​What do Oscar-winning producer and LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy, jazz saxophonist Jason Robinson, Motion Picture Association of America past-president A. Robert Pisano and multiple Academy Award-winning film director Steven Spielberg all have in common?

If your answer is “they all are CSU alumni,” you're 100 percent correct. This year’s crop of graduates joins hundreds of distinguished alumni who have taken advantage of the CSU’s extensive world-class entertainment studies degrees to excel in California’s multi-billion dollar entertainment industry.
 
Whether your personal career goals are to work in music, TV, radio, the performing arts, digital media or film, CSU campuses offer some of the top-rated entertainment arts and technology degrees in the nation. Over 2,000 courses offer instruction in 48 programs to enhance skills in digital media, animation, writing, design, dance, music, film, video production, theatre, visual arts, TV, radio, new technology and the business of entertainment.

The CSU Entertainment Alliance (CSUEA), formerly the CSU Entertainment Industry Initiative, was formed 10 years ago to help prepare CSU students to become vital contributors to the artistic, business and technical fields that make up the industry. The CSUEA promotes accessible opportunities to students aspiring to entertainment careers and collaborates with industry leaders to ensure that the CSU’s educational methods remain cutting edge to best meet the growing demand for diverse talent.

A recent milestone for the alliance was achieved May 3-6 when it sponsored the California Education Summit on Entertainment & Technology at the annual Digital Hollywood spring event in Los Angeles.

More than 150 attending students and faculty from several CSU campuses were able to see and hear first-hand from and personally meet leading media executives, such as HBO’s Stephen Beres, Warner Bros’ Chris DeFaria, Vice News’ Kaj Larsen, and 20th Century Fox’s Ted Schilowitz. The summit and conference panels were also live streamed to CSU classrooms, allowing students and faculty who could not attend the event to experience the conference in real-time.

The list of speakers, moderators and event attendees was, in fact, a who’s who of the entertainment industry and the academic community, including professors and deans from CSU campuses in San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, Fullerton, Fresno, San Jose, Northridge, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Dominguez Hills, and representatives from the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

The summit addressed key industry issues and trends such as the future of TV and film, diversity in entertainment, virtual and augmented reality, video across platforms—TV, internet and mobile, working in Hollywood, women in television and film, accelerating education innovation, Silicon Beach strategies and many more.

“The summit fulfills the CSUEA’s ambition to bring students into direct contact with the entertainment arts industry for out-of-classroom learning experiences and networking opportunities. CSU attendees were also offered the opportunity to continue to be a part of the entire four-day Digital Hollywood conference after the summit expanding this enlightening industry boot camp experience,” said Simone Nelson, director of marketing and public relations for the program.

CSUEA Executive Director Dr. Dina Ibrahim said, "This strategic partnership with Digital Hollywood brings the industry to the students so leading companies are aware of the talent and diversity of our students throughout the university’s 23 campuses. It was the first time, in fact, that any public university system – let alone the largest in the country – partnered with one of the largest entertainment conferences to bring together students, faculty and educators with industry leaders. We are delighted that so many students and faculty were able to network and learn directly from the industry, and hope to continue this trailblazing new partnership with Digital Hollywood based on the success of this inaugural summit.”

The event’s welcome dinner featured the presentation of the first CSUEA Award for Leadership & Commitment to Higher Education and Support for The California State University to The Television Academy Foundation, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Univision Communications Inc. Among those witnessing the historic occasion were more than 250 representatives from the CSU Chancellor’s Office, campus deans, faculty and staff, along with top executives from the entertainment industry.