January 9, 2007

Gearbox Software initiates fellows scholars program at SMU

Gearbox Software, the Plano video game development studio behind the popular "Brothers in Arms" franchise, is pledging scholarship funds, professional mentors and a video lab to The Guildhall at SMU, the country’s leading graduate video game development program.

Randy Pitchford (left), CEO and President of Gearbox, and Peter Raad, Executive Director of The Guildhall at SMU.
Randy Pitchford (left), CEO and President of Gearbox, and Peter Raad, Executive Director of The Guildhall at SMU.

The donation of $50,000 to the Fellows Scholarship Program underscores the strong working relationship between The Guildhall and Gearbox, which has hired 15 graduates of the SMU video gaming program since its inception in 2004. 

Guildhall Executive Director Peter Raad was named one of the 25 most influential people in the gaming industry for 2007 by Next Generation, a widely read industry website and newsletter, in part for his program’s 95 percent success rate in placing graduates into gaming industry jobs.   

“The only thing growing faster than our industry is the need for new and creative talent,” said Gearbox CEO and President Randy Pitchford. “That’s why programs like The Guildhall at SMU need our support.”

“It doesn’t really surprise me that Randy was the first industry leader to support our Fellows Scholars,” Raad said. “He believes, as we do, that we need to find ways to ensure financial barriers do not stand in the way for the very best students to attend our program and become contributing professionals and future leaders in the dynamic video game industry.”

Raad credits industry leaders for helping to develop the unique Guildhall curriculum.  “A professional mentorship will only enhance the student experience at SMU,” he said.

The audio lab Gearbox is donating will allow Guildhall students to use in their own designs many of the sophisticated sound effects and music from the company’s most popular games.  The Guildhall students exhibit their work for the public at the end of their 17-month study program.

The Guildhall at SMU is the premier graduate video game education program in the United States.  Classes are taught by industry veterans and many of the school’s founders are industry icons. Guildhall students may pursue a Master’s degree or graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design and software development.

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