Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies made a strong finish to the academic year, earning national recognition as a top graphic design school and 17 ADDY awards in the Western Virginia American Advertising Awards.

Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), a leading graphic design magazine and website, named Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Arts one of the Top Graphic Design Schools of 2018. The publication also named Meaghan Dee, an assistant professor in the Visual Communication Design Program, an Educator to Watch, among an impressive group of 15 peers nationwide.

“Virginia Tech is on the map of the nation’s top graphic design schools thanks to our dedicated faculty, students, graduates, and supporters,” Dee said. “It’s an honor to be recognized in GDUSA’s first-ever Educators to Watch issue, alongside design rock stars like Keetra Dixon and Ellen Lupton, whose textbooks I use in my classes.”

Dee has helped raise the profile of the program during her past seven years as chair, through a prolific body of work as a designer, educator, and researcher on collaborative interdisciplinary projects ranging from logos and websites to robot exoskeletons and immersive multimedia performances.

School of Visual Arts students are also winning recognition for their work. In this spring’s Western Virginia American Advertising Awards, SOVA students and faculty picked up 17 ADDYs, including nine student awards – among them the top award for Best of Show – and eight professional awards.

ADDYs recognize the best in creativity, originality, and strategy in areas ranging from logo and publication design to videos, websites, consumer apps, and animation. Out of 255 entries from the greater Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, and Lynchburg area, AAF judges awarded 67 gold and silver awards to students and professionals.


Virginia Tech Visual Communication Design students won nine awards. Lindsey Boone, a junior from Christiansburg, claimed four, including the coveted Best of Show, and gold ADDYs in the Art Direction Campaign, Integrated Advertising Campaign, and Print Advertising Campaign categories for her creative work for Nair men’s hair removal spray. The campaign was produced as part of an art direction class taught by Jeff Joiner, an assistant professor and chair of the visual communication design program.

“I was overjoyed to win Best of Show,” Boone said. “As a designer, I always aim to cause a reaction from the viewer. At the awards ceremony, the audience laughed when seeing my campaign for the first time. It was exactly the reaction I was hoping for, and in that moment I felt that my campaign was successful.”

Other student winners included Isabella Cruz, a sophomore from Virginia Beach, who won two silver ADDYs in App (Mobile or Web-based) Design and Integrated Brand Identity Campaign.

Tam Hoang, a sophomore from Alexandria, won two silver ADDYs for Logo Design and App (Mobile or Web-based) Design. Sierra Colley, a junior from Blacksburg, and Eric Vernon, a senior from Marion, received silver ADDYs for their print advertising campaign work.

Jeff Joiner, chair of the visual communication design program, and Lindsey Boone, winner of four ADDYs, including "Best and Show," celebrate SOVA's victories at the ADDYs ceremony in Roanoke.

Jeff Joiner, VCD chair, and Lindsey Boone, student ADDY award winner
Jeff Joiner, chair of the visual communication design program, and Lindsey Boone, winner of four ADDYs, including Best in Show, celebrate SOVA's victories at the ADDYs ceremony in Roanoke.


SOVA visual communications design faculty members Meaghan Dee and Patrick Finley collectively won eight gold and silver ADDY awards.

Their joint design work for the 2018 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, which will be held at Virginia Tech June 3 – 6, earned a gold ADDY in the Integrated Brand Identity Campaign category and silver awards for the conference website and poster.

Dee won three silver awards for her work on projects ranging from posters to invitations and holiday cards.

Finley won gold and silver ADDYs for a public service print advertising campaign piece. He also earned national recognition for his logo design for the new Asian-fusion restaurant Bushi in Roanoke. Finley was one of 10 winners selected from 1,150 entries in the recent HOW Design 9th Annual Logo and Application Design Awards. The logo was runner-up for Reader’s Choice. How Design is one of the largest design publications in the nation, along with Communication Arts, PRINT Magazine, and GDUSA.