By: Dezaray Barr
Kory Pence graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics with emphases in painting and illustration. In 2009, he earned his MFA in Graphic Design from Marywood University. His design thesis was about Design for Change.
Pence was led to IWU because of his experiences with IWU as a high school student. He explained, “During high school, I had the opportunity to experience IWU’s student weekends and special events like Friday Night Live (FNL). The familiarity of campus life and my interest in computer graphics led me to explore the art division. The passion and dedication of the art faculty was unmistakable during a college visit. Ultimately, it was the excitement of learning from professors Rod Crossman, Ron Mazellan, Rob Curfman and Ardelia Williams that drew me to attend.”
Pence said that his time flew by while being immersed in countless hours of studio time. “The days before everyone had a laptop, you did all your work in the lab,” Pence said. “Making life-long friendships was inevitable. I took multiple campus jobs and student leadership roles (computer lab TA, conference services, front desk worker and Resident Assistant in Hodson Hall). One of the highlights was being a student graphic designer in the marketing department where I created playbills and event posters.”
Although he was grounded in his Christian faith when he arrived at IWU, he cultivated a spiritual maturity while a student. He said, “Some friends humorously made a game of collecting chapel skips like a badge of honor, but I enjoyed the pause and reflection time that chapel allowed in the busyness of deadlines and lectures. Faculty also infused tangible spiritual teaching into everyday life. You can’t take a class with Ron Mazellan and not experience a new understanding of passion for craft and Christ. His and other’s examples continue to impact me to this day.”
Pence is now the Chief Creative Director for The Wesleyan Church in Fishers, Indiana. He leads a talented team of designers and storytellers. “My daily work ranges from print to digital design, to illustration and typography, to interior design and video production,” Pence said. “I love strategizing communication, collaborating with leaders and creative problem solving with artists to crafting compelling visual communication. Some of my favorites stories are at wesleyan.org/stories.”
After graduation, Pence pursued a career in corporate design, but he quickly discovered that his employers lacked passion and integrity for their work. “Reflecting back on my time at IWU, mentors taught me that the world needed more people doing what they love. And the source of that love is God. Leaning into God’s plan for my life, I quit my corporate design gig to work for a Christian nonprofit. Nearly sixteen years later, God amazes me daily in the ways he allows me to serve in a role I am passionate about and making a difference. Through my work at The Wesleyan Church, he’s taken me around the world to beautiful places like Japan, Costa Rica and most recently to New Zealand, where I served as a nonprofit brand consultant and designer,” Pence shared.
Pence’s faith and career are interconnected in ways that give Pence deep fulfillment and purpose. “[My work] aligns with my beliefs,” Pence said. “I aim to live and design for change, so that others might be transformed for good. It’s a privilege and responsibility given to me by the Original Designer – the Creator and Sustainer of all good and everlasting change.”
Pence and his wife, Kristen, have a beautiful 8-month-old daughter. Pence has taught design as an adjunct faculty at IWU for several years. See some of his work at korypence.com.
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.