The Moment We Strive For

Higher Education


Every project, creative or not, has that moment. That victorious, throw-your-hands-in-the-air moment. That YES moment where every hour you’ve spent creating, building and perfecting your work comes to fruition. It’s the culmination and validation of your courage to dream big. It’s a landmark moment.

June 15 delivered that very moment to one of Ringling College of Art and Design’s brilliant Game Art graduates—and to the entire Ringling College Game Art program. Trent Sivek (Game Art, ’17) was just recently announced this year’s winner of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) College Game Competition. Selected by a panel of judges wading through submissions from over 400 colleges and universities, Trent’s work Phonetica does not stop at pushing the boundaries of our own Game Art program but those of Game and Game Art and Design majors across the country.

Phonetica is the first game in the history of our Game Art program to be selected as a finalist at E3. Imagine, the first time a Ringling College game made it to the finals, it became the overall winner. On top of that, this project was a senior thesis project created by Trent and Trent alone. But catch this, his game beat out games that had entire teams of students behind them—some with as many as 14 students working on it.

Game Art program head Jim McCampbell describes this experience as “the Game Art major’s finest moment.”

And I couldn’t agree more.

Our Game Art program has been nationally ranked in the top 20 Game Design Schools and Colleges in the US and among the top 10 Private Game Design Schools and College in the US (Animation Career Review) based on a number of criteria including academic reputation, selectivity, depth and breadth of the program, value and geographic location. 

And, don’t get me wrong, we are obviously always excited and proud to be ranked and listed among the best of the best. But, actions speak louder than words. Trent walked the talk when in triumphed in head to head competition with the country’s best teams of Game and Game Art and Design schools. This just further demonstrates the quality of a Ringling College education and the quality of our world-class faculty.

This E3 event, while exciting for the College, serves as a career launcher for students looking to enter the gaming industry. This year’s E3, which consists of a week’s worth of events including the College Competition, brought 68,400 attendees. That’s 68,400 potential eyes on Trent’s game, and 68,400 opportunities to meet industry players—professionals, media, and celebrities—in one concentrated area. And that figure doesn’t even include viewers online. Millions of people around the globe watched the events of the conference. This kind of exposure for Ringling College and Sarasota is priceless.

And that’s what we aim to give our students: that real-world experience that delivers education, exposure and, after tireless and tedious work, that YES moment that makes it all worth it.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art and Design.

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