Mark Woodbury, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Destinations & Experiences, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal that offers guests around the globe today’s most innovative, thrilling, and popular entertainment experiences, will give the keynote address at Ringling College’s commencement on May 4.
The ceremony will begin at 3:30 pm at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto, Florida. Nearly 400 students will graduate with degrees across all of the College’s 13 undergraduate programs, including the first Entertainment Design graduating class which was established in 2019. Tickets are required to attend the event, which will also be livestreamed.
“We are thrilled to have Mr. Woodbury delivering this year’s address,” said Tammy Walsh, vice president for Student Life and dean of students. “His experience as a visionary and leader in such a universally known creative industry will resonate with each and every one of our graduating seniors.”
Woodbury oversees all aspects of the company’s destinations, including Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Beijing Resort. He also serves on the NBCUniversal Executive Committee.
Prior to being named chair and CEO in 2021, he served as vice chair and president of Universal Creative, the group responsible for development strategy for the business and creating, planning, and designing all Universal attractions and destinations worldwide.
Woodbury joined the company more than 30 years ago, during the development of Universal Studios Florida as a member of the creative leadership team. As chief creative officer, he oversaw the expansion of Universal Orlando Resort, including Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park, on-site hotels, and Universal CityWalk. He was instrumental in the development and opening of Universal Studios Japan, which quickly became the company’s most attended theme park destination and oversaw design and development of Universal Studios Singapore and the newly opened Universal Beijing Resort. Woodbury’s work includes the groundbreaking Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Super Nintendo World, and a multitude of Universal’s unique, immersive, and exciting attractions around the globe, including the game-changing and transformational theme park called Epic Universe, planned to open in Orlando in 2025.
His dedication to continued innovation, inspired collaboration, and delivering world-class guest experiences is a driving force behind the success of Universal Destinations & Experiences. Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, he is also an active member of the company’s Executive Inclusion Council, aimed at impactful, cross-divisional inclusion efforts.
He has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor of Arts in architecture from the University of New Mexico. He is a licensed architect and an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Also new this year, is a reimagined and redesigned experience of the ceremony, spearheaded by the inaugural Student Commencement Committee. Led by Susan Saulnier ’23, Entertainment Design, and Sarah Giovanello ’23, Game Art, along with other members of the graduating class, the committee chose the 2023 Pantone color of the year, “Viva Magenta,” to represent their theme of resilience.
More information on Ringling College’s 2023 Commencement Ceremony is available on the website. Members of the press who would like to attend the ceremony should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.