May 11, 2007
SCA Confers Degrees On Over 500 Graduates
By James Tella
|“We still yearn for stories that can captivate our imaginations," said Wright in his commencement address.
Addressing a crowd filling USC’s Galen Center, commencement speaker and game designer Will Wright congratulated the class of ’07, pointing out that he shares with them a “deep common thread,” where they are all “trying to help people come to understand and appreciate the complexity, beauty, and meaning of the world around us.”
Wright talked about the changing world and competing with those in it.
“We still yearn for stories that can captivate our imaginations, with archetypal characters and situations we can relate to,” Wright said. “We just want them faster, denser, and more engaging.”
|The class of 2007 gathers in the Founders' Room of the Galen Center.
Wright is the chief designer and co-founder of the Maxis software company. His Sims game has sold some 85 million units globally, generating more than $1.6 billion in sales. His latest project Spore, is hailed by industry observers as the perfect blend of engineering design and entertainment value.
|Best wishes all around at commencement 2007.
Commencement ’07 also celebrated the remarkable lifetime of achievement of writer/director/producer Clint Eastwood by honoring the entertainment legend as the first person whom the school has awarded an USC Honorary Alumni Award.
|Clint Eastwood accepts his Honorary Alumni Award.
Introduced by Frank Price, chairman of the school’s Board of Councilors and chairman and CEO of Price Entertainment as “a man whose challenging of convention is the hallmark of his work—both in front of the camera and behind,” Eastwood took to the podium with a thunderous standing ovation.
“I have great admiration for film schools and for the experience that you have had,” said Eastwood, who earlier in the day was awarded an honorary doctorate at the university’s main commencement exercises by USC President Steven B. Sample, Provost C. L. Max Nikias, and Dean Daley. “You are constantly learning in this life of cinema.”
Professor Doe Mayer, holder of the Mary Pickford Endowed Chair, presented special effects master Ray Harryhausen with the Mary Pickford Foundation Alumni Award, which annually pays tribute to an alumnus or alumna whose extraordinary achievements bring special distinction to the school and to the industry.
|Deborah Lott received her B.A. in Critical Studies, the same degree as her daughter in 1995.
In a taped message from his home in London, the 86 year-old special effects master praised his course in film editing, saying it was very important “particularly in the animation field,” and applauded the school for “teaching young people the basics of cinema art.”
As the 13th recipient, he joins other Pickford honorees including William Fraker, Conrad L. Hall, Alan Ladd, Jr., Michelle Manning, Walter Murch, Jay Roach, Gary Rydstrom, Stacey Sher, John Singleton, David L. Wolper, Laura Ziskin and Robert Zemeckis.
For Deborah Lott, who received her B.A. in Critical Studies, commencement held a particular sense of déjà vu—her daughter, Jennifer, graduated with the same degree in 1995.
“It was awesome,” Lott said about following in her daughter’s footsteps. “She was an immense help to me, and her professors remembering me made it such an easy transition.”
The class of 2007 received at total of 301 undergraduate degrees, 237 masters degrees and 10 doctorates.