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Oscar-Winner Shedd Named ‘Professor of the Practice’

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 9:25 am / October 31, 2013

BenSheddBen Shedd, a more than four-decade veteran of the film industry best known for his Academy Award-winning “The Flight of the Gossamer Condor,” has been named a “Professor of the Practice” at Boise State University.

Shedd is the second innovator to be invited into this new program, which identifies talented and accomplished business, scientific and artistic leaders from around the country and beyond and invites them to bring world-class experience and excitement to Boise State students. He joins Walter Robb, co-CEO of the international organic food company Whole Foods Markets.

GossamerCondorShedd has produced 33 educational and science films, including three made for IMAX screens and a special movie many Boiseans may remember called “Star Waiters.” That film starred then 6th-grader Mitch Kohler and was chosen over 13,200 other wishes for the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s National 2009 Infinite Wish award, granted for the way this project brought the community together to grant a child’s wish. Many Boise State students and alumni worked on that production.

He also shares a Peabody award for his work in the early years of the PBS science series “Nova.”

“Ben Shedd’s contributions in the art and science of film, especially in large format IMAX cinema and in documentary film production, have never failed to amaze and inspire us,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “His experiences and connections have been invaluable for Boise State students.”

For most of Shedd’s professional career, he has made a point to both work in film and teach it.

“Partly because I continue to learn so much in the classroom as I teach,” Shedd said. “And I meet interesting people all along the way, especially the wide range of really talented students heading out into their careers.”

This semester, he is teaching a Department of Communication class called “The Film Producer’s Role” for the seventh time at Boise State. This weekend, he and feature film veteran Kenny Chaplin are again teaching a popular three-day production assistant training seminar, which is open to Boise State students and community members interested in learning how to get started in film careers. He has taught film courses at six universities, including the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and Princeton University.

Boise State students have benefitted from more than just Shedd’s expertise. Through Internet technology like Skype, Shedd has invited many of his professional industry colleagues —many his former students — from Hollywood and around the country to speak to his classes, often directly from movie and music video sets. As he has continued to work on documentaries here in Idaho, he has found on-the-job opportunities for current and former students.

Shedd and Robb will be joined by other distinguished experts and leaders as professors of the practice at Boise State. Each individual will have significant life accomplishments and expertise in important fields of endeavor — and be able to provide unique opportunities for Boise State students to expand their learning and their horizons.