Andy Wyss ('09) is thankful for his educational experience at Concordia as it provided the perfect environment for him to help achieve his dream of becoming a graphic designer.
“I cannot even imagine where my life would be today had it not been for the people, the experiences and the family of Concordia University,” said Wyss, who graduated summa cum laude as a double-major in Graphic Design and Multimedia Communication.
Wyss recently completed his first national ad campaign with Eastbay, an athletic retail company owned by Foot Locker Inc. The ad Wyss created features Detroit Lions standout wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who is widely recognized as one of the top players at his position in the National Football League. Wyss’ work was featured on the cover for the July issue of the Eastbay catalog, which boasts a circulation of 3.7 million worldwide.
Through all his good fortune Wyss, a native of Clear Lake, Wis., is appreciative of his alma materand those who helped him along the way. “I started my college education at a much larger state school. Because of their campus size, I wasn't able to join different teams or groups, really giving that school a lack of family and community,” said Wyss. “Transferring into Concordia my sophomore year gave the chance to do everything I wanted. The sky was really the limit as far as open opportunities on campus and areas to get involved.”
Wyss found himself involved with Art Club, Theatre, and The Sword (student-run newspaper) doing activities that varied from designing theatre production posters to the entire production and layout of The Sword. “Just the sheer amount of exposure and practice I had with different mediums has allowed me to be a more versatile (and hirable) artist,” explained Wyss.
Even extracurricular activities that didn’t involve design have come in handy for Wyss. As a member of Concordia’s track and field team, Wyss nourished a love for sports and competed in the triple jump event.
Being an athlete himself, Wyss was able to appreciate the athletic talent his muse of the ad campaign brings to the table. “Calvin Johnson's size, speed and freakish athleticism have helped him dominate defenses year after year. Between his 6'5" height and his 6'10" wingspan, he has an 8'8" standing reach. Add in a 45" vertical jump and you've got a guy who can cover over 4,000 cubic feet, all from a standing position. Incredibly, Calvin covers more area than an average two-car garage,” explained Wyss. “For the cover design, I attempted to graphically display the magnitude of his reach and the reality of his athleticism.”
Wyss attributes much of his success to the preparation and education Concordia’s Department of Art provided. “Frankly, it was everything the Concordia Art Department did that helped me succeed. I honestly felt that every professor really cared about me, my education, and my future. The passion that they had for teaching and for their students just exuded from them,” said Wyss. “The faculty really set me up well to be able to network and make connections outside of campus as well.”
Along with a valuable education, Wyss also gained something that he was not expecting by attending Concordia, “Over the three years I spent as a student my faith went from something I did on the side – a nice moral backdrop and something I mostly kept to myself – to defining me as a person. It was because of my time at Concordia, the interaction with the faculty, the Christian classroom education, and the fellowship of believers, that I was able to understand my faith and realize that I am first and foremost a follower of Christ,” explained Wyss.
Through all of his recent success Wyss stays humble stating, “For the time being I am very happy with my situation, which is something I feel extremely fortunate to say. I work for a Fortune 500 company located in a great town, working in a career in which I have my degree with the opportunity to incorporate my love for athletics.”
What’s next for the former Golden Bear? Wyss confessed he would like to move a little closer to western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities and potentially start his own design firm. “I’m not in any hurry. I can definitely tell that this is where God wants us [he and his wife] to be right now. Only He knows what the future holds.”