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GSU Presents Townsend with
Honorary Degree

Georgia State University (GSU) presented Hollywood notable and part-time Atlanta resident Robert Townsend with an Honorary Degree in Arts and Letters during the commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 16, 2006. Townsend also addressed the graduates and guests during the ceremony.

"We are honoring Robert Townsend with this honorary degree for his ongoing dedication to arts and entertainment education at Georgia State University and his continued commitment to the entertainment industry in the state," said GSU President Dr. Carl Patton.

For the past year Townsend has served as Artist-in-Residence at the Digital Arts Entertainment Lab (DAEL) at GSU. In this role, Townsend taught two master classes in directing, and assisted with script development for television shows and treatments for film projects. He also critiqued student films and other productions and represented DAEL in regional and national meetings with media industry leaders.

"I have enjoyed my affiliation with Kay [Beck, DAEL Director] and DAEL," said Townsend. "Receiving an honorary degree from the university furthers what was destined to be a long lasting relationship."

"With his many contacts and credits in Hollywood, Robert has been a great contributor to our effort in the DAEL. We value his advice, his artistic judgment, and his interest in working with creative young people," added Beck. "He is a remarkable talent and an enthusiastic supporter."

DAEL hosted a reception to celebrate the occasion at the DAEL Studio in downtown Atlanta. The packed event included many local industry leaders including Beck, IMAGE Executive director Gabe Wardell, new Georgia Film Video & Music Commissioner Bill Thompson, and Georgia Film Commission members.

DAEL is a high-end production and research laboratory where students, faculty, media researchers and representatives from the private sector study consumer behavior and explore markets for their advanced digital production and, post-production projects. With support from the Georgia Research Alliance, the Lab promotes original content creation in Georgia.

Beck serves as Executive Producer on these projects, many of which have already won national awards including an Emmy for A Sweet Southern Spirit.

A television project currently shooting at DAEL is a reality show based on lifestyles of hip-hop artists and producers.