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


No 'Glitches': Student's Sci-Fi Thesis Film Garners Accolades After Graduation

Rocio Camacho’s short honored at Hollywood Independent Filmmaker Awards and Festival.

Three Professors Win Marcus Transformative Research Award

Awards support faculty work on disability, structural racism, graphic novel.

Headshots of See-Won Byun, Sukanya Chakrabarti, Laura Green, Michael David Lukas and Leslie Quintanilla

Marcus Early Career Research Award Helps Faculty Reach Finish Line

Awards help faculty complete books, documentaries on social-justice issues in U.S., abroad.

Screenshot image of Jose Antonio Vargas speaking into webcam while sitting at a desk in front of a framed drawing of the text I Am An American W/O Papers

In Talk to Students, Alum Jose Antonio Vargas Gives Perspective as 'Undocumented Citizen'

Activist, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wrote best-selling memoir, “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.”

Celine Parreñas Shimizu holding up an archival black and white photo of a bride and nine bridesmaids

Professor Shimizu’s Documentary Upends Narrative of Gruesome 1932 Crime

‘The Celine Archive’ recasts the victim as a feminist heroine who refused to be silenced.