Let’s Make Some Noise!

This year, Ringling College of Art and Design has more than a lot to celebrate. We are in the midst of building and opening brand new, state-of-the-art facilities, years in the making. We are welcoming record numbers of new students to campus and the region. And we are expanding and enhancing our collaboration throughout our communities of Sarasota, Manatee, and along the gulf coast of Florida.

After millions of minutes, dollars, and beads of sweat, we opened three of our newest campus buildings: the Alfred R. Goldstein Library, the one-story building of the Richard & Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center, and one of the soundstages in the Ringling College Soundstages and Post Production Complex. These incredible facilities, designed to enhance the student experience and inspire new and powerful ways of thinking, are the direct result of support from our community. For the first time in campus history, a building—the Goldstein Library—was primarily funded by the generous gifts of our donors and friends. The Visual Arts Center would not have been possible without the support and generosity of our long-time friends, the Basches, and other donors. And the Soundstage Complex is constructed thanks to the efforts of Semkhor Productions, Inc., a private production company working in partnership with us.

Expanding our campus is integral to accommodating our growing student population. This year’s entering class was the largest ever in our history. It also had the highest number of international students matriculate at the College. Our students currently represent 57 countries and 46 states, and 20% are international.

We have also broadened our curriculum! In Fall 2016, we presented two new majors, Creative Writing and Visual Studies. Creative Writing has already welcomed seasoned industry professionals to campus to participate in its Visiting Writers Forum. Visual Studies, designed for students who want a more general education in the visual arts, empowers students to build and direct their own curriculum, choosing courses that fit their specific interests.

Our outstanding students and programs are being recognized at even higher levels. A Computer Animation graduate directed the first Virtual Reality experience to be nominated for an Oscar. Our Film Program moved up a slot this year to #16 in The Hollywood Reporter Top 25 Film Schools rankings. A team of three Computer Animation students won a Student Academy Award this year. We were named among the Top 2016 Design Schools by Graphic Design USA. Our very own ART Network ranked in two 2016 Communicator Awards for their new interview series, GOING UP. And these are just a few of our accomplishments this academic year.

This is beyond an extraordinary time for Ringling College. So let us enjoy it! As we open our new facilities and introduce new majors, welcome new students, and work with new partners, let’s take time to savor the moment. Let’s celebrate the realization of these visions, many of which were decades in the making. Let’s keep up the momentum. Let’s push our boundaries. And, let’s make some noise!

Dr. Larry R. Thompson
President, Ringling College of Art and Design