Zootopia director and Evergreen alumnus Byron Howard receives Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature | The Evergreen State College

Zootopia director and Evergreen alumnus Byron Howard receives Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature

Byron Howard

Continues long tradition of creative achievements by Evergreen graduates.

The co-director of Disney’s Zootopia, Byron Howard, a 1990 graduate of The Evergreen State College, shared Golden Globe honors for Best Animated Feature Sunday night.  Howard also directed Disney’s Bolt (2008) and Tangled (2010). 

“We wanted ‘Zootopia’ to be a film that not only entertained kids, but also spoke to adults about embracing diversity even when there are people who want to divide us by using fear,” Howard noted in his acceptance speech.

As Evergreen’s alumni magazine noted in 2011, Howard’s interest in an animation career was sparked during a visit to the Disney Animation Studios at Walt Disney World. He structured his undergraduate curriculum at Evergreen—where he studied storytelling through literature and film—based on the advice of two veteran Disney animators he consulted.

His first gig at Disney was as a tour guide at Disney-MGM studios in Orlando, where he devoted much of his free time to perfecting his artwork. After four portfolio submissions, he was accepted into a Disney animation internship and hired by the studio in 1994. He rose through the ranks, from an “inbetweener” (an animator’s assistant who makes the drawings that go between the key poses drawn by an animator) on “Pocahontas” to an animator on “Mulan” to the lead character animator for “Lilo & Stitch” and “Brother Bear.” 

“Zootopia takes on some critical issues in a way that is really accessible for audiences from kids to adults,” noted Evergreen President George Bridges.  “We applaud Byron Howard for his contributions to the film and for the recognition he continues to receive for his work.”

Evergreen has a long track record of producing award-winning animators, cartoonists and filmmakers including Matt Groening ’77 (The Simpsons), Lynda Barry ’79 (Ernie Pook’s Comeek), Craig Bartlett ’81 (Hey Arnold! and Dinosaur Train), Dana Simpson ’99 (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), producer Audrey Marrs ’99 (No End in Sight, Inside Job—for which she won an Oscar, and Time to Choose) and others. The college’s Center for Creative and Applied Media, animation labs and innovative media loan department—where students in any area of study can learn about and borrow video, photography and audio gear— support creative work across disciplines. 

The Evergreen State College in Olympia is a public four-year liberal arts college nationally recognized for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach, strong academics and focus on undergraduate teaching. The college also has an upper division bachelor’s degree program in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. In addition to undergraduate education, Evergreen offers three graduate degrees: Master in Teaching, Master of Environmental Studies and Master of Public Administration, including a distinctive tribal governance concentration.