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The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design awarded bachelor of fine arts degrees to 120 students on May 12, in the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall.

The graduates of Wisconsin’s only independent, four-year college of art and design join 2,200 other alumni in the coveted creative class that fuels the state’s economy and society. Some 80 percent of MIAD alumni live and work in Wisconsin, negating a well-documented regional brain drain.

In keeping with MIAD tradition, the graduates elected speakers for their commencement exercises.

  • Tom Wanderer, an honors student and originally from Batavia, Ill., who majored in Printmaking. Before attending MIAD, Wanderer studied printmaking at Anchor Graphics in Chicago and worked as a printmaker for Chicago’s Gallery 37 program. His thesis project encompasses mixed media painting, printmaking, drawing and collage to document this time in history with humor and cultural references.
  • Jim Slauson, a professor of Art and Design History, and humanities courses, at MIAD for more than two decades. Slauson is a national conference speaker and presenter, most recently at this spring’s FATE conference hosted by MIAD for art and design educators from across the country.
  • Marissa Nans, an honors student with a major in Interior Architecture and Design and minor in Art History. Originally from Milwaukee and Pius XI High School, Nans is completing a yearlong internship at Engberg Anderson Design Partnership. Her senior thesis project, on exhibit through May 12, is a pre-fabricated kit home intended for mass building in the povertystricken townships of South Africa.