With an entrance to rival even President “JFK” Thompson’s motorcade arrival, Hollywood actor Richard Dreyfuss emerged from a battered and rusted old-timey police car in full drag as something resembling an 18th century duchess, before making the rounds at Ringling College’s An Evening at the Avante Garde. Taking the stage moments after shedding his costume, Dreyfuss applauded Ringling and its students for their combined efforts and dedication to education.
Dreyfuss attended as Honorary Chairman for the event, lending his support for the fundraiser and presenting the Avante Garde Endowed Scholarship to this year’s recipient, incoming senior Patricia Pete. The star of American film classics such as American Graffiti, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dreyfuss has increasingly devoted his time in the name of education, including spearheading his own civics-oriented program, The Dreyfuss Initiative.
“You point to the future and you point with art and art is a desperately needed thing and the only way we can understand the world,” said Dreyfuss of the students. “We need you, you have no idea how much we need you.”
After presenting the scholarship and receiving an honorary gift from the student body, Dreyfuss made his way to the dance floor, but not before encouraging Ringling’s young artists to stay true to themselves and their craft.
“Don’t work only for money,” said Dreyfuss. “I was blessed because I got to do something I adored and I got to do it for 50 years. I touched myself and I touched you, and I thank you for that.”
photo courtesy Ringling College of Art and Design