SF State announces largest gift in its history

George and Judy Marcus gave the largest gift to SF State in the history of the University.

Gift will help retain students across the liberal and creative arts, recruit and retain the finest faculty

San Francisco State University President Leslie E. Wong today announced a $25 million gift from alumni George and Judy Marcus — the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts. This gift, combined with a recent $1.8 million Athletics scholarship fund gift from the couple, represents the largest donation — $26.8 million — in the history of San Francisco State.

“We are extremely grateful for the Marcuses’ generosity and ongoing service and commitment to San Francisco State University,” said President Wong. “Their steadfast support has had a profound impact on our students, faculty, staff and programs, and this history-making gift will carry that legacy far into the future.”

The George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts will support student and faculty research across the college, as well as four endowed chairs and major programmatic enhancements in the department of Creative Writing and the school of Cinema.  

The gift will significantly raise the profile of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts and further solidify the reputation of a number of its flagship programs. The School of Cinema is consistently ranked one of the best film schools in the U.S. among public and private institutions. The works of Creative Writing Department faculty and alumni fill bookshelves nationwide — its graduates include best-selling authors Anne Rice, Po Bronson and Ernest Gaines, Pulitzer winners Philip Schultz and Rae Armantrout and prize-winning playwright Marcus Gardley. 

“The generosity and vision of George and Judy Marcus will empower the students and faculty of Cinema, Creative Writing, and the College as a whole, creating opportunities for our students and faculty to make great contributions in their professional development and in their respective fields of study,” said Dean of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts Andrew Harris. “We could not be more pleased at what this makes possible for our academic community. George and Judy’s commitment to the power of the liberal arts is inspiring.”

George (B.A., ’65, Economics) and Judy Otten Marcus (B.A., ’62, Recreation) are lauded Bay Area civic and business leaders. They met growing up in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and attended SF State, launching a lifetime of personal and professional achievement together.

George M. Marcus is a first-generation American. He is the co-founder of Marcus & Millichap Company and has been its co-chairman since 1971. Marcus & Millichap is the parent company of a diversified group of real estate, service, investment and development firms. He is a trustee emeritus of the CSU Board of Trustees, serving from 1981 to 1989, and is a current member of the CSU Foundation’s Board of Governors. In 2012 he concluded a 12-year appointment as a regent of the University of California.

Judy Marcus is a fourth-generation San Franciscan and a former physical education teacher. She is the former board president of the Community Services Agency (CSA) and an active leader with the Humane Society Silicon Valley, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Montalvo Arts Center and Avenidas Senior Center.

"San Francisco State helped define our future and it is our hope that this gift will do the same for students and faculty in the College of Liberal and Creative Arts now and for many years to come,” said Judy Marcus.

The Marcuses have served faithfully on University boards and advisory committees and have been robust supporters of the creative arts, the humanities and athletics at SF State. They also generously helped inspire other donors to contribute to and expand the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program at SF State aimed at providing more students with professional experience in the public sector.