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Speaking to a standing room only crowd at the Santa Clara County Convention Center, Britney Thoreson treated Cogswell graduates and their families to an intimate look at what commencement means. While introducing her, Professor Dave Perry set the stage by noting that Britney’s journey of exploration and discovery took her from her home in Alabama to California. “She arrived with an interest in animation and discovered a passion for environment and production design.” Due in large part to her personal interest and her skill in recruiting other students to join her, the Advanced Perspectives course was created. Commencement, as a new beginning, and grit are recurring themes for Britney.

Graduating as a concept artist, Britney’s presentation surfaced far more than what she learned in her classes. “The process to get the results we seek, particularly to meet industry standards, is quite the journey… Grit means doing something 110%, even if you don’t feel like doing it at that moment. Getting through college and the difficult challenges that life throws at us shows us that we have what it takes.”

Door treatment detail by Britney Thoreson

Projects That Inspire Those Who Follow

While some students inspire others by their presence and personality, Britney has managed to leave behind a portal into the world outside as well. Anyone who tours the Cogswell campus will now note Britney’s dramatic door treatment to the loading dock in the back hallway. Her proposals for beautifying that fire door evoked immediate approval from the administration. The satisfying sense of serenity and joy provided by her simulated coy pond provides a surprising treat to the entire community.

Stepping into the world outside is indeed what commencement signifies, and in true Cogswellian fashion, Britney has become accomplished at it. She has traded the “easy path” for the rigors and challenges of meeting professional demands. In her words, true grit is in taking this day, this moment, and making it extraordinary.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!