For two weeks in June 2023, a team from Ringling College of Art and Design made their way back to South Korea for the first time since 2019, pre-pandemic. Ringling’s President Dr. Larry R. Thompson traveled to the capital of Seoul where he was invited to speak with prominent members of the arts and higher education communities, prospective high school students, and the media.
An impressive exhibition of Ringling student artwork was featured at Seoul Institute of the Arts — one of the nation’s leading performing and visual arts institutions — displaying work across all 13 majors and video reels showcasing Computer Animation, Film, Game Art, Motion Design, and Virtual Reality Development. Yoo Tae-gyun, president of Seoul Institute of the Arts and Dr. Thompson signed a memorandum of understanding between the two top art and design schools, promising collaborative research activities, academic program cooperation, and exchanges between instructors and students including visits and internship opportunities.
Signifying Ringling College’s reputation as a leading art and design institution, the two presidents engaged in a panel discussion on the importance of creativity — now more than ever before — and discussed topical themes such as the implementation of AI and what this means for the future of art and design.
“This is such an important and pivotal time for art and design in higher education and its professions,” said Thompson. “As we enter this new and exciting era — the skills of imagination, innovation, and authentic creativity will be paramount. I am proud to lead an institution like Ringling College where we prepare students for success in tomorrow’s world, positioning them to emerge as leaders in an economy that relies heavily on creative skills and thinking. It was an honor to have the opportunity to discuss these topics with our peer leaders in such an incredible and progressive country like South Korea.”
Dr. Thompson also visited three prominent high schools, Fayston Preparatory of Suji and Mirae High School of Science and Technology, both in Seoul, and Peniel High School of Arts in Busan. Thompson spoke to the students about the creative economy, the lucrative opportunities available within the art and design sectors, and answered questions about Ringling’s admission. Later this summer, the headmaster of Fayston Prep plans to visit Florida and tour Ringling College.
To round out their visit, the Ringling team hosted an Accepted Student Day in Seoul. With over 200 people in attendance, the event celebrated 30 new students and their families, as well as 30 current students and their families. The new students accounted for nearly 100% of Ringling’s incoming students from South Korea, some traveling from as far as Busan in the south of the country, and from Shanghai, China for the celebration.
The exhibition, itinerary, and events were made possible by Ringling faculty member Seongwoo Nam and his wife, Sunmi who are both originally from South Korea and invaluable assets for Ringling’s international recruitment. Supporting Dr. Thompson on the tour and further demonstrating Ringling’s commitment to international relations and recruitment, Dr. Jason Good, vice president for Enrollment Management and Marketing and Sarah Crittenden, director of Constituent Events and Hospitality also attended the tour to engage with prospective and accepted students and their families. A number of current student volunteers from South Korea were integral during the events, as well as the installation of the exhibition.
“Ringling College’s strength, and the high quality of our education comes from the immense diversity of our campus, with students coming from close to 60 countries,” said Good. “The Korean students at Ringling College, often coming from the very top-ranked art and design programs in South Korea, are leaders on campus and in the classroom, and are an integral part of the Ringling family.”