“There’s nothing more pleasant than helping someone in need and watching them achieve success,” said Product Design graduate Vladimir Almonnord, recipient of Art Center’s Student Leadership Award for the Spring 2013 term. “It’s the fuel that keeps me going and that motivates me at times I feel defeated.”
Each term, Art Center presents the Student Leadership Award to a deserving student from the College. The award is a distinguished honor granted to a graduating student who exemplifies leadership qualities and accomplishments that stand out above their peers.
“He has a passion for the process of designing meaningful products, is a superb visual storyteller and produces exceptional results on a grand scale,” said one faculty nominator of Almonnord, a student who forged a unique path that fused product design, illustration, entertainment design and transportation design.
“What surprised me the most about him was how he shares his time and thoughts with almost anyone and everyone that approached him,” said a student nominator.
“He reminds me of what kind of growth is possible, not just in skills, but in character, professionalism and attitude,” added another faculty nominator of Almonnord who, as a team leader for the Designmatters Change on the Streets transdisciplinary studio, helped address two critical issues facing the city of Pasadena: homelessness and panhandling.
“Perhaps his most important leadership achievement while at Art Center is how he willingly nurtured the talents of his peers,” said Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman when introducing Almonnord to the stage at last week’s graduation ceremony.
Hoffman went on to describe Almonnord as a student who was always available to assist students with their projects or portfolios. As a peer mentor, he helped new students make connections in their community. As a member and co-leader of Concept Help, he helped lower-term students push their projects further. And as a teaching assistant, he helped his colleagues expand their perspectives on the possibilities of design.
After receiving the award, Almonnord told the audience a story about his second day of orientation when he was nervously scoping out his competition. “[Product Design Chair] Karen Hofmann then told us, ‘Remember the faces you see in this room today. These are your peers, your friends and your network that will extend far beyond the borders of Art Center,’” said Almonnord. “A few terms passed by, and before I even realized it, my perspective had changed. I no longer saw my classmates as competitors but as peers. As creatives. As individuals that had alternative perspectives and skills that we could leverage off each other and grow exponentially as artists and designers.”
Students who receive the Student Leadership Award represent the character, the integrity and the skills that Art Center desires for all students to develop during their time at the College. Recipients must have represented student interests by providing outstanding leadership through broad involvement in Art Center campus life.
Additionally, Almonnord received a number of scholarships throughout his Art Center career, including the Toyota Motor Corporation Endowed Scholarship in 2010 and 2011.