HAMPTON, Va. (June 5, 2019) – The Hampton University Department of Architecture welcomed representatives from the Walt Disney Imagineering team, to share information with students about their experiences at Disney. Representatives also encouraged students to apply for “Imaginations,” a design competition that seeks the next generation of Imagineers.
One of the representatives was Hampton University alumnus, Dexter “Dex” Tanksley (’93). He is the Sr. Project Manager for Walt Disney Imagineering. Imagineering, the combined name of imagination and engineering, is the unique, creative force behind Walt Disney Parks and Resorts that dreams up, designs and builds all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments and regional entertainment venues worldwide. Building upon the legacy of Walt Disney, Imagineers bring art and science together to turn fantasy into reality and dreams into magic.
Tanksley’s daughter, Jordan, accompanied him on his trip to Hampton from California for this lecture. They both had the opportunity to meet with Hampton University’s President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “It was a pleasure to see Mr. Dex Tanksley, and to meet his daughter, Jordan. Dex mentioned that Jordan has officially decided to become a Hamptonian in the fall! We are excited to welcome her to her new ‘Home by the Sea,’” stated Dr. Harvey.
During his lecture, Tanksley spoke to the crowd of architecture students about being a student at Hampton, and about the design competition that he and his fellow architecture students won that propelled him into Disney. In 1992, Tanksley entered the Walt Disney ImagiNations design competition as a student. As a winner of this competition, he was awarded a position with Walt Disney ImagiNations. From there, his career took off and he has worked in numerous positions within the company.
“Believe in your dreams, have the courage to take your dream and make it a reality. I can’t stress how important it is to have that confidence in yourself, in your university, and just follow your dreams; you will be rewarded things you can’t even imagine,” said Tanksley.
That design competition that Tanksley won in 1992, is now called Imaginations. The purpose of Imaginations is to seek out and nurture the next generation of diverse Imagineers. This unique competition enables students to showcase their talents and gain practical knowledge in design. Finalists get the opportunity to win an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering in California, compete for awards and be considered for internship opportunities.
Tanksley had great advice for Hampton students. “Stay grounded with your passion, your love, and the thing that brought you to Hampton University. You’re going to get distractions from all over, but that takes you away from the thing that you started with, so if it’s your love, spend the time to nurture it, fall in love with it, and follow through with that vision,” said Tanksley. “If you love what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
For more information about the Imaginations competition, visit disneyimaginations.com.