One of Ball State University’s highest-profile graduates is set to return to campus as a teacher. "Garfield" cartoonist and creator Jim Davis will join the school as an adjunct member of the faculty this fall.
Davis is president of Albany-based Paws Inc., which licenses the image of the cartoon cat and other characters. "Garfield" has been certified by Guinness World Records as "The Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip in the World."
The School of Art has 36 full-time faculty members focusing on 10 concentrations: Animation, Ceramics, Drawing, Glass, Metals, Painting, Photography and Intermedia Arts, Printmaking, Sculpture and Visual Communication. It also has art history and art education courses of study.
Davis graduated from Ball State in the late-1960s. School of Art Director Arne Flaten tells Inside INdiana Business discussions have been ongoing for months and getting Davis into the classroom is "long overdue." He says "there was no cajoling, no arm twisting. Jim and I became friends, and the proposal for him to teach here was a natural evolution of that friendship and of my enormous respect for him. He was excited to work with us from the very beginning. Jim has contributed so much to the community and to Ball State over the years, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our faculty."
Flaten says College of Fine Arts Dean Robert Kvam and university administrators have supported the addition of Davis as an adjunct faculty member. Flaten calls Davis a "rock star" and says students surround him every time he comes to the Muncie campus. Flaten adds "the School of Art is an amazing program: it has world class facilities and an exceptional faculty. Having Jim Davis join us, or perhaps ‘return to us’ is a better way to put it, makes perfect sense."