Alumni Profile: Dan Gretta, Senior Designer at CF Napa, Napa Valley, CA

news_alumni_gretta1Sometimes when it rains, it pours... This just in from Dan Gretta (PhilaU GDC, 2008), Senior Designer at CF Napa, Napa Valley, CA. “Since graduating, I've had the privilege of experiencing a variety of industries. My career began in advertising and branding at an agency in New Jersey called 1 Trick Pony. Working there allowed me to get my hands on logos, web, illustration and packaging. Some of the larger clients included Turner Classic Movies, Sony Pictures Classics, Hard Rock and Virgin Mobile.

Black Coffee was one of my first branding projects. To this day, Black Coffee has opened up a lot of freelance opportunities. 1 Trick taught me a lot of what I know today and set the bar for how well things should be designed. After a few years I wanted to move away from advertising and focus solely on branding and packaging.

news_alumni_gretta2Cubo cigars was one of my first freelance packaging projects. The idea was to come up with a cigar that has similarities to the Cuban cigar. The aesthetic would also resemble a Cuban aesthetic.

news_alumni_gretta7Old World Counterfeit is an amazing freelance client (in the apparel industry) that I had acquired along the way.

After 1 Trick Pony and my relocation to Boston, I began working remotely for Forefathers Group—a small web and branding agency. I had previously done freelance with one of the partners of the company (before they went under the "Forefathers" moniker) and they had an open design position. We worked on anything from logos to packaging to websites. My experience working remotely was one of my greatest experiences and greatest challenges. It required a lot of discipline and the ability to work with minimal interaction. After some of our larger pieces were published, we began receiving more inquiries to do similar work and after a while, I found myself somewhat pigeonholed. It's great to be able to work toward perfecting a certain style, but makes it a challenge to learn new things as well as offer versatility to new clients.



news_alumni_gretta5HMNIM is an apparel company started by Mark Hoppus. The overall theme was based around a previously designed octopus. Above is a sheet of cards that I designed with a nautical theme while working at Forefathers.

Theory 11 was another client that I had the privilege of working with at Forefathers. The aesthetic was designed to resemble vintage jewelry, decorative architecture and ornate furniture to depict the interior of the Waldorf Astoria.

news_alumni_gretta6American Provisions is an amazing shop located in South Boston. After my frequenting for specialty sandwiches, coffees and cheeses, I had acquired another amazing freelance client. I had the opportunity to design a series of ads, which ran in Edible Boston.

Recently, I have accepted a senior design position at CF Napa, where I focus on designing for the wine and spirits industry. It's the first job that I've had where my process is extremely important. In any other gig, it was almost always about the final product and rarely how I got there. Now, the sketches play an integral role in the final product—there are no computers in phase 1. Even the details of typography in sketching is important. It's the closest process to what I was taught at PhilaU.

The wine industry has been a really unique experience thus far. While you can do some really amazing things with wine and spirits, it's important not only to connect with the consumer, but to be cognizant of established trends based on region or country, which is something I haven't really experienced in other industries. Each project is unique in its research, approach and execution. Now I'm able to focus on branding, illustration, typography and packaging for each project, which is exactly what I've been working toward over the years.

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Getting Our Hands Dirty at LeadGraffiti

news_program_roselead1Some junior-year students in the Advanced Typography course spent a recent Saturday participating in a hands-on letterpress workshop at LeadGraffiti in Newark, Delaware. Led by the LeadGraffiti team (former University of Delaware Professor Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher and Tray Nichols), students toured the working museum, then typeset, printed and bound their very own books.

news_program_roselead2The books will be included in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and the University of Delaware. Students were joined by their professor, Visiting Assistant Professor Rose DiSanto—who was a student of Ray’s in her undergraduate days at the University of Delaware. Assistant Professor Eric Karnes and Adjunct Professor Laurie Churchman (also a student of Ray Nichols at the University of Delaware) will also be taking field trips with their respective sections as an essential part of the course.





