S Dale High and Rob and Deborah Barber receive awards, speak at PA College of Art & Design Commencement

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Thursday, May 9th, 2019

s-dale-high-receives-commencement-hood-russell-urban-audry-carter-michael-mollaOn Friday, May 3, 2019, during the 37th Commencement ceremony for Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Lancaster, S Dale High received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa and Deborah and Rob Barber received the 2019 Medal of Honor. The Barbers also were the Commencement speakers at the event where 51 members of the PCA&D Class of 2019 received their Bachelors of Fine Arts degree.

PCA&D Trustee Russell Urban presented the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa to S. Dale High for his visionary entrepreneurship, civic leadership, dedication to innovation, champion of creative energy to the betterment of our community, and philosophy of building trustworthy relationships.

In speaking to the graduates, High said, “Artists can be characterized as prophet; someone who touches our soul and who encourages us to recognize our ragged realities and one who can help shape our world. Entrepreneurs and artists – we are sometimes thought as trouble. But your creativity is needed now more than ever, to ground us with soul and purpose.”

Dale High is Chair Emeritus of Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based High Industries Inc. and High Real Estate Group LLC. Under his leadership, which began in 1963, what was once High Welding Company has grown to 10 businesses with more than half a billion dollars in revenues, yet known for its ethics, values and contributions to the community. Projects such as Old Town Lancaster and the Lancaster County Convention Center have driven the economic health in the city, the county, and beyond, especially revitalizing his Lancaster City hometown. He retired from active governance in 2016, but remains active in the organization, helping with strategic planning, government relations and business development.

The S. Dale High Family Foundation (formerly The High Foundation) was created by the High Family in 1980 to support philanthropic efforts in the community. Support for the revitalization of Lancaster’s South West has led to its beautification though the installation of public art and murals.

Throughout his career, High has started and fostered open dialogue, ongoing and constructive, as the basis for collaboration that leads to meaningful change. His philosophy of servant leadership and his vision for lifting people up is reflected in Lancaster, throughout Central Pennsylvania, and beyond.

The next generation of the High Family created the S. Dale High Leadership Center to celebrate High’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and acknowledge his belief that business has a role in solving community problems. The Center, also the home of the High Foundation, expands High’s personal mission through its role as a gathering place for non-profit, business, and community leaders to share ideas and shape the future.

With his increasing focus on his philanthropic activities, Dale High continues to pursue The High Philosophy that has been the cornerstone of his success: building trustworthy relationships and being an innovative leader. He is a past board member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Rob and Deborah BarberThe 2019 recipients of the Medal of Honor and the 2019 Commencement Speakers are the team of  Deborah and Rob Barber, entertainment industry thought leaders and community-focused couple in Lancaster City and its arts and design scenes.

Deborah Barber encouraged the students, “You may not always the opportunity to see people experience your art, but when you do, you’ll see the experience through someone else’s eyes.” Ms. Barber, as an employer of creative talent, thanked PCA&D for preparing the graduating creatives

Rob Barber spoke about art is influential and impactful in our lives. “People will argue because of you; people will smile because of you; people will cry because of you; people will be calm because of you; and people will feel joy because of you.”

Rob Barber, Vice President, Rental Solutions + R&D, ATOMIC

Since joining ATOMIC in 2010 as vice president of Rental Solutions and R&D divisions, Barber has implemented fundamental changes in the live event industry.. Barber has introduced over 70 new products and several patented product lines. His team celebrates 13 industry related design. In addition to world headquarters in Lititz, PA, Barber has also successfully launched operations in Los Angeles, Miami, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Singapore. Clients include iHeart, MTV, Miranda Lambert, Miley Cyrus, Pentatonix, FOX Sports, NBC, The Talk, Ellen, and many more.

Prior to his time at ATOMIC, Barber has 25 years of executive leadership in technology and systems implementation and has developed the technology for printing on eggs, environmentally-controlled poultry houses, and all sorts of other “really weird chicken things.” He has a formal education in fine woodworking and business management…an oddly weird and perfect fit for ATOMIC.

