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Alumni Association honors Primo Angeli among distinguished alumni

Reposted from: Daily Egyptian

A former SIU student will receive recognition nearly 60 years after leaving the university.

Primo Angeli, who came to Carbondale as an undergraduate in the 1950s, is receiving the Cultural Impact Award at 3:30 p.m. ceremony April 29 in Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. He is one of four recipients receiving a Distinguished Alumni Award from the SIU Alumni Association.

Angeli, who was born in West Frankfort, graduated from SIU in 1957 with a fine arts major and gained a master’s of fine arts degree in 1959. After that, he moved to San Francisco and started a successful corporate identity and packaging firm. His company worked with brands like Coca-Cola, Ben & Jerrys and General Mills.

He created the environmental graphics and poster for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The designer did the official poster for the Salt Lake Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Team for Nagano and the U.S. Olympic Team for Sydney.

Angeli also worked on posters for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Silver Anniversary of Grace Cathedral. The man was a design consultant with Olympic President Juan Antonio Samaranch and designed the poster for Word Cup in Paris.

He was also a finalist in a competition for having a American representa6ve poster in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Robert Lopez, an associate professor of design and departmental host, knew of Angeli’s work and his name beforehand, but admired Angeli more after meeting him. After a classroom visit and having dinner with him and a couple colleagues, Lopez understood the mystique around him, he said.

“I kind of got to know him on a personal level,” Lopez said. “I could see his work, and where it comes from.”

Angeli elevated the role of designers in the developing process, he said. He is important in bringing their importance and value center stage.

“Designers are creatives, they have ideas,” Lopez said. “There are also the technicians.”

The man’s posters had a big hand in raising designers’ stock, he said. Posters are done all the time in the profession, but his worked as pieces of art.

Many in the field who reach fame are known for a technique, Lopez said. Some are known for certain sorts of colors or things of that nature. Angeli was not afraid to explore different styles, he said. He traveled down a number of different stylistic avenues.

Elizabeth Hess, a senior in communication design from Lemont, will introduce Angeli at the ceremony.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” she said. “It’s really cool going through all of the designs. Seeing what he’s done and knowing he was Saluki.”

Hess said she had never met anyone as influential as Angeli. The idea of talking to someone like him, who was so successful in his line of work and passion, has brought up a lot of feelings. Angeli left his family in Illinois to go follow his dream in San Francisco, she said.

Kathy Dillard, director of corporate relations for the Alumni association, said the Alumni honors program started in 1997 and was originally just for successful alumni and their career achievements. But that changed in 2014, when they opened up the awards.

“Thinking about how many alumni are doing great things, it might not always be about career achievements,” she said.

These awards show students all the ways their SIU degrees can come in handy, Dillard said. A degree in one field, does not mean a person cannot be successful in another one.

It is about life taking someone a different way than they planned, she said. The connec6ons and skills a student learns at SIU can take a person in a number of different ways.

“It demonstrates the value of their educa6ons from [SIU],” Dillard said.

Selections are made by one committee, she said. It is comprised of two members of the SIU Alumni Association National Board of Directors, one member of the Student Alumni Council, one alumnus, one SIU campus representative and one current SIU student.

Anyone can nominate any alumnus by filling out the form at the SIU Alumni Association website, Dillard said.

The association will also give awards to Robert Steele for Career Achievement; Marsha Ryan for Humanitarian Efforts; and Viktor Gruev for Young Alumni Achievement.

The University Museum currently has an exhibit of Angeli’s work on the first-floor rotunda gallery at Morris Library. The reception, however, is invitation only.