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SMU awards first master's degrees in video game development

For Immediate Release

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University made video game history recently when they awarded the first-ever master's degrees in video game development on March 24.

Twenty-four of 45 students graduating in Cohort 5 were awarded their Master of Interactive Technology degrees in Digital Game Development.

This is the first time for an accredited university to award master's degrees in video game development.

"This is truly history in the making," Randy Pitchford, commencement speaker and President and CEO of Gearbox Software, said. "The granting of advanced degrees from accredited universities is crucial to the future of our industry."

Gearbox Software is a leading developer in the first-person shooter genre, producing titles for the industry's top franchises including Brothers in Arms, Halo and Half-Life.

Pitchford said consumers are beginning to select experience over technology, saying that roughly as many people are watching high-definition televisions as are watching iPods or portable devices.

Pitchford's future outlook includes the possibility that portable devices will replace consoles in the video game industry and the possibility that, if consoles remain popular, they will become integrated and everything will connect.

Pitchford advised graduates to pull from their "wisdom.txt" lists, to focus on teamwork and to be kind to everyone.

"You never know how important someone will become in time," he said. "Bill Gates was nobody 20 years ago."

He also told them to play games as much as they make them, if possible, and to be suspicious of game developers who don't.

The March 2007 graduating class is the largest to date for The Guildhall at SMU. More than half of these students secured jobs prior to graduation and with The Guildhall at SMU's historically high (95%) placement rate, it won't be long before the rest find their niches.

Since opening its doors in June of 2003, The Guildhall at SMU has awarded four cohorts with graduate certificates. In March 2007, the school awarded its first master's degrees. SMU continues to offer the certificate program, from which the remaining 21 Cohort 5 students graduated.

About The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University

The Guildhall at SMU is the premier graduate video game education program in the United States. The program offers a graduate certificate and master's degree in interactive technology. The Guildhall at SMU has a 95 percent placement rate and its graduates work for more than 60 of the world's leading video game companies.

The purpose of the school is to prepare artists, level designers and programmers for the video game industry. Many of the school's advisors are industry icons. In addition, industry veterans make up the faculty. More information about The Guildhall at SMU and how to apply for admission is at Applications for the July, 2007 Cohort 9 will be accepted until May 11.

Press Contact

The Guildhall at SMU: Ron Jenkins


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