Billionaire couple Mellody Hobson and George Lucas recently gave a very generous donation to the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. According to sources, the investment executive and Star Wars” creator pledged $25 million for the construction of an arts building.
The Chicago Tribune reports Hobson’s connection to the Laboratory Schools is personal. “The founder of the firm where she has spent her career, John Rogers Jr., is chairman of the school’s board and an alumnus. He approached her about making a gift,” the paper stated. “At Hobson and Lucas’ request, the building will be named the Gordon Parks Arts Hall in honor of Parks, the first African-American staff photographer for Life magazine and later the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood movie, his most famous film being 1971′s “Shaft.”
In a statement, Hobson said “it was important to us that the University of Chicago campus have a building named for an African American, given the diverse community in which it sits, and the outstanding contributions to our society by people of color.”
Lucas added: “We believe in the power of art to transform lives and communities. Gordon Parks’ work did just that.”