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Alumni Profile: Annelise (Babula) Smith, Bailey Brand Consulting, Plymouth Meeting, PA

news_alumni_annie1And this just in from Annelise (Babula) Smith (right, PhilaU GDC, 2013), Designer at Bailey Brand Consulting in Plymouth Meeting where she works alongside fellow Designer, PhilaU alum (and dear friend), Jewéll Richardson (left, PhilaU GDC, 2013). “In October 2013, I began my design career at Bailey Brand Consulting, a firm that mixes both creativity and strategy to develop a range of brands. I was fortunate to join the Bailey team along with four other talented designers, including fellow alumna Jewéll Richardson. Formerly known for their packaging and structure design, Bailey’s creative capabilities have grown to include identity design, web design, social media, and print design.

One of my favorite parts of working at Bailey is the variety of clients and projects that each designer is exposed to. Over the last year I have had the opportunity to work with clients big and small in a range of industries. Some of my favorite projects include packaging design for Twining’s Tea and Campbell’s Soup, print design for Wegmans Food Markets, campaign development for Hood River Distillers, and digital design for Suncast Corporation; a project I would like to highlight.

Suncast produces a range of outdoor resin products, from storage to furniture, and can be found in major national stores including Home Depot, WalMart, and Lowes. Bailey has been a major asset in their brand growth through a strategic expansion to an outlet store, a website redesign, catalog development, and a major focus on social media and digital marketing. My role as a designer is to assist with content development for monthly giveaways and promotions, along with digital design in the form of emails, banner ads, and social media images. With little digital experience, creating these engaging monthly campaigns proved challenging at first, but has taught me to embrace a new area of design."


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MilkCrate Founder Morgan Berman ’14 Competes in Forbes $400,000 Funding Pitch

Sustainable design graduate Morgan Berman will compete for start-up funding for her app, MilkCrate, at this week’s influential Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia.

Sustainable Design graduate Morgan Berman ’14 is one of just five entrepreneurs nationwide who will vie for $400,000 in start-up funding and advertising at this week’s influential Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia.

Berman will have just five minutes on Tuesday to pitch her sustainable business-locating app, MilkCrate, to a panel of some of the world’s most influential funders, including AOL founder Steve Case, Forbes Media CEO Mike Perlis and Atom Factory founder Troy Carte. The business leaders will then have three more minutes to ask her questions.

“I’m thrilled to be able to share our story and hope it inspires the crowd,” said Berman, noting she is excited “with a healthy dose of nerves” at the opportunity to present her pitch. “The exposure will help us propel forward, and we can’t wait.”

Berman was selected as one of just five start-ups nationwide, selected from 117 applicants, to compete in the “Shark Tank”-like contest—a quick-pitch opportunity similar to that of the popular ABC television show. She will be competing for a $150,000 equity investment from Case, Carter and Forbes Media, as well as $250,000 in free advertising and services from Forbes.

“I have no doubt that Morgan will shine in the competition, where her innate intelligence, enthusiasm and innovative ideas will be on display,” said Rob Fleming, associate professor of architecture and director of the M.S. in Sustainable Design program.

Berman, who was a graduate assistant to Fleming, started MilkCrate for her master’s thesis project in sustainable design. She received additional guidance and resources from the Blackstone LaunchPad at Philadelphia University.

“We are proud that Morgan was able to further develop her foundation in sustainability, access entrepreneurial support and find the specialized classes she needed to jumpstart her career at PhilaU,” Fleming added.

Hosting the Forbes Under 30 Summit is a coup for Philadelphia, which was selected because of its growing population of young adults—the so-called Millennial generation—and expanding start-up and entrepreneurial culture.

MilkCrate, an app allowing users to access companies’ sustainability ratings, is now available for download on Apple and Android mobile devices.

For more information and to download the app, visit

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Alexander Wang X H&M

The creative director of Balenciaga and his own eponymous line, Alexander Wang has proven that he is one to watch. As if he did not have enough on his plate already, the runway renegade has designed the latest collaboration for H&M.

Expect his sporty, yet edgy signature on pieces that are nearly identical to his ready-to-wear line. Black puffer jackets, scuba-style pants and neoprene body con dresses are just a few recurring themes in the women’s collection. For men, think subtly printed board shorts, futuristic windbreakers and chic sweatshirts–everything in black.

