Ringling College Announces the Larry R. Thompson Academic Center

Campus center named for President Thompson during 85th Anniversary Celebration

On April 6, friends, supporters, faculty, and staff attending the Honor & Celebrate cocktail reception and dinner, a celebration of the 85th anniversary of Ringling College of Art and Design, were in for a surprise as the Ringling College Board of Trustees unveiled the new name of the central academic building as the Larry R. Thompson Academic Center.

President of Ringling College since 1998, Dr. Thompson has overseen rapid and revolutionary changes to the institution. Under his auspices, Ringling College has added new majors, built new facilities, and branched out into the community through satellite art centers and off-campus initiatives. This dedication will place him among the other Ringling College greats who enjoy a campus presence, including former presidents Verman Kimbrough (the previous library) and Arland F. Christ-Janer (the Illustration building and gallery).

Remarks Cheryl Loeffler, President of the Ringling College Board of Trustees, “Larry has brought to life an institution that was just a small school and has elevated it to a growing and robust art and design college. Through his visionary leadership as President he has created a connection between the community, the country, and the world.  For me, traveling down the pathway to preeminence with him will always be a cherished experience.”

The timing was ideal as the College is celebrating its 85th anniversary and anticipating the opening of four new buildings on campus and in the community, including the Alfred R. Goldstein Library, the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center, a professional soundstage and post-production complex, and the new South Campus, soon-to-be-home to the Sarasota Museum of Art and the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy.

“Over the last 17 years, Larry and I have collaborated on a number of initiatives designed to inspire and transform the community. He has been a leader who has worked tirelessly and with tremendous energy, undying optimism, and out of the box thinking to put Ringling College and the Sarasota/Manatee region on the map for it’s vibrant and diverse arts and cultural offerings. He is truly one of a kind and a real blessing to have as both a business partner and a friend,” says Dave Sessions, Willis Smith Construction, Inc.

A ticketed affair, all proceeds from the Honor & Celebrate event were dedicated to the Larry and Patricia Thompson Endowed Scholarship Fund.


About Ringling College of Art and Design

For 85 years, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit fully accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in eleven disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, first-year program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. www.ringling.edu

Photo Credit: Cliff Roles, 2016

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