MOUNT OLIVE – Troy Herring of Mount Olive was recently accepted to the University of Alabama’s Graduate School. Herring attended Mount Olive College as a visual communications major. He found the guidance and personalized attention he needed from his MOC professors. “When I started at MOC, I knew that I wanted to do photography, but I was not focused on any specific area and needed some guidance,” said Herring. “That's when the faculty in the Art Department helped me get focused and see my potential.”
Herring continued, “Professor Larry Lean was the dominant figure in helping me develop into a better photographer. He would sit down with me and we would discuss technique, critique, and other fundamentals of photography, then he would step aside and let me work freely, because he never wanted to intrude on my creative process.”
Herring, 23, graduated from MOC in May 2012. During his time at the College, he worked as an intern sports photographer for the Sports Information Department. He also received credit hours for working as a photographer for The Trojan Times, the former student newspaper blog.
“The best moments of my time at MOC was working with my friends—fellow art/visual communications majors—on those late night art projects,” said Herring. “It is amazing what you can take away art-wise when you collaborate with other artists, such as new techniques and different ways of viewing artwork. Along with my friends, the art professors were always there for intellectual discussions on anything and everything art related.”
After graduating, Herring kept busy while deciding what graduate school he would attend. He worked at a local paper as a staff photographer. One of Herring’s photos recently won the "Best in Wayne County" and "People's Choice" awards from the 34th Annual Juried Art Show conducted by the Arts Council of Wayne County.”
Herring will pursue an MFA in studio art with a concentration in photography at UA. He was accepted to two other graduate schools, so he made his choice carefully. “I ultimately chose the University of Alabama after a year-and-a-half long process of research, paperwork and patience. It is a great, well established university. The art program is one of the oldest departments on campus and is constantly growing. It is also a lot closer to home than it would be if I had gone to Houston, and I am more comfortable in a small city like Tuscaloosa. Lastly, I have a group of close family who live in Hazel Green, Alabama, which is only about a 2-3 hour drive from campus, so if I ever need to get away or need anything, they are just right down the road.”
Herring hopes studying at UA gives him that extra edge he needs to build the career he wants. “I hope to continue to further myself both as an artist and as a photographer by taking in as much knowledge of the art of photography as I can. By continuing on to graduate school, I will push myself as an artist through advanced studio classes and independent studies.”
Herring has a clear snapshot of the life he would like to build with his advanced degree. “I'd like to start out my full-time career working as a photo illustrator or photojournalist for a major magazine such as National Geographic, Time or Sports Illustrated, and if I have any free time, teach some college photography courses. Ultimately, my goal is to continue to advance photography as a true art form, while helping to educate and inspire those who see my work.”
While he is steadily moving towards achieving his next goal, Herring will always be grateful for the strong foundation he built as a student at MOC. “Without MOC, the Art Department, my family, friends and professors like Mr. Lean, I would not be where I am today. I owe them everything.”
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.