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Something’s Brewing

Husband-and-Wife SHU Graduates Grow Cotton Brewing Co. Into Successful Business Venture

Brett and Krista (First) Cotton have something brewing in Adrian.

The married double Siena Heights University graduates started brewing beer more than five years ago as a hobby. Using their own money – and their Siena Heights degrees—they decided to make it into a business in 2012. And business is booming. Using fairs and craft beer festivals as both a proof-of-concept and a built-in test market, Cotton Brewing Co. is on its way to becoming a full-time venture for the husband-and-wife team.

“We were just trying to be able to sell the beer,” said Krista of the original reason they started the business. “We never intended it to take off and have the demand that we did. It just keeps rolling.”

Brett said he originally got the idea of brewing beer while working in a corporate setting in Washington, D.C.

“Beer brewing was really big out there,” Brett said. “A bunch of friends would go hit up these different breweries every week.”

When his job in D.C. ended, he returned to Michigan and decided to buy a home brewing kit.

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Mr. Smith Goes to Hollywood

Siena Heights Graduate Enjoys Distinguished Career as Director of Photography

Darryl E. Smith casts a long shadow standing 6 feet, 8 inches tall. However, that shadow pales in comparison to the one he has cast as a director of photography in Hollywood.

The 1985 Siena Heights graduate has an impressive list of credits and clients, including MTV, Disney, Coca-Cola, CBS, the NFL Network and HBO. The owner of his own production company, Darryl E. Smith Productions, for the past 14 years, he said his path to success was a winding one. And his starting point was Siena Heights University.

Originally recruited to play basketball at Siena by former coach Ben Braun, Smith said Siena Heights was the only school that showed interest in him as a student—not just as a basketball player.

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Impactful Art

Martin Moreno ’88 Leads Lenawee County Mural Project

Siena Heights was involved with the Lenawee County Mural Project headed by SHU alum and nationally recognized muralist Martin Moreno ’88 last summer. Moreno was commissioned to head the project, which included creating a mural on the side of the Fishes and Loaves building in the city of Adrian (above).

The project began in June was finished in July. SHU student, faculty and staff volunteers painted and helped with design. The project was coordinated by SHU Arts Engagement Coordinator Joni Warner (right).

Moreno also donated a smaller mural to be auctioned off at the annual Siena Summer Spectacular for Scholarships on June 21. Moreno is pictured below with members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, who won the live auction for his artwork. The Spectacular raised a record $80,000 this year for student scholarships.

To view a video on the process of the mural project, visit