On Friday, Nov. 15, Ini Archibong ’01 returned to Poly to visit with students and to be honored as Poly's 2019 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Currently living in Stockholm, Sweden, Ini is a world-renowned designer and artist. He has rapidly accelerated to the forefront of his generation of designers. His work is characterized by a deep interest in master-craftsmanship and its intrinsic relationship to technology, both modern and ancient. Taking inspiration from the study of architecture and environmental and product design, as well as lifelong passions for mathematics, philosophy, and world religions, Ini seeks to apply his vision and methods across a wide range of disciplines working with diverse clients across the globe, including such venerable brands as Hermès, de Sede, Bernhardt Design, Ruinart, Christofle, and Vacheron Constantin.
Ini began his day at Poly visiting Craig Fletcher’s AP Physics class. Fletcher had a profound impact on Ini as a student and continues to influence his approach to design and art. Ini shared with students how physics principles are applied to his design work and allow him to convey wonder and awe. In addition to Fletcher’s class, Ini visited Alan Schaefer’s Art History and Enameling class, Jennifer Raftery’s Wood Design class, and Arnor Bieldvedt’s AP Studio Art class, where he was invited to provide individual feedback and insights to each student as they begin their culminating projects for the class.
In addition to classroom visits, Ini attended the senior class meeting and shared his story and path from Poly to college and how he ultimately found his passion in pursuing a career in the arts. He also enjoyed lunch and conversation with a group of students interested in the arts.
Outside of student visits, Ini also spent time in conversation with Head of School John Bracker and had a special visit to the Poly archives. Archives Manager Barbara Bishop helped Ini reminisce over class photos and yearbooks. He concluded his day with an interview by student journalists for an upcoming feature in The Paw Print.
Ini’s visit culminated with a dinner held in his honor at Head of School John Bracker’s home, where classmates, family, former teachers, Alumni Board members, and trustees gathered to celebrate. It was remarkable to see 13 of Ini’s former Poly teachers in attendance, a testament to the strong ties and pride our teachers and students have for each other. After guests enjoyed a lively cocktail reception and dinner, Ini’s classmate and friend Marshall Duncan ’01 shared sentiments about Ini’s accomplishments, their unique friendship and bond, and fond memories of their time as students at Poly. After listing the many qualities considered in selecting award recipients — integrity, curiosity, compassion — Alumni Board member Loring Guessous ’74 noted that this year's decision was unanimous. She then presented Ini with the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award. In accepting the award, Ini shared his appreciation for being recognized by the alumni and Poly community and for his many friends and family members who have supported him in his career. He remarked that the entire day was an honor and deeply meaningful.