11:35am PT by Mia Galuppo
USC Names Endowed Chair for George Lucas' 'Star Wars' Inspiration
The George Lucas Family Foundation has established the Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinema Ethics at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Campbell, noted for writing The Hero With a Thousand Faces, was an author and lecturer best known for unmasking and dissecting the hero mythology. George Lucas sites Campbell's works as an inspiration behind his Star Wars storytelling.
The first holder of the newly established chair is Ted Braun, an associate professor in the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television, who wrote and directed the 2007 feature Darfur Now and the 2016 documentary feature Betting on Zero.
Thursday's announcement was made by Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, who said in a statement, “Joseph Campbell was a groundbreaking scholar of comparative mythology whose work shaped the blueprint of storytelling and inspires modern classics. We are so proud that he will forever be associated with the USC School of Cinematic Arts."
Added Lucas: "Joseph Campbell’s work helped form the core of what we do as storytellers, especially in the cinematic arts. I am glad that generations of future students will be familiar with his work, especially with regard to the ethical concerns that imbue the stories we tell, and the ways in which we tell them.”
Earlier this year, Lucas pledged an additional $10 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the George Lucas Family Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity, an effort to promote student diversity by offering priority financial aid consideration to African-American and Hispanic students. The fund was first established during the fall 2016 semester with a $10 million endowment.
The Joseph Campbell chair joins a long list of endowed positions that have been funded by entertainment industry fixtures and companies, including the Dana and Albert R. Broccoli Charitable Foundation, Mark Burnett, Dino and Martha DeLaurentiis, the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation, Electronic Arts and Hugh M. Hefner.