SARASOTA, Fla. – The Argus Foundation (ArgusFoundation.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to joining business leaders from diverse industries and leveraging their talents and experience to benefit the community, hosted its Meet the Minds luncheon last week, which featured Dr. Larry Thompson, president of the Ringling College of Art and Design.
Dr. Thompson addressed an audience of 100 on Thursday, Feb. 18 and discussed the history of the college, the four new major building projects, economic development in Newtown, Ringling College of Art and Design’s partnerships and the new collaborative Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast (C4) initiative.
“We need to think about higher education holistically, collectively and creatively,” said Dr. Thompson when discussing the C4 initiative. “We are creating a multi-versity and part of that will include collaborative ventures and greater opportunities for our students.”
Celebrating its 85th anniversary, Dr. Thompson also touched on Ringling College of Art and Design’s future and economic impact on the community. According to Dr. Thompson, the college employs about 150 faculty and 175 staff members and has approximately a $150-million economic impact each year.
The audience laughed when Dr. Thompson told them what he often hears from parents: “I don’t know what I did wrong, but my kid wants to go to art school.” He went on to further explain the average job rate and entry-level salary for students, which is about $45,000 – $50,000 a year.
“Dr. Thompson is transforming the way people think about art and design and why businesses must infuse creativity to thrive,” said Jeff Charlotte, Argus Foundation vice president, emcee for the event and president of J.E. Charlotte Construction Corp. “Thank you so much for what you are doing for our community. It’s an unbelievable transformation, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.”
Among those attending were City of Sarasota Vice Mayor Suzanne Atwell; City of Sarasota Commissioner Liz Alpert; City of Sarasota Commissioner Shelli Freeland-Eddie; North Port Vice Mayor Rhonda DiFranco; Sarasota County School Board member and candidate Caroline Zucker; Airport Authority Chair Peter Wish; former Sarasota County Commissioner and State Senate candidate Nora Patterson; and former Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton.
The luncheon sponsors included pillar-level sponsor Caldwell Trust Company and benefactor-level sponsors Icard Merrill, PGT Industries and Willis Smith.
Dr. Thompson became president of Ringling College of Art and Design in July 1999. An advocate for “shattering the myth of the starving artist,” he was a lawyer and an educator. He is the former president for the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design and currently serves as a member of its executive committee. He is also chair of the President’s Council of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and serves on many local arts and civic organization boards.
About The Argus Foundation
Established in Sarasota in 1983, The Argus Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to joining business leaders from diverse industries and leveraging their talents and experience to benefit the community. The organization, which seeks to facilitate communications between the public and private sectors, has more than 170 members from 50 different industries. For more information, visit ArgusFoundation.org.
Its Meet the Minds events feature informative guest speakers who discuss the important issues impacting the community, state and world.