John Malkovich addresses SCAD’s 2017 commencement ceremonies

SAVANNAH, Ga., June 15, 2017 — The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is pleased to announce that its largest graduating class was addressed by John Malkovich on Saturday, June 3.

“Actor, director, clothing designer, storyteller. John Malkovich lives a life of distinct brilliance and intentional artistry,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “His knowledge and experience is vast, his achievements multiform. SCAD was overjoyed to welcome John as our 2017 SCAD Commencement speaker.”

Malkovich’s career as an artistic polymath speaks directly to the vitality of more than 100 degree programs offered at SCAD, including film and television, cinema studies, dramatic writing, fashion, fashion marketing and management, fibers, performing arts and writing. He addressed graduates at the university’s Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, campuses – his first time delivering a commencement address to a university – with his advice on pursuing a successful creative career, including the following remarks:

Congratulations to the professors, instructors and administrators. I trust you have a passion and an aptitude for educating young people, and may that ever be the case. I hope you realize your importance to this class graduating today, and your importance to past and future classes. Simply put — great educators change lives.

I wonder how many of you are nervous today, unsure of your next step, fearful of what tomorrow will bring, doubtful of your talents, uncertain of your preparedness, dubious about your prospects. When I was your age, I wasn’t at all sure of the path I had chosen. I had decided to join with some kids I had gone to college with, and to move to Chicago and start a theatre company. A part of me — perhaps the bigger part of me — was quite certain this effort would be doomed to fail. I suppose it’s time for me to finally admit I was wrong, as over 40 years after its founding in 1976, Steppenwolf Theatre continues to flourish. For those of you receiving your degrees today, my wish for you is that you find somewhere the same sense of community, the same singularity of purpose, the same sense of working towards a common goal, and the same forum for self-expression. I can’t imagine what shape my life would have taken had I not met my colleagues at university. They were — and remain — the most important influences in my working life.

To have the opportunity to live a creative life, to have even the possibility of the opportunity to live a creative life, is a gift. Yes, the gift may come at a price, but there is always a price for doing what you want in this life. But the rewards far outweigh any obstacles. So, graduates, I’ll leave you with that one. You’ll find your way. I did, and have more or less lived to tell the tale, and I sincerely doubt I was half as clever or talented or prepared as you are today.

In Savannah, Malkovich received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. In Atlanta, he received the SCAD Étoile in recognition of his work across a spectrum of creative disciplines including fashion, film, television, and performing arts. Étoile, which means “star in the sky” in French, connotes brilliance, luminosity and glamour. The SCAD Étoile is a tribute to the biggest and brightest stars of fashion, style and design, and recognizes trendsetting, innovative leaders for their monumental contributions to their fields.

SCAD also presented an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Michael Buzzard, a design manager at Google, in Savannah, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters to technology entrepreneur Christopher Klaus in Atlanta.

The SCAD Class of 2017 is the largest in the university’s history, with more than 2,400 graduates to cross the stage in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and Hong Kong. SCAD alumni consistently secure career success upon graduation. Most recently, 98 percent of SCAD Spring 2016 alumni responding to a survey were employed, pursuing further education or both within ten months of graduation.

John Gavin Malkovich
With a body of work spanning decades, industry legend John Malkovich is one of the most compelling minds in entertainment. His celebrated performances span every genre and range from roles in thought-provoking independent films to those in big-budget franchises. In addition to being an accomplished actor, Malkovich is also a director, producer, clothing designer and artist.

Born in Christopher, Illinois, Malkovich began his career as a charter member of the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Between 1976 and 1982, he acted in, directed or designed sets for more than 50 Steppenwolf productions — including his role in True West, for which he won an Obie Award. Malkovich made his Broadway debut as Biff Loman alongside Dustin Hoffman in Death of a Salesman. He won an Emmy for the same role in the CBS television adaptation.

On the big screen, Malkovich’s recent roles include Bob Hunter in Lionsgate’s upcoming thriller Unlocked; Vidrine in Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon; and zany ex-CIA agent Marvin Boggs in Red. Previous acclaimed film credits include Spike Jonze’s meta classic Being John Malkovich; Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons; Gary Sinise’s Of Mice and Men; Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun; Paul Newman’s The Glass Menagerie; Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields; and Wolfgang Petersen’s In the Line of Fire and Robert Benton’s Places in the Heart — both of which earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1998, Malkovich co-created the production company Mr. Mudd, whose debut film was the celebrated cult picture Ghost World. Malkovich followed this with his own feature directorial debut, The Dancer Upstairs. Mr. Mudd found its greatest success in the indie smash Juno, which was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Other producing credits include The Perks of Being a WallflowerDemolition and Jeff, Who Lives at Home.

In addition to his many accolades in the world of entertainment, Malkovich has also delved into opera and, very notably, fashion design. Malkovich, who often designs costumes for theatrical productions, stepped into the fashion world in 2003 with his West Coast-inspired menswear collection, Uncle Kimono. The subsequent documentary, Flipping Uncle Kimono, follows Malkovich to Milan, Italy, where he arranged an unconventional fashion show featuring judo wrestlers as models. Malkovich’s latest sartorial endeavor, John Malkovich Fashion, focuses on high-end menswear and accessories and launched in January.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in 43 majors, as well as minors in more than 75 disciplines across its locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning.

With more than 32,000 alumni worldwide, SCAD demonstrates an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. The diverse student body, consisting of nearly 13,000, comes from across the U.S. and more than 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of nearly 700 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience. These professors emphasize learning through individual attention in an inspiring university environment. The innovative SCAD curriculum is enhanced by advanced professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources, and has garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications, including 3D World, American Institute of Architects, Businessweek, DesignIntelligence, U.S. News & World Report and the Los Angeles Times.


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SOURCE Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)