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Commencement 2017

May 09, 2017

John Knoll, the Chief Creative Officer and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at the premier film special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, which was founded by the legendary George Lucas, will be the distinguished keynote speaker at Westphal's commencement ceremony on Tuesday, June 13. Mr. Knoll will also receive an Honorary Degree from the University in the evening ceremony held at Citizens Bank Park that same day.

Knoll joined Industrial Light & Magic as a Technical Assistant in 1986, and was soon promoted to Motion Control Camera Operator. Knoll was then called upon to work on the groundbreaking digital effects for The Abyss. Since that time, he has been promoted to Visual Effects Supervisor, helming the visual effects on more than 20 feature films and commercials. Knoll's film background, coupled with an advanced understanding of digital technologies, has made him a top industry leader; he received Academy Award® nominations for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Knoll has worked on Mission: Impossible, Deep Blue Sea, Star Trek: First Contact, and Mission to Mars, among others. In 2005, he completed work on the final installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, with Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. In 2006, Knoll finished work on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, for which he received both a BAFTA® and an Academy Award®. Knoll also received screen writing credit and Executive Produced Rogue One.

Most recently, Knoll was the Visual Effects Supervisor on Brad Bird’s action-packed thriller, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. In addition to his extensive career in film and animation, Knoll is one of the original creators of Adobe Photoshop, along with his brother, Thomas Knoll. Knoll is also the inventor of Knoll Light Factory, a flare generating software inspired by his work at Industrial Light & Magic.

Westphal's Commencement will take place on Tuesday, June 13 at 9AM in the Daskalakis Athletic Center. In addition to John Knoll's speech, you'll hear Cameryn Richards, graduating this year from our Graphic Design program, sing the National Anthem, while graduating Film & Video Senior Brian Sullivan and Digital Media graduate student Anushay Furqan (who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA) will also address their classmates. For additional information about Westphal's commencement, click here

Drexel University's Commencement is on Tuesday, June 13 at 7:30PM at Citizens Bank Park, home to the Philadelphia Phillies. At this ceremony Dr. Charles Morscheck, Art & Art History Professor, will serve as Grand Marshal. Dr. Morscheck was nominated for this prestigious ceremonial position in recognition of his distinguished service at Drexel. For additional information about Drexel's University Wide Commencement, click here