GRAND RAPIDS – Oliver Evans, president of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University is a silver medalist.
Evans, who has helmed the Grand Rapids institution for nearly two decades, received the American Advertising Federation West Michigan’s Silver Medal Award for 2011. He is the first member from the education realm to earn it.
“On one hand, I am very honored to receive the award,” Evans said. “On the other, I’m flattered the advertising community has recognized that Kendall College of Art and Design is, year in and year out, providing a solid educational foundation for our students.
“There is an extraordinary commitment by our faculty to prepare students for professional lives … there are a number of alumni out in the advertising world, especially in this community, who are making a contribution. That’s a big part of this award.”
The AAF Silver Medal was established in 1959 to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern. Recipients are selected by a panel of past recipients.
During the past 18 years of his presidency, Kendall has grown to be one of the largest design schools in Michigan. Under Evans’ leadership, advancements have been made in development of advertising-related programs, including graphic design, drawing, illustration, digital media and photography.
Nearly 240 of the school’s 1,400 students are Graphic Design majors who likely will seek work in advertising, Evans said.
“The handprint Dr. Evans has left on Kendall will continue to have an impact far into the future of the college and its graduates,” Tim Mroz, AAFWMI president, said in a statement. “His dedication to building a premier college of art and design in West Michigan is producing the next generation of world-class creative professionals in the region.”
Kendall has nearly tripled its enrollment during Evans’ presidency, which will end with his retirement in July.
“I’m very, very gratified with the increases in enrollment. It’s representative, really, of the quality of our programs,” he said. “I’m very pleased.”
Kendall prepares students for leadership in the visual arts, design, art history and
art education. Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered, as well as dual enrollment
opportunities for high school students. The college also provides art and design programs
for more than 2,000 children and adults in the community each year.
The campus will expand later this year when the renovated former Federal Building opens for classroom, studio and administrative space.
“We’ll have a soft opening this spring for our student exhibition and a formal opening in the fall,” Evans said. “I’m happy to have a place to exhibit our students’ work, and I’m glad that it will be ready for the new president.”
That person is David M. Rosen, senior vice president and vice president for Academic Affairs at Woodbury University, a private California-based college in Burbank, Los Angeles and San Diego that specializes in art, architecture, media, design and business.