Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (March 19, 2004) - The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation has received a $100,000 gift from the family foundation of UH alumni and local businessman Jay Shidler in direct support of the university's Academy for Creative Media (ACM). Shidler's gift will fund the ACM Master Class series, a program which brings in a variety of local, national and international distinguished speakers from the entertainment industry.
"We are so excited to now have the resources to give our students the opportunity to hear from special guest speakers and learn from their professional experiences," said Chris Lee, ACM's chairman and founder. "The continuing commitment we receive from the local and alumni community has truly been inspirational. Jay Shidler is a shining example of the kind of generous spirits that are impacting the lives of students in Hawaiʻi."
The ACM Master Class series is a continuation of the Academy's very successful visit by "X-Men" director Bryan Singer last May which drew over 1,200 to the UH Mānoa campus. Lee is also building partnerships with local businesses to support the program with reduced airfares and hotel accommodations for program speakers.
The ACM is a system-wide interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to leverage existing university resources and assets across all 10 UH campuses and the three UH Centers to develop a comprehensive, creative media program that focuses on Hawaiʻi, Asia and Pacific themes and competes in the global marketplace. The program will support students at all UH campuses through the provision of computer and software equipment and internships, among other needs.
Shidler graduated from UH Mānoa in 1968 with a BBA in marketing. An internationally recognized expert in finance and real estate, Shidler, through his private and public corporations, owns and operates a $5 billion, 1,120-property real estate portfolio comprised of locations in 40 states and Canada.
The founder and managing partner of The Shidler Group, he serves on the boards of a number of private and public companies and is an active trustee of The Shidler Family Foundation. He is founder and chairman of Chicago-based First Industrial Realty, Inc. (NYSE: FR), the largest owner of diversified industrial real estate in the U.S. He is also founder and chairman of Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE: OFC), the largest owner of office buildings in the Washington, D.C. area. Shidler served on the UH Foundation board from 1994 to 1997.
"As alumni of the University of Hawaiʻi, we have an important role in shaping the future of our state," said Shidler. "Our numbers, our experience and our commitment give us a powerful voice. It is vital that each of us to take an active role in supporting the university and, in turn, our great state of Hawaiʻi ."
Programs offered at ACM are taught with industry-based software applications with faculty continually updating courses to reflect the rapid changes in the multimedia industry. Prior to graduation, students have internship opportunities or on-campus classes where they develop multimedia pieces to showcase their work.
The ACM is headed by Chairman Chris Lee, who conceived, proposed and is raising external funds for this system-wide initiative. He oversees the philosophical and strategic direction of the program and is responsible for conceptualizing such ACM innovations as the 24/7 Educational Environment, the ACM Digital Toolbelt, the Immersive Web Environment, and the Diamond Head Media Campus. Lee will be teaching in the Producing track.
Peter Britos, PhD, is ACM's Chief Academic Officer charged with conceptualizing and developing the academic architecture and curricula strategy. Dr. Britos will be teaching in the Critical Studies, Screenwriting, and Cinematic & Digital Narrative Production tracks.
ACM's Chief Technology Officer Kaveh Karden supervises the technology choices of the Academy as well as acting as the conduit to the digital media industry. An instructor in the Innovation Technologies & Creative Media and Animation & Computer Gaming tracks, he is a vital component of ACM's virtual environment research and development.