School of Art Presents the First Graduating Class of New B.F.A. in Graphic Design

The first graduating class of the new Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design.
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The first graduating class of the new Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design.

The School of Art's first graduating class with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design will graduate this Friday, May 10. 

In fall 2016, the former Department of Art in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences launched the new degree program, a significant step forward signaling the importance the University of Arkansas is placing on artists and designers.

The B.F.A. program creates opportunities for students to further specialize in professional graphic design. The degree offers an enhanced focus on human-centered and interaction design, typography, branding and design research. 

"We are so proud of this first class of graduates from the new Bachelor of Fine Arts in the graphic design program," said Tom Hapgood, associate professor and head of graphic design  program. "Their hard work and dedication to the curriculum and faculty has set the standard for future graduates."

Black and yellow logo for "Shift"Nine students will graduate this Friday with a B.F.A. in graphic design. The faculty describes the first nine as a unit, collaborators and a new class of problem solvers. Throughout the past three years they have mentored peers from upcoming classes, engaged the schools registered student organization and partnered with the local design community, all elements contributing the programs' success.

Graphic design is now one of the fastest growing areas within the School of Art. From the first class of nine to now accepting 30 graduates each year, totaling 90 students in the program at one time.

With the program in high demand additional faculty have joined the School of Art graphic design area. B.F.A. graphic design courses are taught by associate professor David Charles Chioffi, interim associate director of the School of Art and associate professor Marty Maxwell Lane, associate professor Tom Hapgood, assistant professor Bree McMahon, assistant professor Ali Place and visiting senior instructor Ryan Slone

"The future is bright," said Marty Maxwell Lane, interim associate director of the School of Art and associate professor. "This first graduating class is incredibly talented, diverse and deeply kind, we cannot wait to see how these designers will thrive in their careers and communities."

The graduating class of 2019 will share their work one last time as students this Saturday, May 11, at senior show, "SHIFT." It will be a night of Pecha Kucha style presentations from each of the nine graduating seniors. The seniors and their topics of presentation include:

  • Jackie Aguilar-Vega, Making Sustainable Choices
  • Tarren Cox, Advocating for the Silent Majority
  • Eric Henderson, Finding the Language of Objects
  • Karen Hessing, Encouraging Healthier Eating Habits in College
  • Alejandra Rubio, Career Oriented Service Learning
  • Alejandro Sanchez, The Importance of the Education of Gender Pronouns
  • Maria Scott, Using Community to Create a Better Tourist Experience
  • Gina Smith, Machine Learning and Money Management
  • Madeline Triola, Integrating Creativity in K-5 Classrooms

They will present their degree project, a culmination of their design education over the last three years applied to an area of personal interest. Topics range from design interventions in public education to environmental concerns, to social issues and personal finance. 

The School of Art celebrates these seniors and invites the public to attend SHIFT, Saturday, May 11, at Modus Studio, 15 N. Church Ave. #102, Fayetteville from 6-9 p.m.


Kayla Crenshaw, director of communications
School of Art


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