Katzenberg Set For Ringling Commencement

Graduating students at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. will be treated to a commencement speech by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. The toon titan will also receive the school’s first-ever Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree during the ceremony, which takes place on May 2 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.

‘We are delighted to welcome Jeffrey Katzenberg to Ringling to share his experience and wisdom with our graduates and their families,’ says Ringling College president Dr. Larry R. Thompson. ‘We are honored to have someone of his caliber in the entertainment industry join us for this momentous occasion and to be Ringling College’s first recipient of the Honorary Doctor of Arts degree. His presence also makes sense since so many of our graduates are employed by top-quality entertainment companies like DreamWorks.’

Speaking to 251 graduating students and their families, Katzenberg will focus on the value of the creative spirit. When asked to comment on his perception of creativity and individual voice, he noted, ‘Artists create. It’s that simple and that mysterious … an authentic form of magic requiring no trick but talent.’ During a 2004 visit to the school, he remarked, ‘Ringling has struck a very well-tuned balance between supporting artistic expression and providing valuable, disciplined training.’

At the moment Katzenberg is focused on the June 6 release of Kung Fu Panda, the latest feature film from the DreamWorks toon factory. Monsters vs. Aliens, the company’s first film built from the ground up for 3-D projection, will follow on March 27, 2009.