Locally, Barber is an active community leader with past board positions including Board of Directors of the Lancaster Office of Promotions, Lancaster Farmland Trust, and Co-Founder of the Leaders Circle Scholarship Committee. He serves nationally on the Advisory Board of the Parnelli Awards, which recognizes high-level achievement in the Touring and Live Event industry.

Deborah Barber, Vice President, Operations, Nimblist

Barber joined Nimblist in 2015 as the vice president of operations. Champion of the people, Barber brings a sense of organizational and operational calm to an industry otherwise known for its disheveled, disorganized, and frantic timeframes. Nimblist, founded by PCA&D Trustee Douglas “Spike” Brant, is a bi-coastal company with a focus on lighting and production design and a keen eye on being good stewards to the environment. Clients include Bon Jovi, NFL, Robin Hood Foundation, Future, and many more.

Prior to joining Nimblist, Barber was the Creative Director at Graphtech where she built a design division and oversaw all creative development. As the Director of Creative and Technology Services at the PA Medical Society, she was responsible for overseeing the design, creative content, and marketing for more than 30 associations, which included all print, digital, social, and more than 60,000 web pages.

Barber was also the owner of a design company with a strong focus on women in business and served as the Special Projects Manager for the Bureau of Travel Marketing under the Casey Administration. Barber has been recognized with national design awards throughout her career and has long been recognized for her eye on design.

Locally, Barber is an active community leader with board positions including Leadership Lancaster Board of Directors, Music for Everyone Fundraising Committee, and Co-Founder of the Leaders Circle Scholarship Committee.

Brian Fenstermacher

In addition, two members of the Class of 2019, Brian Fenstermacher and Penelope Cochran, also spoke to their fellow graduates.


Fenstermacher’s talk “ We’ve Figured it Out” revisits key points in the Class of 2019’s time at the college.

“Looking back and remembering the struggles and victories we were both faced with and those that we overcame, I find, is a fantastic way to prepare for what comes next.”


Fenstermacher, a senior Graphic Designer from Allentown, came to PCA&D his sophomore year as a transfer from Lehigh Carbon Community College. He received an honorable mention in the national 2019 Young Designers Competition sponsored by the Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and Distributors. Fenstermacher is the president of the PCA&D AIGA club, has participated in the College’s Designathon, and worked with the media team during the Creative Community Engagement day.


Penelope CochranCochran’s remarks “Never Stop Exploring” encourage the Class of 2019 to embrace the change the future brings. “Every person here is a never-ending art piece, and it’s important that we never stop exploring. You haven’t met all of you yet.”

A senior designer from Pittsburgh, Cochran was selected as a winner of the American Packaging Design Awards, sponsored by Neenah Packaging and Graphic Design USA. She was named as one of Graphic Design USA’s Students to Watch for 2019. Cochran participated in the College’s AIGA Designathon, developed instructional tech videos for the College, was a leader of the branding team for Creative Community Engagement day, and was a student ambassador at PCA&D Open Houses.


PCA&D Class of 2019Graduating seniors received their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in one of five majors: illustration, graphic design, fine arts, digital media, and photography, during the commencement ceremonies. In addition special student awards were presented to Christopher Morris, Digital Media Department Award; Melanie Vera , Fine Art Department Award; Cathrine Spengler , Graphic Design Department Award; Trent Sheaffer, Illustration Department Award; Jose Collantes, Photography Department Award; Brigitte Errickson, Fine Art,  Award for Academic Excellence; Larissa Ramey, Photography,  Mary Colleen Heil Vanguard Award; and Karla Daher Urgiles, Illustration, and Joseph Bend, Graphic Design, Founders Awards for Excellence in Leadership.

The Commencement ceremonies were held at the Barshinger Center for Musical Arts on  the Franklin and Marshall College campus.