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McPherson College Senior Takes First at Graphic Design Competition

A graphic design student at McPherson College pitted his work against his peers across Kansas – and defeated them all.

Nathan Holthus, senior, McPherson, took his portfolio to Wichita for the AIGA Student Portfolio Forum competition in April, and brought home an armful of awards – Best Photography, Best Typography, Best Interactive Design, and Best Overall Portfolio, which was the top honor at the competition.

Holthus went up against about 50 students from some of the largest schools in Kansas and neighboring states. So he felt pretty good about the win, Holthus said, especially because last year MC returned from the competition empty-handed.

“I was elated and humbled,” he said. “Maybe a bit redeemed as well.”

AIGA – which originally stood for “American Institute of Graphic Arts” – is one of the largest and most prominent professional design organizations with more than 25,000 members across about 70 chapters. The annual competition brings attention to the work of graphic design students, and Holthus said his awards have been a boost to his career prospects.

“It’s already led to a lot of very cool professional connections and opened up some opportunities,” he said.

After graduation, Holthus plans to seek employment with a graphic design agency as he starts his career. McPherson College has been important, he said, in encouraging the skills to achieve his AIGA awards and opening doors. Largely, that’s been in the form of spending thousands of hours practicing and honing his craft.

“I thought one of the best parts of my education was that I was encouraged to excel as much as I wanted to,” he said. “If you want to achieve in class or life, putting in the time is what’s going to get you there.”