Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (2016)
Professor Elizabeth M. Daley is Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of South California, one of the most prestigious and influential film schools in the world. She has been holding the Deanship for twenty-five years, the longest tenure of a Dean at USC. She is the inaugural holder of the Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Dean’s Chair, founding Executive Director of the USC Annenberg Center for Communication (from 1994 to 2005), and is now concurrently serving as Executive Director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy. As a child, Professor Daley was mesmerized by the stories her mother read or created for her, and her earliest memories that she deeply treasures are of her mother’s stories. Her favourite one was about a magical rabbit that lived in a hat. The enduring love of stories that her mother instilled in her has led to her tireless commitment today to ensure her students and faculty have the resources they need to tell exciting stories.
Professor Daley obtained her BA and MA degrees in Theatre, from Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, New Orleans and her PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining USC in 1989 as Chair of the Film and Television Production Programme, Professor Daley had engaged in various positions in the entertainment industry, ranging from film and television producer to media consultant. One of her exemplary services is as former chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment and Information.
Professor Daley’s major achievement that has helped shape the field is the promotion and development of programmes in multimedia literacy. In the past twenty-five years under her leadership, the School of Cinematic Arts has built divisions in animation, interactive media and video games, so that it is now the only media school that offers comprehensive programmes in all the cinematic arts. The School works with other media institutions, with film communities in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and of course, with Hollywood. It has become a true resource for the global filmmaking community.
Visual media is the most popular and impactful means of communication in the twenty-first century. It is no longer just for entertainment. Needless to say, filmmaking tools and approaches are being used in a variety of fields, from education to architecture, medicine, and law. The Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the School of Cinematic Arts that Professor Daley helped to establish, is a research institute that is dedicated to developing models for incorporating new digital media technologies into teaching and scholarship.
Professor Daley is one of the most widely recognized and respected women in the film and television industry. A true pioneer, she has been honoured by the American Women in Radio and Television. She was twice nominated for a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award. She has received the CINE (Council on International Non-Theatrical Events) Golden Eagle Award, which honours the creators of exceptional media; The Barbara Jordan Award, the California Governor’s Award; and the Women in Film Business Leadership Award, which acknowledges extraordinary contributions by women behind the camera. In addition, she was the inaugural recipient of The Alfred Hitchcock Legacy Award, given on behalf of the Hitchcock Family and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Professor Daley believes that human beings are storytelling animals. “Some of us live to create stories and some of us live to experience them. I am one of those people whose lives have been dedicated to the art of storytelling,” said Professor Daley. A media professional with perseverance and dedication—and a vision to create and tell good stories—Professor Daley has exerted a positive and lasting influence on innumerable faculty members, students, and industry professionals throughout her career. In recognition of her exemplary career as a professional filmmaker and producer, her longstanding devotion to training new generations of talents for today’s entertainment industry, and her innovative leadership in cinematic arts education, HKBU is pleased to nominate Professor Elizabeth M. Daley to receive the award of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.