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DigiPen marks 25 years of schooling gamers with a celebration event
DigiPen Institute of Technology first opened its doors in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1988.
The school moved to Redmond in 1998 and has remained here ever since — although, it did move buildings once and has been in its current location for three years. When that location at 9931 Willows Rd. N.E. opened its doors in late August 2010, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione declared the day DigiPen Day. This year, the school is opening its campus to the community once again for DigiPen Day from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 7.
Angela Kugler, vice president of external affairs for the school, said they want to highlight the DigiPen faculty and students this year, so a number of them will be giving industry talks on gaming and animation throughout the day. Attendees will also be able to view student animations and play student video games, as well. The free event is open to all ages and Kugler said there will be various family friendly activities such as a tie-dye station, painting, drawing and pottery. There will also be a life-sized Angry Birds game in which people can throw the birds at stuffed pigs from the game and inflatables. Lunch is also included at the event.
Kugler said while they won’t turn anyone away on the day, they would prefer people to RSVP ahead of time on their website, www.digipen.edu.
The third annual DigiPen Day will also celebrate the school’s 25th anniversary.
“It’s an opportunity for us to thank the community for supporting us for many years,” Kugler said.
DigiPen founder and President Claude Comair added, “The celebration of DigiPen Day this year is particularly special for us because it marks DigiPen’s 25th anniversary. As the first university in the world to grant bachelor’s degrees in game development, DigiPen has made Redmond its home and has always felt very welcome in the community.”
Marchione, who will speak at DigiPen Day at 11:45 a.m., said the city is “delighted” to celebrate the school’s milestone anniversary, and is proud to have served as DigiPen’s hometown headquarters since 1998.
“Under Claude Comair’s visionary leadership, the city has been pleased to assist as DigiPen has grown and prospered over the years, providing a world-class education to the talented artists, computer scientists and engineers of the dynamic game industry,” the mayor said.
Comair said the community has always been very supportive of DigiPen’s efforts and companies such as Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo have been great neighbors.
“We are honored to be part of the growth that has happened in the industry and in Redmond over the years,” Comair said. “I hope that everyone in the community will be able to come and celebrate with us on DigiPen Day.”
Marchione added that DigiPen has been a great asset to the community — beyond serving an educational need for the region, the school has been a catalyst for the Puget Sound’s “increasingly digital innovation-driven economy.”
Kugler said DigiPen has had a direct impact on the growth in the local gaming industry. When the school moved to Redmond, there were 14 game companies in the area. Now there are more than 350.
“We definitely made a measurable contribution to the industry,” Kugler said.