Photo Courtesy:

Photo Courtesy:

In case you forget who the designer is, many of the pieces have “Wang” or “AW” embedded into the fabric. Logo’s have never looked so chic.

Photo Courtesy:

Photo Courtesy:

The coolest part of this collection is probably the androgynous accessories. Wang styled both genders in leather slides, nylon duffle bags, and boots reminiscent of water shoes.

Photo Courtesy:

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Set to hit stores on November 6th, the line will be available at select H&M locations.

Mark your calendars, ladies and gents. This is one scuba-inspired, statement-making collection you won’t want to miss.

(Hayley Lind: Associate Web Editor)

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University’s Most Successful Capital Campaign Raises Nearly $60 Million

Maurice Kanbar ’52 (second from left) contributed $21 million to the Power to Innovate campaign.

Philadelphia University is celebrating its most successful capital campaign in history, which has raised nearly $60 million to support such initiatives as new academic programs, innovative facilities, scholarships and faculty term chairs.

The five-year Power to Innovate campaign, started in 2009, raised 50 percent more than its stated goal of $40 million, itself double the University’s previous campaign of $20 million. There were multiple million-dollar-plus donations, led by alumnus Maurice Kanbar ’52 with $21 million, and more than 40 gifts of $100,000 or more from almost 5,500 donors.

“We are grateful to every donor who made this great achievement possible through his or her remarkable generosity,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr. “The success of the capital campaign is an inspiring validation of what Philadelphia University is today and where we are going. We’ve worked as a community to build upon and embed our culture of excellence and innovation. I think we are a role model for a lot of institutions.”

Funds from the capital campaign supported the renovation of historic Roxboro House, the new home of the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service.

“Our graduates are leaders and innovators, prepared to work collaboratively with colleagues across disciplines to help solve problems in industry and society,” Spinelli said. “We are proud of them and the devoted faculty who help prepare them for future success.”

The Power to Innovate campaign was undertaken to support the University’s Strategic Plan and, now, the Strategic Build to further support the University’s position as the model for professional education in the 21st century. The campaign’s record-breaking total has exceeded $59.3 million.

Some of the initiatives funded through the campaign include:

Click here to view more University milestones throughout the Power to Innovate campaign.

Board of Trustees Chair and Sparta Systems Inc. CEO Eileen Martinson ’86 made two gifts of $1 million to the Power to Innovate capital campaign.

Among the campaign’s notable gifts were $21 million from entrepreneur and inventor Maurice Kanbar; $3.5 million from real estate entrepreneur Lawrence N. Field; and two gifts of $1 million from Board of Trustees Chair and Sparta Systems Inc. CEO Eileen Martinson ’86, one of which was used to create a special fund to support the Undergraduate Capstone Experience. Several other trustees made generous gifts of $1 million or more.

Many students now and in the future will benefit from campaign funds to support scholarships.

Sophomore Caitlin Powell, an interior design major, received a scholarship from the Maguire Foundation providing four years of tuition support. “Without scholarship funding, I would not have been able to attend this amazing school,” said Powell, whose father passed away and who has two siblings also currently enrolled in college.

Sophomore Caitlin Powell is the recipient of a scholarship from the Maguire Foundation. The campaign raised $5 million for student scholarships.

“I fell in love with the PhilaU campus when I came to visit before my freshman year, I could tell there is something very special happening here,” said Powell, a member of the women’s rowing team who participates in student groups Habitat for Humanity, International Interior Design Association, Relay For Life and Phi Psi Fraternity. “After a year, I can gladly say that I feel home here at PhilaU.”

“We need to continue to create those scholarships for our young students and create the resources for our wonderful faculty so that they can continue to innovate,” said Board Chair Eileen Martinson. “Nexus Learning would be nothing without the faculty embracing it and living it every day. We create relevant global leaders that know how to think and change with the world.”

