Campus: CSU Long Beach -- May 14, 2002

Steven Spielberg To Graduate from California State University, Long Beach With Bachelor's Degree in Film and Electronic Arts

Steven Spielberg, one of the most accomplished filmmakers in the world, has completed his bachelor's degree in Film and Electronic Arts at California State University, Long Beach. He plans to participate in the College of the Arts' annual Commencement exercises at the university on Friday, May 31.

Spielberg began work toward his degree at Cal State Long Beach in 1965, but left the university three years later to pursue what he hoped would be a successful professional career in filmmaking. The following year his 22-minute short, "Amblin," was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival, which led to his becoming the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.

Having already taken a majority of degree requirements while a student in the mid-1960s, Spielberg was determined to demonstrate his regard for college education by completing his degree at Long Beach. He re-enrolled in the university's Department of Film and Electronic Arts in Spring 2001.

Spielberg satisfied all requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Electronic Arts with an option in Film/Video Production through independent and directed study.

"I have such great respect for Mr. Spielberg," said President Robert C. Maxson. "The time he put into completing his degree now when he is extraordinarily successful sends a very important message to young people. His return to school is a strong statement about the value of a university education. We are extremely proud that Cal State Long Beach is now able to point to him as our graduate."

"I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a 'thank you' to my parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career, and as a personal note for my own family-and young people everywhere-about the importance of achieving their college education goals," Spielberg said. "But I hope they get there quicker than I did. Completing the requirements for my degree thirty-three years after finishing my principal education marks my longest 'post production schedule.' Now I can eagerly look forward to joining the graduates at this year's Commencement ceremonies."

Spielberg's accomplishments in the film industry are legendary: three Academy Awards, two for producing and directing "Schindler's List" and another for directing "Saving Private Ryan"; three Directors Guild Awards for those two films as well as for "The Color Purple"; the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Directors Guild and the AFI in addition to numerous other film industry awards.

Among the other films he has directed have been "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial," the "Indiana Jones" trilogy, "Jurassic Park" and the sequel "The Lost World," "Empire of the Sun," "Amistad" and "A.I., Artificial Intelligence." Most recently he directed "Minority Report," which will open in June, and "Catch Me if You Can," which will open in December. In the course of his career, he has directed, produced or executive produced eight of the top thirty films of all time.

Having started his professional career in television directing such shows as "Night Gallery,"
"Marcus Welby" and "Columbo," he has continued his involvement in television with shows including "E.R." which his Amblin Entertainment company produced with Warner Bros. Television, and the award-winning HBO production, "Band of Brothers."

In 1994, Spielberg formed the multi-media DreamWorks SKG with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. The studio has won the Academy Award for Best Picture three years in a row with "American Beauty," and "Gladiator" and "A Beautiful Mind," which were co-productions with Universal Pictures.

Spielberg also continues to be involved in many philanthropic causes. His experience making "Schindler's List" led to his establishment of the Righteous Persons Foundation with all his profits from the film. He founded the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which has taped over 51,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies. He was the executive producer of the Foundation's third film, "The Last Days," which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. He is also chairman of the Starbright Foundation, which combines the efforts of pediatric health care, technology and entertainment to empower seriously ill children.

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