College of Arts and Media Rankings

The College of Arts and Media at GCU has a rich tradition in education and the arts. Alongside knowledgeable faculty, our most talented students and graduates have been recognized for their achievements in theatre, production, musical performance and so much more. Our online film degree programs are ranked No. 6 in the nation, named as the Best Christian University.1

We are proud to showcase the accolades of our faculty, students and alumni, as this reflects heavily on the standing of the college.

Bill Symington works through theatre production design with student on an ipad


student sits in editing bay

Top 10

Top 10 Best Online Film Degrees1

Showcase and Awards

Dance student performing in class room setting

After earning a whopping 24 nominations for four different productions, GCU’s Ethington Theatre department won six ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. GCU’s victories for “The Addams Family” included Best Overall Musical Production, professor Michael Kary as Best Director, and professor Mark Fearey as Best Musical Director. Additional nominees included students Cameron Swindler for Best Actor, Sam Brown and Karson Cook for Best Supporting Actor and Sydney Meyers for Best Supporting Actress.

CAM students shone at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with three students reaching the semifinals and two students claiming second place in their regional categories. Tu “J” Nguyen’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” property design won her second place in the region. Rachel Schumacher’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” lighting design placed second in the region, winning her a scholarship to the Stagecraft Institute. Mandy Tompkins also reached the semifinals for her stage management of “Ring Round the Moon.” Other students recognized include Brandon Brown, Christian Bradford and Kaitlyn Johnson.

The College of Arts and Media received high praise in a review from Gil Benbrook of In his review, Benbrook pointed out the “excellent dialogue work” and “stunning costumes and hair and make-up designs (by Nola Yergen and Madison Kesterson, respectively),” adding that William Symington’s set design is “one of the best of his I’ve seen.” He also commended director Michael Kary and lead performers Christine Ward and Logan Barrett.

For its production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the GCU Theatre Department earned an award for Best Overall Production, Actress in a Supporting Role: Megan Sutton, Director Michael Kary; and Fight Choreography. The ariZoni Awards, Arizona’s version of the Tony Awards, celebrates the work theatre productions around the Phoenix valley. In total, GCU’s Ethington Theatre earned 20 nominations.

Senior film majors, Brittney Ha-Nguyen and Ryan Brennan took home Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Awards in 2019. Ha-Nguyen won an award from the College Music Video category for the song “One Last Dance” by Us the Duo. Brennan won the College Short Form Fiction award for his short film, “Ruthless.”

Leading film software company Entertainment Partners recognized Digital Film seniors Leesa Kolter and Maria Michelle Alvarado-Rosa with their annual Movie Magic Producer Award in April 2020. The award includes a certificate and small cash prize.

Digital Film Alumni Elliott de Neve and Laura Donohue won the 2019 IMDb Independent Shorts Awards for Best Sci-Fi Short, a short film they completed while at GCU. The short film, which also features DFP alum Ryker Roberts and COE alum Chloe Saunders, also garnered de Neve a nomination for Best Student Director at the awards. This film has also been recognized by the Oceanside International Film Festival and the Short to the Point International Film Festival.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts recognized College of Arts and Media student Daniella Brown with a national award celebrating her outstanding achievement in sound design.

1Retrieved from: Intelligent, The Best Online Film Degree Program in February 2020