Sakamoto makes major gift to DAA program

On Tuesday, Mar. 23, officials from the University of Lethbridge announced $400,000 in support of students in the Digital Audio Arts (DAA) program in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

A $200,000 gift from Ron and Joyce Sakamoto will be matched by the Government of Alberta's Access to the Future Fund, bringing the total of the contribution to the impressive $400,000 figure.

"For some students, the costs of post-secondary education prohibit them from pursuing advanced studies," acknowledges Dr. Bill Cade, the U of L's President and Vice-Chancellor.

"As a result of the Sakamotos' support of students in the DAA program, we are going to see even more students graduate with the skills, knowledge and confidence to effectively navigate the ever-growing and changing landscape of music technology – these are the very people who will be leaders in the field in years to come."

Responding to the globally expanding communication environment, the U of L launched the DAA program in the fall of 2009.

Building on the U of L's highly successful Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media, this innovative program produces graduates who are experts in music technology and whose skills integrate with visual media, audio and advanced research, matching the needs of industry – today and into the future.

"The role of audio across all media has changed monumentally from the traditional broadcast media of the past. The culture of audio and visual media is growing and evolving rapidly," says Ron Sakamoto.

"Programs like this one play a crucial role in creating the next generation of sound engineers. As I built my company and moved through my career, I have always been struck by the lack of high-end, formalized training available in Canada for young people wanting to move into a career in sound engineering. I am very excited and motivated to now have a program of this quality and stature built in my hometown. Joyce and I are happy to support students in the Digital Audio Arts program, as they work to meet their educational and professional goals and eventually contribute to growing the industry that has been so good to me."

The DAA program was the first of its kind in western Canada when it launched last fall and offers students a unique experience.

"The DAA program – which includes experience in professionally designed studios and labs featuring industry standard hardware and software – provides a unique experience to students interested in pursuing a career in music technology," says Dr. Rolf Boon, the chair of the department of music at the University of Lethbridge.

Rebecca Holmes is a DAA major and is excited by the possibilities offered by the program.

"As someone who's always been interested in music, this program was an ideal fit for me because it offers such a broad scope of education and training: I am learning music theory, history and ear training, in addition to the technical skills required to capture, manipulate and reproduce sound," explains Holmes.

"I want to thank Dr. and Mrs. Sakamoto on behalf of DAA students for their generous donation to the program. It's extremely encouraging to receive support from someone so respected in the music industry. Your support will enable more students to complete their degrees in this exciting field."