Alumnus Connection Transforms FAU's Multimedia Studies Program

Tuesday, Mar 26, 2024
BrandStar Studio at Florida Atlantic

Five years ago, an alumnus sparked a transformative journey for the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies (SCMS) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Dr. Walter Burton, an SCMS alumnus and adjunct instructor, initiated a groundbreaking partnership between FAU and multifaceted production company, BrandStar Studios, located in Pompano Beach, FL. This partnership transforms media education at FAU and provides an amazing resource for curricular innovation across the entire Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters.  

 BrandStar Studio ribbon cutting

Image: Mark Alfieri and Doug Campbell of BrandStar, Carol Mills (Director, School of Communication and Multimedia Studies) and Tom Shorrock (Chair, Dept. of Theatre) at Florida Atlantic

Later this month, the culmination of this collaboration will be unveiled with the grand opening of BrandStar Studios @ Florida Atlantic. Located within the Arts and Letters building, BrandStar’s generous donation of a 30-foot eyebrow shaped LED Volume Wall, coupled with cutting-edge technology and Unreal Engine software, will immerse students in real-time compositing experiences. From aspiring developers and artists to journalists and storytellers, students will acquire invaluable virtual production skills essential for today's competitive job market.

Dean Michael Horswell recalls that “From the initial meeting with BrandStar founders Mark Alfieri and Doug Campbell, it was clear this public-private partnership was going to be transformative for our college, and that the BrandStar team shares our values and commitment to cutting edge public education for preparing students for the professions of tomorrow.”  

Dean DFSCAL with BrandStar Studio crew

Beyond equipment, BrandStar commits to providing advisory services to SCMS professors and mentorship opportunities for students. This holistic approach ensures that FAU graduates are equipped not only with technical skills but also with the guidance and support necessary for post-college success.


Dr. Carol Bishop Mills, Director of the School, noted “This gift allows our talented students to have access to the tools that will differentiate them as they enter the workforce.  They will be learning alongside industry professionals while using the same technology used in the field, and have access to competitive internship opportunities at South Florida’s leading media production house.”  

Moreover, the impact extends beyond the realm of multimedia. Theater students will refine their acting and set design abilities through interactive engagement with technology increasingly prevalent in film, television, and stage production.  

“This partnership is going to have a huge impact on our students’ ability to work with industry partners,” said Tom Shorrock, chair of the Department of Theater and Dance.   

SCMS and BrandStar 

By maximizing the utilization of cutting-edge technology, FAU graduates will gain access to lucrative opportunities in the entertainment industry, reinforcing the university's reputation for producing top talent.  

For Mills, the real value of this gift transcends the training: “It is a testament to the power of alumni and their love of FAU. Alumni involvement through volunteering as mentors, donating to initiatives, and making connections that lead to major gifts are all part of what make the Owl family special. BrandStar's partnership exemplifies the power of alumni collaboration in shaping the future of learning and professional success.


BrandStar and Florida Atlantic Group