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Our Laguna: Laguna College has much to boast about

October 07, 2010|Barbara Diamond

The Laguna College of Art & Design breakfast meeting last week at the Hotel Laguna was an eye-opener.

College President Dennis Power reeled off improvements to the college for the students and the faculty the guests. On hand for the inaugural State of the College Address were college staff, donors of $1,000 or more or representatives of companies that donate at that level and City Council members.

"We want your input," Power said. "We will answer questions because we think that the best way to move the college ahead is by listening to supporters."

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But first, Power informed the early birds of recent developments about which the college can crow.

"The college is one of just three in the country recognized for its quality programs in figurative and representational art," Power said

Power also said the college rivals any in the county in high-tech art.

And it is all part of Laguna's DNA.

"It seems a perfect match," Power said. "We believe our location in Laguna Beach reflects very well on the college and is attractive to potential students. We hope the reverse is true: that the college reflects well on the city. "

"And LCAD seems a perfect match for Southern California, given our successful and growing development of animation, game art and graphic design," Power said. "We have a number of industry connections in these fields, primarily because Southern California is such a creative, innovative place."

The location offers students unparalleled opportunities.

Alyssa Silzer, who interned with Blizzard Entertainment in her senior year, was hired after she graduated with a major in Game Art.

Student Elizabeth McGhee is believed to be the youngest artist ever juried into the Festival of Arts when her work was accepted in 2009 and she was invited back this year, Power said.

"I just don't think we could have all of these factors working together in many other places," Power said.

The college can also boast of its all-time student high population this year.

"Up until about 2009, college growth averaged about 5% a year," Power said. "In 2009, it rose by 7% and in the fall of 2110, it was more than 13% over the previous academic year.

"Right now, we have 446 students [including part-time students], 426 full-time equivalents, the largest it has ever been."

As the numbers have gone up so has the quality of the students, Power said.

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