Take a Virtual, Interactive Tour 
9 Min Read

Celebrating Raymond Todd Blackwood: UAT Alumni and Lifetime Impact Award Recipient

Ray Todd Blackwood, an alumnus whose journey embodies the spirit and innovation of University of Advancing Technology (UAT). Recently honored with the inaugural UAT Lifetime Impact Award at UAT’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony, Ray shared his reflections and insights.

Ray's journey with UAT began in the 1990s, where his creative spark ignited a path toward multimedia and digital arts. As a high school graduate with dreams of film-making, Ray's knack for storytelling propelled him into the world of video production and technology. He reminisces, "I wanted to make movies and be a movie director. And so all of the money that I spent went to buying video equipment, and I had a little a video editing student studio in my bedroom.”

His thirst for cutting-edge technology brought him to UAT, drawn by our pioneering Virtual Reality (VR) program. His time as a UAT student was transformative, evolving his studies from VR to digital video production, all while actively shaping the student experience through innovative initiatives. Reflecting on his UAT journey, Ray recalls, "I began my career as a student, and the VR program evolved while I was there. After my first year, I switched my major to Digital Video Production, I ended up getting an Associate's Degree in Multimedia and a Bachelor's Degree in Digital Video Production."

UAT Provost Dr. David Bolman fondly recalled Ray's time as a student, stating "Raymond Todd Blackwood arrived at UAT in the nineties, and I remember him as a student. He was excited about virtual reality, and he came and he hit our campus with incredible enthusiasm."

Post graduation in 1999, Ray stayed with the university as an integral part of the IT team. Ray remembered this time, saying "Technology was in a panic in 1999, because many, many people thought the world was going to end and midnight, the year 2000. All of our computer systems needed to be upgraded and redone in order to support the four year code that was non-existent. So my first major project at graduation was our Y2K technology, which was revamping all the technology systems at the school. One of those systems was the student information system, and the school ended up selecting a company out of Florida called Campus Management to put in the very first version of a student information system, called Campus 2000."

While Ray has since moved on in his professional career from UAT to Vice President of Product Management at Anthology, the same company that was Campus Management, he has never fully disconnected from the University. He remains involved with UAT, holding a seat on the UAT Foundation Board, returning to sit in on Student Innovation Project presentations, and maintaining the vendor/client relationship with UAT. Ray spoke on this relationship, stating "It is important to have great relationships with clients, especially in the type of situation that I have with UAT, being the software that we provide is the critical lifeblood of the institution. It is how all financial aid is processed, it's how all students are registered for courses, management of the schedule of all the courses that are offered, the transcripts that students get, the transfer credits that come in, etc. And so from an operation standpoint, it really is the connective tissue that runs an institution."


Most recently Ray returned to Tempe once more to attend UAT's 2024 Commencement ceremony, not just as a guest, but as the first ever recipient of UAT's Lifetime Impact Award. This distinction recognizes his unwavering dedication to education, technology, and the UAT community. Reflecting on the honor, Ray shares, "I care about this institution. I'm so humbled, honored, and appreciative. The reason why I could never stop coming back to this campus and the school, aside from the relationships I have with many of the people up on stage here and in the audience, I never felt like I belonged anywhere. When I came from Florida to Arizona and I got on campus, I belonged."

Ray Todd Blackwood's journey—from student to industry leader—is a testament to the transformative power of education and passion. Let's join together in congratulating Ray on his Lifetime Impact Award and celebrating his enduring legacy at UAT. His story continues to inspire us to pursue our dreams fearlessly and embrace the joy of innovation.

Click here to learn more about UAT.