To International Students & Families: You Are Welcome Here

To International Students & Families: You Are Welcome Here

You Make Us Great.

Over the course of the last few months, students, parents, and creatives around the globe are wondering—what does our new administration mean for us?

Well, I want you to know that you are welcome on our campus.

Eres bienvenido en nuestro campus.


우리는 언제나 여러분을 환영합니다.

Vous etes la bienvenue chez Ringling College of Art and Design.

Know that, despite what you may see or hear—you, your perspectives, values, thoughts and beliefs are what make America great.

Our priority is the top quality education of our students, and we are committed to protecting our student body. Part of this protection is ensuring our students are well informed as events unfold that may affect their lives, whether it be as students or as members of our community.

I know that our students, families, alumni, faculty and staff have questions. And while I may not have all the answers, I can definitively say that nothing about our community or administration will change when it comes to our respect for, and appreciation of, every student, faculty, and staff member on our campus and beyond. And we are not the only campus that feels this way.

The day following the election, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger announced “In these moments, we must turn to our fundamental values, among them a commitment to freedom of thought and expression, dedication to tolerance and reason, respect for diversity and differing points of view, and a determination to do what we do with the utmost integrity and courage.”

To the Ringling College campus and community family, I sent a similar note*, acknowledging the emotions surrounding this election and the anxieties and hopes for the future. To reach all of our communities near and far, we shared on the Ringling College Facebook account, garnering nearly 400 likes (and loves!), 75 shares, and supportive comments like, “From a Ringling Alum- I agree with President Thompson’s statement entirely, and it’s a value all of us in the extended community hold in our hearts no matter where we go.” These are the true sentiments of our community.

An excerpt from my note:

As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to fostering expansive thought and creative open-mindedness.  Art and design shapes every facet of our world and our future.  Art, design, and creativity bring people together and elevate society on every level.  So, I encourage you to look around our campus, and to look to each other.  The fear, doubt and divisiveness of which all parties have been a part have no place here at Ringling College.

Progress comes from dialogue, and we want to continue our conversation with you.

Just as we encourage our students to broaden their perspective and work with students, artists, designers, and scholars abroad, we welcome a community of thinkers, makers, and doers. International students from every corner of our world come to the United States to pursue their dreams through our extraordinary higher education institutions, and they bring with them experiences and viewpoints that inform and amplify our region and our nation. And the same is true for our campus. For that, we are grateful and eager for your presence on our campus and in our community. You are always welcome.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art and Design.

*In November 2016, we posted Dr. Thompson’s letter to our website and translated in Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean as a commitment to our international students, current, future, and past.

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