November 22, 2019
John H. Mitchell Endowment for the Business of Entertainment Launched
From Left: Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, USC President Carol Folt, John H. Mitchell Endowed Chair in the Business of Entertainment, and Trustee Bill Allen
On November 19th the School of Cinematic Arts celebrated the establishment of the John H. Mitchell Endowment for the Business of Entertainment, which will support classes in entertainment business and will provide financial support to students training for jobs in the industry’s executive suites.
The evening event featured the installation of Bonnie Chi, Assistant Dean for Business of Entertainment, as the inaugural holder of the John H. Mitchell Endowed Chair in the Business of Entertainment, the School’s 32nd endowed position. And a panel discussion on the Future of Television, with participants Nahnatchka Khan, writer and director known for Fresh Off the Boat and Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23; Eric Shrier, President of FX Entertainment, and the legendary industry executive Frank Price, who is a USC Trustee and heads the School’s Board of Councilors.industry’s executive suites.
The endowment honors John H. Mitchell, a pioneering executive who was one of the first three employees of Screen Gems, the precursor to Columbia Pictures Television. Mitchell, who headed the studio from 1968 to 1977, had a hand in bringing Hanna-Barbera to television and greenlit more than 100 television series, from some of the first big situation comedies (Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family) to dramas (Naked City, Route 66, Police Story, Police Woman), daytime soap operas (Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless), primetime “Made for TV” movies (Brian’s Song), and the first TV miniseries (QBVII). He was also President of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Hollywood Radio and Television Society, and founded the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
The endowment was established with a gift to the School worth $25 million from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts, created by John Mitchell’s widow. Trustee Bill Allen, an alumnus of SCA who oversaw the dispersal of gifts worth $60 million to USC, UCLA and the University of Michigan (John Mitchell’s alma mater), told the audience gathered in the School’s Ray Stark theatre that it was Patricia Mitchell’s vision of philanthropy in support of ethical, inclusive business practices in the entertainment industry that made the gift possible.
The evening was also attended by USC President Carol Folt, who said the Mitchell gift would benefit diversity and inclusion at the university.