Welcome Alumni & Friends
In 2013-14 we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the School of Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE), the forerunner of the College of Liberal Arts. This historic event marked the moment that liberal arts began in earnest to build its future as Purdue’s center for excellence in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Our alumni vividly demonstrate that excellence in many fields and communities across the globe—so we’ve asked 50 of them to tell us more about their careers and lives, via a modified version of the Proust questionnaire. This survey of revealing questions was a popular parlor game in Marcel Proust’s time, made famous by his answers and adapted by Vanity Fair and the show Inside the Actors Studio. We hope you enjoy getting to know these fascinating and inspiring CLA alumni.
MFA 2004, Theatre, Patty and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts
Video games have become so realistic that they’re almost an exercise in virtual reality these days. Visuals can make you feel as if you are walking or flying through a landscape, but sound is equally essential to the effect. A plane swoops in, an explosion goes off nearby, and both are clues to what a player’s next move should be. David Swenson’s job is to make those sounds as realistic and vivid as possible.
Currently working on Call of Duty as the lead sound designer at Sledgehammer Games (Activision), Swenson is no stranger to recording sound for unique projects. While working on his MFA at Purdue, he served as an audio assistant for the alpine events of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. Even then, he was trying to help you hear the sounds of the snow crunching, and the speed and the effort of the skiers.
Now he’s putting those skills to work again for Activision. “The best part of my job is recording the realistic sounds that I later manipulate and put in the games. Working on a military game gives me the opportunity to record authentic military weapons and vehicles,” he explains. “Probably my top ‘wow’ moment happened while I was recording the sounds of fighter jets with the famous Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. They invited me to attend one of their practices at their home base in Pensacola, Florida. I remember standing out on the runway when one of the blue and yellow F-18s dropped to only a few feet above the ground and raced by, just in front of us, going almost Mach 1. Because the jet was traveling just under the speed of sound, we couldn’t hear it coming until it rocketed past us with an explosive sound. The pilots affectionately call this the “sneak pass” because they can sneak up on unsuspecting people on the ground. Being so close to a fighter jet flying that fast was incredible!”
- About Liberal Arts
- Academic Programs
- Degree Requirements and Other Procedures
- Honors Program
- Opportunities for scholarships, awards, prizes, and honors
- Other Student Resources
- Study Abroad and International Programs
- Research Newsletter
- CLA Faculty Research Support
- Margo Katherine Wilke Undergraduate Research Internship
- Global Synergy Research Grants
- Enhancing Research in the Humanitites and the Arts Grants
- Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences Grants
- Transdisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Research Grants
- Research Initiative Grants
- Faculty Development Centers
- PRF International Travel Grants
- PRF Summer Faculty Grants
- CLA Graduate Student Research Support »
- CLA Undergraduate Student Research Support
- Contact Information
- News & Events