Sakamoto support invests in students

Ron Sakamoto (LLB '03), or "Sak," as he is affectionately known, has presented shows from KISS to Shania Twain and has been a constant champion of Canada's entertainment scene, helping build it into the thriving industry it is today.

His time in the business has been marked by change: he's watched the careers of countless rock and country artists blossom and grow; he's seen the size of the arenas and the magnitude of the shows increase exponentially; and he's witnessed the monumental growth and rapid evolvement of audio and visual media.

"The role of audio across all media has changed significantly from the traditional broadcast media of the past," says Sakamoto. "It is now more important than ever for young people entering the field to have the skills, knowledge and confidence to effectively navigate the changing landscape of the industry."

Responding to the globally expanding communication environment, the U of L launched the bachelor of music in digital audio arts (DAA) 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.

"I am very excited to have a program of this quality and stature in my hometown," says Sakamoto. "When my son was looking for training, he ended up in Nashville. We were fortunate enough to be able to afford the costs associated with sending him to study down south, but not every student is that lucky."

Ron and his wife Joyce are happy to help fill that gap. The couple recently donated $200,000 in support of students in the DAA program. The gift will be matched by the Government of Alberta's Access to the Future Fund, bringing the total of the contribution to an impressive $400,000.

While Ron and Joyce hope the award will help students along in their educational journeys, Ron explains that establishing the scholarship is also a way of giving back to an industry that has been so good to him.

"Programs like this one play a crucial role in creating the next generation of sound engineers," explains Sakamoto. "Joyce and I are happy to support students in the Digital Audio Arts program, as they work to meet their educational and professional goals. These are the people that will be superstars in the years to come and I look forward to the contributions this group will make to the music industry."