Creator of lasagna-loving cat will be honored April 17 at Ball State

Topics: Alumni, Immersive Learning, Emerging Media

March 22, 2010

After more than three decades of drawing Garfield — the world's most popular comic strip cat — Jim Davis will step out from behind his drawing board April 17 to be honored by Ball State University.

An Extraordinary Evening with Jim Davis will recognize the genius of the comic strip creator, credited with developing the worldwide Garfield marketing phenomenon. Guests will have an opportunity to meet Davis and learn firsthand about the creative forces behind his company, Paws Inc. of Albany, Ind., which supports the licensing of Garfield products.

Davis, '67 LittD '91, first published the comic strip in 1978. It features Garfield the lazy cat, Odie the dog and Jon, their owner. The strip appears daily in thousands of newspapers and will soon be part of a musical.

"This event is a very special opportunity to meet one of our most distinguished alumni and creator of the world's most widely read comic strip," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "Jim Davis has always been generous to his alma mater and this evening, which will feature Jim sketching as he talks about his career, is no exception.

"We're especially excited that the event's proceeds will go to the Jim Davis Fund, which provides our students with immersive learning experiences emphasizing emerging media. That is fitting, since Jim embraces emerging media's possibilities from the e-cards and online shopping at the Garfield Web site to the educational games and teacher resources at the Professor Garfield site."

Gora said all gifts to the fund are appreciated, even if guests are unable to attend.

Davis said Ball State exposed him to many new ideas during his days as a student.

"For me, it wasn't just what I studied in class at Ball State, but the whole experience that gave me the kind of material that allowed me to do what I do today," Davis said. "Those were experiences I still draw on today working on the comic strip. It was such a rich experience, so textural. I woke up when I came to Ball State University."

The event will be in the ballroom of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Guests may explore the Garfield art exhibit and bid during the silent auction from 5 to 7 p.m. The auction will include memorabilia from Davis and Paws Inc.

Dinner will begin at 7 p.m. with a chalk talk by Davis, who will discuss his life, career and the famous feline. He also will provide guests with a sneak peak from the musical "Garfield Live!" The night will also offer a special video presentation featuring Davis.

The reservation deadline is April 8, but may close earlier if the dinner is sold out.

For an invitation to the event and information on sponsorship, contact Carol Kosisko, assistant to the vice president of university advancement and director of special projects, at 765-285-4111 or ckosisko@bsu.edu. To learn more, visit www.bsu.edu/bold/jimdavis.

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