Message from the Chairman

This has been a truly outstanding year for Columbia College Chicago. We have confirmed our position as a leader in the evolving field of arts and media education, developing a new model that combines theory and practice to nurture and liberate the creative mind.


Our new Media Production Center, which opened for classes in the spring of 2010, was designed and built from the ground up to promote and facilitate this new, collaborative approach to media arts education. The building is significant in many ways: architecturally, culturally, educationally, and symbolically, as a manifestation of Columbia’s leadership role in twenty-first-century education. But its greatest significance is as a container for ideas—for the culture of creativity that it nourishes.


In this time of lightning-fast change, we at Columbia pride ourselves on being at the forefront of adaptation and innovation. In this time of lightning-fast change, we at Columbia pride ourselves on being at the forefront of adaptation and innovation. We know that the skill sets needed for success in the creative industries have shifted, and continue to evolve at an unprecedented rate. We know that it is through a combination of right- and left-brain approaches, through respect for ideas about design, imagination, social consciousness, environmental responsibility, diversity, and integrity that our culture and our world will be changed for the better. And we know that Columbia College Chicago occupies a unique place in the educational firmament—our students graduate in possession of a set of intellectual and technical tools that enables them to take their place in the world as full participants, and to, as our mission states, “author the culture of their times.”


We know this because we see it happening around us every day. Our alumni are making their mark in every creative industry, and winning every major award in their respective fields. We’re incredibly proud of Mauro Fiore (B.A. ’87), who won an Oscar as cinematographer for the blockbuster Avatar. We’re proud of Daniel Lopez Muñoz (B.A. ’96) and Aaron Hartline (’98), whose work with Pixar contributed to Up’s Oscar win, and Hilmar Koch (B.A. ’93) of Lucasfilm Ltd., who won a Scientific and Technical Academy Award. We’re proud of photography alum Brian Ulrich, who was honored this year with a Guggenheim Fellowship. And the list goes on.


This pride comes through in the increased excitement and commitment shown by the college’s board of trustees, our faculty and staff, our alumni, and all our other generous contributors. With their help, and perhaps with yours, we raised the money to build the Media Production Center, to fill it with state-of-the-art equipment, and to offer more scholarship support to our students than ever before.


We have an extraordinary new building here on our campus that provides a fitting home for our amazing creative community. This building, like our faculty, staff, and students, encourages us to think differently, to teach differently, and to produce magnificently different work. It is a signifier that this is, indeed, Columbia’s moment.