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The Council of the Academia Europaea announced that USC communication professor Manuel Castells will receive the 2011 Erasmus Medal.

The medal is given annually to one outstanding individual in recognition of personal and significant contribution to European science and scholarship and its international impact.

The jury for Academia Europaea’s social sciences section selected Castells “for his brilliant and wide-ranging work on the transformation of society through the revolution of information and communication technologies.”

Castells will deliver the 2011 Erasmus Lecture at the opening ceremony of the annual conference. He is scheduled to speak and accept his award in September 2011 in Paris.

Arieh Warshel Honored With Three-Day Symposium

In mid-November, Arieh Warshel, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at USC College, was honored with a three-day symposium titled “Frontiers in the Simulation of Macromolecules” on the University Park campus.

In celebration of Warshel’s 70th birthday, approximately 100 distinguished scientists from around the world gathered to speak and participate in the symposium and poster session.

Kelley, Everett Win Literary Awards

USC College professors Robin D. G. Kelley and Percival Everett each were given a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C.

Kelley won in the nonfiction category for Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. Everett won in the fiction category for I Am Not Sidney Poitier.
The awards were accepted on behalf of Kelley by his sister and by Everett’s mother-in-law.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation, based in the Washington area, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The foundation was created in 1990 by novelist Marita Golden and Clyde McElvene, a marketing executive with a passion for books.

Its mission is to “discover, encourage and honor writers of African descent and to ensure the survival of literature by black writers that reflects the black experience.”

Elephant Packs Its Trunk for Oprah’s Network

One Lucky Elephant, a documentary directed by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty member Lisa Leeman, has been picked up by OWN, the Oprah Winfrey TV network, and will run as part of the network’s monthly documentary film club, premiering this spring.

Ten years in the making, Leeman’s film follows the story of David Balding, a circus producer who adopted Flora, an orphaned African baby elephant, raised her as part of his family and made her the star of his show.

An official selection at the Los Angeles, Stella Artois St. Louis and Starz Denver film festivals, and the winner of the James Lyons best editing award at the Woodstock Film Festival, the film has received extensive acclaim.

In Memoriam: Irvin Kershner, 87

Irvin Kershner, a Master of Professional Writing Program faculty member who directed
, the second film in USC alum George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, died at his home in Los Angeles Nov. 27. He was 87.

The cause was complications of cancer, according to his son David.

Kershner, the only person to direct both a Star Wars film and a James Bond film, was Lucas’ professor at the USC cinema school. Kershner turned down the offer to direct the 1980 follow-up to Star Wars until Lucas told him the future of the film series was at stake.
Kershner is survived by two sons, David, of Los Angeles, and Dana, of Lummi Island, Wash.

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