Lucas, Spielberg Honor Katzenberg at USC Animation Center Dedication

Center will be used to teach 2D and 3D animation and stop-motion

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Animation alumni past, present and possibly future gathered at the University of Southern California on Wednesday night to honor the studio's CEO and Director Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The occasion was the dedication of the new four story Italianate Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Center for Animation; a gift that the building's namesake noted could pay off in generations of worker bees for the studio that "Shrek" built. 

"We look forward to you coming through the gates of DreamWorks Animation really soon," Katzenberg said while accepting an honorary plaque from the university. 

The center will be used to drill students in the finer points of computer and stop motion animation, as well as the 3D technology that is one of Katzenberg's great passions. 

Also in attendance were industry figures such as 'Kung Fu Panda 2" star Jack Black and producer Frank Marshall, as well as USC President Max Nikias and USC School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth M. Daley.

But it was longterm friends Spielberg and Lucas who were called upon to introduce Katzenberg. Both men praised Katzenberg's philanthropy and support for up-and-coming talents within the movie industry.   

Spielberg said it was fitting that Katzenberg would choose to help finance a building on USC's campus, because "Jeffrey is one of the greatest mentors to all of the creative people that I know in this world." 

Lucas added that Katzenberg and his decades of leadership atop DreamWorks and Disney, "gives [students] something to aspire to be when they finally get out of here."