USC Games and San Mateo-based Sony Interactive Entertainment announced a multi-year partnership last week starting with a $3 million contribution to support the USC Games Gerald A. Lawson Fund with backing from the PlayStation Career Pathways Program. The partnership solidifies Sony as a major partner of USC Games’ efforts to provide support for Black and Indigenous students studying game development and design.
The Gerald A. Lawson Fund provides support for students who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in game design or computer science.
“The USC Games’ Lawson Fund is more than a scholarship,” Tiffany Johnson, senior director and global head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in a release. “It’s our commitment to creating opportunities for Black and other unrepresented talent that want to enter the gaming industry. We have a responsibility to drive change and build an industry that is more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming for all. This contribution is just one of many efforts and it all starts with investing in the next generation of talent and creating more exposure and visibility for underrepresented communities.”
Returns from the endowment will support graduate and undergraduate games-program students in both the School of Cinematic Arts and the Viterbi School of Engineering beginning this fall. Sony’s contribution will support students beginning in the fall of next year. The donation will also subsidize the recruitment of Black or Indigenous faculty.
“We are beyond excited to be one of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s partners and share their same vision to inspire and enable more diversity within the gaming industry,” Jim Huntley, USC professor and the program’s head of marketing, said in a statement.