Along our pathway to preeminence, one of Dr. Larry R. Thompson’s major initiatives has been, and continues to be, furthering the global reach of Ringling College of Art and Design. His trip to South Korea last June was a true milestone in these efforts.

I had the immense honor of joining Dr. Thompson and a delegation from the College, including my colleagues: Jim Dean, Dean of Admissions, Seongwoo Nam, Senior Advisor to the President for Global Initiatives, and his wife Sunmi Bong on a monumental journey throughout Seoul, South Korea.

Our time was a true whirlwind, which included soaking in the local culture, visiting galleries and museums, and connecting with major universities and magnet arts high schools in the region.

“After my talk, the people in the room filled the evening with questions. I believe it was very helpful to be able to allay any concerns and tell them the truth about art and design and what we’re doing at the College.”

Dr. Larry R. Thompson

While it is difficult to capture all the incredible experiences we shared, here’s a sneak peek into our week-long adventure:

Day 1

Kukje Gallery and MOCA

Thanks to the connections of Anne-Marie Russell, Executive Director of the Ringling College Sarasota Museum of Art, we were granted access to view the private collection of the world-renowned Kukje Gallery.
From there, we proceeded to the Museum of Contemporary Art, where we met with the Executive Director, Bartomeu Mari, and toured the Museum’s impressive collections.

Day 2

Accepted Students Day

We were so excited and grateful for the assistance of our Korean Student Ambassadors who were home for their summer vacation: Junkyoo Han, Sanghyun Kim, Yujeoung Lee, Ga Young Choi, Jin Hee Ma, Seo Young Won, Sohee Hwang, Bo Ram Kim, Yeji Kim, and Ki Young Kim.

This amazing group of students, with the guidance of Seongwoo Nam, helped our Accepted Students Day event to be tremendously successful, with over 150 people in attendance. Students who had been accepted to Ringling College, their families, and prospective students, packed into the Lotte Hotel banquet room to listen to Dr. Thompson share his knowledge and passion for creativity, and learn more about Ringling College. They stayed well into the night to further engage with Seongwoo Nam.

“It was rewarding to talk to these college students who were fascinated by the concept of creativity being so important for the future.”

Dr. Larry R. Thompson

I believe I can speak for the entire delegation in remarking as to how beautiful the city of Seoul is, and how wonderful and kind the people of South Korea are. We were made to feel welcome at every single turn, and the opportunity to experience their optimistic and inviting culture was transformational on many levels.

Most importantly, we were able to effectively share the many innovative initiatives going on at Ringling College, and to encourage young creatives on the other side of the globe to consider, visit, and attend our institution.

“This trip was an extraordinary opportunity to introduce our College to various and diverse groups of people throughout Korea. The significance of educators in Korea’s unique culture is huge. And Dr. Thompson’s down-to-earth approach was so well received, which is important for raising the status of our College not only in Korea, but also throughout Asia in the future.”
Seongwoo Nam

“Our trip to South Korea may have been a whirlwind, but it was a whirlwind with great results. I very much look forward to returning in 2018, and to continuing the global efforts of Ringling College in the years to come.”
Dr. Thompson

As I said at the start, it’s near impossible to capture all of the moments shared in these two pages, but I do hope it gives you a glimpse of the wonder and inspiration exchanged between our two cultures.

To Seongwoo and Sunmi for their amazing planning, to our Korean students and their families, and to all who welcomed us with open
arms in Seoul:

Gomabseunida, Thank you!

Day 3

Visit to Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

On the one day we did not have meetings scheduled, Dr. Thompson, Jim Dean, and I took a tour to the DMZ at the border between North and South Korea. Meeting people from all over the world, learning the rich and difficult history between the two countries, and even walking down into an escape tunnel dug between them—it was quite an experience.

Day 4 & 6

KAIST University and Sejong University

During our visit, Dr. Thompson had the honor of lecturing about creativity and its importance for our future economy at two very prestigious universities in South Korea—KAIST University and Sejong University.

Day 5

Interview with The Korean Economic Daily

During our visit, Dr. Thompson had the honor of lecturing about creativity and its importance for our future economy at two very prestigious universities in South Korea—KAIST University and Sejong University.

Day 7 & 8

Korean Animation High School and Seoul Visual Media High School

One of the absolute highlights of the trip was an interview arranged by Seongwoo Nam with two important media representatives from The Korean Economic Daily (Hankyung), which is the equivalent of the Wall Street Journal. While we anticipated the interview to run for 30 minutes, the conversation continued for over two hours. The exchange of ideas between the reporters, Dr. Thompson, and Seongwoo Nam was truly fascinating, with a focus on why creativity is the fuel for the economy of the future and the kind of education that is required to help prepare young people for the new creative age.

By Jamie Coffey, Special Assistant to the President | Photography courtesy of Jamie Coffey

To learn more about our international student resources, view our website.