History

    Ringling College of Art and Design was founded in 1931 by circus magnate John Ringling.

    Fast Facts (PDF Download)

    In 1931, 111 courses were offered to Ringling College's first class of 75 students. Each paid $783 per year for tuition, board, room, fees, and books. Students attended daily chapel services and if they wanted to leave town they needed written permission from the president. The institution's 13 faculty members included Dr. Laura Ganno-McNeill, the first woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D., and Hilton Leech, a nationally prominent watercolorist.

    The fledgling school couldn't afford to pay its professors much in the early years - one teacher received $2.08 per month - but it did offer families room and board in the dormitories. So began the faculty's legendary dedication to the School.

    Today, Ringling College of Art and Design is one of the premier colleges of art and design in the western hemisphere.

    Learn more about the institution's beginnings by reading "The First 50 Years" an account of the College's early years by past president Robert E. Perkins.