MUNCIE, Ind. — It’s not uncommon for famous alumni to come back to their alma mater, but for Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield and Paws Inc., the relationship has always been strong.

Monday night, Davis spoke to a crowd of students and community members at Sursa Hall on Ball State’s campus, who were eager to hear his insights from his nearly 40 years in comics and animation.

Davis makes regular appearances at the university and commonly helps out with local charities in Muncie. Leading into the night, Davis hoped to help those in attendance learn to follow and develop their passions.

“This is an opportunity for me to give back,” said Davis, who spoke to the Star Press before the speech.

For Zachary Craw, a professor of animation at Ball State, the chance to listen to Davis was an exciting opportunity.

“The students were definitely excited about him being here,” said Craw, who recommended his students come to Monday night’s talk. Craw grew up watching shows like Garfield and said that it had an influence on his choice to go into animation.

Davis seemed to be just as excited to be giving back as those in the community were to see him.

Ball State and Muncie have a lot of significance for Davis and that’s why he stays around. According to Davis, the choice to be in Muncie was easy because of the friends, family and, of course, community. He alluded to those longstanding ties at the start of his speech by thanking them for welcoming him back, even as he joked that he has never really left.

The bond between Davis and Ball State grew this year. Davis, who graduated in the ’60s, returned to his alma mater as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Art.

“It’s interesting to see what a community like Muncie can do to influence and inspire people to do what it is they like to do,” Davis said.

Davis’ full lecture can be found online at

Source: The (Muncie) Star Press,

Information from: The Star Press,

This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by The (Muncie) Star Press.

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