Electronic Arts (EA) (Nasdaq: ERTS) announced today that it has made a multi-million dollar donation to the USC School of Cinema-Television (USC-CNTV) to advance interactive media education and create a launch pad for the next generation of interactive entertainment. The contribution, part of EA's global educational and talent development effort, will fund two new facets of USC-CNTV's Division of Interactive Media: the Electronic Arts Interactive Entertainment Program and the Electronic Arts Endowed Faculty Chair. The EA Interactive Entertainment Program is a 3-year Master of Fine Arts degree program. The program will help forward USC-CNTV's goal to educate the next generation of high-level gaming design and visionary thinkers in what will be one of the 21st Century's primary entertainment media.
The School's rich storytelling tradition and long-standing commitment to technological experimentation make it an ideal partner for EA," said Don Mattrick, President, Electronic Arts Worldwide Studios. "This is an excellent opportunity for EA to invest in the future of the industry by providing today's students with the skills and knowledge they will need to push technology and entertainment forward."
Mattrick, the newest appointee to the School's Board of Councilors, will be part of a high-profile team - the ranks of which include entertainment giants Jeffrey Katzenberg, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Wells, and Robert Zemeckis - that will work to ensure that interactive media studies at USC continues to move confidently in the direction of growth and innovation.
This gift clearly demonstrates EA's commitment to expanding the frontiers of game design, and to developing a well rounded, highly skilled, and forward-thinking talent base overall," said Elizabeth M. Daley, Dean, USC School of Cinema-Television. "The School's position as an international academic leader is further solidified by its relationship with the world's number-one interactive entertainment developer - a partnership that will set new standards of excellence in a field that is truly changing global culture."
The EA gift will fuel the growth of the School's Interactive Media Division's gaming component, and enable the Division, headed by Scott Fisher, to define and expand this nascent, multi-faceted field. With the aid of these funds, the School will grow its efforts to graduate students who are visionary thinkers, but who also have a deep understanding of the crafts and skills required to produce quality content for a diverse media array.
Specifically, the Electronic Arts Interactive Entertainment Program will spawn the creation of a curriculum and research lab to explore the boundaries of interactive entertainment and to study the emerging discipline of game development. The gift will enable the creation of an intra-USC gaming community that will bring together creative and technical expertise in cinema-television, the arts, and technical sciences, and will provide students with invaluable real-world experience through internships and work-study programs at EA, including its newest Los Angeles campus.
The Electronic Arts Chair will enable the Division to meet the intensifying demand for talented game developers who are solidly grounded in story and content. The endowed funds to support faculty specializing in game development elevates the field into the ranks of other professions, such as law and engineering, worthy of scholarly study and specialized training.
It’s astonishing how quickly games have become an essential part of the entertainment arts, and there is no better place than USC to nurture the creative and conceptual thinkers who will take the medium to places we can only imagine," said USC alumnus George Lucas, a longtime supporter of the School of Cinema-Television, the founder of game-design studio LucasArts and the filmmaker behind the Star Wars series. "USC is a major force in cinema education, and thanks to Electronic Arts, it can become a leader in interactive arts education as well."
"To create the next generation of entertainment, we need the next generation of talent," said Rusty Rueff, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Electronic Arts. "Melding storytelling, art, music, game design, and technology has become so complex that it is imperative for tomorrow's designers and producers to acquire an education with both depth and breadth in order to achieve success in our ever-growing industry."
Our new development studio in Playa Del Rey and this investment reflect EA's long term commitment to Los Angeles and Southern California," said John Batter, Vice President and General Manager, Electronic Arts Los Angeles. "We are proud to be expanding our presence within the region by fostering creativity through education and by stimulating current and future growth within the entertainment industry."