An Attitude of Gratitude



With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we are prompted to reflect on the things we are most grateful for in our lives. Personally, I am most grateful for my family and friends, as well as my health. I am also thankful for the vibrant Ringling College community—the students, faculty, staff and community members who comprise my daily environment, and who surely keep me on my toes as president.

What I like most about gratitude is its reciprocal nature. It makes me feel good to share it; it makes people feel good when they receive it. Gratitude, in the end, is an act of mindfulness as well as kindness. And this level of awareness is something we strive to uphold at Ringling. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we recently hosted a special event dedicated to sharing our appreciation with the general community—our 2nd Annual Ringling College Gives Thanks Day. And let me tell you, the Ringling College community—especially our students—showed up in full force to give thanks.

On Nov. 10, we had over 700 members of our internal community come together over lunch in the College’s Diane Roskamp Exhibition Hall to express their gratitude by writing thank you notes and recording video messages to our donors. During those few hours, over 1,000 notes and words of kindness were captured and distributed to trustees, donors, community partners and alumni both near and far. The entire Hall was teeming with joy and gratitude.

So, why is this important? We at Ringling College are very aware that we would not be the institution we are today without the generous support of our donors. After all, it is they who make the difference in enhancing our students’ ability to learn and grow throughout their academic journey. From the scholarships young people receive to make it possible for them to attend Ringling, to the materials and equipment they use in the studios and labs, to the buildings in which they study, nearly every facet of their experience at the College is provided through some element of donor support. And it is important for us to convey to our students the importance of philanthropy and how it benefits them so that they become more aware and hopefully inspire their own giving spirit so they can pay it forward.

Without a doubt, a little gratitude goes a long way. So, I encourage all of us to take a moment to give thanks for both the big and the small things. It is this attitude of gratitude that creates the kind of change in the world that lasts long beyond the holidays.

If you would like a firsthand look at Ringling College Gives Thanks Day, please click here (video).

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art & Design.

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