CALABASAS, Calif.– September 25, 2009– The Academy of Interactive Arts&Sciences (AIAS) and The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University (SMU) have announced the first Academy Scholar recipient, Christopher McCrimmons, a graduate program student at SMU.

Each semester, $10,000 will be awarded to a graduate level candidate in The Guildhall at SMU program, who exemplifies the AIAS’ spirit and commitment in advancement of the worldwide interactive community. A combined panel of AIAS and SMU review board members evaluate each admission portfolio and assign a number which is then averaged. The top individuals with the highest rank order are invited to submit an essay for consideration to win the coveted scholarship.

McCrimmons earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts with a major in English and concentration in Film, Drama and Media Studies.“I was constantly looking for ways to combine my love for stories with my passion and fascination wtih technology and emerging media, specifically video games,” said Christopher McCrimmons.“I translated my appreciation for reading, literature and writing to visual storytelling in film. I’ve created several short films that developed my ability to tell stories in different mediums and get an understanding of how mechanics may change but stories still need to be experienced in some way.”

At the University of Massachusetts, McCrimmons was President of the Student Senate, and a member of the International Business Association, traveling to Europe, South America and Africa. He also developed an award-winning community-building program with Students In Free Enterprise organization. McCrimmons was a Resident Assistant and co-founded a 200-person Student Leadership Conference. He maintained his high grade point average and in his spare time, read, watched films and played video games.

McCrimmons went on to become a member of Teach for America, a national service corps committed to teaching in under resourced communities, with 97% of his students passing state exams. He incorporated his passions for storytelling and video games into classroom.

“I have solid leadership and team-building skills. Plus– a zeal for video games. This is what drives me to make a difference in architecting the future of gaming,” added McCrimmons.

About the Academy of Interactive Arts&Sciences:

The Academy of Interactive Arts&Sciences (AIAS) was founded in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts. The Academy’s mission is to promote and advance common interests in the worldwide interactive entertainment community; recognize outstanding achievements in the interactive arts and sciences; and conduct an annual awards show (Interactive Achievement Awards) to enhance awareness of the interactive art form. The Academy also strives to provide a voice for individuals in the interactive entertainment community. In 2002 the Academy created the D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit, a once yearly conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment. This year the Academy partnered with Games Convention Asia to bring the first D.I.C.E. Summit Asia. The Academy also oversees Into The Pixel, a juried exhibition of art from games, and the Randy Pausch Scholarship fund for students in the games industry. The Academy has more than 20,000 members from the games industry: publishers such as Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, as well as developers Bioware/Pandemic, Day One Studios, Epic Games and Insomniac Games. More information can be found at , and

About The Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the US. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. In five years, the program has graduated over 250 students and alums have worked at more than 80 video game studios around the world, with several graduates now serving in leadership positions. SMU offers both a Master’s degree and a graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, and software development. For more information, visit

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Wendy Zaas/Debby Chen



Geri Gordon Miller

Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences

818-876-0826 x202

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