Published on Dec 10, 2013
Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp and his wife, Jane, believe that MU students have incredible talents that need to be seen and appreciated by friends, alumni and their fellow students.
A few years ago, the Kopps determined that one way to show off those talents would be to sponsor a holiday card design contest each year. So, the Kopps began sponsoring a contest in 2007. On Monday, Dec. 2, they announced the winners of this year's eighth annual contest.
"This is an opportunity for us to recognize the creative talents of our students," Stephen Kopp said. "The competitions bring out the best in our students, and each year the submissions are reflections of the incredible talent we have here."
Seven men and one woman received congratulations from and posed for pictures with the Kopps Monday in the president's office. The eight winners are Bradley Leonard of Huntington, Tyler Vance of Lewisburg, W.Va., Kyle Mullins of Ripley, W.Va., John Fowler of Teays Valley, W.Va., Shane Craig of Knoxville, Tenn., Jill Smallwood of Summersville, W.Va.; David Pelts of Bluefield, W.Va., and John Dingess of Huntington.
Leonard was first in the digital card competition, Fowler won the holiday printed card division and Pelts and Dingess tied for first place in the commemorative plate division. The plates are given to about 80 of the university's major donors while the cards are mailed to about 750 people.
Vance was second in the digital card competition and Mullins was third.
Photos of the winning plate and the winning printed card are shown above. Craig was second in the printed card division and Smallwood placed third in both the printed card division and the plate division.
"I've talked to some of our donors and they truly enjoy seeing the new plates every year," Kopp said. "Many of them have them on display in their homes. Our donors and alumni truly enjoy the fact that the students did the work and it's a product of their creative imaginations."
Kopp said picking the winners is not easy.
"But, it's also very enjoyable," he said. "We have a group that sits down and goes through all the submissions and arrives at a series of recommendations. Sometimes we ask for some slight modifications to fine tune what we are going to be sending out in terms of the designs."
Leonard and Fowler each received $700 for their first-place entries, while Pelts and Dingess received $700 apiece for their first-place tie. Second-place winners received $350 and those finishing in third place received $150.