UCC Mainstream Online

Student finds silver lining in design

For Visual Communications student Jesse Proctor, the road to graduation started with an unfortunate lay-off. Proctor was left without a job in 2009, but through the Trade Act funds he was given the opportunity to attend college for the first time.   

“The government decided to give us money to retrain because it wasn’t our fault that we lost our jobs,” Proctor says.

After being denied funding for the aviation program that Proctor initially wanted to enter, he decided to pursue one of his long time hobbies as a career: art. “I have used art throughout my entire life to convey my emotions. I knew I could succeed in [the visual communications] program,” Proctor says.

Throughout his time at UCC, Proctor won numerous awards for his artwork and made the president’s list and the dean’s list. Most recently, he was awarded Most Outstanding Student in Journalism, Graphic Design.

He spends countless hours each week designing pages for The Mainstream, the student newspaper, as well as working on art work in his personal collection which includes a wide variety of photography, animation, illustration and digital art.  However, with the experience he gained through his graphic design classes and work on The Mainstream, he believes he will continue working towards a career in design.

Proctor has always leaned towards art but wasn’t sure what he wanted to pursue. “I’ve always been a good artist,” he explained. “But I also felt that there was something missing. All I could do after high school was draw cartoon characters. I could do it very well, but I didn’t have a way to apply those skills in a business environment. Now I do.”

Proctor’s hard work and dedication to his future as a designer was tested in summer 2011 when Proctor was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Proctor began his first round of chemotherapy that summer, a process which continued into the fall as his classes began.

“I needed to stay in school or I might never finish. I was more afraid of not finishing school than of the chemotherapy. I think that’s what drove me to stay in school,” Proctor says

When the workload became too intense as the treatment progressed, he dropped two classes in order to lighten the class load. He acknowledges the gracious support of friends, classmates and teachers. He was able to stay in his classes, despite the fatigue and sickness from the chemotherapy.

Two years after his last treatment, Proctor is currently cancer-free and has made up the credits he lost during cancer treatments. He plans to transfer to University of Oregon for a Visual Arts Bachelor Degree.