10 Questions for our alumni

Rory Miller, BFA Studio Art (Printmaking), 2014

Rory Miller, BFA Studio Art (Printmaking), 2014

1 - Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?

Both of my parents graduated from Grand Valley, so I grew up attending GVSU sporting events and participating in athletic and art camps at Grand Valley's campus. Because of such, I was familiar with the university and it's campus and decided it was a good fit to pursue my education after graduating from high school.


2 - How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?

I was passionate about art in high school and didn't feel that pursuing a degree in anything else would be fulfilling or enjoyable. However, because Grand Valley is a liberal arts college, I would still have the opportunity to attend classes outside of my emphasis area that would broaden my knowledge and expose me to different disciplines.


3 - What advice do you have for future students thinking about colleges?

In my opinion, get ready to hit the ground running. College, for me, was substantially more difficult and demanding than high school. Research your schools of choice and pick one that not only offers the degree you want to pursue, but also has a campus life that fits your lifestyle.


4 - What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?

Discover what you're passionate about and pursue it. If you are studying or working in a field that you love, it makes life significantly more enjoyable. Don't choose a degree because of what your parents or friends want you to do. After all, college is the beginning of your life-long game of decision trial and error. Embrace the challenge.


5 - What did you do after graduating?

While in college, I ran a t-shirt screen printing shop and after graduation I continued to work there for about a year.


6 - What are you doing now?

I am a furniture technician at Herman Miller. I have been with Herman Miller for about 4 years, 3 years as a manufacturing associate and 1 year as a furniture technician.


7 - How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?

Obviously, my printmaking emphasis was put to good use while working at the screen printing shop, but my education has come in to play at Herman Miller quite a bit as well. My eye for design and keen sense of quality is put to use on a daily basis, and my liberal arts education has also helped me immensely. My job requires interpersonal skills and creative problem solving, and my education at Grand Valley prepared me to handle these situations with ease. In my opinion, entering the work force with a liberal arts education has benefitted me more than an arts-specific degree would have.


8 - What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?

Work, work, work. A strong work ethic will get you further in life than most education or connections will.


9 - What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?

To be honest, meeting my wife, Emily Miller, at Calder art center. Also, attending football games, living in the living centers (you meet and become friends with people you may have never otherwise associated with, and some of those people will be with you the rest of your life), critiques and exhibitions with my fellow art students, and many, MANY sleepless nights completing art projects.


Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?

Nothing that comes to mind other than GO LAKERS!


Image credits: Rory Miller. 

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Page last modified October 27, 2019