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Ohio Northern graphic design student honored as finalist for Excellence in the Visual Arts Award

February—Ohio Northern University student Lauren Hector, a senior graphic design major from Mt. Cory, Ohio, has been selected for the 2015 Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUO) Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts (EVA). She also is a finalist for the Grand Award, which includes a cash prize of $2,500.

The AICUO awards ceremony takes place on April 7 at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. A student panel of finalists beings at 5 p.m., followed by a reception and then the awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

“Being chosen as an AICUO Award finalist is such an honor,” said Lauren. “It means a lot to me because it shows that all my hard work is paying off. It also tells me I am seen as having potential for the future, which is always encouraging to hear.

“It is a very humbling experience as well,” continued Lauren. “Being one out of six [award] finalists from a pool of countless other extremely talented individuals can leave you feeling no other way. I’m incredibly thankful for this experience and really just honored beyond words.”

Lauren’s submission to the AICUO award competition focused on “the idea of using design for good and the goal of social impact or social change” (

“I believe in using design for good because I believe in people,” stated Lauren. “Through design, the environment can improve, people can change, and the world as a whole can prosper. Companies that are earth conscious can be built. Charities that help others can be implemented. Peoples’ attitudes, beliefs, and ideas can all be changed through one single design. The ability to persuade is a powerful thing, and when used correctly it can ignite great change…”

During the past few years, Lauren has been named to the Dean’s List at ONU and has been active in various activities including AIGA|The Professional Association for Design, Kappa Pi art honorary, Phi Eta Sigma honorary, Alpha Lambda Delta honorary, Leader’s Counsel, and the ONU Women’s Club Volleyball. The last two summers, she earned the Weir scholarship to assist with completing internships for the Bluffton News and for Igloo Letterpress.

Also nominated from Ohio Northern for the AICUO award was Abby Brown, a senior advertising design major from Cincinnati, Ohio.

At the awards ceremony in April, the AICUO judging panel will award a grand prize winner from one of the six finalists and a People’s Choice Award will also be distributed based on the most popular votes taken from an online public voting event.

The students’ work can be viewed at To vote, click on the “People’s Choice” link at the top of the page, then click on one of the submissions and click “vote.” 

The AICUO EVAs are six awards presented to senior art students who attend one of the 49 independent institutions in Ohio and have been nominated by department chairs or deans. The first round of judging consists of art department faculty from member institutions, while second round judges are community leaders from Ohio involved in the visual arts.

As the nation’s first intercollegiate online arts competition, the AICUO EVA recognizes outstanding students from the art programs at independent colleges and universities in every region of Ohio. Launched in 2008, the EVAs uses the Internet as a venue for the awards, providing each nominated student with a permanent online portfolio on the AICUO Award Web site,

The mission of the Ohio Northern graphic design program is to prepare undergraduate students to become socially and environmentally aware leaders in the field of visual communication. Focusing on development and mastery of conceptual and technical skills in graphic design, illustration, and advertising as well as studio electives, cross disciplinary courses and collaborative experiences prepare students for the convergence of the design fields and for positions as creative directors across a broad spectrum of increasingly media-based careers. Graduates from the program have gone on to work at companies such as Wunderman Design, Foothold Design, Smithsonian Institution, Milan Historical Museum, NiSource, Bubbles Academy, and Recess Creative.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide.

image: From the cradle-to-cradle poster series, Rethink exploits how our actions today dictate the future. These posters encourage the audience to think twice about their habits and how they affect the environment for future generations.