Kendall president earns AAFWM Silver Medal

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Oliver Evans, president of Kendall College of Art and Design, has received the American Advertising Federation West Michigan’s Silver Medal Award for 2011. Established in 1959, the award recognizes individuals who have made great strides to further the industry, contributing to the professional excellence and socially responsible practices of their local advertising community.

Recipients of the Silver Medal Award are selected by a secret panel of past recipients. Typically, the honoree has been a professional working directly within the advertising industry.

Evans is the first-ever member of academia to receive this honor.

“I think there is a recognition that advertisers and good creative people don’t just happen,” said Evans. “The strength of the advertising community depends in part on the quality of the education advertisers receive. I’m flattered that there’s been a recognition of the important role that education plays in creating a good, solid advertising community.”

Increasingly, Kendall’s curriculum has a focus on producing not just creative professionals but business-minded creative professionals. Through its MBA with a concentration in design and innovation management and other business-oriented programs, Evans said the college is graduating students who are not just finding work in advertising, but are emerging as leaders in the industry.

In his 18 years of leadership at Kendall, Evans has helped further the development of advertising-related disciplines such as graphic design, drawing, illustration, digital media and photography. The college is also active within the community, annually providing programs in art and design for more than 2,000 children and adults.

Kendall alumni involvement in the community, both professionally and socially, has spurred significant economic growth, he said.

“Design professions play a critical role in economic success,” said Evans. “Design thinking contributes in strong and meaningful ways to innovation and to the development of new economic opportunities.”

Evans said that in a region that prides itself on innovation, the ability to train and retain creative professionals will be critical to creating a thriving, design-centric city.

“Grand Rapids has a long history of being a very important center for design,” said Evans. “I think that design is increasingly being recognized as a key element to business success.”

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