Hall of Fame 14: A Week in Review

Full Sail’s 2024 Hall of Fame event featured industry panels, interactive student experiences, and six new Hall of Fame inductees.

A large sculpture of the letters “HOF” sits atop the Full Sail Live Venue stage with different multicolored images projected onto each letter. The letters are in front of a large purple screen featuring the Roman numeral “XV” in large font. In front of the stage is a black silhouette of the crowd.

This past week, Full Sail University celebrated its 14th annual Hall of Fame week, a four-day celebration featuring an array of panels and presentations, a live esports event, a tech expo, a career fair, networking and mentorship opportunities, and more. Hall of Fame inductees past and present, along with other accomplished grads and a variety of industry professionals, gathered at the university to impart their knowledge and experiences with eager students. The week wrapped up with the annual induction ceremony, during which six new alumni were formally inducted into the Full Sail University Hall of Fame. The event was documented via Hall of Fame Live and is available to stream and experience on the Full Sail YouTube page.

Hall of Game

On stage, a student wearing a headset plays a video game on a PC. A large crowd cheers him on from below.

Hall of Fame 14 week kicks off with Hall of Game: Homecoming, welcoming back alumni to play against current students.

The week kicked off with Hall of Game: Homecoming, a live esports event in which Full Sail Armada varsity teams fought for glory against returning alumni players in Call of Duty, Super Smash Brothers, and Rocket League. While the alumni team ultimately took home the Hall of Game Champion’s Cup with wins in Super Smash Brothers and Rocket League, the Armada varsity team defeated the alumni in a thrilling best-of-five match in Call of Duty. Additionally, attendees enjoyed swag giveaways, food trucks, and arcade games, and Orlando Health awarded five hardworking students with $50,000 in scholarships.

Tech Expo and Career Networking

A wide shot of a crowded arena with many booths set up on the floor. Many large screens depict different images in the background. A soundboard sits in the foreground.

On Monday, students met a variety of potential employers at the Career Fair in the Full Sail Live venue.

On Monday, the Career Fair kicked off in the Full Sail Live venue, featuring companies such as Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Walt Disney Company, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and more. Students had the opportunity to connect one-on-one with potential future employers and industry professionals, asking questions and building their network. For students that did not have their resumes, Career Development provided printers and offered advice so each student was equipped with the necessary materials to flex their networking skills.

Travis Ruiz, Senior Corporate Recruiter for Nexstar Media Group, attended the Career Fair with Nexstar Media Group and spoke with students, embracing the opportunity to connect with them on both a personal and professional level. “In 2024 and beyond, nothing can replace face-to-face interaction,” Travis says. “Being able to meet face-to-face with candidates, getting to see where they come from, getting to interact with them, getting the chance to have that interpersonal connection, nothing can replace that. Events like [the Career Fair] are really great for [recruiters] to be able to connect with a future generation of our employees.”

A booth is set up for the company “novation” with many electronics on the table. Behind the booth, a man shows the technology to waiting students. More booths and students mill about in the background.

Students had the opportunity to work with new technology at the Tech Expo in the Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress.

Meanwhile, in the Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress, the Tech Expo provided Hall of Fame attendees with the opportunity to view the latest audio, gaming, and virtual technologies from companies such as Adobe, Sony, and Echelon.

Panels and Presentations

Six people sit on chairs on a stage in front of a sitting crowd. The screen behind them reads “Meet The New Class of Hall of Fame Inductees.”

On Tuesday, the Hall of Fame inductees gathered for their introduction panel.

Tuesday kicked off a slate of more than 100 conference-style educational panels and presentations featuring accomplished alumni as speakers and presenters. The day began with the Meet the New Class of Hall of Fame Inductees presentation, introducing this year’s six new inductees to students; new Hall of Fame members Natalie Asport, Mark Diaz, Michael La Plante, Nina Lopez-Corrado, Benjamin Rice, and Nadine Santos shared stories of how their hard work and tenacity led them to where they are today.

