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Commencement 2020 Congratulatory Comments

Congratulations Class of 2020!

Below are congratulatory messages submitted by graduates' family, friends, and members of our Otis Community!  Share your message and images to our graduates here!

Congrats from the VP of Campus Life and Dean of Student Affairs!

Congrats from the VP of Campus Life and Dean of Student Affairs!

- Dr. Laura Kiralla and Dr. Nicholas Negrete

Congratulations Class of 2020! It has been a pleasure seeing you grow and thrive during your time at Otis College. I am deeply proud of your accomplishments and I celebrate your bright future. Otis will be your forever home and I look forward to welcoming you back often. Go Owls!

- Dr. Laura Kiralla

Congratulations to our amazing Students' Union graduating seniors! Bobbie Gibbings, Justus Morschauser, Dom Hedrick, and Val Deogard - Each of you have had a major impact on our campus in ways that will leave a lasting imprint on the student experience as a whole. I am so proud your accomplishments, and most especially you overall tenacity, drive, compassion, and commitment to equity and social justice. I am so lucky to have been able to work with each of you individually. Wishing you all the success you deserve!

Nick and Students' Union

- Dr. Nick Negrete

Congratulations to Class of 2020 Graduates! Each and every one of you has persisted and grown incalculably through years of higher education to earn your BFA or MFA degree from Otis College. It is an inspiration to us all to see your excellent, compelling work in the Annual Exhibition and Portfolios, and to celebrate with you even through a website your high accomplishments in completing your college degree. Know that forever you'll be the graduating class the couldn't walk, on time, but did graduate during the pandemic of 2020--a unique marker of your time as college graduates and completing graduate students. Be safe, well, and successful--and may your Otis education serve you half as well as we know it can. You are awesome!

- Randy Lavender 

Congrats to the incredibly resilient, determined, talented, and creative class of 2020. I am so proud of all of you and am excited to see what you will achieve next on your journeys! I'd like to give a special shout out to all the student leaders graduating this year. From CAB- the inspirational Vanessa Quiles and Hanabee Cartagena. Our incredible TISOs- Luna Aso and Qincheng Xu. Our amazing Students' Union members- Valerie Deogard, Bobbie Gibbings, Justus Morschauser, Dom Hedrick. I feel so lucky to have worked with and gotten to know each of you throughout the years. You are each so special to me and have taught me so much about what it means to be a brave and impactful leader.

Owl the Best!

- Erica Javidzad, Director of Student Activities

Sending my congratulations to all who are graduating this weekend, and hoping you are finding ways to celebrate your accomplishments. Raise a glass, bake a cake, lay in the sun, take a great selfie...maybe find a high place and look out over the landscape. All possibilities are stretched out in front of you. I am excited to learn which paths you take next, and which dreams you manifest.

- Kim Russo

Congratulations to everyone! You have worked hard and have risen above adversity. I wish you nothing but good things on the rest of your life's journey.

- Doctor Carol 

Special shout to my graduating RA's: Alexis Maher, Lorenzo Crump, Dallin Moe, and Vanessa Quiles! You all have been AMAZING student leaders who always led with compassion, authenticity, and joy. I am so honored to have worked with you during your final year at Otis! Although our time got cut short, I am filled with nothing but happiness to have seen your incredible talent and dedication to your work. Continue to be INCREDIBLE and just know you will always hold a special place in my life <3!

Congrats RA Team!

-Francarlo Resto

Although this was hardly the grande finale many of you might have imagined, you triumphed nonetheless! Congratulations on your incredible achievement! Wishing the class of 2020 perfect vision as you begin your next chapter...

-Kerri Steinberg

Congratulations 2020 graduates!

You are the warriors! While future graduating classes will face a world changed by a pandemic, only you, the 2020 graduates, faced its onset head-on. You nimbly pivoted, adapted, problem-solved and succeeded in surmounting all challenges to produce fantastic work and complete your degrees!

I am particularly proud of and congratulate the Architecture/Landscape/Interiors 2020 graduates - Bianca Costa, Zulma Juarez, Alexis Maher, Roni Nisim, Vanessa Quiles, Natasha Rusli, Ally Schaeffer and Rikako Sho - who, besides everything else, designed a 600-unit residential community as their first free-standing "building"! Way to go girls!

