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Academy of Art University's Class of 2010 Leads the Way to a Creative Future

President Dr. Elisa Stephens at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony
President Dr. Elisa Stephens at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony

Confident of success in their futures, eager students filled the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in the heart of San Francisco for the 2010 Academy of Art University Commencement ceremony. Friends and family snapped pictures of the black-robed graduates to commemorate the day.

President of Academy of Art University Dr. Elisa Stephens commended students on their unprecedented number of awards won this year. "I am thrilled for each and everyone one of you. Thrilled because I see success in your future," said Dr. Stephens. Noting the already considerable achievements of the class, she continued, "Success is already upon you."

Academy of Art University's undergraduate valedictorian Cristina Rotundo is a shining example of the talented students graduating this year. Cristina, a Graphic Design graduate, has already had her designs exhibited through the San Francisco Urban Forest Project and on packaging design blog The Dieline. "We have all fought hard to be here today, and I feel privileged to be among all of you," she told her fellow classmates.

Shannon Widmer, this year's graduate valedictorian, is the first ever exclusively online student to be named valedictorian at Academy of Art University. While she stands as an example, she was also grateful for the guidance she received from her instructors and fellow students.

"There were times I felt like I couldn't possibly do it all, but I was able to stay committed through the encouragement of my instructors, family and friends," Shannon said. "During my time at the Academy, I had the honor of working with so many passionate and talented artists."

Graduates at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony
Graduates at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony

Distinguished Honorary Doctorate awardees, Sherrie McGraw and Tom Sherak offered students sage advice for their futures. McGraw applauded students for "pioneering a new chapter in art." Academy of Art University alumni Caleb Whitbeck, Denise Cherry, Nicole Franco and Chuck Pyle were also recognized for the amazing work they have done in art and design.

From winning international awards to designing pieces already in use by real-world clients, this year's graduates stand out among their peers. Due to their stunning work, some students have already been offered jobs well-known companies such as General Motors and Abercrombie & Fitch among others.

Proud parents looked on while students walked across the stage. As graduates stood to be recognized for their achievement, friends, family and faculty erupted into applause. Though the ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of the graduating class, it also marks the beginning of their amazing journey to come.

Congratulations to Academy of Art University's Class of 2010! View a video of the Commencement ceremony.

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