Like many high school seniors, Rick Briggenhorst had no idea what he wanted to do after graduation back in 2011.
“On my last day in high school, I had a conversation with my marketing instructor and my art instructor,” the Union-native said. “They told me ‘math teaches you how to succeed. Art teaches you how to live.’”
The next week, he enrolled at East Central College with the intent of exploring the arts.
“I was the first in my family to go to college,” he said. “East Central College was incredibly accessible to me. It was easy to get information, and I knew I could walk to class if I really wanted to!”
He started his journey to obtain an Associate’s of Fine Arts, but the degree wasn’t nearly important to Rick as something else.
“I wanted to focus more on the knowledge I could gain and the personal development I could achieve,” he said. “The arts are about expressing yourself. It’s about doing something you truly love.”
Rick now calls Springfield, Missouri home. After ECC, he transferred to Missouri State University where he received his bachelor’s degree. He is now a working artist and full-time museum assistant at the Springfield Art Museum. Established in 1928, the museum is dedicated to enhancing the education and documenting the cultural heritage of the people of southwest Missouri through the collection, preservation and exhibition of art objects.
“East Central College will always have a special place in my heart,” he said. “There was a thriving arts community that was the perfect blend of competitiveness and compassion. My instructors were of the highest caliber in all facets of promoting growth and success.”