Millikin Creative Media students win six 2024 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs)

Big Blue students Noct McCormick and John Wyatt took home Gold ADDYs for creative excellence.

DECATUR, Ill. – Millikin University School of Art and Creative Media students were recognized for the eighth consecutive year at the region-level American Advertising Awards (ADDY) from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Southern Illinois chapter

Millikin students received six awards, including two Gold ADDYs and four Silver awards. A Gold ADDY recognizes the highest level of creative excellence. Entries also considered outstanding and worthy of recognition receive a Silver ADDY.

ADDY winners
Millikin Art and Creative Media students (from let to right) Crux May, John Wyatt and Noct McCormick.

Gold ADDY award winners move on to the district competition and compete with students from Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. 

The American Advertising Awards is one of the industry's most significant creative competitions, attracting nearly 35,000 professional and student entries annually through local club competitions. The American Advertising Awards aims to recognize and reward the spirit of creative excellence in advertising.

Earning a Gold ADDY in the Product or Services Sales Promotion category was Noct McCormick for their design of a new beverage design for an upcoming drink for Decatu’rs Door 4 Brewing Co. McCormick serves as Creative Director for Millikin Creates, a student-run media firm that serves clients on campus or in the community, and Door4 commissioned the creation of two designed beer cans. 

Beer can design
Noct McCormick's 100% Love design for the Door 4 Brewing Co. 

“We were given a lot of flexibility and free reign about artistic direction, and our only real requirement was adhering to the names they wanted for the beverages. Because of the name ‘100% Pure Love,’ I wanted to hit the ground running with a very 80's/90's themed design,” McCormick said. “The biggest inspiration being bowling or skating alley floor patterns. I think that was at the forefront of my mind when designing. I think it was a nostalgic thing that most people remember, so I thought it would be fun to try and translate that onto a physical beverage.” 

After graduation, McCormick hopes to continue as a graphic designer, either as a freelancer or with a well-established design firm. They feel that Millikin has prepared them well for either opportunity. More of McCormick’s designs are on their Moonwood Graphics Instagram page

When I saw that I had won, I stared in disbelief at the email notifying me of my winning for a bit. I'm incredibly thankful for all that I've learned here at Millikin and the skillsets I've been able to refine along the way,” McCormick said. “After graduation, I’d like to believe I can land on my feet wherever things take me, but I'll stay optimistic and keep my head up even if I don't have an immediate sense of direction.”

Crux May Photo
Crux May photographed a magazine cover and five-page spread that won a Silver ADDY.

Winning two Silver Digital Photography ADDYs was Crux May, who was inspired to create these images from a class assignment and inspiration hit them right away.

“These photos were for an assignment for the Commercial Photography class I took last semester. The assignment was to create a cover and five-page spread of a fashion magazine,” May said. “I knew right away I wanted to do a white trash glam magazine, and it was something different from what I knew everyone else would be doing. I was shocked and excited when I heard that I had been honored.” 

Arts Technology Video major John Wyatt won three ADDY awards, including the Gold ADDY for Best Original Film Cinematography for his film “I Miss You.” He also won Silver ADDYs for Film, Video, & Sound for an Original One-Minute Film for his horror film “Don’t Look” and Still Photography (Digitally Enhanced) for an Original Album Cover. 

“I Miss You” is an impactful ghost story about the feeling of loss that was close to home for Wyatt. 

“‘I Miss You’ is a short film I wrote about the emptiness I felt after losing my dad. He passed away unexpectedly during the fall semester, and it reminded me to cherish the people I love. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 32 years, and the film captures how lost I would be without her,” he said. “I was thrilled and honored to win awards for my work. I put my heart and soul into each project, and it's so awesome to have my work recognized by others. Winning awards for two films and a photograph was unexpected.”

Wyatt came to Millikin as a transfer student from Richland Community College and has deep family connections to Millikin, as his daughter Lauren Wyatt graduated in 2023 with a degree in Elementary Education.  

John Wyatt and Lauren Wyatt
John Wyatt (right) and his daughter Lauren Wyatt.

“I fell in love with Millikin while going on a college visit with my daughter. When I found out MU offered photography and video classes, I inquired about registering. I decided to get my associate's at RCC and then transfer to Millikin,” Wyatt said. “ I graduated high school in 1988 and took my first college class in 2019. I still remember my daughter walking me around campus and showing me where my classrooms would be because I had no idea where to go.”

As a nontraditional student, Wyatt works full-time and tries to take three to four classes a semester while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average. He appreciates the flexibility the Arts Technology program offers. 

ADDY awards

“I often start work early and return after my classes to make time for school. Having (Interim Dean of the School of Fine Arts) Jessa Wilcoxen as my advisor is a tremendous gift. From the moment I stepped onto campus, she has kept me on track to get my degree,” Wyatt said. “Every professor I’ve had the privilege of taking a class has made me feel welcome. The amount of expertise and knowledge we have at Millikin is inspiring. (School of Art and Creative Media faculty members) Eric Hector and Johnny Power have become tremendous mentors to me. Millikin has helped me grow as a filmmaker, a photographer, and, most notably, as a person. It truly is never too late to follow your dreams.”