Six people will receive honorary degrees at the 2022 kick-off ceremony, USC announced in a news release Tuesday. This year’s recipients include USC administrator David C. Bohnett, five-time Olympian Allyson Felix, filmmakers Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Frank Price, and journalist Bina Venkataraman.
“In a centuries-old tradition of beginnings, honorary degrees chosen by a committee of students and faculty are awarded to outstanding individuals who have made outstanding contributions to academia and industry, education, philanthropy, athletics, leadership and other areas,” the announcement read. .
David C. Bohnett, a USC alumnus, co-founded the GeoCities web hosting service with John Rezner in 1994. The site hosted at least 38 million web pages before ending service in the United States 10 years later. Bohnett is openly gay and has been active in gay rights activism throughout his life; the David Bohnett Foundation continues to donate to LGBTQIA causes, as well as AIDS services and research. In 2020, he established the David C. Bohnett Residential College at USC Village.
Allyson Felix is the most decorated track and field athlete in American history. Felix won her first Olympic medal – a silver medal in the 200 meters at the Athens Games in 2004 – while attending USC. She won 10 more after graduating in 2008, including seven gold medals, for a total of 11 Olympic medals, breaking the previous record held by Carl Lewis. In 2019, Felix called for better treatment of working mothers. Now retired, she runs her own women’s lifestyle brand, Saysh. Felix will also speak at this year’s opening ceremony.
Brian Grazer, graduated from USC in 1974, is the multi-award-winning producer of “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), which won Best Picture at the 2002 Oscars. Grazer’s works have received 47 Oscar nominations and 202 nominations at the Emmys. Grazer also co-founded Impact, a content accelerator that has connected over 60,000 writers, and founded Imagine Entertainment with longtime business partner and awardee Ron Howard.
Ron Howard is the award-winning director of “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), “Apollo 13” (1995), “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018), “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years” (2016) , “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) and “The DaVinci Code” (2006) – among others. He has also produced films including “tic, tick…BOOM!” (2021) and the Emmy-winning series “Arrested Development” (2003-2019).
Straightforward price is an influential former producer and studio executive, widely credited with helping to develop television formats of “made for TV” movies and miniseries. Price was also credited in films such as “Gandhi” (1982), “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Back to the Future” (1985). He was also the head of Universal TV. In 1987, he founded his own studio, Price Entertainment, which later merged with Columbia Pictures in 1991. Price is the founding chairman of the board of directors of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and has served on the board of USC for more than 25 years. years.
Bina Venkataraman is a journalist, author, and political pundit who has written for The New York Times and The Boston Globe, where she is now editor-in-chief. During the Obama administration, she served as a senior adviser on climate change and advised the President’s Council of Advisors on science and technology during the Ebola outbreak. NPR named his best-selling 2019 book, “The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age” best book of the year. Venkataraman spoke at USC’s 2021 launch event.