Personal Stylist, J. Hilburn
I am so sorry the end of your year was taken from you. I know you had big things planned, celebrations of all your hard work. You deserved that. I hope right now you are creating, using this time to further your art and explore the way you see the world. I hope you will share it with us. I would love to see your paintings, drawings, fashion, sculptures, photography. I want to see it all! Know that all of the alums are so proud of what you have achieved so far, and we know this experience will inform your creations in ways that you will come to see as wonderful in time. You will come out stronger; we all will. Wishing you health and happiness!
Congratulations on your having achieved the status of graduate. I know from my own experience way back in 1960 that it was an arduous goal. At that time, the "inmates" of Givens were struggling to complete their thesis projects including multiple "all-nighters" but miraculously most everyone managed to put together the necessary documentation to finish. At the time, the technology was T-squares, triangles, pen and ink, handmade models, as opposed to the highly computerized processes you currently use. Now, you can be confident that you have received the most advanced tools to enable you to enter professional practice that Washington University and your seasoned professorial staff have enabled. Best wishes for you and your potential contribution to the field of architecture.
The last words Professor Ron Leax spoke to me the week before I graduated in 2001 were, "Never give in." It set a concluding stamp on a chunk of memory I banked in my brain from my favorite mentor. I wrote it down at the time, and I am glad to have that memory to draw strength from when I need it most.
May you, the graduates of 2020, find ways to remember the essential lessons your mentors at WashU created for you. This hiccup in your progress as a creative soul will only make you more determined to never give in.
I can't imagine how difficult this last few weeks have been for you all. I hope that you know that you have a community of alumni in your corner. If you need something, don't hesitate to reach out.
This time brings all kinds of challenges, not just financial, but also mental. During this time, I've found myself returning to art and creativity. I make things for myself to focus my anxious energy. And I enjoy seeing the community of musicians, artists, cooks, designers, makers come together to create things that are needed, both emotionally and physically, out of limited supplies. That has been inspiring. So, while it isn't the end of the year you had envisioned, know that your art is something you will always have and be able to take with you no matter what. Wishing you all the best!
Bowling Green, Kentucky
CONGRATULATIONS on your achievements, especially in these challenging times. Be mindful of Dr. Martin Luther King's remarkable insight on adversity: "If not for the wind in our face, we would be unable to fly." I say, live your dreams and soar to the edge of your ambitions. You are our future. Be well and make us proud.
Neal Downing, AIA
Class of 1982
Director, Shalom Baranes Associates
Greeting, WashU 2020 Classes. My career has seen many changes in the world, from graduation in 1973 to today. As a freshman 50 years ago in April 1970, in the Quad on the 1st Earth Day, I listened to Pete Seeger sing. He inspired us and continued to advocate for the environment for the rest of his life.
Today you face, along with much of the world and especially our country, challenges to your health, your professional future, your livelihood. Our hearts go out to you during this unworldly time in your lives, when the present seems stolen, and the future is murky. When participation in a physical graduation ceremony is taken away. We applaud your perseverance and extend a hand to provide support, advice, or simply share thoughts. You are the future, know we believe in you: your dreams, drive, and determination. Society needs your engagement, voice, and contributions. Pursue what you love, search out challenges, get involved. Get licensed. Give back. And welcome to the profession!
St. Augustine, Florida
Retired, Hallmark Artist and Freelance Children's Book Illustrator
As a member of the Class of 1970 School of Fine Arts majoring in illustration and design, I wish you much success in the world of art as you graduate. When I attended WashU, it was during the height of Pop Art and Op Art. Many art schools were focused on experimental art. But at WashU's School of Fine Arts, the basics of figure drawing and design were being taught. I remember a professor saying that it was up to us to break our own ground in art and that knowing the basics was at the root of all art. I was glad for that. Even though I knew that I was going to become an illustrator who wanted to do stylized children's art, all those tough anatomy classes and design projects gave me a solid foundation. I had great professors that pushed me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of and taught me to look and think beyond the surface of things. I went on to become a Hallmark artist and children's book illustrator. I will always cherish those four years of learning at Bixby Hall.
Morris Eminent Scholar in Art, Augusta University;
Director, Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University
Soon you will be receiving your degree from Washington University and the Sam Fox School, and that is an accomplishment that the current situation cannot lessen. Congratulations on achieving that success!
