SF Bay Area

    A Spring Finale

    Opportunities abound as industry and alumni view student work from all Academy departments


    A student from the School of Graphic Design shows her work to an industry guest at Spring Show. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Academy of Art University’s annual Spring Show serves as an epicenter of innovative design and talent, as all of its departments, from fine art and fashion to illustration and industrial design, put forth their students’ best work to be viewed by special industry guests as well as students’ families, friends and peers.

    This year was no different as the 22 creative disciplines along with Academy President Dr. Elisa Stephens hosted a packed Opening Night at 2225 Jerrold. As guests mingled throughout the venue, departments held award ceremonies as a way to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary work and effort of their students.

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    2018 Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Will Mosgrove

    To say that Academy of Art University has been a major part of honorary doctorate recipient Will Mosgrove’s life is an understatement. Mosgrove, who served as graduate director of the Academy’s School of Photography from 2006 to 2015, also earned his B.F.A. from what was then Academy of Art College. His graduating class of 1978 had just 20 members, one of whom—Anne Cook—would become his wife. The couple will celebrate 38 years of marriage later this year.

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    2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Stephanie Thomas

    Although her disability may not be obvious, Stephanie Thomas has always found shopping for stylish clothes that are easy to put on and take off a challenge. A congenital amputee, Thomas was born missing digits on her hands and feet. But it was shopping for a pet that put her on the path to becoming a fashion stylist and advocate for the disabled. Thomas was a radio deejay in Los Angeles when a dog coat caught her eye in a pet store in 2007. The coat was not only cute, but also carefully designed with buttons and pockets in just the right spots for a dog’s body.

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    Class of 2018 Valedictorian: Keri Yourick

    Since 2005, Academy of Art University M.F.A. valedictorian Keri Yourick’s thirst for knowledge and self-discovery have led her to many different places. She’s studied in Florida, Colorado, Italy and California. Along the way, she’s accumulated an impressive collection of degrees. They include a B.A. in Italian from The Ohio State University in Florida, a school she attended on a lacrosse scholarship; a B.A. in fashion design from the Art Institute of Colorado; and her latest, an M.F.A. in fashion product development from the Academy. Always driven to do her best, Yourick graduated with honors from each of her alma maters.

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    2018 Honorary Doctorate Recipient: David Pfeil

    For the past 20 years, David Oliver Pfeil has played a key role in Academy of Art University’s commencement ceremonies. The former director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television (MPT) creates the engaging videos that celebrate the accomplishments of each distinguished alumni and honorary doctorate recipient. This year, in addition to filming the stories of other honorees, Pfeil got to turn the spotlight on himself. On May 9, he received an honorary doctorate from Academy President Dr. Elisa Stephens.

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    Class of 2018 Valedictorian: Dante Finn

    Dante Finn, Academy of Art University valedictorian from the School of Game Development (GAM), always knew he wanted to be an artist – in fact, he preferred art to his own family.

    “When I was four years old, my mom, who is here today, told me that my sister was going to have a daughter and that I was going to be an uncle,” he told the audience during his speech at the May 9 afternoon commencement ceremony at Bill Graham Auditorium. “I replied, ‘I don’t want to be an uncle. I want to be an artist!’”

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