Ali Garcia, Tulane University '15
As a Tulane University student, there are so many incredible aspects that make this university such a special place, but one of the greatest parts of Tulane is having New Orleans at your fingertips. While the education in the classroom is obviously a critical part of any college education – especially at Tulane – It was not only my professors that inspired me, but stepping out and sharing in the celebration of the food, music and personality of New Orleans.
I graduated a few years ago and have since moved to New York City but experiencing the culture and history of New Orleans first hand is something that stays with you long after you have left. As a Tulane student you are immersed in NOLA culture, and one of the biggest celebrations of this unique culture is Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras and the events leading up to it are some of my favorite memories from school. Mardi Gras doesn’t just take place on Bourbon Street or along the parade route – the costumes, music and celebrations take place all over campus. Mardi Gras may not be the typical “traditional” celebration but some of my favorite parts of were the traditions my friends and I made our own and relieved each year. It was also incredible that people from all over the world traveled to OUR city, to our home to experience the culture, music, and vibrancy that is NOLA. When you live in New Orleans, it is YOUR celebration. Like the saying goes, “Only at Tulane, only in New Orleans”.
I hope all the current students, exhausted after the marathon that is Mardi Gras, realize what a once in lifetime experience we all share. It is an experience that connects us back to not only New Orleans and Tulane University but a shared history, Alma Mater, and home.
Lindsay Crittenden, Washington and Lee '13
Where are you from and where did you go to college? Richmond, Virginia and Washington and Lee University
What was the most important tradition at W & L and how has it impacted your life? Probably the honor system. Personal relationships run very deep and wide at W&L, and I think the honor system has a lot to do with it, directly or indirectly. It instilled in many of us a strong sense of trust and faith in others. And I think that optimistic approach to relationships can go a long way in a world where that's hard to find.
Where do you live now and what are you "doing there"? New York City. I'm in graduate school at Parsons studying Interior Design and Architecture.
How has living in New York impacted your personal style? New York gives you lots of room to play around with different looks and decide on what styles feel right and fit your personality best. The city has made me more playful while simultaneously helping me hone in to my favorite looks. I've finally found my staples.
Who inspires you most? That's a hard one. I gather different types of inspiration from different people. Each person in my family is a big source of inspiration. They all have their own talents and dreams and encourage me to go out and pursue my own. Artists of all crafts who make amazing things, and who create intellectual dialogue about people and society through their work. Edward Abbey. Hemingway. Anyone who packs their bags and moves to a new country and travels. Mother nature. Passionate people. And dogs. I hope I'm like my dogs one day.
As I’ve been building Kyle Cavan over the past few years, I’ve spent countless hours traveling to campuses around the country, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting new ones. Compass Connections is meant to be a place where we can share the stories of students and alumni whose passion and purpose we hope to honor through our collections. It seemed fitting that the first post should tell my story. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I’ve enjoyed getting to live it.
The idea started small. A few years after college graduation, I was looking at my own collection of jewelry – defined by a few too many oversized costume necklaces. I was truly proud of the collection that I’d put together but I realized that my cherished pieces weren’t the loudest, newest or even my most expensive. My real treasures were the one that were handed down to me and that I never took off, like the cross that I had worn underneath those oversized necklaces since my 16th birthday. They weren’t just beautiful, they inspired me, and they connected me to my family and my past. Each piece evoked feelings in me that were beyond description, and together they told my life’s story. This is when I knew I wanted to design jewelry that would have meaning for every person that wore it. With this new purpose in mind, I immediately reflected on what was missing from my story and it was in this moment that the Kyle Cavan story began.
My years at Duke University were some of the most important years in my life, but I owned very few things that reminded me of those years. I had never purchased a class ring, because, even at 21, I knew I would never wear it. So, I set out to redefine the classic class ring and design a Duke-inspired jewelry collection that I would be proud to wear every day. The Signature Bracelet was my modern take on the classic piece that many people owned, but few actually wore.
The architectural elements were not introduced until I stepped back onto the Duke University campus and into the Duke University chapel. Call it my AHA moment but transforming the detailed gothic vaulted ceiling of the chapel into that first Shield Pendant came naturally. I had been considering using elements from my family crest, in the shape of a shield, as a logo, and it seemed like a natural fit that the 21st century interpretation of family shields would be found in the hallways of higher education. The rest of the designs came together as I began to source my inspiration from the iconic architecture, familiar crests and timeless beauty found on college campuses like Duke.
Today, we have 13 college collections and we continue to grow. It is my hope that these collections stand the test of time and serve as a reminder of one of my favorite quotes,
With Love, Kyle
We are here to inspire and connect people across this unique network (a network that will continue to grow as we add more schools). Posts will feature student and alumni profiles, style tips, architectural influences, inspirational school stories, and lifestyle content. Ultimately, we hope to spark new connections and relationships among this network that wouldn't have existed if we didn't make the introduction. It's like when you introduce your work friends to your home friends and they end up all loving each other. There's no better feeling!