For his dynamic chairmanship of the campaign, Trustee D. Walter Cohen was presented with a jacquard woven textile created by Rebecca Flax, an undergraduate textile design student who will graduate in December 2014. The textile evokes a playful interpretation of Sherlock Holmes through an enlarged houndstooth pattern in PhilaU’s colors of gray and maroon.

“He gave personally and he led the team for our most successful campaign,” Spinelli said of Cohen’s campaign leadership. “We did a terrific job, and it is because of the leverage and the love and commitment of Dr. Cohen.”

Trustee D. Walter Cohen accepts a student-made jacquard woven textile in honor of his dynamic chairmanship of the campaign.

Cohen, a philanthropist and chancellor emeritus of Drexel University College of Medicine, sponsors the annual D. Walter Cohen Asclepius Career Day for pre-medical students. Cohen is a 2012 recipient of the Philadelphia University Leader of Innovation Medal and also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University in 2012.

Jesse Shafer, vice president for development and alumni relations, said the campaign is an example of what can be accomplished when a committed, dedicated group of people works together to achieve a common goal.

“That goal, ultimately, was not just to reach $40 million,” Shafer said. “Rather, it was to strengthen, advance and sustain the mission of our University.”

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Schedule your visit to Philadelphia University today!

admissions-defaultSchedule your visit to Philadelphia University today!

Sometimes when you are just looking at colleges through printed books or websites, it’s hard to tell one from the other. To really see what a school is like and if you feel comfortable there, it’s best to visit.

Visiting can help you to get a real sense of the campus and its community.

We offer a number of different ways to explore the PhilaU campus…

Campus Tour & Meeting with an Admissions Counselor (Monday – Friday)

White Corners is home to the Office of Admissions.

Join a small group of other visiting families and take a two-part tour of campus with one of our student Rambassadors. You will tour one half of campus for 45 minutes, meet with an admissions counselor for about 20 minutes, and then tour the second half of campus for approximately 45 minutes. You may also be able to schedule a meeting with a faculty member or athletic coach.

Saturday Information Session

At the Saturday Information Session, Admissions Counselors and current students will provide you with an overview of the admissions and financial aid processes, academic programs, student life, as well as internship and study abroad opportunities. You’ll also take a tour with one of our student Rambassadors which will last about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- October 25, 2014
- November 1, 2014
- November 15, 2014
- December 6, 2014

The Ram poses for a photo at Open House with Admissions Counselor Pam and Rambassador tour guides.

Open House (November 22, 2014)

At the Open House, prospective students and families will start the morning at our program fair. You will meet with various faculty members and student life staff members. Next, you will depart for a campus tour with our student Rambassadors and a major-specific information session. You will have the opportunity to speak with professors and current students about their ongoing research and projects. To finish off the day, you will have lunch in one of our cafeterias and tour our residence halls.

Shadow a current student
Our shadowing program provides students who have been accepted to the University with an opportunity to participate in the PhilaU student experience—attend classes, meet professors, eat meals in the dining hall, and spend time with current students. Shadowing appointments run February through April.


Ready to schedule your visit?  You can schedule online by clicking here.  If you need additional information, please contact our Visit Coordinator, Patricia Coleman, at 215.951.2921 or 1.800.951.7287.

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PhilaU Establishes First ACE Mentor Program Collegiate Chapter

Philadelphia University recently established the nation’s first collegiate chapter for graduates of the ACE Mentor Program (ACE), a national after-school program designed to attract high school students into architecture, engineering and construction careers.

Nineteen ACE graduates who study architecture, engineering, construction management and related majors at Philadelphia University are the founding members of this first ACE collegiate chapter.

“Engaging in the new ACE Mentor Collegiate Chapter at PhilaU offers former ACE students the opportunity to give back and become mentors themselves,” said Barbara Klinkhammer, executive dean of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment.  “As a board member of the ACE Philadelphia affiliate, I am particularly proud to see the first collegiate chapter established at Philadelphia University.”

A bridge and community center design proposal by Jesse Smith, fifth-year architecture student and president of PhilaU’s ACE chapter.

To mark the establishment of the new campus group, the board of directors of the ACE Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania will attend the chapter’s next meeting on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Kanbar Campus Center Performance Space to meet with students.

