Congratulations Class of 2011
Cheers and whistles greeted the 205 members of the class of 2011 as they entered the majestic sanctuary of Fountain Street Church, for commencement on May 7. Friends, family, children and spouses filled the seats, as “Pomp and Circumstance” played on the magnificent organ.
One student from each program carried a banner representing their major. (My favorite was the Industrial Design program flag that sported an applique of a toaster.) Once the students were seated, MFA Photography graduate Bridgett Broughman, chosen by faculty to represent the class, gave an opening welcoming message to the class. She gave special thanks to her “photo family” who made her time on the third floor, her “home away from home,” special. She closed with a lively call-out to her fellow masters candidates, “Let’s get hooded!”
Valedictorian Erica DeVries, a Graphic Design major, gave the Student Address. She fondly recalled the members of the Graphic Design faculty who guided her academic career. She also mentioned the numerous occasions and celebrations where students dined on pizza and Jimmy John’s sandwiches. (It’s true: there is a lot of food at Kendall.) DeVries urged her classmates to keep their standards high and to be true to themselves and their art.
Dr. Evans then introduced the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Arts, Peter Lawrence, as a longtime friend of Kendall who has been involved with the College throughout the years. Lawrence is chairman and founder of Corporate Design Foundation based in Boston, MA.
After the hooding, Dr. Evans introduced Dr. Lawrence, who addressed the audience. “Graduates, you’ve chosen well. Art and design will continue to grow in importance to companies, corporations and the public sector. Grand Rapids is incredible evidence of this increased awareness, and its business community has respect for Kendall graduates. You must continue to present the value of art and design in businesses language—keep presenting the case for design in language they can understand.”
He continued, “Let me give you some advice. When I first graduated from college a couple of years ago, they said the future was ‘plastics.’ I urge you, as you design and work on your projects, to consider biology and biomimicry as a design resource. Nature has been at work refining and improving for three billion years and has given us a large collection of success stories and lessons to learn from. Bring a biologist on your team to forward innovation and sustainability. I will be working at this intersection, and I look forward to working with some of you that I’ve yet to meet.”
The ceremony concluded with a farewell message from Dr. Adam Schuitema, who gave one last reminder of MLA style before sending the class of 2011 out into the bright sunshine.