Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts Dedication Ceremony

An attendee of the dedication for the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts is seen using virtual reality on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln officially opened the doors of the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, which hopes to shape students into transformative, creative leaders.

The Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts held its dedication ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. According to its website, the center will provide a space for students pursuing a degree in emerging media arts.

The degree will include an emphasis in areas such as filmmaking, robotics and theme park experience design. Chancellor Ronnie Green and founding director of the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts Megan Elliott spoke at the event, thanking investors, members of various committees and boards and the emerging media arts students.

Green began the ceremony by thanking Johnny Carson’s family and members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He said he believes the Carson Center will be a game-changer for UNL by allowing students to learn how to create stories with the use of emerging media across all disciplines and platforms.

“Students will be well-framed to be able to serve in a wide variety of fields,” Green said. “They will be attractive to the future workforce of many industries including entertainment, business and beyond.” 

Elliott said she’s excited about the new program. Her speech covered the new relationships she’s formed, how her experiences at UNL so far have impacted her and her excitement for the new students of the center.

“Students are at the dawn of a brand-new epoch,” Elliott said. “And it is they, alongside our extraordinary faculty and advisers, that get to shape it. They get to create new cultures and bring new futures into being.”

Elliott also shared with the audience that, with the Carson Center, UNL had become the first in the Big Ten Conference to be recognized as a HP/Educause Campus of the Future, a program that rewards certain schools based on their innovative use of augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D scanning and printing to help educational pursuits.

“Dream bigger — that’s the simple mantra that captures the entire mission of the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts,” Elliott said. “We use this to inspire our students to dream to have radical imaginations and to boldly leverage new and emerging technologies.”

Emerging media arts students Parker Reil and Sophia Stueven also took the stage. They thanked investors and committee members who helped make the center possible and spoke about their experiences as emerging media arts students.

Freshman emerging media arts major Benjamin Reichle shared his excitement for the Carson Center and how the idea of studying and working with emerging media fit in well with his career goals.

“One thing that did attract me is that I like the idea of exploring the unknown,” Reichle said. “The program was kind of sold as, ‘You’ll be shaping the curriculum as you learn here’ … That is not only unprecedented but ridiculously exciting.”