Tate Hovland ’20, Willmar, Minn.
Major/Minors: Communication Studies; Graphic Design and English Writing 

Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Willmar, Minn., and am studying communication studies, English, and graphic design. I enjoy spending time with friends, watching and playing sports, and adventuring (hiking, kayaking, hammocking, etc.). My favorite place in the world is the Boundary Waters, and I thoroughly enjoy taking trips there with friends and family to enjoy the quiet and phenomenal views. The best part of my life are my friends and family because I am lucky to say I am surrounded by an amazing group of individuals that support, encourage and influence my day-to-day life.

Tate Hovland and students in stands at football game

What are you involved with?

Currently, my biggest involvement is serving as the Orientation chair in preparation for the upcoming year. I also am serving as the engagement chair for Students and Alumni Linked Together (SALT), a member of It’s On Us, the Student Government Association’s Accessibility Council, Concordia’s Omicron Delta Kappa, and the treasurer for the Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding Club. I enjoy playing intramural volleyball and basketball. Beyond my extracurricular involvement, I work as an intern in the Communication and Marketing Office, a student ambassador for Admission, and a student worker for the Alumni Office. I enjoy staying busy and like spending time with friends, going to coffee shops, and being outside in my free time.

Concordia Orientation Leaders

What motivated you to get involved with Orientation and pair that with your interest in graphic design? 

Looking back to my first year, my Orientation leader pushed me to apply for the Orientation team. Initially, I came to college not wanting to be involved with Orientation because my older sister was heavily involved and I wanted to make my own path. After I applied for the Orientation team, there was no looking back. I fell in love with the excitement, energy, and overall mission of Orientation. Welcoming Cobbers of all backgrounds to campus caused me to get increasingly involved, serving on the Orientation committee as a team development co-coordinator and, ultimately, as the Orientation chair.

The graphic design piece came into the fold when deciding themes for Orientation Week 2018. Although many ideas were thrown out, I had my heart set on Disney – a theme that was fun, flexible, and extremely relatable to many. This caused me to start designing logos and ideas with the help of committee members. We got creative to sway the opinions toward Disney. This push kickstarted my passion for graphic design as I was able to get incredibly creative. Making many different designs, some logos that could be used by Orientation or fun images that connected Disney to Concordia College, I found myself being constantly encouraged by close friends, mentors, and family to further pursue this interest. This caused me to start taking courses to further develop my skills and provide the opportunity to build a minor combining graphic design with digital photography, another passion of mine. These experiences allowed me to further cater my academic programs to my passions and the rest is history.

Tate Hovland and students in KCC

How have you been able to weave the two together? 

Orientation has continually given me a platform and reason to explore design options. Looking at the posters, social media posts, and logos that have been created, I am grateful for the wide variety of opportunities that I have received. Orientation has given me the opportunity to further my skills and design resume to work toward future endeavors. It’s awesome to be able to put aside time to play around with designs and count it as work. Don’t get me wrong, I get the work done, but it is nice to have the flexibility to devote time to something outside of school.

Tell us about the projects you designed for Orientation?

My favorite project was working on the logo for the Orientation team T-shirts. The initial design was creating the iconic Paul J. Dovre Campanile (bell tower) out of silhouettes from a wide variety of Disney characters. This idea stemmed from Cinderella’s castle with the intent of connecting Concordia College into the logo as much as possible, such as Niblet and the shape of the bell tower. Taking many different recommendations into account, I was able to create a logo that fit the Disney theme while providing a fun variation to Orientation.

Another important project I worked on was designing buttons and posters to ensure all incoming students feel welcome. When planning Orientation Week with the committee, we decided inclusion was going to be a prominent focus of our efforts. We had the idea for the Orientation team to show support for all incoming students, especially marginalized groups. These buttons and posters were a ton of fun to design and it was rewarding to get input from outside parties to ensure the buttons would turn out the best way possible. Watching students continue to wear these buttons made the committee and I proud of our efforts but was also a reminder to further these efforts next year when planning Orientation.

Tate Hovland with beanies

What makes this experience so unique?

The Orientation experience is incredibly unique because it is mostly student led, requires a village to put on, and is a great way to kick off the academic year for incoming students and student leaders. Orientation is planned by a committee of seven individuals headed by a chair and this group of individuals develops the week of events with about a year of planning in advance. When finished, it has been pretty cool to look back at all the hard work, long hours, etc., that went into the week for incoming students. Orientation has provided me some incredible experience in preparation for future endeavors while creating unmatched relationships. I have connected with some of my best friends and mentors through Orientation, further impacting my life. I am grateful for my experience with Concordia’s Orientation and would highly recommend involvement in Orientation to anyone.

What advice would you give to fellow Cobbers looking to combine their career interests with extracurriculars?

I encourage all fellow Cobbers to find ways to explore their passions, have a ton of fun, and help others in the process. Orientation has been a natural home for me to further develop my skills as well as have the time of my life. Some of the memories created will last a lifetime alongside the friendships. No matter what you are passionate about or have enthusiasm for, there is an opportunity on campus to further explore this option with minimal risk. That is the great thing about college. It is a time for you to experiment many different passions or interests with some pretty great people. You have the flexibility and independence to make YOUR college experience however you want it, so find what that means to you because college flies by.

What’s next for you?

Next is enjoying the rest of my time at Concordia College. It is a bittersweet time as I am continually getting closer to graduation, but with that brings some exciting times. Getting the Cobber ring, Orientation as chair next year, senior year Homecoming, two Cornstocks, and so much more. I am not ready to leave Concordia or say goodbye to friends, but I know I can’t stay here forever and am ready to make the most of my experience. I am excited to see what the next few years will bring and it is nice knowing I will always have a home at this special place.