Designer behind iconic student shirts to graduate

William Simmons


Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Each year during Beat University of Arizona week, ASU Sun Devils can trade in a red article of clothing for a gold “No Pity for the Kitty” T-shirt. For the past four years, the designer behind these iconic shirts has been Arizona native and spring graduate William Simmons.  

Simmons will graduate this May with a degree in marketing from the W. P. Carey School of Business with a minor in Spanish. He has been awarded the ASU Alumni Association Medallion Scholarship for four years and is a student at Barrett, The Honors College.

For Simmons, marketing was the perfect major because it allowed him to pursue his passions for both design and leading teams.  

“I found marketing to be a happy medium between my love of being creative and of leadership and organizational strategy,” Simmons shared.

Throughout his undergraduate career, Simmons led design and strategy for an Adworks rebrand, interned with Four Peaks Brewing Co. and OH Partners in design, and worked as a freelance designer. These diverse experiences brought him clarity regarding what his future career may look like.

“In one of my internships, I initially thought I wanted to pursue a career in advertising,” he said. After his internship ended, he found his passion did not lie in advertising, however, Simmons is glad he was able to test it out and adjust his career path before entering a full-time job.

An important piece of advice Simmons would share with current students is to create a plan in order to help reach your goals, but also allow for unexpected opportunities. 

“College, and life, can pass you by very quickly, so it's important to take charge of that valuable time with a plan,” he said. “With such a vast support network at ASU, students' plans should also allow them to jump on unexpected opportunities.”

The strong network and endless opportunities at Arizona State University is what brought Simmons to Tempe after high school. Both of his parents, numerous aunts and uncles, and his siblings are also Sun Devils.  

“Because of my family’s experiences, I was able to see that ASU offered an impressive business school, financial aid assistance and an extensive network from a young age.”

During his own experience at ASU, Old Main became Simmons’ most beloved spot on campus. 

“Working there as a programs assistant, president of the Student Alumni Association and the special events chair of the Medallion Scholarship Program, I have been super lucky to make meaningful connections with all the Old Main staff and students over the last four years,” Simmons said.

If given $40 million to solve a problem, Simmons said he would choose to support high school students in getting a college degree, because of his own positive college experience.

“My time at ASU has allowed me to grow personally, professionally and academically, and has been the most valuable investment of my life. I would help students get the same help at whichever university best sets them up for future success.”

After graduation, Simmons plans to work as a designer and art director at a design-focused agency to create brand experiences rooted in strategy.

In his time at ASU, Simmons received the ASU Alumni Association Medallion Scholarship all four years, the Sam & Ida Turken Family Scholarship, the Student Alumni Association Scholarship, the Latino Partnership Scholarship, the Bissell Pohl Scholarship, the Telma Basha Salimeri Honors Scholarship, The Earl & Ellen Davis Business Scholarship, the BA Faculty Emeritus Memorial Scholarship, the Duncan Jennings Memorial Scholarship, and the Craig and Barbara Barrett Scholarship.

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