Alumni: Class Notes
Recognizing the 2020 CLA Honored Alumna, Laura Lawton
"We need more thoughts and ideas from all different people to come into our industry and continue to elevate what we do."
Laura Lawton (Graphic Communication, ’90) was recognized as the 2020 CLA Honored Alumna. Since earning her degree, Lawton has become the owner and president at Lawton Printing Services as the fourth generation in her family to lead the Spokane, Washington, business.
Lawton has worked at the family business for more than 30 years since starting in the screen printing department in high school. As a transfer student to Cal Poly her junior year, Lawton found her place on campus by forging friendships in the Graphic Communication Department while working for University Graphic Systems (UGS) and learning valuable skills for her career. She applied her practical hands-on experience running printing presses when she returned to Lawton Printing Services after college, proving that she was well qualified to run the business, regardless of her family name.
During Lawton’s time studying graphic communication, the department had a majority male faculty and student body. However, demographics have changed dramatically in 40 years to include mostly female students. As one of the few women to be inducted into the printing hall of fame, Lawton is a vital role model for current students beginning their careers. “We need more thoughts and ideas from all different people to come into our industry and continue to elevate what we do,” Lawton said.
Lawton has led her company through many changes, adapting to new technologies and offering a variety of personalized digital printing, offset commercial printing and marketing solutions. She has made sustainability a large priority at Lawson Printing, implementing sustainable printing with Forest Steward Council certification, use of recycled paper and soy-based inks.
In addition to running her business, Lawton is very involved in the printing industry and at Cal Poly. In 2016, she was inducted into the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame, and she served as chair of Young Print Professionals Group from 2004 to 2016. Lawton has served on more than
10 national printing industries and boards, serving as chair on four. At Cal Poly, Lawton has been a member of the Graphic Communication Advisory Board since 2014, and as of 2021, she serves as chair of the board.
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Sierra Hyland (Graphic Communication, ’18) recently competed in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics on the Mexican national softball team.
Molly O’Brien (Journalism, ’18) is working as a freelance writer for
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Cameron Pedretti (Sociology, ’20) is pursuing a Master of Science in Social Research Methods at the London School of Economics.
Annie Margolis (Communication Studies, ’21) is working as an assistant dance coach for the Calabasas Dance Team.
Brandon Roul (Political Science, ’21) is a J.D. candidate at Stanford Law School, and plans to pursue a career in civil rights.