The mission of ACE, which stands for architecture, construction and engineering, is to attract high school students into careers in these industries. Each year 2,200 practicing architects, engineers, construction managers and other industry professionals mentor approximately 8,000 students in a 40-hour program.

Commenting on the importance of the Philadelphia University ACE collegiate chapter, ACE Executive Director John Strock said: “In addition to PhilaU, several other universities across the country attract significant numbers of ACE graduates. We hope these universities will follow PhilaU’s lead.”

PhilaU’s new group has several functions. Members will help recruit students from their high schools to attend the University’s architecture and engineering programs. They also will mentor incoming first-year University students who are ACE graduates.

Philadelphia University’s new ACE chapter is an important networking and mentoring resource for students in architecture, construction and engineering fields, said Jesse Smith, fifth-year architecture student and president of PhilaU’s ACE chapter. “The goals of ACE are to connect our members with practicing professionals, other college students with similar interests and high school students interested in pursuing an ACE-related career.”

Senior students in the PhilaU ACE chapter will be invited to mentor in ACE’s Philadelphia chapter. Working alongside professional mentors will enable University students to expand their job-hunting networks.

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Alumni Profile: Jewell Richardson, Bailey Brand Consulting, Plymouth Meeting, PA

news_alumni_jewell1This just in from Jewell Richardson (left, PhilaU GDC, 2013), Designer at Bailey Brand Consulting in Plymouth Meeting where she works alongside fellow Designer, PhilaU alum (and dear friend), Annelise (Babula) Smith (right, PhilaU GDC, 2013). “Five months after graduating from PhilaU in 2013, I began work as a Designer at Bailey Brand Consulting. I had previously worked as an intern, so the office wasn’t an entirely foreign environment when I started as an employee. I was excited to end a long search process as I was finally able to put five years of training into practice.

As a student at PhilaU, I had always imagined myself working at a small boutique design firm, specializing in one area of design. In one year at Bailey however, I have worked on everything from packaging for Campbell’s, Twining’s Tea and Wegman’s, to print and digital pieces for GS1, PMA Companies, and Hood River Distillers. The variety continues to pique my interest and keeps my ideas fresh.

news_alumni_jewell2My most recent projects include product packaging for Merial, a company that provides a comprehensive range of products and services to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. These particular projects involved extensive package design research, and countless hours of sifting through stock photography of dogs (both of these products have not been released yet, therefore I cannot show any images). Our next steps involve finalizing the design after client feedback, and (most importantly) a photo shoot with a bunch of dogs! I am very excited to see these projects to their ends, wherein my designs will become tangible products.

I am constantly learning new things at Bailey. The daily navigation of different projects and clients has opened my eyes to the challenges and intricacies of the industry—something that I couldn’t quite experience in school. Since Bailey is more than a design studio, I have the opportunity to work with people across the entire branding industry. Our marketing team plays a tremendous role in strategizing goals for each project; working alongside them has helped me appreciate the collaborative nature of the industry. I am reminded daily that creating something that looks “cool” is not enough, and the thought behind the design must truly support the goal of the project. The aesthetics of a project are always subjective, but creative and appropriate solutions satisfy clients and push us towards a more thoughtful design process.

news_alumni_jewell3In my spare time, I’ve done some freelance work for friends and family. My two biggest projects have been wedding suites—RSVP cards, invitations, programs, thank you notes, etc. While working on my own time is often tiring, it’s helpful to have an outlet where I can create with greater freedom to further develop my own style.”

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DiSanto Leads Bookmaking Workshop with Young Students

news_program_rosebookmake1Visiting Assistant Professor Rose DiSanto recently led a morning bookmaking workshop with students at the Adaire Alexander School in Philadelphia. Rose was invited into the classroom by her friend and neighbor, Dr. Chris Long, who had been working on a project with her 7th and 8th grade students about personal storytelling and memoir. Rose worked with the students to create and bind their own books to showcase their essays. The collaborative project was met with great enthusiasm by all—and Rose will be invited back for a private showing of the finished books in a few weeks.



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