Ringling College Debuts New Program, Promise to Students

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY NOV 3, 2014

It was a day of big announcements at Ringling College’s annual Preview Day, when President Larry Thompson took the stage Saturday afternoon to attack the myth of the starving artist, reveal a new initiative and make one special guarantee to all future Ringling students.

Under a display reading “No More Starving Artists,” Thompson addressed the crowd. Dubbing creativity and design skills “the new oil” of the job market, Thompson argued in favor of pursuing an artistic degree, claiming that these are the skills that lead to innovation and thus are in demand for the foreseeable future.

“Businesses need more artists and designers in order for them to be competitive,” said Thompson, asserting that in a market overrun with similar options, it’s the design that makes the final sale, not the function.

In order to assist Ringling graduates leverage that demand into a career, Thompson unveiled the Collaboratory at Ringling College – a program putting Ringling students in the workspace with real clients, garnering professional experience before entering the job market. Thompson then proceeded to extend a promise to all future Ringling students beginning next year – to guarantee the opportunity to every single student to work with such a client.

Between the new program and the 75,000 employers that visit the campus of Ringling College each year, Thompson hopes to not only end the myth of the starving artist, but also put to bed the rising question of the worth of a college degree.

“Absolutely it’s worth the investment,” said Thompson. “And going to Ringling College is even more worth it.”

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