April 28, 2010

Presidential Medallion Goes to George Lucas

SCA Animation student Juan Camilo Gonzalez honored for his film Mecanismo Olvidador

By James Grant

USC alumnus, filmmaker and benefactor George Lucas ’66 was awarded the USC Presidential Medallion, the university's highest honor, by President Steven B. Sample on April 26 at the annual Academic Honors Convocation.

President Steven B. Sample and George Lucas, wearing the USC Presidential Medallion

Photo/Steve Cohn

“We at USC are so proud to count George Lucas as a member of our Trojan Family," Sample said. "He has distinguished himself as a creative genius, a prescient supporter of multimedia literacy and a devoted alumnus. Not only has he inspired and delighted audiences worldwide with his imagination, but he is generous in ensuring that new generations of artists and innovators can illuminate the human condition and give wings to their greatest dreams.”

Added School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth M. Daley: "Since his graduation, George Lucas has remained an unwavering supporter of the school and its goals. Today, as chairman of both Lucasfilm Ltd. and the nonprofit George Lucas Educational Foundation, as well as a member of the school’s Board of Councilors, he continues to explore - and to share - his passion for cinematic arts and for learning."

Lucas has been in the vanguard of promoting fluency in sound and visual imagery in addition to the written word. He has been instrumental in creating and guiding USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy, the mission of which is to advance educational programs and conduct research on the changing nature of literacy in a networked culture.

The Lucasfilm Foundation’s $175 million gift in 2006 to the School of Cinematic Arts strengthened the school’s endowment and supported the construction of a cinematic arts complex. Using the latest resources and tools, new generations of artists are mastering the techniques of film, television, animation, writing and interactive media at the school, and top researchers are developing innovations that are pushing out the frontiers of communication, entertainment and education.

The following awards also were conferred at the convocation:

Faculty Women's Club Emma Josephine Bradley Bovard Award
Natasha Naik
Lisa Werth

University Trustees Award
Paul Frank
Neil Wali

Phi Kappa Phi Student Award
Juan Camilo González
Asher Frankfurt
Nina Gordon-Kirsch
JayInghwee Chok

Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Award
Sarah Eileen Hawley
Daniel Wu

Rockwell Dennis Hunt Award
Megan Mastroianni, USC Graduate School

University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
Meredith Drake Reitan, USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development
Sean Loyd, USC College, Department of Earth Sciences
James Rowlins, USC College, Department of French & Italian

Faculty Lifetime Achievement

Allen W. Mathies, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Gerald Nadler, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award
Mark Irwin, USC College, Department of English
Carolyn Malone, USC College, Department of Art History
Peter Mancall, USC College, Department of History
Andrei Marmor, USC Gould School of Law

Provost's Mentoring Award
Hanna Reisler, USC College, Department of Chemistry

USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching
Stephan Haas, USC College, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Eliz Sanasarian, USC College, Department of Political Science

USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship
Mark Humayun, Keck School of Medicine and USC Viterbi School
Priya Vashishta, USC Viterbi School