David Letterman visits Ball State, students freak out on social media

<p>David Letterman meets with students in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building May 2 after meeting with President Mearns. <strong>Kaiti Sullivan, DN</strong></p>

David Letterman meets with students in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building May 2 after meeting with President Mearns. Kaiti Sullivan, DN

Amidst finals week and a few days before commencement, Ball State alumnus David Letterman visited campus and students freaked out. 

But before making it to campus, he was spotted downtown Muncie at The Caffeinery.

University spokeswoman Kathy Wolf said Letterman was on campus to meet with Jennifer Palilonis, George and Francis Ball distinguished professor of multi-media journalism, and students in the Emerging Media Design and Development program. 

The meeting, which took place in Ball Communication Building room 200, detailed a future immersive learning project. 

"Professor Palilonis and her students shared their preliminary concepts for how we could use the materials and items that Mr. Letterman had previously provided to Ball State to create an ongoing immersive learning experience for our students, our faculty, staff and, eventually, the public," Wolf said. "The students received Mr. Letterman's positive feedback and they will continue to refine and develop their concepts based upon that feedback." 

In August, Ball State's Archives and Special Collections office released a Top Ten list of items Letterman donated to the university in 2015. 

READ MORE: What's next for Ball State's Letterman collection?

The list, in order, includes: fifteen Emmy Awards won by Letterman from “The David Letterman Show,” “Late Night” and “The Late Show.”; Letterman’s Kennedy Center Honor medal from 2012; signed photographs from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama of their guest appearances on the “Late Show.”; a letter from Letterman to radio announcer Gary Owens (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In) seeking career advice, 1969; photographs of Letterman with mentor Johnny Carson; more than 50 audio, video and film recordings mostly documenting Letterman’s early career, including his work at Ball State’s WBST radio station and as a broadcaster and weather reporter at Indianapolis television station WLWI (now WTHR); host desk, guest chairs, stage platform, etc., from the set of “Late Show” at the Sullivan theater; a blue and gold “Late Show” marquee from the Ed Sullivan Theater measuring almost 20 feet across; sixteen early-career photographs of Letterman as a stand-up comic and newscaster in the 1970s; twenty-seven commemorative “Late Night with David Letterman”; and “Late Show with David Letterman” jackets, a limited number of which were handed out every year as Christmas gifts to staff and close friends.

He also announced he would return to TV with a six-episode long series on Netflix "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman," which appeared in late January. His first guest? Former president of the United States Barack Obama. 

While his May visit to campus is the most-recent affiliation with the university, Letterman was interviewed by students in February 2018 as a part of a centennial documentary that highlights the past 100 years of the university 

READ MORE: Ball State students interview David Letterman to tell Ball State’s centennial story

The full-length documentary will cover the university's history, along with current university affairs. The team has interviewed professors, students, historians, Muncie residents and alumni. 

The documentary is set to premiere in fall 2018. 


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