The university started a minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies last year. Since then, twenty to thirty students have chosen the minor.
Ben Saunders is the English professor who directs the program. He says interest from the endowment will translate into $6,000 to $10,000 annually to be spent on course development, new exhibitions, and bringing professionals to campus to meet students.
“This is a field,” Saunders says, “where it’s absolutely vital that students meet people working in the industry. There are places where you can go to sort of learn how to make comics, but there are as many varieties of comics as varieties of novel or varieties of movie.”
The instructors in the program are drawn from other disciplines, ranging from English to Art to Japanese Literature. The U of O calls the program “the first academic minor of its kind in the country.”