A Tribute for Tom Pope


Hello students,

It’s never an easy thing to announce the passing of a prominent and respected member of the AAU community. Today, we’d like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the incredible life of one of our most amazing instructors, Tom Pope.

Not only was Tom an accomplished professional, he led a remarkably interesting life. He spent many years working at classic ad agencies like BBDO before moving to Los Angeles, where he worked at record companies, movie studios, and television networks. Over the years, through his relentless pursuit of excellence and passion for his work, Tom’s life grew a vibrant network of designers, art directors, and photographers (among others)—even Don Novello, who created the famous Father Guido Sarducci character for Saturday Night Live.

Becoming a part of a creative community was a paramount philosophy Tom passed down to his students, rooted in his work with fantastic people and influences that drove him forward and deepened his passion. When Tom came to AAU, the community learned quickly that he was singularly gifted at using his experiences to breathe life and inspiration into the classroom setting. In Tom’s own words, creativity was the most enjoyable way to live one’s life, and passion was about “lighting a fire in your mind.”

Tom wasn’t just an instructor—he was a mentor. His contributions to the Academy will never be forgotten, nor will the wisdom he imparted on the next generation of creatives. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family. Tom will most certainly be missed.


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