Celebrating a Semester of Achievements

Guest Correspondence

Photo courtesy RinVisitors attended open house on campus on Oct. 14.

Well, here we are: Ringling College of Art and Design is over halfway through the fall semester. Every year, midterms seem to come and go a little faster than the year before. With so many classes, events, and exhibitions happening across campus every day, it can be hard to find the time to stop and celebrate the achievements of the semester thus far. On Saturday, Oct. 14, the College opened its doors to prospective incoming students and their families during our annual Fall Open House event. Hosting over 500 visitors in total for a morning-to-afternoon filled with conversations, showcases, and informational sessions, I find this is always a great opportunity to take a moment and reflect on the current academic year. 

It truly is a special time to be at Ringling College. We officially eclipsed last year’s total enrollment with a record student body of 1,722 students. New Student Orientation in August comprised move-ins, social gatherings, information sessions, and community volunteer projects. On the first day of classes, we welcomed over 1,200 returning upperclassmen and over 500 new, incoming freshman students. Our international student population is still holding strong, with 21% of our students coming from 58 countries around the world. Domestic students are here from nearly every U.S. state and Puerto Rico. About 85% of our students choose to live on our beautiful, residential campus. 

Our faculty numbers are at their highest of all time, too— which is fortunate given the housing crisis that continues to ail our city and state. One hundred and twenty-nine full-time and 64 part-time faculty members have allowed us to uphold the College’s intimate 11-to-1 student to faculty ratio, in line with our growing student population. Several new leadership positions have also joined the team, including a new Associate Dean for Ringling’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

This upward trajectory crosses over to our academic programs as well, which continue to go from strength to strength. For the past several years, the College’s renowned Computer Animation and Motion Design programs have consistently held top-ranked positions, recognized as the number one program worldwide in their disciplines. Our Illustration, Game Art, Film and Graphic Design programs also continue to outperform so many of our peer institutions. At a time when many art and design schools have been downsizing or closing their doors, Ringling College is thriving, continuing to place rigorous academics, cutting-edge tech, the very best faculty and facilities, and industry experience at the forefront of our commitment to students.

We have something so unique at Ringling College. We have had the privilege of being an institution that has helped to shape this very community into what it is today. On the other side of the coin, the people in this community have been instrumental in our sustained growth and success over the years. This year, the College implemented an updated vision and mission statement, with the help of a steering committee and our incredibly dedicated Board of Trustees. The vision, is for Ringling College to be the preeminent art and design college in the world; to be “first in mind” for setting the gold standard for art and design education, leading to exceptional professional opportunities. 

Our mission is something we live, breathe and practice every day: to educate our students, our community and the world to understand art and creativity as essential dimensions to life. The College recognizes that scholars, artists, designers and creative professionals play a significant role in society. Through its policies and practices, the College supports innovation; excellence in education; and fosters the creative, intellectual, professional and personal development of its students and community. So, when I finally stop and pause for a moment, it is humbling and inspiring to see how far we’ve come—and even more exciting to watch where we are going.

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

Photo courtesy RinVisitors attended open house on campus on Oct. 14.

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