Gearbox Software Initiates Fellows Scholars Program at SMU
Plano, Texas - January 8, 2008 - Recognizing the crucial need for professional talent, Gearbox Software, Plano, Texas, has pledged nearly $50,000 in scholarships and support to help establish the Fellows Scholars program at The Guildhall at SMU, the country’s leading graduate video game development program.

Besides financial support for art creation, level design and software programming graduate students, Gearbox will also provide professional mentors for the students during their 17 months of study at SMU.

“The only thing growing faster than our industry is the critical need for new and creative talent,” Randy Pitchford, Gearbox CEO and President, said. “I think it is clear that the video game industry has the vast financial support and consumer demand it needs to continue its global growth. But what I and many industry leaders are very worried about is hiring and retaining world class talent. That’s why programs like The Guildhall at SMU need our support.”

Pitchford says supporting programs like the one at SMU just makes good business sense. Since SMU began its program in 2004, 15 SMU graduates have joined his company. Several of those graduates had a key role in the company’s new game Borderland scheduled for release in late 2008.

“It doesn’t really surprise me that Randy was the first industry leader to support our Fellows Scholars program,” Dr. Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, said. “Randy was instrumental in the formation of our program and has been a huge supporter. 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 games industry.”

Raad went on to say that, as important as the financial support is for the students, the mandatory professional mentoring arrangement between the donor and the selected students is key.

“Our uniqueness has been the help of the industry leadership in designing our curriculum and for that matter driving our entire program. A professional mentorship will only enhance the student experience at SMU. At the same time, by being a part of the Fellows Scholars program, a company has a chance to learn firsthand whether a student would be a right fit for their company.”

In addition to their lead setting financial gift, Gearbox donated an audio lab to the program for the students to use in developing games while at SMU. The audio lab will allow students to utilize many of the sound effects and music used by Gearbox in several of their popular games including the Brothers in Arms series.

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the US. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. The program has a 95 percent placement rate with more than 180 graduates working at 70 of the leading video game studios around the world. The program offers both a Master’s degree and a graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, and software development. For more information visit
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