Although this seems like a very hard time to envision meeting the many goals you have set for yourself, history tells us that events like the pandemic we are all experiencing inspire some people to do amazing things. That person can be you!
This is an excellent time to take advantage of working in your studio. Under normal circumstances distractions might keep you from studio work. Many artists I know have said that in hard times, it is their studio work that gets them through. It is true for me. I hope it will be true for you, too. When our current situation ends, you will be ready to be an active participant and make your career in the arts.
My best wishes for your future success!
Cheryl Goldsleger, MFA 1975
Chief Executive Artivist, The W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Group, Inc.
Your Life Is A Movie 🎥 🍿 🎞...You Are The Screenwriter, Producer, Director, Soundtrack Composer, & ⭐️ Star Mane...You Can Pick The Genre, The Theme & You Can Even At Times Decide The Ending (Director’s Cut Is Possible)… However, Whatever You Decide To Do, Make Sure To Make It Interesting, Watchable, Memorable & Worthy Of Your Talents... In Other Words, Make It A Blockbuster!!! SEE HOW IT WORKS??? WE 🖤 U MADLY CLASS OF 2020!!!
#R2c2h2Says #ThaArtivist #WUSTLClassOf2002
"If there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough."
As a father with twins graduating high school this spring, I very much sympathize with the absurdity that you may be feeling. Cooper Edens was shared by my favorite instructor, Sheldon Helfman, a color theorist at the Sam Fox School. I used many of Eden's illustrations in my presentations. Though I enjoyed critiques as much as anyone, it is my instructors/critics that I remember: Laura Miller, Richard Sommer, Adrian Luchini, James Harrison, Bob Hansman, Ian Frazier, Udo Kultermann, and Dean Michaelides. Even as a hot glassmaker, I lean on their lessons everyday. I am so very happy that they are a part of my story. Fortunately, you have much time for designing and making. Givens Hall is a magical place with magical people. And who doesn't like cookies?
Casey Hyland, Class of 1995
Director of Recruitment and Outreach, University of Arkansas School of Art
Hello Class of 2020!
I hope you are all well and safe during this time. There are no words to make sense of this. And I'm also not going to try to chalk it up to a "new normal," as this is far from anything we could have expected.
What I will do is tell you that you are incredible. In a time that should be stressful because of mostly good things that come along with graduation and exhibitions, you've had to pivot to now addressing needs that may have come up for you about food insecurity, unemployment, health care, all while trying to stay productive and mentally healthy.
But we're artists. Navigating complex situations with few resources: We've been there. When given a task, we are resourceful and understand that the work takes time. Please know that I am thinking of you and hope that you're doing okay. Things will not always be this way, but I have to hope that we'll come out better and more connected.
Stay safe and hopeful, and ask for help! We're here!
New Orleans, Louisiana
Architect & Urban Designer, Waggonner & Ball Architecture/Environment
Hunter S. Thompson once said, "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." There's no doubt that the going is getting weird... but think about how you are prepared for the challenges ahead! Spatial thinking, holistic problem solving, and envisioning a compelling future—these are core skills and practices that you have and the world needs. Normative practices of design will continue to shift in response to global health and climate challenges, and you are well positioned to be right in the middle of it all. Stick with it and think of this all as a "difficult site" that demands ingenious design thinking.
Principal, SNDBX Design and Architecture
Greetings and well wishes!
Liz and I will sorely miss seeing you all this April at Reunion. WashU holds a special place in our hearts—not only for the nurturing of a lifelong curiosity about the world, but for providing the opportunity for us to meet and be together! Having met at our 20th, we were greatly looking forward to reconnecting with you all here on our 30th! This year leadership and safety take precedence over our desire to gather. Please be safe with each of your families as we weather the COVID pandemic (#HealthyAtHome). We will get through this together. VERY much looking forward to the next available opportunity to meet up and reconnect! Be safe and well.
To my fellow WashU artists, architects, and creative minds,
Having had the pleasure and the honor to pursue my undergraduate and graduate studies at Washington University, I am aware of challenges, both intellectual and academic, required of your program. You are now approaching the successful conclusion of your exciting journey.
Allow me to congratulate you for your wonderful achievement. I want to tell you that you should feel nothing but pride in achieving your hard-earned goals. Your discoveries, projects, and theses are no less powerful than any others done prior, regardless of these exceptional times we live in. As a matter of fact, your success is to be credited more so now than in years past. This is the way I see it: In these exceptional times, the world needs exceptional leaders. The world needs you. Welcome!!!
