October 18, 2016

Dean Daley Honored for 25 Years

This year marks Dean Elizabeth M. Daley’s twenty-fifth as Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts, making her easily the longest tenured dean in the School’s history. In honor of the School’s tremendous growth under her leadership, and to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni community over the past year, the Alumni Development Council held a special celebration on Sunday, October 16, with many of the School’s most notable alumni gathering at the Meldman Family Cinematic Arts Park for what some dubbed “a meeting of the SCA mafia.”

Alumni including Jay Roach, Tim Dowling, Susan Downey, Matt Weiner, Andrew Marlowe, Sasha Alexander, and Peter Segal and countless others reminisced about their own SCA experiences, but Dean Daley was the afternoon’s true guest of honor.

“Elizabeth’s been honored many, many times, but we decided to take it up a notch,” said Chair of the Alumni Development Council Bob Osher. “First, we’re establishing the Elizabeth M. Daley Fund here at the School of Cinematic Arts. It’s a fund that allows the Dean and future deans to have additional money in their budget to get the little things that need to get done around the School. Second, we’re giving Dean Daley the honorary alumni award. She didn’t go to USC, so making her an honorary alumni is our way of thanking Elizabeth for her first twenty-five years as Dean. We’re expecting another twenty-five.”

Dean Daley joins the exclusive company of Clint Eastwood and Frank Price, Director of the SCA Board of Councilors, as the third person to ever receive SCA’s highest honor of being named an honorary alum. It’s an honor well deserved, evident in Osher’s many examples of the School’s impressive growth and expansion under Dean Daley’s vision, from physical structures to revamped curricula and programming.

“Look around,” said Osher, gesturing to two sound stages and the Instructional and Interactive Media Buildings that encompass the Meldman Park. “Seven new buildings, over 300,000 square feet of production work and the Zemeckis Center for digital arts. She’s established thirteen cutting-edge research labs and created interdisciplinary programs like USC Comedy and the Media Institute for Social Change. She’s recruited and retained the best faculty in the world—29 endowed chairs. I think when I got here there were two.”

“Elizabeth’s made sure that we’re as strong today as we have been in the past, and that it continues to grow,” said Osher, adding, “The School may have gotten larger, but the closeness of the alumni network has actually gotten stronger.”

“Every year, most of your favorite movies, tv shows, and games were created or had people from the USC School of Cinematic Arts work on them,” said alum and MC for the evening Tim Dowling. “The TV shows that win the most awards. The films at the top of the box office. The games in people’s hearts. The ones that move you. Transport you. Entertain you. Take you away from your daily lives for a few hours. They wouldn’t happen without this School and Dean Daley’s vision.”

“It’s been a remarkable journey,” said Dean Daley, accepting the award to a standing ovation. “I came here in 1989 planning to stay one year and then the dean resigned and I agreed to stay one more year and had no intention of staying any longer than that. Within two years I had fallen in love with all of you and the place. It’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. Thank you for letting me be part of the tradition you developed. And the pleasure of leading this school. I really thank you for that more than anything else in my life.”