JWU Graphic Design Grads Close 2020 with Virtual Celebration

While in-person graduation ceremonies are not happening for the Class of 2020, JWU graphic design grads will still get to wear their caps and gowns for a virtual celebration like no other. On Friday, they’ll join their classmates and professors for one last time on Zoom.

“The end of this year has been especially difficult for graduating classes because they have lost the opportunity to have the typical ceremonies and celebrations that we all associate with graduation,” says Associate Professor Karyn Jimenez.

With that in mind, department faculty set out to recognize the students’ hard work through a virtual gallery show. “Though it isn’t a replacement for the physical gallery show that will happen at some point in time, we thought that curating a virtual gallery for those seniors wanting to submit [their work] would be a nice way of recognizing them now,” adds Jimenez. “We couldn’t just let our students end this year without punctuation to their student career.”

Virtual Gallery Graphic Design 2020 Class.

During the virtual celebration, Department Chair and Associate Professor Deana Marzocchi will introduce seniors Dakota Morehouse and Shawn Updike who’ll deliver a message to the graduating class, as well as Dean Frank Tweedie. Assistant Professor Gail McCarthy was chosen as this year’s design commencement honorary speaker. And as a bonus, graduates will hear from special guest Jessica Hische, an award-winning letterer, illustrator and type designer. 

Marzocchi says she asked Hische if she could speak at the event “on a whim,” thinking it would be a long shot. “I thought I would reach out to see if by any small, tiny, minimal chance, you would consider popping into our virtual Zoom departmental senior celebration this Friday … they need a lift,” she wrote in an email to Hische — and she accepted. “I cried,” Marzocchi says when Hische confirmed she would be able to join in.

It is how you perform in times of adversity that shows true character. And you all are courageous to me.

Jimenez and Marzocchi are proud of what the seniors have accomplished during their time at JWU, and especially during the last few months learning from home.

“I always tell people that I’ve learned more from my struggles in life than from my success,” says Jimenez. “Though this struggle was brought upon [the students], they can learn from each opportunity thrown their way and embrace the uncertainty. They’ll get through this.”

“My hope for all of you is that you believe in yourselves. Be confident and know that you all possess gifts that you can share with the world,” adds Marzocchi. “Know that we are here for you and we believe in you. And 2020 will be a year to remember for many reasons, but we will always remember all of you and how you all persevered. It is how you perform in times of adversity that shows true character. And you all are courageous to me. Now go out there and make us super proud!”

Below are selected snapshots presented by graduating seniors. 

Megan Comtois

Megan Comtois Gallery Wall.

Alex A. Graham

Alex Graham Gallery Wall.

Liz Langlais

Liz Langlais Gallery Wall.

Darren Pollock

Darren Pollock Gallery Wall.

Class of 2020 List.