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New fund for interactive innovation established at SCA

by Ryan Gilmour
Kevin Bachus and Chanel Summers, longtime executives in the video game industry
Kevin Bachus and Chanel Summers, longtime executives in the video game industry

Video game executives Kevin Bachus ’90 and Chanel Summers have made a donation to the Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) at the USC School of Cinematic Arts to establish the Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment.

The gift will be awarded to students who show initiative in the emerging fields of interactive and immersive media.

“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,” Bachus said. “The Bachus-Summers Fund 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,” he added, “that the recipients of this fund will be provided with the tools to build lasting creative and commercial success.”

Summers added: “I’ve seen firsthand that the most meaningful work is always achieved when visionaries take risks and break boundaries.

“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 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 Corp. who came up with the idea for the Xbox video game system.

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 his current company, Bachus co-founded or held executive-level positions at a number of companies in the technology and video game industries, including Capital Entertainment Group; 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 an innovative designer and producer of video games, developing a wide range of products at a variety of early industry-leading companies. After supervising the release of Fighter Ace, Microsoft’s first multiplayer Internet game, she launched audio technologies and increased the use of Windows as a platform for audio creation.

Following the creation 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. She has also recorded and toured extensively as a professional drummer. A frequent lecturer at music and technology industry events, Summers currently teaches a course in audio expression at USC.

“The support of alumni and industry pioneers like Kevin and Chanel is incredibly important to our students and program,” said Tracy Fullerton, holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair 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,” she added. “We expect these fellows to graduate with a head start and prepared to launch their projects professionally.”

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