Illustration Alumnus Wins Award for Excellence

Nathan Greno at work

In his motion picture directorial debut, Nathan Greno, who studied Illustration at CCAD, pulled down a $49-million opening weekend and received a Golden Globe nomination for the film Tangled.

Now he can add the Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence to his many accolades.

CCAD will formally acknowledge the success and contributions of Greno, as well as the impact that CCAD alumni have all over the world, Oct. 7 and 8 during Family Weekend & Homecoming. The Award for Excellence will be presented and an exhibition of Greno's work will be displayed during the college's annual celebration.

When Greno (Associate 1993–1996) returns to campus he just may catch up with CCAD grads he has met while working at Walt Disney Animation. He said some of the best animators on Tangled attended CCAD and that it is fun sharing stories with other alumni. "It's like we were part of a club," he told Image magazine.

Greno advises others to "never stop fighting for your goals.” He described himself as one of the weaker figure drawing students when he first started at CCAD, but three years later he was working at Disney. "I had to work crazy hard to make that happen," he said.

After sitting in on extra figure drawing classes and working diligently on his animation portfolio, Greno received an internship offer from Disney at the end of his junior year and he has been there since 1996. He hated his first job as a clean-up animator on Mulan and faced a crisis moment because he didn't feel like he was being creative but had been dreaming about working for Disney since elementary school. Fortunately for audiences, he found the storyboarding department and spent about 10 years there before having the opportunity to direct.

Greno has worked on other Disney films, including John Henry, Brother Bear, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt.  As he saw people in the theater laughing, crying, and having fun, he thought about CCAD and the long road to directing.

"It was all worth it," he said.

Congratulations to all of the 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence nominees.