Co-founder of Pixar to give lecture to Berry community next Thursday

Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier News Editor

Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier Managing Editor

On Thursday, Feb. 21, Berry will host Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation studios and former president of Pixar and Walt Disney Studios, as part of the Shatto Lecture Series. Catmull is set to give his lecture, “What Makes Creative People Tick?” at 8 p.m. in the Cage Center.

Tickets are available through Monday at the Krannert Information Desk and must be picked up in advance. The lecture is a CE credit.

Provost Mary Boyd explained that the process for picking a speaker for the lecture series involves a committee.

“There is an endowed lecture committee, and we solicit suggestions through the committee and more broadly, so anyone can suggest a name,” Boyd said. “We then talk to the committee on who we think would be a good speaker for the campus.”

Throughout the process, Boyd spoke not only with the committee, but also with President Steve Briggs and other members on ideas for future speakers.

Boyd expects that students will be excited to learn more about how Catmull took his degree in physics and computer science and put it toward animation and creating movies that the students recognize and love.

“I think it will be interesting to see how somebody who has a PhD in computer science used it and made these enormous contributions on how they render computer graphics on the screen,” Boyd said. “And how Catmull moved from there into co-founding this really influential company, Pixar, which changed how we see things.”

She also hopes students will enjoy how he speaks on creativity and how he used it to not only create movies but also inspire creativity in others.

“I think [it will be interesting how] the question of creativity and how we can foster creativity either in ourselves or how to create an environment that supports creativity, and working with people who may come from different backgrounds and perspectives, how that all comes together to produce a really fantastic outcome,” Boyd said.

Tickets will be available for student pick-up until Monday.

“They have to pick them up by Monday because then [the tickets] will become available to the general public,” Boyd said.

On the night of the lecture, students will need to present their tickets at the front doors to the Cage Center and then CE credit ushers will scan them in/out once inside.

Catmull, who retired in 2016, led the studios through animated hits such as “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and “Frozen”. According to the LA Times, his love for Disney began in his childhood hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, but was not immediately a part of his career. After getting a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in math, physics and computer science, he began working at the Boeing Company.

However, Catmull’s path led him to back to Utah to pursue his Ph.D. in computer science, where he pioneered computer animation techniques that led him to an induction into the National Film Registry.

After gaining attention from big name Hollywood filmmaker George Lucas and director Francis Ford Coppola, Catmull was convinced to take a job at their computer company, Lucasfilm. In 1986, Lucasfilm’s digital division, run by Catmull, was bought out by Steve Jobs and transformed into the Pixar we know today.

Since then, with 14 consecutive No. 1 box hits and over 15 Academy Awards, Pixar has dominated the big screen and consumed the lives children and adults alike, and in 2006, Pixar was sold to Disney for $7.4 billion. Catmull also co-authored the book “Creativity Inc.” in 2014, describing his path to success.

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