By Amy Wenk

“Your Broadway starts here,” renowned actor and producer Robert Townsend told American InterContinental University (AIU) students in a dimly-lit movie theater Aug. 6.

That day Townsend gave a comedic but inspiring presentation at Regal Perimeter Pointe on Mount Vernon Highway to those enrolled in AIU’s media production program. He spoke about his road to success and answered questions from aspiring filmmakers, screenwriters and audio specialists.

“All of your life force is precious,” said Townsend, advising students to focus on their goals, not mindless distractions. “What are you willing to give up for your dream?”

Townsend’s speech was part of AIU’s celebration earlier this month after it consolidated its two campuses into one, located at Embassy Row in Sandy Springs. Now called AIU Atlanta, the university closed the Buckhead campus and updated the 75,000-square-foot facility at 6600 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road formerly known as AIU Dunwoody.

“The remodeled campus will help to better serve our students’ needs,” said Peter Correa, president of AIU Atlanta. “I am thrilled at the prospect of increased collegiality that will surely come when all AIU Atlanta students are attending school in one location.”

Improvements include a new student center, a forensics lab, updated studios and free campus parking and MARTA shuttle service.

“I think it’s an upgrade,” said Fard Lowe, a media production student. “I think it’s a nicer environment, and I see a lot more equipment. It seems like they are headed into a new direction.”

Allyse Ross, a fashion design major, agreed.

“I feel like there are more opportunities,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s more organized.”

Media production student Torreon Walker, 21, is glad to have left the Buckhead campus.

“You have a better school feeling here,” said Walker, who began at AIU in January. “In Buckhead, we were right in the business district, right on Lenox Ave. There was always traffic there. It was always busy. It was even hard to sit in class and just hear all the traffic outside the window. So sitting out here in Sandy Springs in the nice peace and quiet is a little bit better.”

AIU has around 1,900 students and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration, interior design, fashion design, fashion marketing, media production, visual communication, animation, digital design, information technology and criminal justice.