KCAD grad from Kentwood among 16 to be honored for rare level of mastery

Eric Schroeder (photo by Kierstynn Holman)

By Elena Tislerics, KCAD


Each year, those Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) students who exhibit a rare level of mastery and accomplishment in their chosen field are honored with the Excellence Award, the epitome of KCAD student achievement.


“Throughout their time at KCAD, these individuals have exhibited an exemplary work ethic, dedication, curiosity, and thirst for knowledge and experience that has empowered them to get the most out of their education,” said KCAD President Leslie Bellavance. “We congratulate them on this accomplishment, and look forward to celebrating their continuing excellence as KCAD alumni.”


Kentwood resident, Eric Schroeder is among those being honored. Outside of his success in the classroom, Schroeder was named a finalist in the 2017 Bienenstock Furniture Library Design Competition, a prestigious competition that invites students from around the country to submit their best original furniture designs for a chance to win scholarship funding.


He also completed internships with Grand Rapids, Mich. furniture design and manufacturing company Guild Nines and New York City-based furniture/theatre designer Doug Fitch. While still a student, he landed a job as a product designer with Muskegon, Mich.-based Bold Furniture, where he is currently employed.


Upon graduating, Schroeder will continue to design products and furniture for Bold Furniture, and plans to eventually pursue a graduate degree in product design.


Kingfisher End Table (image courtesy of Eric Schroeder)

“Eric doesn’t wait for opportunities to find him — he seeks them out and explores them fearlessly,” said Associate Professor and Furniture Design Program Chair Gayle DeBruyn. “He also enjoys collecting and restoring mid-century modern furniture and nicely ties his passion for this style of design to his own.


“Clean, functional, elegant furniture is difficult to design; it requires a clear understanding of manufacturing and materials capabilities. For this, Eric engages his network to assist him. His employer, Bold Furniture, agreed to prototype a line of furniture specifically for Eric’s senior capstone project, and we can’t wait to see his work during the KCAD Annual Student Exhibition.”


The other honorees are:

  • Kelsey Ballast Pasma (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Interior Design
  • Ashely Bryant (Grand Haven, Mich.) – Illustration
  • Lauren Gravelyn (Chelsea, Mich.) – Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design
  • Chelsea Harris (Louisville, Ky.) – Painting
  • Brian Howland (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Drawing
  • Courtney Jackson (Muskegon, Mich.) – Art History
  • Matthew Johnson (South Haven, Mich.) – Industrial Design
  • Sarah Laverty (Houghton Lake, Mich.) – Photography
  • Maggie Livengood (Appleton, Wis.) – Art Education
  • Alyssa Minatel (Linden, Mich.) – Medical Illustration
  •  Alyssa Natoci (Ann Arbor, Mich.) – Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion, Fashion Studies
  • Erin Schaenzer (Saginaw, Mich.) – Printmaking
  • Chloe Stewart (Grand Blanc, Mich.) – Digital Media
  • Sakino Tomiura (Kawanishi, Japan) – Graphic Design
  • Matt VanSweden (Grand Rapids, Mich.) – Collaborative Design

The 2017 Excellence Award winners will be recognized at an official ceremony on May 5, and their best work will be on display during KCAD’s annual Excellence Awards Exhibition (May 2-18), hosted in The Fed Galleries @ KCAD inside the college’s Woodbridge N. Ferris Building (17 Pearl St. NW).

The Fed Galleries will also be hosting the Masters Thesis Exhibition (May 2-18), spotlighting the fully developed work of the students who have completed their graduate studies.

KCAD’s Annual Student Exhibition (May 2-6), featuring work from each of the college’s programs, will encompass all floors of the college’s 17 Fountain St. NW and Woodbridge N. Ferris Buildings. A campus-wide opening reception will be held on May 2 from 4-7pm. All exhibitions and the reception are free and open to the public. For more information, go here.