Branden Garrett is an engineering student; he is also an artist. Although he wouldn’t necessarily call himself one, this bubbly junior from the College of Engineering has been creating art for years.
Most of his projects share a common theme—to inspire people to feel connected to their community and give back to it. It all began when his high school social studies department needed to fundraise for a few worthy projects. With some encouragement from his teacher, Branden created designs for buttons that were sold to raise money.
While in high school, Branden also forged his connection to Villanova. For three spring semesters, he spent Saturdays on campus as part of the College of Engineering program, VESTED. He also met Villanova students who participated in workshops for his material sciences classes. Perhaps the most influential Villanovan, however, was his sister, Princess Garrett ’18, who further stoked his interest in the University.
When his senior year arrived, Branden applied to Villanova and was awarded the Anthony Randazzo Endowed Presidential Scholarship, covering full tuition, room, board and books—an opportunity that continues to have an impact on his daily experience.
Once on campus as a student, his connection to Villanova only grew. Looking for a way to channel his passion and pride for the University, he began to create a series of Snapchat filters featuring original graphic representations of various buildings on campus. His very first was a design of the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. The open lines in the church walls represent the University’s open and welcoming spirit, he explains.
A regular at the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute’s Idea Accelerator, Branden shared the design with Executive Director of the ICE Institute, II Luscri, who encouraged him to share it more broadly. By then the design was already recognized by students using the Snapchat filter, and it caught the eye of the University Advancement team. Now it has become a piece of Villanova history, featured on the University’s commemorative 175th anniversary ornament.
When asked what it means to have his design featured on this special memento, Branden’s answer is quintessentially Villanovan:
“I recognize the investment that Villanova has made in me,” he says, “and I’m proud that I’m able to give back to support the University—and that my work is inspiring our community to do the same.”
Make a gift of $25 or more to Villanova through this link and receive the 175th anniversary commemorative Christmas ornament as a sign of our appreciation!