A portrait of Dr. Larry R. Thompson

I am inspired.

For twenty years, I have had the privilege of calling myself the President of Ringling College of Art and Design. Each day of those two decades, we have moved forward, working together to shape our institution into the world’s preeminent art and design college.

We are so close to achieving that preeminence that I can almost touch it. As you look through the pages of this magazine, you will see why. You will learn about our pioneering programs, such as Virtual Reality Development and Entertainment Design. You will see up-close and behind-the-scenes views of our newest facilities, the Ringling College Studio Labs complex and the Bridge Apartments. You will read about the amazing achievements of our award-winning students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

These accolades, awards, and achievements demonstrate the far-reaching acknowledgement of the creative genius that happens here every day. Their real worth, however, is that they showcase the impact of what we do here at Ringling College. They tell us that we are reaching our goal of preeminence. They remind us that what we do—nurturing creativity—truly matters worldwide.

At Ringling College, we teach our students to develop their creativity to its fullest potential, to apply it to create what never existed before, and to solve problems in the process. We are pioneering new ways of thinking at the place where technology meets art and design. We are preparing our students to be the leaders of tomorrow, the leaders of The Creative Age.

What is The Creative Age? It is the era that I believe is now upon us. It is an era in which the expansion of Artificial Intelligence will render the left-brain skills we have come to rely upon insufficient. The leaders of this age will be those who can leverage their creativity and apply whatever technology may be needed to devise new solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. This need for a new set of skills to advance in the future is why institutions that foster creativity, like Ringling College, matter to the world.

If there is one thing I want you to remember from this magazine, it would be this: The Ringling College community—Ringling College’s students, faculty, staff, supporters, and friends like you—matters. This community matters because it is preparing students for a future in which the most valuable employees will be those who possess the one skill that cannot be automated: Creativity.

Every day I get to work with the very best talent, of today and of tomorrow. I have the privilege of sharing the successes of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff far and wide. I get to see in our students what the future can hold, and it is AMAZING.

Now you know what inspires me. I believe it will inspire you too.

As you read through this issue of CONTXT, I hope that you will be moved to embrace or reconnect with your own creativity, to join us in preparing tomorrow’s leaders, or to journey along with us as we move ever closer to achieving our vision of preeminence.

So delve in. And get inspired.

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