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Graphic Design Senior Jamie Vander Werf Named 2015 KCAD Valedictorian

Posted May 1, 2015 in StudentPublic

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) is pleased to announce Graphic Design student Jamie Vander Werf as the Valedictorian of the college’s 2015 graduating class. Vander Werf, a 2010 graduate of Forest Hills Eastern High School, will be a keynote speaker during KCAD’s commencement ceremony on May 9.

2015 Valedictorian Jamie Vander Werf2015 Valedictorian Jamie Vander Werf

“Jamie is one of the sweetest, kindest, and smartest students I have ever had the pleasure of knowing in all of my years here at Kendall,” said Dean of the College Ron Riksen. “She’s everything we want a KCAD student to be: driven, passionate, open-minded, and relentlessly curious. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than her.”

Vander Werf has been named to both the Dean’s List and the President’s List each of her four years at KCAD.

“I’ve loved art ever since I could hold a pencil, and I’ve always known that I wanted to go into a creative field,” she said. “I started out in school doing sketches, and they were always well received, but then in my senor year of high school I actually started working with some of the Adobe programs and I was hooked. I knew then that I wanted to go into graphic design.”

class project by Jamie Vander WerfAn image from one of Vander Werf's class projects, a re-brand of Blend magazine

Within the Graphic Design program, Vander Werf’s emphasis is on branding and advertising.

“I enjoy writing, so it’s rewarding to create a voice for a brand as well as the imagery that goes along with it,” she said. “It all comes down to research. You have to look into where the brand currently is and why it may not be working as well as it could. I always picture an audience first, and then learn as much as I can about that audience and what might engage them in a meaningful way.”

Graphic Design Program Chair Jason Alger added, “Jamie is the quintessential student: diligent and ambitious. Her ability to control the seemingly unmanageable aspects of student life and the projects and responsibilities she's presented with on a near daily basis is admirable. Jamie takes it all in stride, never flinching from her responsibility or sacrificing the quality of her work. Her willingness to engage in suggestion and criticism – from both classmates and faculty – provides a substantive basis for the highly detailed level and development of her work.”

class work by Jamie Vander WerfBillboard concept for a branding project Vander Werf completed for class

Upon graduation, Vander Werf hopes to work for a branding or advertising agency, and while she’s content for now to test the waters of Grand Rapids’ vibrant design community, she’s open to any opportunity that may come her way.

“I think it’s really important to never stop learning,” she said. “A lot of my teachers have been working in the field for a long time, and they tell us all about how much it’s changed. You have to be ready to change with the times. You have to be ready for anything.”

KCAD’s commencement ceremony will be held on May 9 from 10:30am-12:00pm at Fountain Street Church. The event is ticketed and is not open to the public.

Check out our Q&A with Jamie Vander Werf over on the KCAD Blog, and see further examples of her work at behance.net/jamievanderwerf,