The Rod Serling Award was presented to American television writer and producer Norman Lear who produced such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, and The Jeffersons -- each of which used humor to provoke audiences to critically examine race, privilege, class, and gender in American Society. He founded People for the American Way, a nonprofit that supports the values of freedom, fairness, and opportunity in a diverse democratic society. Presenting the award with Dean Gayeski was Park School cinema graduate Mike Royce, who works with Lear as an executive producer and co-showrunner of “One Day at a Time” on Netflix.
The Rod Serling Award for Advancing Social Justice Through Popular Media
Serling Award recipient - Norman Lear
Rod Serling and IC
This award has been presented annually by the Park School of Communications in honor of writer, producer, teacher, and humanitarian Rod Serling.
From his pioneering efforts for the small screen to his work on Hollywood blockbusters, Rod Serling became one of the industry’s most respected writers. In his ground-breaking series The Twilight Zone -- still broadcast around the world more than 50 years after its premiere -- he proved that commercial television could tackle serious, controversial subjects through a captivating sci-fi/fantasy genre.
Rod Serling was a guest professor at Ithaca College from 1967-1975 and many alumni vividly remember and were influenced by his teaching. The college is proud to host the Rod Serling Archives and to display his collection of Emmy awards.
Prior to the launch of the Serling Awards, Ithaca College hosted five interdisciplinary academic conferences between 2006-2013 dedicated to the works of Rod Serling. The conferences were focused on the creative work of Serling, offering research, anecdotes, and an opportunity to view some of the classics of early television.