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April 22, 2013

Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment Established

USC Alumni Giving Back

Video game industry pioneers and USC alumni Kevin Bachus and Chanel Summers have made a donation to the USC School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) to establish The Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment. The gift was announced today by School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Dean Elizabeth M. Daley and will establish a fund for student support to be awarded to students showing initiative in the emerging fields of interactive and immersive media.

Kevin Bachus and Chanel Summers

“There has never been a greater opportunity than there is today for talented and passionate individuals to come together and create the legendary game studios of tomorrow,” said Bachus. “The Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment is meant to do two things: to recognize and reward the most innovative work by a student in the Interactive Media & Games Division and to encourage that student to build their own future, for themselves and for others, after leaving school. It is our expectation that the recipients of this Fund will be provided with the tools to build lasting creative and commercial success.”

“I've seen first-hand that the most meaningful work is always achieved when visionaries take risks and break boundaries,” said Summers. “Creative and talented individuals must be allowed to realize their dreams, regardless of resources. When thinking about this Fund, it was critical to us that it be used directly to support the efforts of tomorrow's creative and entrepreneurial leaders.”

One of the best-known and most highly respected executives in the video game industry and an active investor in the digital media sector, Bachus was one of the original group of four individuals at Microsoft Corporation who came up with the idea for the Xbox video game system, an initiative that grew in part out of his role as group product manager for the DirectX family of Windows technologies. Bachus currently serves as Senior Vice President, Entertainment & Games Strategy, for Dave & Buster’s, Inc., an innovator in the restaurant and entertainment industries. Before joining Dave & Buster’s, Bachus co-founded or held executive-level positions at a number of companies in the technology and video game industries, including Capital Entertainment Group, the video game industry’s first independent production company; Nival Interactive, the largest independent game developer in Eastern Europe; and Bebo, one of the world’s largest social networks.

Summers began her career as a pioneering designer and producer of video games, developing a wide range of innovative products at a variety of early industry-leading game companies. After supervising the release of Microsoft’s first multiplayer internet game, Fighter Ace, Summers was selected to become that company’s first Audio Technical Evangelist, launching innovative audio technologies and dramatically increasing the use of Windows as a platform for audio creation. With the inception of Xbox, Summers was tapped to help design and promote the audio capabilities of the new system and in the process created the industry’s first support team for content creators. After leaving Microsoft, Summers co-founded Syndicate 17, an audio production house based in Seattle and Los Angeles, and has also recorded and toured extensively as a highly sought-after professional drummer. A frequent lecturer at music and technology industry events as well as leading educational institutions around the world, Summers also currently teaches the popular course Audio Expression for the IMGD Division.

“The support of alumni and industry pioneers like Kevin and Chanel is incredibly important to our students and program,” said Tracy Fullerton, the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division at SCA. “IMGD is very much about community, and we all benefit from the experience and knowledge that they bring to their interactions with students and to the community as a whole. Bachus/Summers Fellows will be selected not only for their creative talent, but also for their entrepreneurial drive. And they will be exposed, via our advanced projects classes and our new startup classes, to the skills, people and ideas that they will need to take those ideas from innovative student projects to marketable products and companies. We expect these Fellows to graduate with a head start and prepared to launch their projects professionally.”