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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Lucas donates $175m to university
George Lucas
The film maker is donating money to his former university
Star Wars creator George Lucas is handing over $175m (93m) to the university where he studied film.

The cash gift from the Lucasfilm Foundation is the largest donation the University of Southern California has ever received.

Lucas said he discovered his passion for film and making movies while at USC, adding: "My experiences there shaped the rest of my career."

He graduated in 1966, becoming one of Hollywood's most respected film-makers.

University improvements

His huge donation topped the previous school record of $120m (63.7m) made in 1993 by the late ambassador Walter Annenburg.

Some of the cash the film-maker has given will be spent on constructing a new state-of-the-art home for the university's acclaimed cinema school. The remaining $100m is to be used to endow the school.

I'm very fortunate to be in a position to combine my two passions
George Lucas

Lucas said he is an ardent advocate for education at all levels and encouraging young people to pursue their ambitions by learning.

He added: "I'm very fortunate to be in a position to combine my two passions and to be able to help USC continue moulding the futures of the moviemakers of tomorrow."

A groundbreaking ceremony for the school's new building will take place on 14 October.

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