Linda's Students


- Linda Pollari

To the fabulous ComArts Grads -

I can't believe we aren't celebrating you all and sending you off in person. I am so proud of each and every one of you.

Here's what I will miss the most:
- Walking past your classes and distracting you with silly jokes, finger eyes, and whisper word games
- When you stop in my office to say hello to me and Danny DeVito.
- Putting my head through the studio curtain to surprise you.
- Talking shop in the bad snack area
- When you've had a "Come to Jesus" moment with your work where you can barely stop to breathe while talking because you're so excited about your new ideas.

You are all superstars and I can't wait to see where your journey takes you. Breathe, Laugh, take care of yourselves. And for crying out loud, when you get a job in the real world, check your work email.

I love you all in an HR Appropriate way,

BK and DD

-BK + DD

The Annual Exhibition showcases the talent of 2020
"The future is waiting. They will embrace the challenges, go with confidence and create the world they imagined for themselves…”

Fashion Students

- Jill Zeleznik

To the Class of 2020: I joined the communications team at Otis when you were sophomores and perhaps in some way, I too, was going through a sophomore experience in my professional life. I can’t otherwise explain why your cohort is the one that I connected with most. But I know for sure, that what has led us here today, in this shared celebration, is felt all the more deeply, because of your spirit and perseverance. Congratulations… you are truly remarkable!

(Extra, extra special <3 for Daisy, Hanabee, Mirim, Kayoi, and Aviv … Oh the places you’ll go!)

-Sheharazad Fleming

To the Class of 2020, I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors. Your time here at Otis was special, do not forget that, even though it is hard to think that with everything going on now. You are a very special class to me, because we all started at Otis at the same time, 2016! Be well and please keep in touch!!

- Dr. Julie Spencer

Congratulations to all the Interdisciplinary Studies and Artists Community Teaching students! I am so proud of you and hope you will stay in touch.

- Michele Jaquis

Warmest congratulations to the Class of 2020! You can be proud of all your achievements, only the first of many more successful accomplishments in your upcoming careers. Even though you're experiencing a different kind of graduation, rest assured that you are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resilience needed to triumph as designers and artists. Believe fervently in your dreams, moving forward steadily and never settling for less. Stay positive and teachable throughout life's challenging moments. These moments will pass, but the process builds your strength and helps you grow. We will be cheering you on as you leave your Otis home to face your destiny and take on the world, proud of your determination and your courage during these strangest times.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Henry David Thoreau)

- Mitra Rajabi

From all of us at Campus Safety and Security. Congratulations Class of 2020!!! You are unstoppable and will continue to succeed.

- Steve McQueen

Dear Graduates,
Stay committed to pursuing your dreams! As challenges arise you will gain success through perseverance, determination and willingness to go the extra mile. You have proven to yourselves that you have what it takes. Now move forward with confidence!

- Donna Lobato

It's been an honor and a delight to work with many of you graduating seniors!

- Elektra Grant 

The words I want to say are nothing without a hug, eye contact, tears, and an exhale expressed collectively. Till then, we hold our breath. 

In the meantime, I promise to do all I can to make this a year we never forget, a time we realized just how much YOU matter; being in your presence and watching you grow makes teaching worthwhile.

I don’t feel comfortable offering words of advice; you know as much as I do about what lies ahead. All I can say is I promise I will be there for you as you move into an uncertain future, the likes of which no one has ever known, and I promise I will try to help you as best I can. I promise this as your teacher, friend, and fellow Otis alumnus. 

Your power is unquantifiable, forged in unprecedented circumstances. You are resilient, stronger, and more collectively bonded than any graduating class in the 100-year history of Otis. You share something others do not. No matter what happens, I am here for you. We are here for you. You have a home. You are loved. Come back when you can. We will all be waiting with open arms, tears ready, waiting for our exhalation.

- Tucker Neel

Congratulations to Dontae Mahoney! Wishing you all the best as you embark on the next part of your journey!

- Julie Bryan

Congratulations to all the wonderful graduates that enriched their art and design educations with book arts classes in the Lab Press. Long live letterpress and book making!

Rebecca Chamlee and Students

- Rebecca Chamlee

Sending air hugs, a virtual slice (or two) of red velvet cake, and a high pitched "Congratulations!" to the Class of 2020! I'm so proud of you guys!

