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USC to fete Ella, Lucas, Spielberg

Ella Fitzgerald, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas will receive honorary doctorates May 6 during the 111th commencement ceremonies at the University of Southern California.

“With these degrees, the university would like to recognize the broad impact of our cultural chroniclers, among whom these three artists stand as paragons,” said USC prexy Steven B. Sample.

The ceremony will mark one of the rare occasions when one of these degrees is bestowed in absentia, to Fitzgerald, a 14-time Grammy winner who has had both legs amputated below the knee.

Spielberg and Lucas will both be present to receive their degrees. Both men have been key contributors to USC’s School of Cinema-Television. Lucas is a member of Cinema-Television’s Board of Councilors and, over the years, has donated millions of dollars to the school.

In the early 1980s, Spielberg donated time, money and leadership to the development of USC’s state-of-the-art School of Cinema-Television complex. He, too, serves on the Board of Councilors.

In 1992, the USC Friends of Music gave Fitzgerald the Magnum Opus Award and launched the Ella Fitzgerald Scholarship Fund at the School of Music.

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