Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) hosted its first online Commencement ceremony through YouTube Live on Friday, May 22, 2020. The video can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/6aEuYMm-7So
Hélène Garrison, Ph.D., chief operating officer and provost welcomed more than 1,500 viewers to the ceremony. She introduced Tim Rhodes, a senior Drawing & Painting major who recorded his final National Anthem performance as an LCAD student. He has sung at the past three LCAD commencements.
Jonathan Burke, president of LCAD acknowledged the uphill journey this year’s class faced since March 2020 as the College transitioned to online learning to observe state-mandated stay-at-home orders.
“Today we come together to acknowledge your achievements, but I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the greater LCAD community who recently and with great devotion recreated your learning experience so you could complete you education within the time frame of this term,” Burke said. “Our hope is that you continue to strive for greater levels of creative accomplishments and use those skills throughout your lives.”
Jared Mathis, chair of LCAD Board of Trustees also congratulated the class of 2020. “You’ve completed an important step in your journey, and we couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “We believe in your promise, your energy, your intellect, your talent and the beauty you will most certainly bring into the world.”
Each graduate was acknowledged with a photo and a sample of their work as their name was announced by the chair of their respective.
Kimya Ramezani, an LCAD senior majoring in Graphic Design + Digital Media with a minor in User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design addressed her fellow graduates. Although she was looking forward to dressing in her cap and gown, she expressed great pride in what she and her fellow seniors achieved in their LCAD journey.
“We worked so hard to get here,” she said. “Even though the sudden change in our plans feels jarring, it’s important not to dwell on the things we’re missing, or we might overlook the beautiful aspect of where we’ve arrived.” She not only noted their achievements as artists and designers, but the way that the LCAD community came together to support each other through challenges.
LCAD also found an innovative way to continue its tradition of connecting industry professionals with graduating seniors at its 16th Annual Industry Open House. The annual event, hosted by LCAD Career Services, provides an exclusive opportunity for select industry professionals to meet the next generation of artists and designers.
With the theme, “The Show Must Go Online,” select graduating seniors met with industry professionals online. Student projects were posted on a dedicated site, including mobile games and apps, character design, game design, virtual and augmented reality, brand design in action sports, illustration, drawing and more. This year, there were more than 11,000-page views, double the views in previous years.
“The online format opened up this event to industry partners who had not been able to travel to our annual event, giving our students more opportunities to share their portfolios and receive valuable career insight from representatives of brands they aspire to work with,” said Robin Fuld, director of career services at LCAD. “This event opens up a pipeline for our students to make valuable connections to move forward into careers pertinent to their fields of study.”
More than thirty companies participated in this year’s Industry Open House including Blizzard, Disney Animation, Laika, Netflix, Nickelodeon, Scientific Games, Shawmut Corporation, Six Point Harness, Sony Pictures, Stance, Taco Bell, Vans, and more. Company reps reviewed student portfolios online and then conducted casual interviews through Zoom or phone.
For Stella Zhang, who received her BFA in Graphic Design + Digital Media, Industry Open House presented a new opportunity after her internship at Imaginary Forces was cut short by the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. “My experience with them exceeded my expectations. My experiences in the Nike honors class and the Anaheim Ducks class gave me an edge among my fellow interns and I feel more confident meeting with potential employers,” she said.
Tyler Letson, who majored in Animation has been a freelance storyboard artist during his last two years at LCAD. He stressed the importance for future grads to start working while they’re in school to get a leg up in their industry. “When you pursue work outside of class, it makes you a better artist, and you build a portfolio and skill sets that distinguish you as a professional,” he said.
Nonetheless, he looked forward to meeting with more industry representatives to broaden his network and job potential. “I love my work so much that I’ll never stop,” he said.
For more information about LCAD, please visit: www.lcad.edu.
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Laguna Beach, California
About Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD)
Founded in 1961, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is one of the top art and design schools in the nation. LCAD offers undergraduate degrees (BFA) in Animation, Drawing + Painting, Extended Reality Design (XRD), Game Art, Graphic Design + Digital Media, Illustration, and Illustration in Entertainment Design, as well as Master of Fine Arts degrees (MFA) in Drawing, Game Design, and Painting. The Dennis and Leslie Power Library at LCAD houses the historic archives of the College and The Rex and Joan Irving Brandt Papers. For more information about LCAD admissions, news, events, and Annual Fund, please visit www.lcad.edu. Facebook at @LCADBFA, Twitter @LCAD and Instagram @lcadbfa.