The biggest news to come out of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion isn’t the size of the deal, the number of Star Wars films that will come out in the next few years, or that Episode VII could be an original story. No, the biggest news to come out of this acquisition is how George Lucas will use his $4 billion.
A spokesman for Lucasfilm shares that Lucas plans to “donate the majority of the proceeds to his philanthropic endeavors.”
Lucas is currently the chairman of Edutopia, which is part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation. It’s very likely that his educational foundation will receive the bulk of the donation while other portions, if any, are spread out to various charities. It is also possible that Lucas could start up a new educational foundation to further his philanthropic cause. It should be noted that in 2010, Lucas made a commitment to using his wealth to improving education. Today is the day that the filmmaker stays true to his word.
Below are excerpts from a speech made by Lucas in 2010, which shows just how passionate he is about promoting the bettering of education. You can read a full text version of that press statement in the links below.
* Storytellers are teachers and communicators who speak a universal language. That was Homer’s primary role, and both Plato and Aristotle used narratives and dialogues as a means of educating. Good storytelling is based on truths and insights, and a good storyteller is ultimately a teacher – using the arts as a means of making education emotionally meaningful. These are all tools at our educational system’s disposal, but too often we aren’t making use of them.
* It’s scary to think of our education system as little better than an assembly line with producing diplomas as its only goal. Once I had the means to effect change in this arena, it became my passion to do so – to promote active, life-long learning. I believe in the artisan school of learning, through apprenticeships and Aristotelian questions and discussion. This level of engagement dates back to the beginning of human life, but it’s still the best way of doing things. There have to be universal standards – particularly in education – and while it seems unwieldy, there is a willingness among educators to share their best practices.
* We need to build new foundations, fostering independent thought and a desire to keep learning. Our students need to come away with more than just survival skills, and more than just what is required to complete the program. We need to promote critical thinking and emotional intelligence. We need to focus on building an education system that promotes different types of learning, different types of development, and different types of assessment. We have an opportunity and an obligation to prepare our children for the real world, for dealing with others in practical, project-based environments. It’s about working together and building character – being compassionate, empathetic, and civil as a means to a greater end.
* I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future – and the first step begins with the social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children. As humans, our greatest tool for survival is our ability to think and to adapt – as educators, storytellers, and communicators our responsibility is to continue to do so.
Though no amount of a donation should be judged, I think it should be commended that Lucas has given a majority of his $4 billion to charity. So whether or not you liked the Star Wars prequels or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, know that Lucas’ generosity knows no bounds.
[Source Press Release | THR]