— by Gabi Stevenson, Communications Manager

Congratulations to Moore’s 2024 valedictorian! Dan Callahan is a Graphic Design major with an Illustration minor from Orange County, VA. Their vibrant design work explores themes of intersectionality as it relates to their life.

Read on for a Q&A with Callahan as they discuss what it felt like to be named valedictorian and what they love most about Moore. Be sure to join us on Saturday, May 11 at 11 am at the Kimmel Center for Moore’s 175th Commencement to hear Callahan’s speech and to celebrate the rest of our graduating seniors!

How did it feel when you found out you were named valedictorian? Was this a goal of yours while at Moore?

It was kind of crazy! I was really stressed about it. It’s something I’ve been pursuing as early as sophomore year because getting good grades motivated me to do better work and create more successful pieces. I knew that I had a 4.0 GPA, but I wasn’t sure about students in other majors.

Moore Academic Dean Claudine Thomas came out when we were doing wall critiques for our Senior Show layouts and told me, and I was still a little surprised.

What is your proudest accomplishment from your time at Moore?

Completing an Illustration minor is really difficult here because of how the course schedules line up. I was proud to be able to get it all done. [Illustration Professor] Rich Harrington really stood up for me and helped me get into some classes that expedited my course material. [Graphic Design Program Head and Professor] Gigi McGee really went out of her way to rearrange schedules so that I could take the classes I wanted, and I appreciated that a lot.

Other than those things, I’m just proud to be at Moore!

What was your favorite part about being a student at Moore?

The faculty here are really great. Far and away, they’re the best thing about being here. They’re very qualified and they’re well-prepared to guide us to a career in the arts, not just to become an artist. Skye Bolluyt ’15 is the first name that comes to mind—she’s a very accomplished alum and adjunct professor who does a great job of preparing us for what the real world will be like.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to end up working. I’m really interested in pursuing some sort of package design opportunity. It can be a little difficult when you’re first starting to figure out what kind of firms are hiring and getting logistics in order.

I do know that I’ll be staying in Philadelphia! My mom, my brother and I are also going on an Alaskan cruise as a graduation present because my brother is also graduating from high school this year. Beyond that, I’m just figuring out where to go next and how to make the best of my time here.

What is your biggest piece of advice for future Moore students?

The environment here can be as helpful as you let it be. Commit to challenging yourself in your work and take classes that are going to challenge you. If you end up classes that you feel aren’t doing that, go out of your way to find ones that do.


Photo and artwork courtesy of Dan Callahan ’24.