- Jessica Ngo

I am so deeply inspired by the Communication Arts Department for all that they have accomplished these past years. You all depart with a tremendously impressive body of work and a visible confidence in how important you are to our world. I wish each one of you everything that you dream and I look forward to seeing your efforts realized in the future. Stay in touch and thank you for gifting us with your dedication and passion for illustration and graphic design. BRAVO everyone!

Kali Nikitas' Students   Kali Nikitas' Students

Also, a mighty congratulations to the MFA Graphic Design Class of 2020.
We are so very proud of you and all that you accomplished in such a short period of time. You created a studio culture that was inspiring to everyone and your appreciation for the graduate school experience was evident in the efforts that you put forth every day. You will be missed. Wishing you great success in both your personal and professional life.

Kali Nikitas' MFA Graphic Design Students

- Kali Nikitas 

To the graduating seniors I was lucky enough to work with (you know who you are :) Congratulations on all your amazing accomplishments!!! I'm so proud of you!!!

Wishing you so much success with all your future endeavors! Remember what you offer to the world makes a huge difference! We need your creative minds more now than ever. Stay strong and keep hope in your hearts.

With love <3

- Jamie Russom 


- Patricia Kovic

Congratulations and good luck to all of with your amazing artwork. Your class had great experimental thinkers and I know once you all get into the industry, you will inspire the next generation of innovative artists!

-Regis Peeples

For: Cuba Oaks

WOW! Our PROUD cup runneth over! On the day you were born, your medical team told us "not to expect much". They could not have been more wrong! You spoke when we were told you wouldn't, you walked when they said you couldn't. You have overcome bullying, social isolation and lived with chronic pain and endured countless surgeries in all of your 23 years. You studied and struggled with nary a complaint. Learning has been a mountain you have conquered! Failure was not an option and you; sweet girl are proof that never giving up with feeble excuses will bring success. "I can't" has never been your language! Thank you for the perfect Mother's Day. We love you to the beach and back! Cheers to the the next fabulous chapter!

Cuba Oaks

-Mum and Dad

Congratulations to my brilliant, amazing, talented, creative, beautiful daughter, Katie Herman!!!
I am BEYOND proud of you!!! You have definitely given your all to your time at OTIS; & OTIS has given so much to you too. You have grown so much over the past four years -as a person and an artist! The future is yours. Love you sooo much!

- Katie Herman's Mom. XXOO

For: Katie Herman

'Words cannot even begin to tell you haw proud I am of you and the person and artist you have become. I love you and I know you will succeed and excel in whatever the future holds for you.

-Love Dad

Congratulations Juliette ("JuJu")!!! It has been a pleasure to watch you and K work so hard, and accomplish so much! I am very proud of both of you!!! May your future be as bright and special as you are! Be well! "Katie's Mom" Herman. :)

-Shawn Herman

Congratulations to all of my graduating friends and the entire class of 2020! I'm so proud of you and I am thinking of you today.

- Nikki Paz

For: David Kim

Congratulation David..!

You have made it all the way with challenges and hard works but now is the reward time. It is bid sad that we all could not celebrate at your graduation ceremony but we should do it next year.
Even though Covid19 have changed many things, it turned out very well for you.

All of our families are so proud of you..!


Congratulations to my beautiful, talented, passionate and smart daughter Julianne Tefoe.

Words cannot express how deeply proud we are of all that you accomplished and the way you did it. You showed tremendous courage in following your dreams. You are destined to accomplish great things and we will be there to celebrate every single one of them!

-Love Mom and Keith.

To our granddaughter Julianne Tefoe on graduating from Otis albeit a difficult time. We are so proud of her commitment to the completion of her education. Love and best wishes. This situation believe it or not will make you stronger.

-Love Pittsburgh Grammy and Pap Pap

For: Julianne Tefoe

To my beautiful and talented grand daughter.
Congratulations. The best is yet to come and the sky’s the limit.
Love you


For: Julianne Tefoe

Congratulations on finishing your undergraduate degree. I’m very proud of you. Love you.

-Grandpa Alan.

For: Julianne Tefoe

Congratulations on your graduation. I’m proud of you also.

-Love, Grandma Grace.

Congratulations Julie Tefoe! We are so proud of you!

- Love, Aunt Sarah, Uncle Jon, Kaitlin & Brady.

