Mellody Hobson and George Lucas - Honorees - The Gordon Parks Foundation

Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments and serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Beyond her work at Ariel, Mellody has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. Mellody is chairman of the board for DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. as well as a director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Groupon, Inc. and Starbucks Corporation. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high quality, out-of-school time programs. Furthermore, she is a board member of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, The Chicago Public Education Fund, Sundance Institute and is on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors.


George Lucas’ devotion to timeless storytelling and cutting-edge innovation has resulted in some of the most successful and beloved films of all time. His company, Lucasfilm Ltd., garnered over 100 Academy award nominations and more than 40 Oscars and special achievement awards prior to being acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2012. His research and development led to the first digital editing system (which later became AVID) and the Pixar Computer, which led to Pixar Animation Studios. Taking a philanthropic leadership role in applying his technical and storytelling expertise to the classroom, Lucas founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation ( in 1991 to highlight proven strategies, tools, and resources for creating lifelong leaners.


"Gordon Parks reminds us to make sure we are not forgetting everyone who came before us to make the world a better place for people of color. We just named a building at the University of Chicago after someone who deserved it."