Ringling College for Art and Design has received a $15 million donation for the world’s first degree in virtual reality.
The gift from husband and wife Dr. Joel Morganroth and Dr. Gail Morrison Morganroth is the largest donation for the Sarasota university in its 86 year history.
According to Dr. Joel Morganroth, “These things don’t happen on their own, it takes support to help bring forward ideas to fruition and turn a vision into reality.”
“We wanted to make a significant contribution to something that we believe in,” Morganroth added. “After only three years as a Ringling College Trustee, I found that the organization we were looking for was right here.”
Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College, said the donation will be used to help fund the first ever virtual reality Bachelor of Fine Arts program.
The donation will go towards scholarships for students. The college is currently accepting applications for the first class and will admit 45-60 students per semester.
“It is using the technology that may be developed by engineers but someone needs to make content for it all,” Thompson said. “People think of virtual reality as entertainment, but this will be a huge game changer for things like medicine and education.”
Thompson added that Ringling has been teaching virtual reality as part of its game art program.
The college will also use some of the donation for capital investment, endowment, and equipment and technology.