Artist Sydni Moran's murals on the wall in Andersen Hall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In red letters that curve and bend into the shape of Nebraska, an alumna’s ode to graduates of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications clings to the interior of Andersen Hall. Once covered with plain white paint, the college’s walls are now adorned with a heartfelt message to its graduates about the direction of their future. The scarlet script was designed by recent graduate Sydni Moran, and it helps the college with its ongoing beautification process to encapsulate 125 years of journalism education in the making.

Interim dean of the CoJMC Amy Struthers said she believes graduates and alumni should be celebrated as well as anniversaries. 

When spring graduation rolled around, Struthers knew she wanted to make a special insert to go inside diplomas for the college’s Class of 2019, which was walking the stage during the CoJOMC’s 125th year of operation. Struthers said she could think of no better person to reach out to than Moran, a 2017 graduate, whose design business SydMo Creative Co. specializes in hand lettering and prints.

Moran wrote send-off wishes to graduating students this spring while the college reached a milestone birthday, expecting nothing more would come of the image she designed for the paper insert. 

However, Struthers and her staff found the image so inspiring that they began to brainstorm ideas of where else the art should go. Moran said when she sold the rights for the college to use the Nebraska illustration poem, the college’s staff mentioned it could wind up in a few different places, but she was elated when she saw her work find its way onto the back of the college’s magazine insert, T-shirts for alumni, framed in Struther’s office and plastered on a lobby wall inside Andersen Hall.

Moran watched updates on the assembly of her wrap via social media from her home in Des Moines, Iowa as Revolution Wraps put up the mural.

“I’ve never seen my work that large, so it was wild and surreal to see updates of it going up,” Moran said. “[I am] really honored, truly.” 

Struthers said the shape poem is not only the college’s logo for the year, but it is also the beginning of an intentional move to make the interior of the building more modern and inviting to students. According to Struthers, the building will continue to receive updates in order to look as contemporary and advanced as its programs are.

“[The wraps are] partly celebration and partly ‘let’s get our building looking brighter, fresher, cleaner, newer and more modern.’” Struthers said. “I think it’s better with the wraps … [they] really show off what we do here because we’re certainly digital.”

For now, Moran’s words are memorialized in Andersen Hall as part of a perfect summary of everything the school has strived to embody over the last 125 years. 

“May we use our voices boldly and our freedoms of speech wisely,” Moran’s poem reads. “May we rejoice in our growth and be enthralled by the future. Let us celebrate those who paved a path and let us put up lanterns for those to follow. Our words are vessels: ones that have the ability to share moments of good and moments of sorrow. For 125 years, we have found value and beauty in telling an important story, but telling it with integrity is what deems the deepest of glory.”


This article was modified at 10:35 a.m. on Oct. 5 to correct the capitalization of the acronym CoJMC.