Gallery spotlights students’ work, pays tribute to late professor.
By Richard Hernandez
Every year graduating communication design students showcase their best designs in the hallways of Longwith Radio, Television and Film Building. The annual exhibit opened this year in a newly dedicated location in honor of a beloved professor who died in June.
The program exhibited the students’ work Oct. 18 in the Berne Smith Gallery on the second floor of Longwith.
“Berne was the best professor I’ve ever had,” said Lauren Snow, former graphic design student and graduate. “He loved his craft. He had a way of bringing out excellence in his students. He truly brought out the best in everyone. There wasn’t anything he wasn’t giving 100 percent to. He gave every student all the attention that he could.”
Smith began teaching full-time in 2007 after spending five years as an adjunct. He retired in 2017, and passed away June 15, 2018.
“He was very inspirational, very passionate and very funny,” Stephanie Martinez, sophomore communication design major, said. “He was dedicated to his work. He saw the thought process in everything, and would always seek the why behind things. He was inspirational to everyone. He deserves to have this hall dedicated to him.”
Smith was a professor in communication design, illustration design and even sculpture.
“The man could do anything,” communication design Professor Veronica Knocke said. “He made sure we were doing everything we could for the students. He was always interested in learning. He wanted to know everything he could.”
Current students, former students and professors all gathered to celebrate and remember Smith and his influence during the exhibit.
“You could feel his passion, and it spread to his students,” graduate Christopher Evans said. “Our class felt more so like a family. He would tell us that he would always look forward to coming into class. He had a child-like wonder about what we did and it was amazing to see how he would use that wonder to teach us.”
The hallways were filled with discussions about the late Smith and some of their favorite memories about their time with him.
“Something that really stands out to me about him is actually best described by what he once told me,” Snow said. “He said the world is an endless place. It doesn’t have inherent meaning, but that means we can create our own meaning and how exciting is that.”
Smith was more than just another professor for many. One can even see the outpouring of affection for him on his “Rate My Professor” reviews.
“He was the best teacher we’ve ever seen,” communication design program director Joel Knocke said. “He inspired us all in that aspect. He was the driving force for our program.”
Communication design’s Facebook page includes a quote from Smith about his teaching style as its header.
“My teaching is distinguished by the passion that I bring to the classroom and the intensity with which I work to inspire my students,” Smith said. “I believe that learning takes place somewhere along the margins of information where curiosity mixes with wonder to create a desire to learn and grow.”
The Berne Smith Gallery will be showcasing the students’ designs for the rest of the year, and many of the designs can also be found on the program’s Facebook page, San Antonio College-Communication Design.