VSA Founding Partner and Vice Chairman Dana Arnett has been honored by his alma mater, Northern Illinois University, with a lifetime achievement award for Excellence in Arts. He is the first to receive this honor as an esteemed graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“I am incredibly humbled by this special distinction. It’s one of those ‘full circle’ moments that makes me grateful for all of the ups and downs of my journey as a student and as a designer,” Dana shared. “NIU was transformative for me. The diverse programs and distinguished faculty I came to know during my time there challenged all my assumptions about what I could do and be.”
As a student, Dana began his education pursuing a traditional design major, but ultimately graduated with a degree in comprehensive design—a special program he was encouraged to pursue by the Chairperson of the Fine Arts department at the time. He has since had a storied design career, working with global clients such as IBM, Lowe’s, Nike, Harley-Davidson, among others. He’s also been honored with achievements ranging from leading design for the State Department’s SPARK entrepreneur program under the Obama Administration, to being awarded the prestigious AIGA Medal, and was a 1999 inductee into the Alliance Graphique Internationale. Dana has received additional recognition for his influence in the world of design from organizations including the LA Film Festival, Communications Arts, and the ID40—who has cited him as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally.
This spring, Dana will have the honor of being inducted as the 54th president of the AIGA, the world’s leading design organization.
Read more about Dana’s education and career in his recent interview with Third Coast Review.