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$1.2m For Huston School of Film & Digital Media
12 May 2005 :

NUI Galway has raised more than $1.2 million towards the further development of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media. The fundraising culminated at the Huston Gala, a black tie event held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in LA which saw Anjelica Huston, Merv Griffin and Ray Bradbury receive honorary degrees from the university.

Chancellor of the NUI, Dr Garret FitzGerald presented actress Anjelica Huston, broadcaster Merv Griffin and author Ray Bradbury with their honorary degrees during a conferring ceremony followed by a Gala dinner. Other guests at the Gala included Martin Sheen, Angela Lansbury, Garret Fitzgerald, Robert Loggia (actor, friend of Merv Griffin), Desiree Finnegan (Warner Bros International), Donal Denham (Consul General), Seamus Smith (ex Film Censor Ireland) Orla Brady (actress), Olivia Tracy (actress), Fionnula Flanagan (actress) ,Steve Brennan (Hollywood Reporter), Maggie Daleo (Enterprise Ireland) and Robert Graham (husband of Anjelica Huston).

The honorary graduates chosen all have strong Irish roots and are renowned for their significant contribution to social, cultural and artistic development of both Ireland and the U.S. Celebrities from the world of stage and screen attended the Honorary Conferring ceremony and Huston Gala. Gráinne Seoige, Sky News Ireland and NUI Galway graduate, hosted the Gala programme.

NUI Galway President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, “We are very proud to honour these individuals who have made significant artistic and humanitarian contributions, and who have achieved fame the world over. With this honour, we pay tribute to the great tradition of the creative arts at the heart of Los Angeles. And we share in that heritage by awarding them the highest honour that the University can bestow, thereby associating their names forever with National University of Ireland, Galway and the Huston School.” Funds raised through the Gala from donors throughout Ireland and the US will be spread out over the next five years, providing considerable capital and revenue funding for the School as it initiates new courses in production and direction.

About The Honorary Graduates:

Anjelica Huston, daughter of director John Huston, spent her childhood in the West of Ireland, at the family home, St Cleran’s in Craughwell, Co. Galway. She was awarded an Oscar for her performance in ‘Prizzi's Honor’, making her the first third-generation Academy Award winner in history. She featured in her father's final directorial effort, ‘The Dead’ (1987) and Woody Allen's ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ (1989). Huston earned additional Oscar nominations for ‘Enemies: A Love Story’ (1989) and ‘The Grifters’ (1990). In 1996, Huston made her directorial debut with ‘Bastard Out of Carolina’, a praised adaptation of Dorothy Allison's novel of the same name, followed by ‘Agnes Browne’ (1999), shot mostly in Dublin and in which she starred and directed. She is Patron of the Huston School of Digital Film and Media at NUI Galway and has worked tirelessly to support the School’s development.

Ray Bradbury has more than five hundred published works all of which exemplify the American imagination at its most creative. His best-known books include ‘The Martian Chronicles’, ‘The Illustrated Man’, ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’. Bradbury enjoyed a working relationship with John Huston, for whom he wrote the screenplay of ‘Moby Dick’ in Ireland in 1953. His experiences during this time were captured in Bradbury’s ‘Green Shadows, White Whale’.

Merv Griffin is Chair of Merv Griffin Enterprises. Following a brief career as a singer, he became a game show host and hosted one of America’s most successful talk shows from 1965–86. His most lasting contributions to American popular culture were his creations of game shows ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Jeopardy’. The current owner of St Cleran’s, he carried out a sensitive restoration of the house and commissioned the book ‘St. Cleran’s:the Tale of a Manor House’, by William Henry, which was published in 1999. He is on the board of the Ronald Reagan Library and has been the recipient of numerous Emmy Awards. His business interests include Merv Griffin Productions (Events production. e.g. Golden Globe Awards); Merv Griffin Hotels; and Merv Griffin Entertainment (TV and game shows)

View more images from The Huston Gala, LA, in the IFTN Image Gallery

For further info go to www.filmschool.ie

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