Sony Interactive Entertainment pledges $3 million donation to USC Games Program

USC Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced a multi-year partnership 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 SIE as a major partner of USC Games’ efforts to provide support for black and indigenous students studying game development and design.

“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. Representation in gaming matters. We hope the USC Games Lawson Fund Supported by PlayStation Career Pathways Program inspires other corporations, publishers, and developers to reach out to us and invest in tackling a chronic problem that the industry has struggled with since its inception,” said USC Games professor and the program’s head of marketing Jim Huntley.

Ensuring the gaming industry is diverse and inclusive is a key pillar of SIE’s core mission. As part of these efforts, SIE has implemented a Strategic Partnership portfolio to support the Black Community and has established the PlayStation Careers Pathways Program. The goal of this innovative program is to prepare the next generation of Black and other underrepresented talent who wish to pursue a career path in the gaming industry.

“The USC Games’ Lawson Fund is more than a scholarship. 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,” said Sony Interactive Entertainment senior director and global head of DE&I Tiffany Johnson. 

The Gerald A. Lawson Fund provides support for Black and Indigenous students who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in game design or computer science from USC’s prestigious program. Returns from the Endowment will support qualifying graduate and undergraduate games program students in both the School of Cinematic Arts and the Viterbi School of Engineering, beginning in the Fall 2022 semester. SIE’s contribution will support incoming students effective Fall 2023. The donation will also subsidise the recruitment of Black or Indigenous faculty as well as an ongoing USC Games racial justice research initiative that will be announced in detail at a future date.

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