Class of 2015 Outcomes: Olivia Bruner Chases Graphic Design Dreams


With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2015:

Name: Olivia Bruner

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky

Major: Bruner graduated with degrees in Graphic Design and Strategic Communication on May 9.

Post-graduation plans: Bruner will attend graduate school at the University of Cincinnati to pursue her Master of Design. She received a graduate assistantship with the graduate school office, which will cover full tuition, plus a yearly stipend. UC’s Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) College is one of the top five design schools in the world (BusinessInsider) and a top ten design graduate program in the nation. During her time at UC, Bruner will participate in a four-month service learning co-op. After receiving her master’s degree and gaining experience in the graphic design field, Bruner plans to teach at the college level.

How HPU helped you get there: “HPU’s faculty and staff, my superiors, colleagues and friends in Roberts Hall, and my peers have all dedicated insurmountable time and effort to help me formulate goals and give me the confidence to make them realities. The graphic design department and Office of Communications have been especially supportive in helping me realize a lifelong goal of attending graduate school. I would not be an incoming UC grad student without their help!

Career & Internship Services supported me tremendously by helping me build a resume. I literally walked in with a list of my awards and accomplishments, and clubs and organizations, and left with a professional resume. Kellie McLeod, the career advisor for the School of Communication, is a huge asset to all the COM students and went above and beyond to provide me with outstanding service. From the meetings I had with Ms. McLeod I learned that the services offered by HPU’s career counselors are available to alumni free of charge. This represents just one of hundreds of ways my alma mater proves to be extraordinary!”

Most impactful mentor at HPU: “From day one, my Media Fellows advisor, Dr. Charisse McGhee-Lazarou, dedicated herself to the growth, success and wellbeing of us students. With her impressive background in the media industry, Charisse provided us with unique perspectives, unbeatable connections and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The fabulous, nonpareil faculty in the School of Art and Design are without a doubt some of my most treasured people on Earth. I am forever thankful for the steadfast support and gracious guidance of Allan Beaver, Benita VanWinkle, Mark Brown, Scott Raynor, Karen Maness, Bruce Shores, Anna Piperato and Janis Dougherty. These individuals are more than educators. More than mentors. They stoke my passion to dream, to persevere, and help others do the same.

More than anything, I will always appreciate Mrs. Dougherty’s selflessness and the incredible guidance she has given me, especially last semester as I was applying for grad school. Last December, as I was finishing up my grad school applications, I sent my portfolio to Mrs. Dougherty hoping she might be able to give me some last minute advice, but understanding that since the semester was over and we had all gone home I probably wouldn’t hear back from her. To my awe, Mrs. Dougherty replied back with three pages of constructive, thorough advice, comments for each of my 21 portfolio pieces. Not only were we on winter break at the time, but Mrs. Dougherty was also on maternity leave! I could never adequately describe how much her generosity means me, but I am confident that without her creative wisdom my portfolio would lack the pizzazz necessary to be granted grad school admission.

Bruner designed dozens of items for HPU, including these exclusive water bottle labels.

Bruner designed dozens of items for HPU, including these exclusive water bottle labels.

Most impactful moment at HPU: “Being hired as a graphic design student intern in the Office of Communications awarded me with invaluable opportunities to mature as a designer, practice professionalism, and build my personal renown. Over my 18 months as student intern I gained experience beyond measure designing promotional, advertising and marketing material for HPU, including logos (like HPU Poll and Earth Week 2015), posters, water bottle labels (for the entire 2014-15 school year!), banners, and a billboard. Most of the design material I had my hand in during the internship was published anonymously, yet I don’t think I will ever tire of the ego boost I get whenever I meet my published work for the first time. No matter if it’s a 26 by 13 foot billboard or a 3.5 by 2 inch hotel key card, the surge of satisfaction that leaps from my very core is always felt with the same magnitude. I am so grateful to Hillary Kokajko, Christine Urbowicz, Roger Clodfelter, Natalie Haire and Mary Ealley for seeing my potential, for giving me numerous occasions to put my stamp on University publications, and for encouraging me with your guidance, kindness and enthusiasm. Finding a work environment more inspiring than Roberts 313 is going to be tough!”

Advice for underclassmen: “Make this university proud to have you. Strive to be someone your classmates, professors and university staff will remember long after you cross the stage, receive your diploma and shake Dr. Qubein’s hand. Show your gratitude for HPU by making a positive impact on campus, and others will be inspired by you. Improve your environment by being the type of person you want to meet!”


Are you a 2015 HPU graduate with an exciting job or graduate school offer?
Share your news with us for a chance to be featured!  


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