Students were free to choose their itinerary of panels and presentations, as the sessions covered a wide variety of topics and disciplines. Hall of Fame 13 inductee Brandon Blackwell presented A Decade Chasing My Dreams and Traveling The World, in which he recounted his whirlwind career as a sound engineer touring the world with artists such as A$AP Rocky and Lizzo, encouraging students to take “calculated risks.” In the Navigating Multi-Generational Workspaces panel, Hall of Fame 14 inductee Michael La Plante advised students entering the workplace on how to navigate differing communication styles and conflict in the workplace. During the Life After Full Sail: Tips for Surviving the Real World panel, panelists spoke candidly about the difficulties of maintaining a good work/life balance as students enter the industry, and the necessary steps they can take to ensure they’re establishing healthy boundaries and habits. As many panelists stressed the importance of putting yourself out there upon entering the workforce and taking every opportunity available, Hall of Fame 13 inductee Aaron Cook explained to students that “pouring yourself into your career doesn’t mean making it your personality and who you are” and gave tips on how students can maintain their personhood alongside their bustling career.

Student Activities and Events

A student wearing a gray sweater paints a purple line on a large mural.

During the Creative Experience, students helped paint the Hall of Fame week mural in the backlot.

Students also enjoyed the variety of activities offered at the immersive Creative Experience, including an arts and crafts table, a caricature artist, mural painting, and the popular Dear Future Me booth, in which students wrote aspirational letters to themselves to open the following year.

Several cosplayers pose for a picture on an outdoor stage. They are holding signs denoting their placement in the competition.

The winners of the cosplay competition pose for a photo on the Full Sail outdoor stage.

Throughout the week, students took to the outdoor stage to engage in an epic Dungeons and Dragons: D20 Death Match, an immersive TTRPG experience, and an elaborate cosplay contest complete with cosplays ranging from Spider-Man to Godzilla.

Additionally, Hall of Fame Live hosts Tracy Wiu, Shae Ryan, and Jess Reider chatted with Hall of Famers, played fun, interactive games with students, gave out cool prizes such as brand new Shure podcast microphones, and ran around the Backlot joking and interacting with students, all of which can be seen on the Hall of Fame Live stream on YouTube.

Induction Ceremony

A large crowd is seated in front of a raised stage. A large, multi-colored sculpture of the letters “HOF” sit atop the stage in front of a purple screen. A man wearing a black suit stands on the stage and is pictured in the screens beside the stage.

Full Sail University President Garry Jones welcomes the crowd to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

The week came to a close with Thursday’s Induction Ceremony, where Full Sail President Garry Jones welcomed the six new grads into the Hall of Fame. After being individually inducted by a peer, Natalie Asport (Senior Prop Artist, NetherRealm Studios), Mark Diaz (Lead Gameplay Programmer, Insomniac Games), Michael La Plante (Vice President of Technology, Proforma), Nina Lopez-Corrado (Producer/Director, HBO), Benjamin Rice (Producer, Songwriter, Vocal Producer, Mixer, Engineer), and Nadine Santos (Vice President of Programming & Artist Relations, Music Choice) each received the opportunity to share speeches as they accepted their awards, accompanied by heartfelt video messages from family, friends, and colleagues.

After being welcomed by a plethora of videos from music stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Jason Aldean, Meghan Trainor, and more, Nadine Santos took to the stage as the final Hall of Fame 14 inductee to accept her award.

“So, I grew up in a family that embraced the love of our culture and our music, and it was no surprise that I loved music the way that I did,” she began her speech. “I never could’ve imagined that those early days would shape what was to come in my future until I walked through these doors at Full Sail, and all of a sudden it just became possible.”

A large crowd is gathered in front of an outdoor stage. Many people are standing on the stage against a multi-colored screen, with one person wearing a yellow shirt that is holding a microphone and addressing the crowd.

The Hall of Fame block party kicks off at the Full Sail outdoor stage.

After the ceremony concluded, the 14th Annual Hall of Fame Week culminated in a large student block party complete with live performances, food trucks, and swag giveaways.