Public Affairs

CSU and DreamWorks Leaders Celebrate Partnership

July 25, 2011

CSU Chancellor Reed, faculty and staff join some of the 180 current DreamWorks Animation employees who are CSU alumni.
CSU Chancellor Reed, faculty and staff join some of the 180 current DreamWorks Animation employees who are CSU alumni.

On Friday, July 22, a delegation of CSU staff and faculty including Chancellor Charles B. Reed and San José State President Mo Qayoumi met with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG and other executives at their Glendale, Calif. campus to review the unique public-private partnership between the CSU and DreamWorks Animation.

Earlier this year, CSU and DreamWorks launched a key element of the partnership, the DreamCrits program at Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, San Francisco State and San Josť State.  DreamCrits is a bi-monthly event which provides selected students with critiques of their work by DreamWorks artists.

But the relationship is more than just a single program and the partnership between the CSU and DreamWorks has resulted in a pipeline of creative talent that has worked on past, present and future DreamWorks features.

Left to right: Rex Grignon, head of character animation at DreamWorks; Marilyn Friedman, head of outreach at DreamWorks; Charles B. Reed, CSU Chancellor; Megan Dong, story trainee at DreamWorks. "We have such an amazing relationship with the CSU," said Jeffrey Katzenberg who informed the assembled group that 180 current DreamWorks employees are CSU alumni including Jennifer Yuh Nelson, a Long Beach State graduate who served as the director of this summer's Kung Fu Panda 2.  Many of the other alumni come from the four CSU campuses that offer the DreamCrits program.  One of them is Megan Dong who recently graduated from Cal State Fullerton, started working at DreamWorks just last week and was on hand to present Chancellor Reed with a limited edition Kung Fu Panda lithograph.

DreamWorks seeks employees whose backgrounds contain exceptionally rich artistic curriculums such as those offered at CSU campuses.  While most of the CSU alumni at DreamWorks studied animation or similar fields, several come from diverse backgrounds including computer science, accounting and human resources, among other fields.

CSU faculty members from the campuses that work with DreamWorks also took the opportunity to share some of the best practices that have served to enrich the academic instruction at their respective campuses and to try to develop ideas that will help broaden the partnership.

"I know you are here today to develop a plan to take this program and partnership to new levels, and we look forward to seeing your outcomes and showcasing them to the public in the near future," said Chancellor Reed.