Honors College, celebrating 25th year, receives national award

Annual magazine designed by student takes first place
From left, student designer Emily Drake with Honors College staff Amy Brostrom, Xanthi Gerasimo and Chris Ferguson.
​Jerry Poling | December 6, 2019

The Honors College at University of Wisconsin-Stout is celebrating more than its 25th anniversary this year. Along with enriching students’ academic and campus experiences since 1994, it has won a national award

Recently, the Honors College earned first place for newsletter design at the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference in New Orleans. The 2018-19 Honorary, a 40-page color magazine, was designed by Emily Drake, of Hudson, a senior in graphic design and interactive media.

“The award was the culmination of Emily’s design work for the Honors College,” said Chris Ferguson, college director and an associate professor in the social science department.

The cover of the Honorary, UW-Stout’s Honors College magazine, which took first place nationally for design.I am so proud of this magazine as a whole,” said Drake, who also designed the 2017-18 magazine. “There is such a variety of elements that make it my favorite.”

She worked on the publication weekly, with staff support, starting in fall 2018. It was printed last spring.

One of her favorite sections was a two-page graphic spread that revealed how the college has grown and impacted students. She showed that retention and graduation rates among honors students are significantly higher than the university norm; the number of honors graduates has grown from three 20 years ago to 73 last spring; and the number of honors courses has gone from four to 26.

Other magazine features included:

  • A Q&A with the three directors, Bob Horan, 1994 to 2011; Professor Lopa Basu, 2011-2016; and Ferguson, 2016 to present.
  • Examples of recent student honors contracts, such as a set of illustrations created by Rosalie Mattair, of Sussex, a senior entertainment design major. She hopes to become an illustrator.
  • Honors students who studied abroad in England, France, New Zealand, Scotland and Sweden.
  • A list of honors graduates, an update on honors alumni and list of students who presented research.

Emily DrakeI learned so much about typography and what looks good to the human eye. I learned how to make sure my reader had an easy time reading the content and making sure that no extravagant design would distract them,” Drake said.

Drake has worked in the Honors College office since her first year on campus, creating numerous posters and other printed materials. She also established the college’s type treatment and created branding for the Upper Midwest Honors Conference at UW-Stout in April. She has a website featuring her design work.

Her Honors College design work inspired her to switch majors from a teaching field to graphic design. “The Honors College has taught me so much and encouraged me so well that I knew I could make a career out of design,” said Drake, who will begin her career freelancing for a Twin Cities company where she interned.

A total of 604 students are in the Honors College this fall. It was elevated to college status in 2012, becoming only the second Honors College in the UW System. Students are invited to join based on their high school academic record or may apply.

This is the second national award for the Honorary, which took a second place in 2016.

Ferguson and three Honors College staff members attended the national conference and presented on retention initiatives: Tom Pearson, assistant director; Amy Brostrom, program associate; and Xanthi Gerasimo, academic adviser.

Also, Professor Joan Navarre, English and philosophy department; Brody Pierce, of Bennett, a sophomore in professional communication and emerging media; and Emily Delo, of Milwaukee, a junior in mechanical engineering, attended and presented on a collaborative project with Indiana State University on the theme of failure and success.



The cover of the Honorary, UW-Stout’s Honors College magazine, which took first place nationally for design.

Emily Drake

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