Goran Maric, Alumni
BFA / MFA Washington U.
All artists are dreamers, and more often than not, those dreams have a foundation somewhere. For me, the foundation of my dreams was at Washington University's School of Fine Art. In all probability, my dreams for the most part were no different from those of my classmates. My dreams centered on achieving recognition as an artist, with art gallery representation in New York City. On a second track, the dream was to become a professor of art, teaching painting and sculpture in a university art department or art school.
The art gallery never materialized, but teaching as a Professor of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia did.
Often our dreams are sidetracked by an opportunity that can become the success we long for. In 1972, the opportunity for me came creating the first nonprofit art gallery in the state of Virginia. With the financial help of local business men, the Second Street Gallery, a civic minded project, became a huge success and is in operation today.
Assistant Professor & Art Ed Coordinator, Tennessee State University
To the Class of 2020,
Sending well wishes to you as this journey is changing in ways you probably never expected and then some! Life is and will always be in full force, moving you to act, grow, and become better with each new adventure. The education I received from WashU was more than enough to put me on the right track of self-discovery. Each decision I made post graduation led me closer to becoming a better person, educator, and creator.
Never stop dreaming, learning, growing, and finding your way. Once you find that spark that really gets you going, you'll see that each step was meant for you to embark on and experience. You are creators—so create the life you've always wanted and continue to authentically impact the world and those around you in ways that only you can imagine! I wish you all the best that life has to offer.
Blessings and peace in abundance.
Go Bears! Rawrr!
If you have any free time in this once-in-a-generation situation, do whatever you can to address the issue of student loan forgiveness; that is the true fight of our generation. There were a bunch of us who graduated during the last recession, and we have turned out ok. Well, turned out ok, meaning we could all at least afford a trip back to St Louis in 2018.
Just remember that, as artists and architects, we use our creativity best when in context. So use the knowledge the faculty has shared and the skills and resources the Sam Fox School has provided, and go forth! Go forth in this unique context. Pencils Down!
Owner/Photographer, Jim Olvera Photographer
Just before I graduated from the School of Art, alumnus Jack Unruh, an illustrator of international renown, spoke to our design class. He displayed his brilliant work, asked if any of us had an interest in moving to Dallas, and asked for a show of hands. Mine was the only one that went up. He gave me his card and said to call him.
A few weeks later, I called, said that I would be in town soon, and he invited me to his studio. He looked at my work, pulled out his Rolodex, and gave me the names and numbers of six designers. I had a job the following Monday. When I called to thank him, he asked me just to do the same for someone else when I had the chance; no thanks necessary.
So here's what I learned. Don't be afraid to contact the people at the top of your field. They may surprise you with their receptivity. Above all, when you have the opportunity (and you will) remember to help others who are trying to find their way. We're all in this together.
I am SO sorry your final spring has been spent like this! If I can give you all any advice it would be this: Spend the summer together with your fellow friends/classmates. Hang out in St. Louis and make art or move together to the same city. Fifteen years after graduating I still work with and hang out with many of my fellow Sam Fox alumni and those lifelong friends ground you and inspire you to keep making art in all its many forms. After this is all over, use the alumni network in whatever city/town you end up in as well. I hear Austin's pretty great ;)
Good luck and stay safe!
Class of 2005
Corpus Christi, Texas
Curator, Rockport Center for the Arts
Hello from the Class of 2007! Congratulations on graduating from one of the best art schools in the country.
Your chosen career is so important during these types of crises. Art gives us hope, purpose, and meaning in our lives. As we are forced to be apart, it's art and creativity that keep us together as a community. And when this is all over, it'll be the artists who distill and make sense of the shared trauma of the COVID pandemic.
I graduated right before the Recession of 2008. I know that now is not an ideal economy to enter, but everyone I graduated with turned out okay. We're WashU bears, we are resilient.
Raleigh, North Carolina
President, Revware Inc.
Much of my time at WashU seems like a distant dream, but memories of studying architecture in Givens Hall remain sharp and invigorating. You are at a transitional time, in a course of study, with an association of friends and peers who are shaping your life more profoundly than any experience to come—or so that is how it was for me, viewing from 40 years out. And I cherish the memories. Facing the challenge confronting you today, I pray that you can say the same in the years to come. And I believe you will. I wish you the best for finishing your studies, for starting your careers, for building your families, for enjoying the adult lives unfolding before you.