Zynga has announced that it has made a "substantial gift" to the University of Southern California (USC) in order to fund a three year class in the study of social mobile game design, as well as a series of panels, talks and events focused on the promotion of diversity and inclusivity in the industry. The amount gifted by the publisher was not disclosed.
The endowment was revealed in a joint announcement by Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau, himself a USC alumni, and Tracy Fullerton, Chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts' Interactive Media & Games Division and Director of USC Games. The class will run from the Autumn term of 2017 until 2020 and will focus on "creating social mobile games using Zynga's design methodology".
"We're proud to partner with the USC School of Cinematic Arts to invest in the next generation of social game developers," said Gibeau. "We're continually impressed with the USC faculty and inspired by our interactions with students across the campus. USC has always taken a cutting-edge approach to advancing the intersection of entertainment and business innovation, and we're thrilled to share our unique view on how to blend art and science disciplines in social mobile gaming.
As a proud alumni, it's also rewarding to see a diverse mix of Zynga employees return to USC to share their skills and perspectives on new tech frontiers and career opportunities in gaming."
The series of events, which has already begun with USC alumni and Zynga employees Anshul Dhawan and Anna Huerta, will be open to studenst of all disciplines at the university and will have a strong theme of diverse representation.
"This gift shows a great commitment on the part of Zynga to some of our shared core values: innovation in games coupled with best practices for inclusive production teams," said Fullerton. "So many of our alumni are working at Zynga that it's a natural fit for us to work with them to help more young designers and developers learn these core skills."