Alumnus finds success with liberal arts

In 2000, Brian Clever graduated from Truman State University. Since graduating from Truman, Cleaver started his own content agency, Bclever Creative, in 2016. He started Bclever Creative after being let go during a merge. His content agency offers services such as brand marketing, digital and social advertising, and content management. He has built his own company from the ground up, and has been able to work with clients such as Lexus, Marquis Yachts, CAT, Livenation, and many others.  

During his five years studying at Truman, Clever majored in communication with an emphasis on journalism, while also minoring in visual communication arts with emphasis on graphic design, and in English with an emphasis on creative writing and poetry. Clever was also an active member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. When Clever first started at Truman, he said he wanted to pursue journalism, but while working towards his degree, an interest in advertising was sparked. 

As a child, Clever would draw small illustrations to sell to the neighborhood kids and friends for a nickel. Then, in a visual communication class taught at Truman, he learned how to value and price visual work to sell as a product. In that class, Clever said he remembered what he used to do as a child, and realized that he would be doing this as a part of his career. By the end of his time at Truman, Clever said he knew it was what he wanted to do after graduation. 

“Truman, like most any liberal arts university I would imagine, helped shape, or hone my personal tools for entering into the “real” world – problem-solving, critical thinking, social awareness, etc,” Clever said. “Further, it was the catalyst for several life-long relationships and friendships.”

In the spring of 2000, Waylon Promotions, a large marketing and advertising agency in Saint Louis, Missouri, held a student design contest. The winner of the contest would be hired at the agency post-graduation. Clever won this contest and was offered a job as a graphic designer and junior art director a few months before graduation. 

The communication department has about 40 to 45 graduates every year. Communication Department Chair Jay Self said students who graduate from Truman’s communication department do not just go into traditional media, public relations, or journalism careers, but many other paths, like religion, health and politics. Within six months of graduating, about 85-88% of communication students have a full-time job.

Clever offered advice to those who are graduating soon,

“During the first week of your first professional job, hunt down everyone in leadership including the CEO,” Clever said. “Politely introduce yourself and thank them for the opportunity. Then from there on, nod or say hello in the hallways. There’s nothing worse in a job than being invisible. This ensures you won’t be.”

Self also stated that a liberal arts education at Truman is beneficial to prepare students for employment and to be an excellent employee. Self continued to say that Truman communication students who pursued graduate education reported back that they felt better prepared, specifically in writing abilities, than that of their peers. 

Similarly, Self advises students to, “Never stop learning … if you keep that kind of student attitude of constantly trying to learn, I think you’ll find it takes you very far.”