Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, will speak at the Ringling College of Art and Design's 2008 Commencement Ceremony on May 2, 2008 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Florida.
At this event, Ringling College will present Katzenberg with its first-ever Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree.
Katzenberg's 2008 Commencement address will focus on the value of the creative spirit, a message sure to resonate with Ringling's graduates and their families. When asked to comment on his perception of creativity and individual voice, Katzenberg said, "Artists create. It's that simple and that mysterious...an authentic form of magic requiring no trick but talent."
In 2004, Katzenberg visited the Ringling College campus to talk to students about working in the film industry and to share his vision for what students can do to best prepare for life after college. Katzenberg credited the college with educating well-rounded students who are adept at both the visual arts and technology, saying, "Ringling has struck a very well-tuned balance between supporting artistic expression and providing valuable, disciplined training."
Under Katzenberg's leadership, DreamWorks Animation has enjoyed a number of critical and commercial successes, including SHREK and its sequels, SHREK 2 and SHREK THE THIRD, MADAGASCAR, OVER THE HEDGE, WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT, SHARK TALE and BEE MOVIE.
SHREK and WALLACE & GROMIT both won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and SHREK 2 is the highest-grossing animated feature film of all time.
The company's newest release, KUNG FU PANDA, starring Jack Black, will be released into theaters on June 6. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, which is slated for domestic release on March 27, 2009, will be the studio's first film produced in Ultimate 3D technology.
DreamWorks Animation was a division of DreamWorks SKG until October 2004, when it became a separate publicly traded company. Prior to co-founding DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in October 1994, Katzenberg served as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. DreamWorks is one of nearly 50 industry leaders that regularly visit the Ringling College campus to interview and hire graduates.
The 2008 Ringling College Commencement marks the first official year that students will graduate with a diploma bearing the name, "Ringling College of Art and Design" as a result of the institution's name change in 2007. The Class of 2008, numbering 251 students, represents a student body of 1,200 from 43 U.S. states and 31 countries. Each graduate will receive the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.