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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Kevin Donovan

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Platteville High School

Hometown: Platteville, Wis.

Majors: Graphic design; multimedia journalism and mass communication

Minor: Philosophy

Activities: Augustana Symphony Orchestra, The Augustana Observer, The Gray Matters Collective, Advertising Developers, Web Guild, SAGA, varsity track & field (3 years), Ultimate Frisbee, Photography Club, Fencing Club

Internships: Foundations Marketing Group (NYC); Augustana Web Guild; ENACTUS

Post-grad plans: Nothing set in stone yet, but I'm working on it.

Why Augustana?   

I like to keep myself busy with a lot of different things, and Augustana would allow me to continue to do what I was passionate about, help me grow in those areas and allow me to grow outside of that. I knew that, at Augie, I would be able to learn more about things like graphic design, continue to be an athlete and play in the orchestra, and try something new, as well as learn more about what I felt was important to me.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?  

Yes and no. I knew that I liked graphic design, but I never thought I would enjoy journalism and philosophy as much as I did. That I started doing the things I did isn't really a surprise to me, like working on the newspaper or doing photography, but I never thought I'd be an editor for the paper or run a podcast, that I would use my photography in a mental health campaign, that I'd be making videos for an ad campaign or that I would be doing what I am with what I thought I would be doing.

Who helped you get to where you are now?   

A lot of people. Augustana is a community. It's that community that helps people grow. A lot of people in this community have helped me get to where I am and being a part of that community is incredible. From professors, music instructors, coaches, friends, peers, my advisors and co-workers, they have all contributed some way or another to shape who I am today, whether it was in class, advice or even just a single moment.

The Augustana community builds people up, gives them the opportunities to flourish, and looks forward to seeing what they do next, whatever and wherever that may be. The encouragement and support I received from the people around me helped me grow as a student in my field and as a person.

Peak experience?    

It's hard to pick out one thing that happened over the last four years, and a lot of what did happen is important to me. Something that will always stick out to me is a study abroad trip to Amsterdam spring term of my junior year to study art, design, literature and history. Overall, it was an incredible experience: I joined a Frisbee club, explored the city by bike, produced some of my best design work and learned a lot about my design process and myself.

What surprised you?    

One surprise was the response to The Gray Matters mental health campaign's first event during my junior year. Mental health is important, but it was still a surprise to me to see the campus response in the turnout at that first event and how much The Gray Matters Collective has grown since then. It was incredible to see so many people show up in support of mental health.

How did you use your Augie Choice?  

I used my Augie Choice to help pay for my internship in New York City. I spent the fall term of my junior year working as a graphic designer at Foundations Marketing Group in Madison, N.J., and in New York City.

What will you miss the most?    

I said a lot about the community, so it's no surprise that's what I will miss the most. From the group critique sessions in my graphic design classes, working with friends at The Observer or the EDGE Center, to playing in the orchestra and playing Frisbee after class, the community is something that cannot be replaced. It's something that affects all of us one way or another, even if we aren't heavily involved around campus.

Advice for the Class of 2024?   

Have a goal in mind but never, absolutely never, should you let that goal stop you from doing something different, and not just in terms of trying new things. You will learn more about yourself as you grow, and your goals should grow and change, too. You might end up somewhere you never thought.

“'Good work ethic' does not do him justice. Kevin shows up early every day on a summer internship in the EDGE Center…he is thrust into a crisis team moving over 200 websites in 48 hours, learning code as he goes…then digs into new challenges and learns new skills to accomplish his assigned projects…and follows up by doing more internship hours in EDGE his senior year. Now some lucky organization will get to add him to their workforce! Outstanding!"

– Doug Tschopp, Entrepreneural Center (EDGE) director and public relations instructor