer

Queer Cinema Project Receives $77,000 for LGBTQ Filmmaking at SF State

Estate of SF State alum and renowned lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer matches grant challenge from Jonathan Logan Family Foundation to support LGBTQ Cinema students and programming.

Mayuran Tiruchelvam speaks into a webcam while sitting in a home office

Marcus Endowed Chair Faculty Profile: Mayuran Tiruchelvam

Cinema assistant professor combines passions for film, grassroots activism.

Delroy Lindo wearing a jacket, scarf and hat

SF State's 'Generosity of Spirit' Inspires Alum Delroy Lindo in Storied Acting Career

Veteran actor returns to SF State as keynote speaker for Cinema Valediction Ceremony.

Matthew Clark Davison sits in a room as sunlight reflects on his face

Novel by Alumnus/Faculty Member Explores Impact of Anti-LGBTQ Tropes 

Matthew Clark Davison has gone from teen runaway to SF State writing instructor to debut novelist.

Joseph Cassara in conversation at The Poetry Center

Marcus Endowed Chair Faculty Profile: Joseph Cassara

Award-winning novelist discusses the look of language, perceptions of time, staying grounded.