Elizabeth M. Daley

Dean, USC School of Cinematic Arts

Elizabeth M. Daley has served as Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts for 30 years, the longest tenure of a Dean at the University of Southern California. 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 (1994-2005), and serves as the Executive Director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

Daley has strengthened the school’s international profile by expanding its academic programs, including the addition of cutting-edge research labs. She oversaw the construction of a new, state-of-the-art campus and strengthened collaborations with industry partners both domestically and globally across the spectrum of visual media, including film, television, video games, interactive and emerging media. Under Daley’s leadership, SCA has added three new divisions: Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Media and Games, and Media Arts + Practice. The SCA also established the Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank focused on the impact of new technologies, and built the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts. In addition to establishing 32 endowed faculty positions, the school also formed successful partnerships with a variety of entertainment and technology companies. Their current research partnerships are focused on virtual reality and immersive technologies, mobile and location-based entertainment, world-building, virtual production, interactive architecture and other emerging areas. Daley has also established successful consulting initiatives in China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

On October 4, 2006, Daley presided over the official renaming of the USC School of Cinema-Television as the USC School of Cinematic Arts, by George Lucas, and broke ground for a new complex. Completed in 2013, the SCA Cinematic Arts Complex rivals the best-equipped media companies in the world. Comprised of seven main buildings totaling 270,000 square feet, it houses state-of-the-art production spaces for creating films, episodic television, video games and interactive media, including sound stages, game testing rooms, motion-capture volumes and the only IMAX theatre in a collegiate setting.

Daley joined the school in 1989 as Chair of the Film and Television Production Program. Before coming to USC, she served as Director of Taper Media Enterprises, the for-profit film and television subsidiary of the Mark Taper Forum, and was a producer for MGM Television. She has also been an independent producer and media consultant. Daley serves on the Board of Directors of Avid Technology, Inc., the Benton Foundation and Digital Domain, and is a former chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment and Information. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Daley has been honored by American Women in Radio and Television and was twice nominated for a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award. She has received a Cine Golden Eagle, the Barbara Jordan Award, the California Governor’s Award and the Women in Film Business Leadership Award, acknowledging extraordinary contributions by women behind the camera. She was also the inaugural recipient of The Alfred Hitchcock Legacy Award, given on behalf of the Hitchcock Family and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Daley is also the recipient of the Excellence in Education Medal from the Society of Motion Picture Engineers.

Daley earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Theatre from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in Communications Arts from the University of Wisconsin. She is the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Hong Kong Baptist University.