updated 2/8/2005 1:37:08 PM ET 2005-02-08T18:37:08

In a further sign of the video game industry's influence, the University of Southern California and Electronic Arts Inc. have established the nation's first endowed chair for the study of electronic gaming at a university.

Bing Gordon, the chief creative officer and a founder of Electronic Arts, the world's largest video game publisher, was named Tuesday as the inaugural holder of the faculty chair at the USC School of Cinema-Television. The rotating teaching position is part of an $8 million investment from Redwood City-based Electronic Arts for an interactive entertainment program at USC to train students in the discipline of game design.

Video games, an $11 billion industry that employs more than 30,000 in the United States, has emerged in recent years as a new focus of study at several colleges and universities, including the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and MIT.

"Today's students, who are already the world's leading experts in new technology, are the best bet to have the vision and energy to invent sweeping change" in digital entertainment, Gordon said.

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