For: Julianne Tefoe

Julie, congratulations! What an achievement! Being friends with your mom, since before you were born, I know she couldn't be more proud of you! She is more like a cousin to me, so that makes you one too! Lol

Everything is possible, don't let anyone ever tell you different. A positive mind creates a positive life.

All our best!

-Love the Reali family!

Congratulations my dears, go enrich our world with your creativity!

I will miss seeing you all so much,

Please keep in touch and stay safe❤️

-Marjan Hormozi

Congrats Sasha!! You are so talented and I can’t wait to see what you do next!! Xoxo

- Alana Weitz

SASHA!!! I am SOOOOOO proud of you!! Your achievements already are phenomenal ... and the ones to come are limitless!!!! My beautiful artist and daughter!! I love you. CONGRATS!!!!


Hi Sasha
So proud of you and your accomplishments.
Love you

Dearest Sasha,

Your graduation today means so much to all of our family.
I am so proud of you!
Stay on your strong and singular path ....the world is waiting for you!



Congratulations Sasha on this very special day! I know you will continue to do great things.

Love, your very proud,

-Aunt Lenore

Love you Sasha Oratz! We are so proud of the artist you have become through Otis. To all the graduates, we are thinking if you. The world is yours to conquer!

Sasha's Art

- Elyse Weshler

Congratulations Sasha Oratz! You’ve worked tirelessly for the past four years. Now enjoy the moment! 

- Andrew Weit

To the OTIS Class of 2020 and my beautiful daughter Sasha, ART on all forms makes the world special and you all have the talent to bring to life things that can’t be necessarily said, just appreciated. Always find that magic it keeps us together especially in this difficult and unprecedented times. All the love and luck to you!!

Sasha Oratz Art

- Melissa Oratz

Congratulations to the 2020 graduates in the Fashion Department. You have worked hard to get to this point, and you deserve all the best wishes for a successful career and your time to shine.

-Alisa Otten
Junior Studio Professor

You guys worked so incredibly hard and deserved so much more than what you've been given this year. Congratulations on everything! You're all such wonderful and talented people, and I hope your careers take off in spite of it all.

- Anonymous 

Congratulations Christian Fullner on a job well done. We are infinitely proud of you not only as a new graduate but also how you embraced the tasks ahead you, your joy and enthusiasm that you brought to your learnings and your projects, and how you embraced and succeeded in your four years at Otis!
We are so proud!


-Mom and Dad

We want to wish Cassie a huge congratulations as she graduates this year. We’ve had the pleasure of knowing, teaching, mentoring, and working alongside Cassie across two years and have been amazed by her talent, dedication, and all-around awesomeness. Best wishes to you as you embark on your unique journey into professional artistry. We are so excited to watch you grow.

- Anonymous 

Congratulations! I am excited to see the world you all will envision!

- Cole James

Congratulations Nathan Leung! Watched your reel and it's terrific. Best wishes for all the successes that surely await!

Congratulations Elle Ryono! What a special touch you have in your work. I loved viewing your reel. Sending you all the best as you launch your professional career!

Congratulations Ran Tamada! I want those stone products - so good! Best wishes as you launch into the future!

Congratulations Wyatt! #!ThatSynth rocks!!! Wishing you great successes ahead!

Congratulations Michelle Lamb! Beautiful portfolio of works. I wish you all the best in the future. Your hard work and good eye will surely bring you many successes!

Congratulations Dontae Mahoney! Fantastic, beautiful work - conceptually, aesthetically. Wishing you all the best!

Congratulations Jenny Sorto! Love the sunglasses - such playful work! Best wishes for a "sunny" future!

Congratulations Christian Fullner! Love your projects. Wishing you every success in the future!

Congratulations Hailey Leibl! Your portfolio of work is beautiful! Wishing you every success in the future!

Congratulations Nicole Martin! Beautiful fashion designs in your portfolio! Best wishes for a bright future!

Congratulations Margaux Rocher! What beautiful work! Best wishes for every success!

Congratulations Jack Williams! Love your work - looks great. Best wishes as you step into the future!

Congratulations Beau Dahler! Beautiful products, beautiful design! Wishing you a bright future!

Congratulations Lexi Fleming! Great portfolio! Skate bags are such a great idea! Wishing you all the best!

Congratulations Isabella Labriola! Those orchid planters are awesome! Sending all my best for a bright future!

- Joanne Mitchell