Students win big regardless of design program’s cancellation

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    By Arianne Baadsgarrd

    The sun is setting with a strange sense of irony on one of BYU”s nationally renowned majors-Design.

    “Despite the high caliber of students graduating in interior design and their tremendous ability to compete with the best out there, the College of Fine Arts and Communications has chosen to close the design program in an effort to consolidate resources,” said Peggy Honey, design professor.

    BYU”s design program has not only been invited to the most prestigious design schools” national competition, they”ve won two years in a row.

    This year design student Mark Wightman, 24, a senior from Rexburg, Idaho took first place winning $5,000 for himself, $2,000 for the department, and was named “Young Designer of the Year.”

    “We are thrilled that Mark”s work was judged the best of the best,” Honey said. “We think this is indicative of the excellent quality of students in our program.”

    Wightman is in one of the last design classes to graduate. The last group of students is given until August 2003 to complete their coursework.

    “The great thing about the competition was that it showed we weren”t going to go down in flames,” Wightman said. “Just because they”re canceling the major doesn”t mean we”re bad.”

    Wightman”s win follows Roxanne Risenmay”s third place success before her graduation last year.

    “The other winners were from the top design schools in the nation. The fact that we placed said a lot for our design program,” Risenmay said.

    Although Wightman admits the closure is discouraging, he said its not going to hinder the amazing things the department does.

    “I don”t think it was the best decision, but I”m not going to fight against it,” Wightman said. “I”ll support what the faculty thinks is important.”

    Wightman said the closure places limitations on time that have made things difficult for design students.

    The faculty is doing their best to keep things running smoothly as the program winds down.

    “We have amazing faculty who have been in the professional world and know what professional quality is,” Risenmay said. “We were taught professional quality and were well prepared for the commercial world.”

    Risenmay said she knows the closure is for good reasons, but feels it”s a shame more individuals won”t be able to be a part of the program in the future.

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